Imagine logging on to your online bank and finding that the only feature they offer is the ability download a copy of your monthly statement. Or try shopping online with your favorite retailer only to find that they do not have images of their products on the website – only text references.
We have come to expect that real-time, rich, interactive access to information is a requirement online. We have high expectations about how the experience should be and when that’s not met, we revolt with our wallets. But things change when it comes to our interactions with local, state and national governmental agencies. We have tolerated less than impressive agency websites for years. But that’s begining to change. The public sector is starting to see how important it is to create a rich, compelling and highly interactive experience for its constituents. Governmental agencies across the country are reaching out to interactive service firms, that have once solely focused on private sector clients, to glean experience and insight needed to create these compelling online destinations. We don’t often think of our city or local community as an online destination but when you start to look closer at the services that these municipalities deliver you can begin to imagine the type of benefit that you could derive. What if you could apply for a permit, turn off or on a utility, pay your real estate taxes, check the status of a local election – all online. What if you could purchase a transportation pass, pay for parking in route to your destination, check the schedule for a local venue, search for information across agencies or departments all with the click of your Smartphone or home computer? Think about having access to all government agencies seamlessly, securely and with a highly personalized touch. Wouldn’t that be great…
With stimulus money pouring into state and local government, agencies now have the resources to invest in their online channel. This administration is committed to investing in information technology around transportation, education and healthcare that will open up even more opportunities for individuals to manage their profiles and private history. We are seeing an urgency to provide transparency within local government that is helping to expose how the system works and where there are opportunities for enhancements. The experience that has been used to build award winning private sector web solutions is now available to the public sector and it’s going to make an important impact on what we can except from these agencies.