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Digital experience is a strong predictor of citizens’ trust levels in state and local agencies

State CIOs face many challenges in their attempts to build trust with their constituents. Some of their greatest challenges include digitizing citizen experience, reimagining the government workforce, and legacy modernization, among others. Therefore, it’s no surprise these priorities are among the top five released by NASCIO in the State CIO Top 10 Priorities for 2023.

In a recent Dynatrace webinar, two successful state IT leaders—Kailey Smith, application architect on the DevOps team within Minnesota IT Services (MNIT), and Tammy Zbojniewicz, enterprise monitoring and service delivery service owner for Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management, and Budget (DTMB)— discussed how their legacy modernization efforts positively affected both citizen and employee experiences, helping to drive satisfaction and trust while saving them money.

Exceptional citizen experience leads to improved trust

According to a Deloitte Insights survey on state and local government, a citizen’s digital experience with a government agency strongly predicts their overall level of trust. The survey found that individuals who are pleased with a state government’s digital services tend to rate the state highly in measures of overall trust.

“Our agencies’ reputations are of the highest importance. Citizens rely on the government to provide a wide range of essential services. Thus, we’re responsible for creating secure, timely, and quality services,” Smith said. “We meet our obligation to our citizens by consistently delivering services in this manner. If we do that, we create trust. Trust is key to our reputation.”

As an application architect, Smith noted it was challenging to ensure software quality and performance when making large-scale changes, including a cloud infrastructure migration and front-end modernization to their unemployment insurance application. The stakes were high.

Everything needed to function correctly and perform as well or better in the cloud while meeting federal accessibility guidelines with a smooth rollout for both desktop and mobile users. If any problems made it past the testing or production environments, the team faced citizens potentially calling the governor’s office and newspapers to complain.

Therefore, the team integrated the Dynatrace observability platform into numerous aspects of its software development process to ensure the new code could meet their standards and be performant during the pandemic—when the application saw its highest traffic on record.

“Dynatrace really helped our cloud transformation journey and gave the team the confidence to deploy despite the scope of changes to the app and the potential risk to reputation and trust,” Smith said.

Government IT finds higher work satisfaction in legacy modernization

While these strategies benefit citizens, Zbojniewicz and Smith also improved IT staff satisfaction.

Like many in state government, Zbojniewicz said attracting high-quality employees is challenging. She said she seeks opportunities to drive efficiency, so teams spend their time wisely and deliver better results. Previously, starting a critical app incident process meant calling 20 to 30 tier-3 subject-matter experts (SMEs) across specialties, spending hours or days determining a performance issue. At times, this process extended into weeks and months.

With Dynatrace, the team can respond to incidents much faster with fewer people and solve the incident in hours or minutes. She has improved the mean time to resolution and freed employees from spending time blindly guessing at the issue in a war room. Tier-3 SMEs devote time to strategic work they enjoy. This enhanced workflow serves both citizens and employees by improving business agility, productivity, and satisfaction.

States reduce risk and improve employee productivity with total experience

Combining citizen experience and employee experience into a holistic approach toward service design delivery are critical pillars of a total experience (TX) strategy. Government leaders who continue to focus on citizen and employee experience initiatives separately will miss out on essential synergies to effectively transform their services. This can drive digital adoption, improve outcomes, and mitigate the effects of an underwhelming service experience that can otherwise lead to a government’s digital transformation initiatives failing.

Through digital transformation, these leaders from Minnesota and Michigan realized numerous TX benefits. Not only did they effectively mitigate the risk of damaged reputations in the eyes of their citizens, they also found increased employee productivity while simultaneously breaking down IT silos and improving employee morale.

For more from a state government perspective, check how the states of Minnesota and Michigan are driving digital transformation, check out Dynatrace’s Good to Great: Case studies in excellence on state and local government transformations. Register to listen to the webinar.

Whether public or private, if you’re re-platforming, re-hosting, refactoring, or hybrid—for any cloud platform you choose—Dynatrace ensures success through every step of your migration journey.