More collaboration, better customer service, and expanded use of mobile devices and applications are top trends for federal government agencies in 2013. The trends are intertwined. Mobile devices/apps make information available 24/7 and increase interaction between customers and agencies and between agencies. The result is more collaboration and better customer service.
About 200 individuals in U.S. federal agencies identified the top 2013 trends in a GovDelivery survey. They identified the top trends from a list of hot topics, such as big data/open data, cybersecurity, budgets, technology and cloud computing.
Respondents were asked to look at the trends through three filters:
- Trends taking center stage in 2013 (affecting their agencies and others)
- Trends directly affecting their own work
- Trends that their organizations are already addressing
The three trends ranked at the top of all three categories were those with the greatest impact on government productivity and effectiveness:
- Mobility and bring your own device (BYOD)
- Citizen/customer service
- Collaboration with other agencies and with citizens
Following is a brief summary of each top trend presented in a white paper that is available for download.
Mobile Government Tops the Agenda
Mobile government/bring your own device (BYOD) tops the list of trends that respondents think will take center stage in 2013. Citizens and constituents are embracing mobile technologies and mobile apps at a rapid pace creating new opportunities for government agencies to engage with them. Mobile is an important channel for information distribution and can be critical for time-sensitive communications.
The government recognizes the importance of mobile communications. Improving citizens’ mobile access to government service is a critical part of the White House Digital Government Strategy. As part of the push to make digital government customer-focused, the strategy requires federal agencies to use mobile technologies for priority customer services.
Despite the push by the government to encourage use of mobile technologies, this is one area where agencies may be lagging in their efforts, as the white paper reports. While more than half of the respondents to the GovDelivery survey listed mobile/BYOD as a top trend, only 39 percent said their agencies are addressing this issue.
Citizen/Customer Service is Top of Mind
Citizen/customer service is one of the top trends in all three categories (broad trends, trends affecting the respondents’ own jobs, and trends already addressed within their organizations). Federal agencies want to improve service whether the customer is a taxpayer working with the IRS, a patient at the Department of Veterans Affairs, or one of the many other types of agency customers.
Communication, the first critical stage of customer service, is an area of opportunity for improved service. Yet many federal agencies are ignoring social media for relevant citizen interactions, according to the white paper, even though the White House Digital Government Strategy has a mandate to provide “customer-centric” government through the use of digital technologies. In 2013, expect federal agencies to follow their counterparts in state and local governments with expanded use of social media and other digital channels (SMS, email, self-service web, mobile apps) for customer service and citizen engagement.
Collaboration is Everyone’s Job
The top trend that respondents see affecting their own work is the trend toward collaboration, both with other government organizations and with citizens. They expect an increase in the use of digital communications to support collaboration, both inter-agency and with the public.
For example, collaboration with citizens often takes place on public forums utilizing social media channels. Inter-agency collaboration can range from cross-promoting digital content and initiatives to working together behind the scenes as happens when the government responds to emergency situations. When a major weather event occurs, such as a hurricane, federal agencies communicate internally and with state and local agencies.
Fueling collaboration are several converging trends, including:
- Widely available digital tools and technologies that enable new levels of collaboration
- The demand for increased productivity and efficiency with existing budgets
- A new generation of individuals entering the workforce with collaborative work practices
Agencies will need to identify and implement appropriate technologies and policies/processes for managing digital communications and will need to consider security and accessibility issues.
Download the white paper for full survey details and analysis.