Federal Services Are Going Digital

Within the last few years, the tech-field has made huge advancements in providing consumers the ability to move away from paper and more to the use of digital services. As the internet is ever-evolving, the influx of content and accumulation of out dated websites, user access has become more of a requirement to be met, especially within the federal space.

Congress is to pass a new bill that would require agencies to update their websites, making them more modern and use-friendly, as well as to support the increased use of mobile devices and apps. From the consolidation of personalized web content, searchable information, secure connections, increase and ensure accessibility of individuals, including those with disabilities, and analytics, the General Services Administrations Technology Transformation Service will begin to integrate the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (21st Century IDEA) to help improve the delivery of digital services. These updates will be required to be made within the next year to two years to help agency efficiency, protection and growth.

More specifically, agencies will have one year to transition paper forms be made available in a digital format, two years for in-person government services; and will be given 180 days to develop a strategy to advance the use of electronic signatures for agency contracts and documents.

One reason Congress is encouraging this to happen quickly is the cost it is taking in assisting civilians for in-person or over the phone services. In a recent study by Forrester Research, 2017, “federal websites and mobile apps still offer experiences that are worse than those provided by non-digital channels like physical locations and call centers.” Instead, if those services are made available digitally, the cost for those services could [potentially] decrease from $40-60 down to $.22.

Agency chief information officers will be responsibility in ensuring the 21st Century IDEA is carried to fruition in their agency; in conjunction with bipartisan support and industry backing, it should be a very tangible transition. Updated websites with user-friendly abilities will give citizens a secure, resourceful and convenient way to partake in federal services online. Rep. Ratcliffe has stated “The federal government exists to serve American people, and the 21st Century IDEA will ensure we’re meeting our citizens’ needs in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible.”

MFN 51 (5/15/2018)

Source: The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (21st Century IDEA) https://ratcliffe.house.gov/sites/ratcliffe.house.gov/files/21st%20Century%20IDEA%20Summary.pdf, 2018

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