According to recent customer experience (CX) research, nearly 80 percent of enterprise business leaders say that customer experience is a top priority—and data-driven decisions are key to meeting customer expectations. Consumers are also citizens, and improved consumer experiences make for better relationships with their governments.
In our changing world, governments must provide a digital experience that keeps pace with citizen expectations. They must also be prepared to meet additional requirements for transparency, precision, and compliance when delivering CX. Data-driven intelligence uniquely enables governments to innovate and reinvent, expand into new types of services, and adopt new models that provide citizen and budgetary advantages.
Challenges for a Modern, Digital Government
Accurate data is not just a must for improving citizen customer experience, it’s a must for almost all government processes, whether operational, analytical, or regulatory compliance. When data is inaccurate and inconsistent, it hinders an organization’s ability to deliver effective services and makes it almost impossible to improve citizen CX. But the path to accurate, accessible data is friction-filled.
Data Access: One common challenge for governmental organizations wanting to modernize and improve CX is digitizing data that is “locked up” in paper-centric, manual processes. Once the data from paper processes are digitized, it still may need further transformation from unstructured data to something that traditional databases can use. Digitizing paper records and adding appropriate metadata will enable citizens to use text-searchable fields. Another bonus— it will enable government workers to quickly organize records based on similar characteristics or apply rules to an entire records group.
Duplicate Data: Even if the data is accessible, disparate systems and poor metadata management can mean duplicate data will hurt efforts to improve CX. Cleansing duplicate data can require business rules adapted to meet specific challenges. For example, “Jon Smith,” “John A. Smith,” “John Smyth,” and “John Smith” may all be the same individual. It could take additional data and metadata—birth date, current residence, or a unique identifier such as a driver’s license—to make that determination.
Dirty Data: Incorrect, inaccurate data can make it difficult to deduplicate correctly, resulting in poor outcomes for citizen CX. In the example above, a typo or a missing data field in any corroborating data could mean duplicates will be missed. Assessing the severity of dirty data, and applying data cleansing processes, will help ensure the success of a CX improvement initiative.
Benefits of Government Customer Experience
While there are several challenges to overcome, it’s worth it for government organizations wanting to provide the ultimate experience for citizens. The benefits of supporting a 360-degree view of your data are numerous. They include:
- Frictionless Service Delivery: By understanding the actual experience of citizen-consumers, governments can design and deliver services that meet real needs—while better managing costs and budgets.
- Fairer, More Equitable Service: For those who have been historically underserved, understanding citizen-consumers across multiple dimensions can help close service gaps.
- Enhanced Trust in Government: CX processes that empower consumer-citizens to make their preferences and needs known—and support meeting those needs—build trust that a government is truly serving its citizens.
The Australian Northern Territory Transforms with Ascention and TIBCO
To ensure citizen experiences within the justice system were fair and equitable, the Australian Northern Territory (NT) needed data-driven precision and accuracy. The NT government’s Integrated Justice Information System (IJIS) initiative was intended to support equitable, timely justice through delivering complete, consistent, and accurate citizen information for police, courts, corrections, and other agencies.
IJIS had to support every citizen touch-point from initial arrest to court appearances, from managing fines to social services and prisoner management, but the challenges were daunting. Essential master and reference data about its citizen customers was inconsistent and incomplete, scattered across multiple silos and disparate systems. One large blocker to success was the significant amount of duplicate data muddying a clear view. Although at the time, the NT had a population of approximately 240,000 people, IJIS held records on 1.5 million addresses and 650,000 names.
To improve outcomes and manage costs, the NT needed a unified, 360-degree view of each individual who had encountered the justice system. This required:
- Enabling Master Data Management (MDM): MDM was necessary to manage duplicate records. These needed to be cleaned and merged in a process allowing agencies to retain data ownership. Duplicates would not just be deleted; the agencies would be alerted to the duplication.
- Implementing robust, scalable integration: Enabling unified system access to data for MDM meant integrating multiple large mainframe applications, multiple data warehouses, disparate databases, and hard-to-access paper-based data.
- Transforming data and workloads—less paper, more digitization: To reduce the risk of error from duplicate data and duplicate effort, data needed to be transformed into more readily consumable formats. Workloads needed to be streamlined to eliminate multiple entry points for duplicative data.
Iterating on its initial project with a new initiative, Project Veritas, the NT government sought to reduce duplicate data through MDM. It needed a master repository to maintain relationships between assets and its associated department or location. Another requirement was governance—the ability to review when changes occurred, as well as who made the changes and how. The NT ultimately selected TIBCO partner Ascention to bring its vision to life.
Through Ascention’s work, by applying business rules to the data to identify duplicates, the NT Government achieved:
- Improved productivity for frontline staff and enhanced the accuracy and availability of identity data—requiring less time to identify, check, and record a person.
- Reduced the potential for errors across multiple systems and the effort to rectify them.
- Obtained more positive outcomes with accurate personal information that includes medical needs and circumstances.
Through a solution that provided frictionless service delivery (while achieving and maintaining trust, privacy, and security), the NT government also helped citizen-consumers to stay in full control of their data.
From these projects, the NT government’s partner in innovation, Ascention, leveraged its learnings to develop the Citizen360 solution on the TIBCO platform. It transforms CX for citizen-consumers to help ensure that government is easy to deal with, is informed by its citizens, and is ready to adapt to the challenges of our digital age.
3 Best Practices to Support Outstanding Customer Experiences
Here are three key takeaways for outstanding CX, not only applicable to governmental agencies but businesses as well:
- Assess and Improve Data Quality: If your data is rife with duplicates or is inaccessible, that must be prioritized to enable MDM and modern workflows.
- Set Clear Goals for 360-degree Citizen Prioritization: Avoid “boiling the ocean”—to prioritize projects that are difference-makers in meeting specific goals, and gather input from customers as well as leadership and stakeholders.
- Seek Expertise Outside Your Organization: The value of an outside-in perspective for CX is immeasurable. A trustworthy partner with experience in helping others meet CX challenges can dramatically reduce your time to success.