USPS customer needs should drive systems solutions, tech officer says

USPS customer needs should drive systems solutions, tech officer says

Peter A. Jacobson, the Postal Service's new chief technology officer, plans to leverage technology to help customers and employees.

By Shruti Dat'

GCN Staff

The business and technology needs of the Postal Service are often similar, but it's the needs of customers that drive systems use, USPS' new chief technology officer recently said.

'Clearly you want to take the technology in the direction to win with the customer. Let the business application needs drive the technological solutions,' both internal and external, Peter A. Jacobson said.

Those who know

Jacobson last month returned to the Postal Service, after five years in the private sector, to fill the position Norm Lorentz vacated in January. Since his return, he has immersed himself in meeting with postal carriers and delivery clerks to find out what customers want.

'These people probably know their customers better than I know my neighbors,' Jacobson said.

He will focus on developing the Postal Service's information platform, systems integration, data warehousing and elecronic commerce initiatives, he said. The technology office will continue rolling out Point of Service One retail terminals, as well.

Jacobson said his plans include making it possible for postal customers to track mail via several USPS Web sites. The service will also use mail tracking as an internal management tool.

In the past five years, 'the Postal Service has done a great job with service. With additional and better information systems, we can move this organization forward,' he said. 'One of our strategies is providing actionable information to the responsible individuals.'

When an error occurs in equipment, automated systems must simultaneously inform clerks operating the equipment and maintenance personnel, he said.

Jacobson said he does not think the rise of e-mail and instant messenger services will lead to the demise of the Postal Service.

'I think we have seen over the years that the amount of first-class mail sent from householder to householder has stayed constant'not up or down much,' he said.

Brotherly love

Jacobson cited his own communications habits, noting that he sends as many cards today as he did five years ago. 'But what I do more of today, for example, with my sister in Philadelphia, is send her an e-mail,' he said. 'Where in the past I never sent her anything, now I send her an e-mail.'

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