Tips for the digital government strategy

Just a week after the White House released the new Digital Government Strategy, agencies get some pointers on how they can proceed with the approach that could fundamentally change how the entire federal government delivers services to citizens.

In a May 30 blog post on DigitalGov.com, Jim Wilson, senior producer of NASA.gov, outlines how agencies can meet the main objectives of the newly released Digital Government Strategy. The blueprint seeks to make government information more accessible to citizens, and helps agencies adjust to a new digital environment. The idea is also to harness the power of government data to spur innovation nationwide, by making data open and machine-readable by default.

Navigating this new territory starts with establishing the Digital Services Innovation Center at the General Services Administration, Wilson said. Under the direction of Gwynne Kostin, director of mobile in the General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, the center will work with agencies to establish shared solutions and training to support infrastructure and content needs wherever needed across the federal government.

“The center will build on the fundamental work already being done at GSA — expanding Data.gov to open up even more government information and services to citizens, providing shared services for mobile development, and building on the best practices guidance and training provided by HowTo.gov and DigitalGov University,” Wilson wrote.

The new framework also pushes agencies to migrate to an information-centric approach by building a secure architecture for interoperability and openness from the start. Also key, Wilson pointed out, is making sure online information is be accurate, available and structured in a way that enables citizens, agencies and industry to use it.

With more emphasis on shared solutions and services, agencies will also have to abandon the old concept of building a new website or mobile application for every new initiative, and instead use existing resources “when it makes good business sense,” Wilson said
 
Rethinking how they have always proceeded in their work isn’t the only challenge, he acknowledged, as the strategy will force agencies to put in “considerable effort, including the always difficult ‘culture change.’” 

“But the time has come for government to deliver the services our customers expect and deserve — where and how they want it,” he said.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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