Experts at the City and State Modernization of Government Summit discussed the future of technology in government on Thursday, covering a range of topics, from using centralized systems to streamline services to judicious use of data analytics and feedback loops. Speakers at the event at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan also urged the administration to adopt a consumer-focused model to boost voter satisfaction.
Keynote speaker Melanie La Rocca, Chief Efficiency Officer in Mayor Eric Adams’ administration, promotes a consumer-centric model that draws on private-sector practice.
“The private sector is chasing their customers, and they are eager to understand how they can simplify processes, remove burdens and barriers, and deliver services the way customers want,” she told attendees. “If customers can have an extraordinary experience, they become or remain brand loyal. We are judging with the private sector in terms of how we manage the customer experience.”
La Rocca said that by applying this model to government practice, it will lead to an increase in digital work and simplification of services, and a rapport will increase voters’ trust in government services.
“I think one of the most important indicators of a truly customer-centric government is trust. We know public sentiment is struggling at all levels of government,” she said. “Today’s world requires a holistic, coordinated and deliberate approach to improving operations that begins and ends with the customer experience. To become a truly modern government, we must change and introduce objective measurement, agency-led initiatives and mandatory feedback .”
Panelist Ashka Dave, associate partner at McKinsey & Company, went on to explain the importance of data collection practices in identifying areas of voter satisfaction through IT. “If you have this kind of data, as a technology leader, you can start to make some trade-offs about how you deploy your systems,” he told attendees.
Echoing La Rocca’s earlier points about customer satisfaction, Dave emphasizes that improving aspects of a particular system will ultimately lead to a change in attitudes toward government as a whole. “If you improve the customer experience or the vibe experience associated with this service, it’s not just a matter of how they do it [constituents] Feel your service, but you’re completely changing how they feel about how the government works,” he said.
Participants also highlighted the importance of digitizing documents, as well as data analysis and protection measures given the growing popularity of virtual information transfers.
Maryanne Schretzman, executive director of the Center for Innovation in Data Intelligence in New York City, talks about data catalogs to streamline processes between agencies.
“The data-sharing agreements that have to be made between agencies, within agencies, have been a big barrier to getting data from outside,” she said. “So we’re looking at things like data catalogs used by the private sector. A data catalog is a system that takes documents that can be synchronized across different data assets and formats, puts them together, and makes them accessible through contact information. If you With this information, you can create your data usage agreement.”
Team member Dan Steinberg, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations, spoke about the centralization of the MyCiTi project and the difficulties behind rapid digitization and interoperability.
“[MyCiTi] is one of those typical projects that fulfills the promise of being a one-stop shop for all services. How do you work across so many organizations and make their systems more interoperable? he asked. “I think the most important thing this administration has done for this is not investing in technology, but rearranging its intellectual property and technology, data office by centralizing everything.” ”
Several panelists also pointed to the importance of the 2020 pandemic in ushering in a cultural shift in data sharing, from increasing connectivity to opening new channels of communication between constituents and government agencies.