GSA administrator: Biden remains ‘fixated’ on improving customer experience

The General Services Administration (GSA) Headquarters building in Washington, DC, November 21, 2016. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

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Hershey, Penn. — President Biden remains “fixated” on improving the experience of citizens interacting with government agencies, according to the administrator of the General Services Administration.

Speaking Monday at Imagine Nation ELC, Robin Carnahan said that improving citizens’ digital experience, as set out in the President’s Management Agenda, is still a key priority for the Biden administration, and that her agency is deeply focused on delivering this policy goal.

“The good news is that the president is fixated on customer experience. He understands that good policy is sunk by bad delivery, and he does not want that to be what happens in this administration, and has focused everyone’s energy on that,” she said.

Carnahan added: “The CX executive order is an example of that, focused on reducing that kind of friction and making things seamless and secure. It’s very important we do this, and we’re proving that we can do this over and over again … [Biden] understands that bad implementation sinks good policy.”

In particular, Carnahan said her agency, GSA, is focused on continuing momentum from recent public successes, such as the rollout of COVIDtest.gov and StudentAid.gov, to ensure agencies across the federal government improve website accessibility.

GSA houses the Office of Customer Experience, which is focused on improving the end-to-end experience of citizens and ensuring they receive the same level of service from government as they would get from any private sector organization at scale.

Improving the design of digital services and the customer experience management of high-impact government service providers are key priorities included in the President’s Management Agenda, which was first published in December last year.

The PMA was issued shortly before Biden signed Executive Order 14058, which was intended to reshape digital service delivery and customer experience across the federal government.

Speaking at the ACT-IAC event, Carnahan added that the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) remains a “terrific” opportunity for agencies to obtain these tangible wins and to overcome funding challenges that can arise from the appropriations cycle for specific IT management projects. 

“You can ask for smaller tranches of money, prove the value, and then go back and get some more,” she said. “It is a really unique opportunity. We’ve had about $3.5 billion in requests, so the demand is there from agencies. We’ve had 32 investments in 17 different agencies.”

According to Carnahan, since the launch of the TMF, the General Services Administration has so far received a total of $3.5 billion in requests for project funding.

However, the FedRAMP approval process must move faster and more closely resemble other private sector approval regimes, she added.

“[W]e need to make that faster [and] to find a way to automate that process,” she said.

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ACT-IAC, customer experience (CX), GSA, Joe Biden, President's Management Agenda (PMA), Robin Carnahan, White House
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