The government CIO agenda: Help appoint a chief citizen experience officer

There have been counterparts in the private sector for years - the chief customer officer, says Gartner research director Rick Holgate.

By 2021, 25 per cent of government organisations will abandon ‘citizen engagement’ initiatives, to focus exclusively on deploying services that improve the ‘citizen experience’

Rick Holgate, Gartner

Government CIOs can help their respective organisations find someone to own the citizen/business experience.

“If you don’t have someone in that role, as CIO, you are entitled and encouraged to help the organisation find someone to play that role,”  says Gartner research director Rick Holgate.

As CIO, you are probably the best-experienced executive member to help identify the right person for the role, says Holgate.

The chief citizen experience officer, he adds, can come from the organisation or from outside.

But, as he points out, the CIO should not take on this role. “That is outside your sweet spot as a CIO.”

“At the end of the day, it is beyond IT,” says Holgate, in his presentation at the 2017 Gartner Symposium/ITexpo at the Gold Coast.

 He explains this person will focus on the ‘citizen experience’ as citizens deal with government agencies.

 “The end to end citizen experience is about how to think differently, it is not about IT,” says Holgate, who was also a government CIO prior to joining Gartner.

This C-suite role is already common in the private sector, as the chief customer officer, he told the delegates.

Holgate puts forward the need for the creation of the role.

Develop citizen knowledge without being creepy

He cites Gartner’s assumptions by 2020 more than 30 per cent of current government transactions will vanish and more than 20 per cent of what are left, will be new transactions.

“By 2021, 25 per cent of government organisations will abandon ‘citizen engagement’ initiatives, to focus exclusively on deploying services that improve the ‘citizen experience’,” he says.

He encourages CIOs to use multifaceted tools to improve citizen engagement.

“Develop citizen knowledge without being creepy,” he says.

“Be transparent about it, acknowledge data usage, while giving the public choices and benefits,” for sharing data.

“Encourage them to relinquish control of their  data by giving them immediate return, like more responsive access to services or get something in exchange for sharing their information.”

He also talks about the importance of user focused and customer centric design in delivering government services, and mentions what former Federal CIO of the United States Tony Scott called ‘dogfooding’ or ‘experimenting’ with internal teams.

 Your internal workforce in your government is your citizen, he says.

“Use your employees to experiment, to try things out.”

It is a great sample size, for instance, to trial an online form, he says. “If they can’t figure out, the chances of your citizen being able to figure it out are quite minimal.”

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