Navigating the Citizen Experience: Priorities and Trends in the 2024 SLED Market

The year 2024 is just around the corner, and with a new year typically comes new priorities. However, some things, like digital government, are here to stay. Improving the Citizen Experience will continue to be a top priority both now and, in the future, as the modern world emphasizes the importance of personalized services that provide agility, accountability, transparency, equity, efficiency, adaptability.

Prioritizing Citizen Experience

When it comes to community trust in administrative decision making, citizens have expressed a desire for transparency and accountability. Digital services help support transparency and allow citizens to feel a stronger sense of involvement with their local government agencies.

Digital Transformation Across Verticals

The digital transformation involves technology application throughout all verticals—for instance, within health and human services there will be continued demand for patient management solutions, such as telehealth services. Emerging technologies such as generative artificial intelligence (AI) can bolster citizen service tools, whether it’s food services for seniors or social services for families and children, increasing their overall efficiency. Chatbots can assist with resource access by providing universal real-time assistance. Within public safety, law enforcement agencies are becoming more dependent on digital evidence and the use of data analytics to mitigate time spent on data searching and analysis. These technologies have assisted agencies when identifying trends and patterns, making significant improvements to public safety and instilling more confidence from their communities. Furthermore, education institutions are using data analytics to drive individualized student outcomes and guide institution decision making — contributing to a more robust and personalized student experience.

Equity and Accessibility

The Citizen Experience is now predicated upon equity and accessibility, and with that comes the need for the proper hardware and connection, further propelling efforts to close the digital divide and attain digital equity. Universal access to high-speed internet is now considered a prerequisite for community sustainability. Funded by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the Affordable Connectivity Program has helped low-income households acquire discounted internet service in efforts to boost digital equity. State and local leaders are collaborating with their communities to encourage enrollment in the program.

Opportunities with Infrastructure Investment

With the implementation of IIJA, there will continue to be dedicated funding towards improving the nation’s cybersecurity, sustainability, infrastructure resilience, and digital equity and this will afford additional opportunities for technology investments. For example, digitally enabled infrastructure will support transportation equity and resilience and yield long-term economic benefits and help to support the Citizen Experience. IIJA provides a total of $1.9 billion for cybersecurity, with a $1 billion grant program to assist state, local, and tribal governments to guard against cyberthreats and modernize systems, particularly critical infrastructure. This funding will help bolster state and local governments’ cybersecurity posture, enabling them to better protect citizen and employee data.

When it comes to IIJA funding, work with your customers to highlight any gaps — leverage your understanding of their challenges and pain points to go after these opportunities and showcase how your solutions can help them address their unique challenges.

Holistic Approach

In the new year, digitization efforts will require foundational support from a multitude of tools that can enhance sustainability and resilience. SLED leaders are looking to implement technology tools and solutions that can ensure seamless service delivery and integration at every touchpoint. They’re taking a holistic approach to technology adoption, which includes roots in cybersecurity and privacy, a modern data platform, legacy system modernization, and change management solutions.

Strategies for Sales Success

Vendors that offer tools or solutions that can bridge gaps in strategic operations, help eliminate agency data siloes and enhance data democratization, streamline data processing, and provide enterprise resilience will see enormous opportunity. For instance, with the increased reliance on digital platforms, it is even more important that proper data security and privacy measures are in place. If you have a cybersecurity solution, emphasize how your solution can safeguard citizen and employee data — and with the increasing use of tools like AI, there will be an even greater need to ensure the proper security measures are in place. Vendors who specialize in cloud services will do well by stressing the importance of the cloud’s ability to support effective data management, boost agility and flexibility, and enhance enterprise operations in a scalable environment. Visualization tools can enhance data-driven decision making, an integral component of citizen service delivery.

Show your customer how easy it is to integrate your solution within their existing data infrastructure; how compatible it is. Keep in mind that each state, local and education (SLED) agency is unique; you’ll want to take into consideration their unique pain points, challenges and requirements. There is no doubt that modernization and digitization efforts centered around the citizen experience are influencing acquisitions across all SLED entities, and you will want to tailor messaging around how your solution can complement these efforts. Be prepared to discuss the benefits around how your solution can streamline service delivery, provide real-time insights, bolster security and privacy, bridge gaps in equity and accessibility, and support their goal to emerge as an innovative leader in the citizen experience. As we enter into a new year, if you can demonstrate how your technology can help further the public sector’s mission and vision of becoming a leader in citizen service delivery and modernization, you will find more opportunity than ever before.

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About the Author:
Yvonne Maffia is the senior analyst on the TD SYNNEX Public Sector Market Insights team covering State and Local trends across the Public Sector.