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Strong Strategy and Push for Digital First in Government

If the government's new digital strategy comes to fruition, in a few years' time you'll enjoy a better experience when dealing with government matters online.

Alfred D 26 February 2015

In case you haven't heard, the Australian government has gone high tech. A couple of months ago the government announced it was going to commission its very own content management system, govCMS, on the ACQUIA Drupal cloud platform. Federal government agencies will be able to realise the govCMS benefits when migrating existing sites or building new sites.

A short while before that, well actually in 2013, the Victorian government had published its official digital strategy online, rather catchily named “Digital First”, showing the world that they’re getting up to speed on technology fast.

If you've ever gotten lost searching for information on government websites or using their online services, Digital First aims to rectify that by making the government's digital channels customers' first choice. If everything goes according to plan, by 2017 you'll be able to do most government-related tasks online without breaking a sweat.

The 7 key principles of Digital First

Of course, this wouldn't be a government strategy if it didn't come with key principles and justifications. Here are Digital First's seven principles.

  1. Reduce customer effort A lot of information that wasn’t readily available before will now be put online as the government plans to make its digital channels more user-friendly.

  1. Engage customers through digital channel Instead of having customers go through offline channels such as telephone and showing up directly at the agency, many services will be made available online.

  1. Organise information and services by customer needs, not agencies Services will be categorised according to the customer needs they satisfy rather than who's in charge or which agency administers them.

  1. Make content and features convenient and easy to find, use and act upon Information and services will be better organised and available on any device, increasing convenience and overall customer satisfaction.

  1. Improve productivity for customers and government – Ultimately, getting more done in less time.  

  1. Interact with customers and learn from them – Your feedback will be heard and your voice will have greater impact.

  2. Provide an accessible and secure online experience – Use government services on any device and from any location with peace of mind, knowing that your data will be kept secure.

How Australia will benefit from having a digitised government

As you can see, the customer experience has given the government great motivation to really step up their digital game. Although we’ve seen several changes in government since its original release, we’re all hopeful the goal of this strategy remains. While these big plans are still very much in their infancy, anyone who has to regularly liaise with government agencies should be very, very excited, because they're going to benefit from the changes.  

Searching for information and calling up government agencies to get questions answered can be challenging for those who are unfamiliar with the system. From being redirected to different sites to having to make in-person appointments, you might not have been able to get the information and services you needed as lighting-fast as you would have liked. The government plans to fix this by making lighting-fast a real possibility.

The government's new digital strategy aims to address the above issues by successfully meeting customer expectations and improving service delivery. It also aims to increase transparency and quality of engagement.

Finally, all these changes if successfully implemented can encourage innovation and improve productivity within the ranks of the government, the idea being that the government themselves will now be able to do their jobs better with a cool new online presence.

Salsa is ready, waiting and rarin' to go

The government's new plans are hugely ambitious—and we love it! Here at Salsa Digital, we can't wait to help the government make its vision a reality.

We’re an enterprise-grade agency with lots of experience in web, mobile and social, and we already have loads of experience working with government agencies. We get user-centric design! We think anyone who builds without the end-user in mind is setting themselves up for failure.

Now that the federal government's Internet presence is being moved to ACQUIA Drupal-powered govCMS, we're even more excited to get on board. We're strong ACQUIA partners and Drupal is our bread and butter.

Having been around for a while, we've also developed a rigorous, enterprise-grade digital delivery methodology that's been tried and tested by scores of satisfied clients, including the government themselves.

In fact, we're no stranger to Australian government agencies, having taken on projects such as building websites on Drupal for the Department of Human Services, Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria and Funds in Court. We also launched a responsive mobile campaign site for the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

We're happy to work behind the scenes together with internal government digital teams if they need help or want to learn from an experienced partner.

We could go on and on, but we won't, suffice it to say that it's going to be an exciting year.

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