One of the principle goals of Cloud adoption for the USA Government is to drive more and better Digital Government experiences.
A first area to highlight is the IT organizations own use of technology. For example the GSA’s launch of an Amazon style e-commerce marketplace that federal agencies can use to purchase products under the micropurchase threshold of $10,000, and the relaunch of CIO.gov.
There are also initiatives to accelerate adoption of the required skills, such as U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris introducing legislation, the Digital Service Act, which would state and local government agencies federal support for investing in tech and modernization efforts. This would direct $50 million of funding to the USDS, and would require that 50 percent of the money be spent on hiring talent rather than procuring technology.
It’s a wave of innovation not limited to only the Federal Government. For example California is pioneering a New Digital Agenda, highlighting the type of policy innovations that underpins this type of transformation, notably their legislating the CCPA, consumer data privacy legislation akin to Europe’s GDPR.
This 2016 GovTech article sets the scene describing the hand over from President Obama to President Trump, emphasizing the common theme of Legacy Modernization:
“The federal government has unlimited opportunities to become more efficient, more constituent-aware and more customer-friendly, reflecting what many of the states have been doing for the past 25 years. B
ecause most federal processes still are based on traditional, paper-based systems, in many cases requiring someone to come to a counter or make a phone call to conduct business, those practices are an obvious place in which to focus the initial digital transformation.”
The author describes example case studies, such as the National Park implementing the Your Pass Now digital pass system and an especially interesting feature of the article is that it highlights the opportunity for innovation not just in terms of the technologies deployed for digital services, but also the commercial model possibilities for how these solutions are sourced.
They describe no-cost, transaction-based, public-private partnership models, where a technology supplier acts rather as a partner, where a private company makes the investment in building the solution, then charges users a minimal efficiency fee.
Delivering 21st Century Integrated Digital Experiences
As NextGov reports there is also a hard legislative requirement to offer citizen-centric online services.
The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act, or 21st Century IDEA, passed Congress and was signed by President Trump on Dec. 20. The law requires all future government services to be fully digitized and accessible to the public, with specific action plans in place 180 days from the law’s enactment, or June 18, 2019.
Also the new Connected Government Act requires that agencies’ websites are mobile friendly. GSA’s MobileGov Community of Practice supports agency efforts to make government information and services available to anyone, anytime and on any device.
The concept of ‘Universal Design‘ has been coined to define an approach that ensure this accessibility goes beyond just technology considerations, also factoring in the need to meet the needs of users with disabilities.
A number of resources are available to support agencies achieve compliance with these requirements, such as the USWDS – US Web Design System, a standardized approach and resource library for building USA Government web sites, as well as a Digital Services Playbook.
18F also just released Accessibility for Teams, a guide for embedding accessibility and inclusive design practices into your team’s workflow.
The Cloud offers a platform for accelerating adoption of these practices.
As CIO.gov notes the relaunched site made use of the services infrastructure built up to support Cloud-powered digital modernization, with the website transitioned to the Federalist Publishing Platform to take advantage of the commercial solutions offered though Cloud.gov, among other services.
With a cross-section of local and international speakers, an AWS panel session explores a number of Digital Government scenarios powered by their Cloud services.
Aylesbury Vale District Council is using machine learning and artificial intelligence to revolutionize interactions with their constituents with Alexa skills, Kentucky’s Louisville Metro is building an open source cloud mobility system in collaboration with other cities, Amazon, and Waze, in hopes of empowering officials to make data-driven decisions that positively impact their citizens.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) speaks to the launch of their Person Centric Query Service (PCQS), a massive platform combining various branches of data within the US federal system to create a consolidated view of an individual’s past interaction with the US immigration system.