Digital Studio to help feds boost customer experience
- By Amanda Ziadeh
- Aug 01, 2016
Government agencies partnering with Accenture can now develop and test customer-facing mobile, analytic and interactive solutions in a physical and digital environment, thanks to a new Digital Studio housed in Washington, D.C.
This is Accenture Federal Services’ 22nd digital studio, but the first dedicated to its federal clients. It’s an open space for collaboration where the firm and its agency clients can improve digital engagement with citizens and employees alike.
The studio provides digital strategy, user-centric design, digital marketing and agile product-development capabilities to government. It merges physical and digital-based innovation through prototyping and modeling tools.
Accenture’s Fjord Design and Innovation team, which specializes in service, design and implementation of user-friendly solutions, provides the in-studio expertise with its architects, interactive and visual designers, website and app coders and digital technology consumer market specialists.
With physical materials such as Legos, Erector sets and Foamcore, teams can build prototypes of the experiences federal clients want citizens to have, AFS Digital Studio Lead and Managing Director Michael Lawless told GCN. Building first to user needs, rather than federal requirements, is crucial for human-centered design, he said. For software and digital modeling tools, AFS is building out a DevOps and rapid prototyping environment.
Idea creation usually begins in the “rumble room,” project space where teams are meant to “roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty, Lawless explained.
Essentially, the rumble room is a space for AFS’s onsite studio experts to work directly with clients in collaborative co-creation. It has a 15-foot interactive touch-screen monitor, with video conferencing abilities to other Accenture studios, tech labs, innovation centers, clients and experts from around the world. Teams of 10 to 35 people work with agency personnel to develop and deploy new solutions that improve customer experience while meeting federal technology mandates.
For example, AFS is currently working with the U.S. Marshals Service on a mission modernization project. “We might be able to simulate for them very quickly what a mobile app would look like,” Lawless said, in a real DevOps environment.
The studio allows the agency to test how an onsite marshal trying to carry out a task on his mobile device could capture information and load it into a secure dataset.
The studio also helps bridge the barrier between AFS and its agency clients working on closed systems or with protected data sources. “In those cases, we can work in our environment here [the studio] to do some of the design,” Lawless said.
This way, AFS isn’t just coming up with a solution and delivering it to the client. “We want to make sure that we’re working directly with the client in their space and in our space to make sure that we have the right kind of solution to meet their mission objectives,” Lawless added.
Eventually, Accenture hopes the studio will bring more digital technologies and services to the nation’s capital, making it a destination for tech talent.
Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.