Gina Trapani: I mean, if sanitation isn’t working well, everyone knows it. (Laughs)
Natalie Kurz: Right, right, right.
Gina: When it’s working well, you really don’t think about it. But when it’s not working well, hmm.
Natalie: Yeah. Yeah.
Gina: Everybody knows.
[CATALYST INTRO MUSIC]
Gina: Hello world. Welcome to Catalyst, the Launch by NTT Data Podcast. This is the show formerly known as the Postlight Podcast. So yes, you're in the right place. I'm Gina Trapani, I lead product at Launch with my business partner, Chris LoSacco. Chris is on vacation this week, but I've got two fantastic guests joining me today to talk about great product in the public sector. So we're going to get to that in a moment, because I want to introduce my guests first. First, I want to introduce a veteran to the show, Natalie Kurz.
Gina: Natalie leads product design at Launch, and I just love having her on. She's been on the show a bunch. Love talking to Natalie. Welcome, Natalie.
Natalie: Thank you. Happy to be back, talking about something near and dear to my heart, so.
Gina: I know. This is where both your experience and your passion is.
Gina: So I'm very, very excited to talk about this today. And next up, I am very excited to introduce a first-timer to the podcast. And I know you're not supposed to have a favorite. I know you're not supposed to, but I don't care. She's one of my absolute favorite colleagues, Cathy LoDuca.
Gina: Cathy is our public sector lead at Launch, and I'm pretty sure she also runs the place. As far as I can tell, she just runs the whole place.
Gina: Welcome, Cathy. I'm so glad to have you on.
Cathy LoDuca: Oh, Gina, you flatter me. Thank you so much. And the feeling is mutual, I'm so excited to be here. Thank you for having me.
Gina: Cathy, I'm sorry, I gotta out you. Cathy is also a martial artist and a classical pianist. So my takeaway from this is that you're either going to make beautiful music with Cathy or she's going to take you to the mat. That's how I approach...
Natalie: There you go. (Laughter)
Gina: That's how I approach working with Cathy. She's both, like, amazing and also a little bit scary. (Laughs)
Cathy: Aw, thanks.
Gina: I love that, love that about her. (Laughs)
Cathy: (Laughs) Thank you.
Gina: So, we're gonna talk about product in the public sector, and I'm going to start with the absolute table stakes basics. Because I tell you, when Postlight joined NTT Data, the whole structure of a large, you know, business that NTT data is, you know, we were kind of a small boutique... is, it's structured really by vertical, right? By industry. And public sector is one of those industries, right? There's, you know, manufacturing and financial services and there's... there's a few verticals. Public sector is one of them. Cathy, what do we mean when we say public sector?
Cathy: When we say public sector, we really mean state, federal, local government. Towns. It can be anything that's publicly funded. So, anything like, it could also be a public university, a school district.
Cathy: Anything that's not a for-profit of some sort.
Gina: Got it, got...
Cathy: That is what we would consider a public service entity.
Gina: So we're thinking, like, you know, public transportation, public schools.
Gina: Prisons, courts.
Natalie: Yep, government agencies, yeah.
Gina: All of those things. So unlike private sector, where a lot of our clients, you know, their mandate and their goals are, you know, revenue lines and profit, public sector groups, they're funded through the government, through taxes and government borrowing...
Gina: ...and revenue from government-owned enterprises, right? So... so really kind of like, the priorities of the clients that we work with, they're sort of, they're different, right? (Laughs) Because revenue and profit aren't the, aren't the mandate right? It's serving the citizenship, correct?
Cathy: It really should be. And it really should be focused on... aNd one of the reasons I love working with public sector is because you know that the work you're doing is actually impacting the way people live. And you can really make a difference in their lives. And really, that's... that's the mission, right? And so, when we think about working in the public sector, to your point, we're not looking at revenue and profit and things like that. We're looking at, how well are these agencies or these schools or whatever able to actually complete their mission?
Cathy: Or attain what they want to with their mission.
Natalie: And make it more accessible as well.
Gina: Ah, no, that's... You're making a really great point, Natalie. So can you say more about that?
Natalie: Yeah. So I mean, a lot of government websites are really, really difficult to see from a mobile phone, right? And there are certain segments of the population where that's the only internet connection they have. So, you know, making sure that, that the services that are being provided are equitable across the board. You know, that don't take forever to load. Not everyone has 400 megabit-per-second internet, right? So just taking into account these different situations that people in our country are in, and designing for that.
