Two Keys to Delivering Exceptional Citizen Experiences

If there’s anything the pandemic has shown us, it’s the value of providing a solid customer experience. This article by Brandon Shopp, group vice president of product strategy at SolarWinds, maps out two key technologies agencies should consider to ensure citizens are getting the information they need in a timely manner.

Delivering a good customer experience to citizens isn’t just preferable, but necessary if federal, state, and local agencies are to achieve their public service objectives. The pandemic caused disruption among many services, particularly at the state and local levels. 

Now, the federal government is accelerating efforts to make information about vaccinations and payment protection loans easily available, and state agencies are striving to streamline access to unemployment benefits and other services.

As these efforts ramp up, agencies must implement strategies that allow them to deliver a fast and reliable user experience. Let’s look at two key strategies agencies should embrace as they seek to deliver exceptional citizen experiences in the future.  

Augment IT infrastructures to meet fluctuating demands

Migrating infrastructure to the cloud is a good and necessary first step. The cloud provides significant scalability, flexibility, and security advantages over traditional network infrastructures. Many agencies were already on that path prior to the pandemic and accelerated their efforts in 2020. Those efforts must continue in the months and years ahead.

Agencies should also carefully monitor network traffic and performance, including application response times and availability. This will allow IT managers to identify potential bandwidth concerns and bottlenecks as they occur or adjust address predictable traffic spikes. They can then proactively tackle these issues to ensure their services continue to run smoothly and deliver the experiences citizens expect. 

Implement modern application development methods and embrace emerging technologies

When agencies think about emerging technologies, they tend to focus on things like artificial intelligence and machine learning. And while those technologies are certainly important and will become increasingly prevalent in the months and years ahead, there are other options, including software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WANs) and containers, agencies should consider as they accelerate the pace at which they introduce new services to their constituents.

SD-WANs are abstracted from traditional network hardware. They provide administrators with great visibility into application performance and the ability to easily prioritize data traffic for certain types of applications (for example, bandwidth-heavy services involving video can receive more resources as needed). 

Containers are open-source technologies that allow developers to abstract applications from their runtime environments while packaging applications with their necessary components, including storage and data elements. Containers are highly portable and can be easily moved between environments, which allows their applications to be developed and deployed very quickly.

Moving to the next level will become increasingly important in our technology-savvy society. No one wants to sign onto a federal or state and local website and have their request time out after 20 minutes. To keep this from happening, agencies must invest in modern infrastructures, technologies, and methodologies. This investment will allow them to deliver reliable, fast, and exceptional citizen experiences.

 

Read the full Nextgov article here.

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