What’s Your Data Telling You About Customers’ Experiences?

One of the most powerful — yet often underused— assets that agencies own is something employees interact with daily across multiple platforms and systems.

That asset is data — in all its various forms. That data helps you identify who your customers are, map their journeys, and critically analyze what products and services you’re delivering and what effects a suboptimal customer experience (CX) has.

“Data is the new oil,” said Steve Grewal, Federal Chief Technology Officer at Cohesity, which specializes in enterprise data management. “When it comes to competitive differentiation, customer delivery and constituent services, it’s all about the data.”

Grewal, who spent 16-plus years in government before joining Cohesity, encouraged public-sector employees to stay focused on the data and CX outcomes they want to achieve. He shared three data-centric issues to prioritize.

1. Address mass data fragmentation

Mass data fragmentation (MDF) is the proliferation of data — across silos, clouds and management systems — that prevents organizations from fully benefiting from its value.

The problem with MDF is threefold, Grewal explained. First, it’s inefficient and forces agencies to use point solutions to manage data across their environments. Second, it’s not cost-effective and expedient because agencies end up copying data across environments as a workaround. Third, it perpetuates dark data, or data that agencies don’t have detailed knowledge about, such as its location, owner and access history.

“Whatever architecture you decide to focus on, based on mission, service levels and cost points, always consider the data layer,” Grewal said. “Think about data across your environment in a common and unified way.”

2. Streamline disaster recovery via the cloud

For the most part, the government still relies on traditional disaster recovery (DR) models. There’s data center infrastructure that sits idle until it’s needed for DR purposes, but that’s a very expensive insurance policy, Grewal said. With the cloud, agencies can move from a static insurance policy to an on-demand model in which infrastructure is available and activated in the event of a disaster or disruption.

One option is tapping into the benefits of public cloud to serve as a secondary DR site. “You can reduce that spend and repurpose those dollars elsewhere, while also maintaining the level of service your agency requires,” Grewal said.

3. Modernize data protection and resilience

How does your agency think about data resilience and access in the event of an incident? What about data protection and how that spans offices and departments, clouds and government data centers?

“No matter what, you want to be in control of your own destiny,” Grewal said. “Even if there is an outage, whether in the cloud or onsite, if you have an additional layer of protection, you are better equipped to restore operations and access to your data.” Increasingly, agencies are thinking about data protection and backup as an enterprise capability.

The Energy and Justice departments are among the Cohesity customers taking a fresh look at their entire IT portfolios, including infrastructure and cybersecurity, using a data-first approach.

“As innovation continues to disrupt and agencies have more options, you want to ensure that you’re still managing your data in the most effective means and viewing these efforts through a CX lens,” Grewal said.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “Your Guide to Improving Customer Experience Through Inclusion, Engagement & Gain.” Download the full guide here.

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