Cathy: And I would, I would add to that, it's also making sure that it's aligned to your constituency. So, for instance, you know, my parents are getting older. Their ability to navigate some of these very challenging websites...
Cathy: ...and actually understand language that's being used, and know when to fill in certain things, it's really daunting for a lot of folks. And so, there is some level of being able to know who you're actually serving, and personalizing that to some extent.
Cathy: So that it is, to Natalie's point, something that, you know, is seamless to them and puts them in a situation where they can actually receive the benefit or the service that they're looking for.
Gina: Yeah. I mean, that makes a lot of sense to me, especially for folks who are elderly and aren't digital natives, right? Like, didn't grow up with the phones in their hands.
Gina: I remember... I mean, one of the toughest moments, you know, during the pandemic for me was when finally, you know, vaccination appointments became available. And my mom, who's in her 80s, who's one of the most vulnerable populations and needed that vaccination as soon as possible, right? Was, like, called me and was just like, "I don't know how to do this. Like, how do you do this?"
Gina: Like, "I went to the website, I can't figure it out." And I was like, rage-booking appointments for all of my relatives. (Laughs) You know, it was, you know, it went live very quickly. Everything's very fast-moving, it was a big deal. But that accessibility, especially to folks who, like you said, Natalie, don't have the huge monitor and keyboard and, like, fast connection...
Gina: ...and who are working maybe on older phones. I mean, that's a huge design challenge. And Natalie, I know you've done a lot of work in public sector as a design leader. What do you think about when you embark on a new product, especially something that's user facing in the public sector?
Natalie: Yeah. I mean, well, that's a big question. The first thing is, you know, understanding who is this for? Right? Taking a mobile-first design approach. If it's something that's going to be out there... you know, I've worked on a lot of systems that are purely internal-facing, where someone's going to be at a desktop, you know, with two monitors, and this is the way that it works, and so you can design for that. But when you're designing for the general public, you know, you need to keep all these other factors in mind. So yeah, a mobile-first approach, user-centered design approach. And really pushing for user research and usability testing, which are two of the things that typically get cut from a budget first, as soon as money starts getting tight. But again, in this case, a lot of times the development part of these projects is very expensive, because there are so many systems to integrate with.
Natalie: Or you're dealing with so many legacy things. So, making sure that you have the right thing before you get to that point is critical in, you know, meeting deadlines and rolling things out in a timely fashion and saving money, right? And getting the products that people need out there fast.
Gina: Right. I mean, I think a lot of the engagements, especially that NTT Data has in the public sector, are back-end.
Natalie: Mhm. Yep.
Gina: You know, modernizing the back-end, moving from the mainframe, going to the cloud, right?
Gina: Because, you know, these things are about cost savings, right? Because you want to get the most value out of every tax dollar.
Gina: But I think, you know, reaching... (Laughs) ...the people who need to use the services, and doing it in an accessible, intuitive way is also really important, right?
Gina: So we're constantly talking about, especially at Launch, when we're really focused on that experience part of it is, you know, how do we balance those needs, right?
Gina: How do we make that great experience when a lot of these projects are like, multi-year migration projects, just upgrading kind of the back-end stack, right?
Gina: Because these big agencies have been around forever and they aren't moving at the speed of a startup, and have millions and millions of users, right? They're working at a huge scale.
Natalie: Yeah. And that is it, is, it is all a huge scale. And to your point, a lot of technology projects that I see in the public sector are just that lift and shift, right? We're just going to get to the cloud. And that's a good first step, right? Like, that's an important step. But while doing that, there's a lot of improvements that can be made to your system, right? To make the end user experience a whole lot better as well. So, those are the kinds of projects that I really enjoy. Or green field projects I've worked on several greenfield projects for the government where, we're going to just replace this entire old system with a brand new system and let's just build it, you know, from the ground up. Which was really fun.
Gina: That's a beautiful golden opportunity to do that, for sure.
Natalie: It was. That was such a good project in so many ways. Like, yeah, it was a very successful project. But, you know, a lot of it also kind of depends on who has the budget, right? There's so much... I mean, crazy, there's politics in government, right? There's so much politics in terms of who's...
Cathy: (Laughs) Right.
