The term Digital Services refers to the electronic delivery of information including data and content across multiple platforms and devices like web or mobile. Information is presented in a way that is easy to use and understand and typically involves transactional services such as submitting forms for processing and receiving benefits. Think of passport renewals, driver license renewals, immigration forms, parking tickets, hotel room reservations, etc.
The term is more widely used in government circles in terms of making the overall interaction of citizens with the public sector a more pleasant and efficient experience. However, this is equally important in the private sector in terms of improving the customer experience while boosting productivity.
Why Digital Services?
Making the transition to digital services by replacing the reliance on paper forms and improving the overall user experience has benefits to both organizations/agencies as well as customers/end users. These include:
- Reduced costs
- Reduced time to market
- Improved efficiency
- Higher transparency
- Full auditability along with high levels of customer service.
Digital Services in the Federal Government
In the US, the federal government created the US Digital Services agency to transform how the federal government interacts with the American people. The group is composed of a small team of technology experts that is taking best practices from the private sector and applying them to the federal government. The group was created after turning around HealthCare.gov. As many of us remember, at the time that project had already burned 200 million and was projected to cost 70 million per year to maintain. A small group worked on a new version that cost 4 million to build with annual maintenance cost of 4 million to maintain.
What Comes Next
There are many examples in both the federal and private sectors of large expensive digital transformation failures on similar efforts. In our next blog, we’ll look at some of the reasons such projects fail, followed with ways to Succeed in Digital Service delivery using Lean Discovery Concepts, Agile Delivery Practices and a DevOps mindset. These techniques allow us to engage end users early and often, build a quality solution, deliver it frequently, and continuously validate that we are building the right thing and building the thing right. Excella has used these techniques while working with groups like USDS to successfully deliver digital solutions, most recently on MyUSCIS at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
What is Digital Service Delivery is the first in an 8-part series “Succeeding with Digital Service Delivery” from Excella Software Development Lead Fadi Stephan.
Part 1: What is Digital Service Delivery
Part 3: Is Agile the Answer?
Part 5: Lean Discovery Practices
Part 6: Agile Delivery Practices
Part 7: A DevOps Mindset