5 steps towards a government “Citizen Information Officer” — Step 2

Step 2: Define and align projects to common citizen goals

(remark: this article is part of a series, click here to go back to the introduction section)

Traditionally, business and IT get together and align on common goals so that projects can be prioritized accordingly. Once these goals are clear, the CIO makes an IT Roadmap. Typically, business projects are defined first, and the CIO provides options how technology can help realize the anticipated benefits. These two are put together in a business case and budget is approved to start.

As digitization is speeding up, there is an extra alignment needed, between citizen goals and joined-up business-IT goals. We no longer need to look only at the business outcomes as drivers, but now need to consider the citizen outcomes as main driver.

Figure: Value vs. alignment for digital citizen services

The opportunity here is to define the right measures to measure the improvement of the citizen services and agency response. The challenge is in quantifying what is generated for the citizen in return for the money invested by the government. I therefore suggest an updated view on goals for reaching citizen satisfaction[1]. These are:

Overall goals (towards the Citizen Services Innovation Program):

  • Agree on a digital vision and strategy towards improving citizen services
  • Measure progress towards indicators and goals that are linked to citizen outcomes

Realigned Service Outcome goals

  • Move to a platform approach (see step 3)
  • Outsource commodity services faster — move to Cloud & SaaS for common functionality, only develop what is unique for the process
  • Unlock value of legacy data and functionality via APIs (around the legacy applications)
  • Set explicit standards for using technology or technology components

Realigned Business Outcome Goals:

  • (Increase) Capacity to innovate and learn from innovation
  • Capacity to plan and deliver a digital service
  • Capacity to change the operating model — optimize both front- and back office
  • Capacity to work across organizational boundaries
  • Review capacity of the workforce — define the goals under which the organization is developing its capacity to manage change and unexpected pressures such as sudden increases in demand. Including the shifting work locations as part of this review
  • Capacity to review performance data and evaluate impact — collect data from user interaction and measure the citizen experience

Citizen Outcome Goals

  • Apply new methods like Design Thinking in creating a good understanding of the challenges of today and the design of a good experience for the citizen service. The solution might be different per type of service.
  • Be in continuous dialogue with citizens, both about the services being provided and how they might be reformed. User experiences (UX / CX) should be created with citizens as test pilots.
  • Go for the best solution for the citizen, which is not necessarily the same as for the agency
  • Move from “Mean Time to Repair” to “Mean Time to Citizen Fulfilment” — measure the time that it takes for a citizen to be served end-to-end.

Alongside the goals, there must be a set of metrics defined to measure upon the process of the goals. These metrics must be presented and discussed at the agency leadership level to maintain the course toward delivering the Citizen Service Innovation Program. For that, I already presented an approach in the first article (see “How to measure success”).

In the next step, I will discuss using the platform approach, commonly known as “Government as a Platform”. Click on the below link to read this article:

Step 3 — Adopt a “Government as a Platform” approach, avoiding new emerging technical debt

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