21st Century IDEA Will Accelerate Government Digital Service Delivery

The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA) – H.R. 5759, which was signed into law by the President today, will take the government’s technology modernization to the next level, with a strong focus on digitizing the delivery of citizen services and improving customer experience.

Today, many government services are slow, complex and paper-based, leaving citizens wishful for an experience that mimics the private sector—fast, efficient, digital and mobile friendly. In fact, the latest Forrester and American Customer Satisfaction Index found that federal government service delivery ranks at or near the bottom in key approval areas including that of overall citizen satisfaction.

Six years ago, the government set out to fix this with the Digital Government Strategy. In many cases, however, this strategy didn’t go far enough, only resulting in cloud adoption, a focus on data center consolidation and increased cybersecurity awareness. No doubt these were important goals, but they were only part of the equation. They didn’t address the service delivery and customer experience problem.

So, what should the government do? Well, to begin filling the gaps, the U.S. government had to take a page out of the private sector book and prioritize customer experience in their digital platforms. The newly-enacted 21st Century IDEA focuses on just that and more:

This new law empowers executive agency heads, CFOs and particularly CIOs to budget for and use existing funding allocations to quickly optimize digital efforts to meet citizen expectations. Now, agency IT managers and federal CIOs will be able to quickly transform digital processes to be more secure and accessible to citizens.

The consistent attention we’ve seen across administrations, and recently with The White House Office of American Innovation (OAI) and the President’s Management Agenda (PMA), to prioritize digital transformation is why Congress has been able to focus on such an important bipartisan bill like 21st Century IDEA.

Rather than an afterthought, IT modernization and improving customer experience in government is now a mandated objective that will transform the way citizens interact with the government through updated websites, mobile friendly online forms and digital services. Even the most critical of government services can benefit from a digital-first approach, which has now been codified through the hard work of leaders like Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA) and John Ratcliffe (R-TX) and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), the lead sponsors of the 21st Century IDEA, in conjunction with OAI. No longer will the U.S. government be the outsider. Instead, our federal government will be a global leader in providing innovative digital government experiences that are modeled after the private sector.