Overcoming the government agency content challenge

Peter Belton

OPINION: There has been a significant focus on “digital first” initiatives across government. But while many of these transformational programs have targeted website upgrades and new portals to drive self-service, there has been little focus on content creation and workflows.

This is a significant area of challenge for public sector agencies that are required to support a large variety of communication channels.

It’s not uncommon for larger government departments to have more than thirty channels of interaction with the community, including social, a multitude of websites, numerous information portals, purpose-built applications and knowledge management systems, contact centres, chat bots, digital billboards and traditional print media.

No wonder information management and content workflows have become so complicated.

It is not possible to support these channels with sufficient levels of governance and timeliness without developing new ways of working. And the content process does not start in the digital teams – it starts inside the business area of the department or agency.

These business areas often develop content policies and the rules around them in Word documents and seek approval for their frameworks from multiple departments via email.

Once this somewhat unstructured process has been navigated – often with the participants having little or no visibility – it is only then that the digital teams start their work. It is not unusual in the larger departments for five to ten different digital teams to support the multitude of channels.

The result is that staff work in silos across a variety of systems, creating a real headache for internal IT executives.

Government departments can spend millions of dollars trying to deliver governed communications across channels, while the political pressure for zero mistakes intensifies.

These increasing expectations have prompted government leaders and policymakers to press for widespread improvements in the quality, consistency and engagement experience across all communication channels.

The public’s demand for efficiency is further challenged by large-scale events such as COVID vaccination initiatives and payment support programs for businesses and individuals.

The level of engagement expected of government today demands new ways of working.

It is time to remove the siloed creation of digital content from individual channels and shift to a modular approach that starts within the organisation, on one platform. It is time to remove the myriad of different cobbled together processes and systems.

An overarching automated workflow across the full lifecycle of content creation enables organisations to strategically plan and craft content.

It enables collaboration within and across departments, seek approvals with compliance and communications teams, and ultimately work with one operational digital team to automate the publishing of content across all channels.

These are the core principles and goals, in our view, that government agencies should pursue:

  • Provide the public with a seamless digital experience by personalising every individual’s online interaction
  • A content management hub and a digital marketing toolset that enables the delivery of information across all channels, devices and platforms, securing consistency and trust by unifying the content experience for its citizens
  • The ability to manage complex communications while providing a well-governed workflow across the full content lifecycle
  • An enterprise-wide digital architecture that supports one unified content platform and API integration to support content aggregation and delivery

The power of creating modular based content and publishing in the right format across all channels in an integrated way is truly transformational and will deliver timely, governed content that citizens expect.

Peter Belton is Area Vice-President, ANZ, Sitecore. This story is part of Sitecore’s Gold sponsorship of the InnovationAus 2021 Awards for Excellence.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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