As the continuing coronavirus pandemic puts a spotlight on the need for mission continuity, Federal agencies need to understand their customers’ journeys and smooth the path for them, Deputy Federal CIO Maria Roat said today.

“We have to understand our customers’ journey … and we have to make it simpler and easier to complete that journey,” Roat said speaking during the ACT-IAC CX Summit 2020. “While I was at SBA [Small Business Administration, where Roat was CIO] for some of our systems and our programs – we did just that. We were laying out the journey map for citizens, small businesses, and entrepreneurs that were engaging” with the agency, she said.

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“It’s not about the CIO, it’s about the customer,” Roat said, emphasizing that agencies need to meet customers where they are in the process.

“I remember we had these big printouts on the walls and laying out how those small businesses engaged with us,” the Deputy Federal CIO said. “And it was really critical to understand that journey … and making sure that the technology meets the needs of that customer in the journey in this includes capturing those voices of citizens [and] using constant feedback to revise and improve the service.”

To continue building on supporting mission continuity, Roat stressed the critical need for IT modernization at Federal agencies, and the important role that the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) can play in that process.

“The TMF fun is incredibly critical – we’re seeing a ton of success with the TMF fund,” Roat said. “It gives the agencies the opportunity to sustain their legacy system that they want to modernize while they’re building out root capability until such time they can turn off, or transition that older system,” she said. “And we’re seeing success with that across the board and having that loan and providing that seed funding, if you will, to kickstart and get things moving is critically important.”

“We’ve got to continue to push that across the Federal government,” Roat said.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.