Natalie: ...Who's owning this project? And is it coming from I.T.? Is it coming from some kind of user-centered department? And that often dictates, kind of, what is this project going to end up being? Is it just going to be a technology lift and shift, even if it should be more complete? Right? So a lot of it kind of depends on, on what part of that agency or group is owning that project.
Cathy: Right. I would also add to that, right, that you also have to think about, where is that budget coming from? So in some cases, when you're talking about, you know, a new website or a, you know, a new system that you're building, you're not talking about your operational budget. You're talking about a capital budget, and then now you're talking about a budget process that can be very time-consuming and... and lengthy. And then it differs from state to state. So it's just, you know, things that you have to navigate, but definitely not something that should be in any way daunting. In fact, if done right, there's so much opportunity that you can actually make an impact. And to Natalie's point, as long as you keep remembering what you're trying to achieve, who you're trying to make these services accessible to, and do it in a way that enables quick wins...
Cathy: ...And you can build off of that, there's tremendous opportunity for improvement in the services that government provides for people.
Natalie: Yeah. And I think there was an executive order that came out, you know, essentially mandating good user experience. And I know that's a very vague thing to put in an executive order, and different people have different interpretations of what that means. But it did light a fire under a lot of agencies, you know, first and foremost to make their forums digital. I think that was a key bullet point, if I remember correctly. And so there were a lot of projects coming out, just like, just make this forum digital. But like, while we're at it, can we actually improve the form? Right? Let's not make the Miss and Mr. field required, as it is on your paper form, right? Like, or whatever those improvements are. So I encourage folks working on public sector projects like that, don't waste those opportunities. Right? If you can make some small changes from the paper form to the digital one, like, go for it. You know?
Gina: Yes. Making forms better.
Natalie: I mean, that's a whole other... that's a whole other podcast, but...
Gina: Noble, noble work. And that is, that's a whole other episode. We're going to have to do that episode, Natalie.
Natalie: And making them work on the phone. Making them work on a phone is more...
Natalie: 'Cause some of these, you know, some of these paper forms are just ridiculous.
Cathy: That's right.
Natalie: Even understanding... I remember I was working on a project where we were taking forms and making them digitized, and I couldn't even understand the language on the paper form. I had to spend, like, a whole week just talking to people about like, "What do you actually mean when you're asking this question? Why is it worded this way?" And then you start getting into whole things of, "Well, we have to call it that because the data that's coming from is labeled that way." And then you get into this back-end data problem, which is a whole other, you know, data in government podcast. But yeah, I mean, there's a lot of tricky things to what seems like a straightforward ask of just, we'll just take this paper and make it, you know, a fill-in-the-blank PDF. Like, it's not always that simple.
Gina: The database structure should never dictate the user experience. It should be the other way around.
Natalie: Preaching to the choir.
Gina: Drive from the front to back, not the other way around. (Laughs)
Natalie: But when you're dealing with these giant datasets...
Cathy: That's right.
Natalie: ... and I.T. folks, like, you know, there's huge downstream effects to changing something like that...
Natalie: ...after it's been that way for 35 years, you know?
Gina: Right. That's right. They have to be able to draw a clear line from this form field to this database field.
Natalie: Exactly. Yeah.
Gina: I get that. I totally get that. So there's... There's budget, there's politics, there's where did the budget come from? What is the mandate? For someone who has never worked in this world, Cathy, what is the procurement process like... (Laughs)
Gina: ...for a public sector project? Just sort of high-level. Yeah, we're all just sort of like, ugh... We all just, you can't see us, but all shoulders went down...
Natalie: Right. (Laughs)
Gina: We sort of exhaled. Because it's no joke. It's no joke.
Natalie: That's my headline.
Cathy: I will say this. I think there is a desire by public sector, you know, you have to follow the legal rules, right? And regulations. So, typically we're talking about RFPs or RFQs or RFIs, and potentially multiple versions of that, and then responding, and then scoring and all of that, and pricing accordingly. And so, there's the traditional. And then, one of the things that at least a lot of the agencies from the federal and the state level have started doing is these cooperative purchasing contracts, right? So, you have in state and local, you have NASPO, for instance. And it's a situation where multiple states can use that as a opportunity to purchase off of. And what's nice about that is, you know, for vendors and for S.I. firms and anyone, really, you can respond to those, that solicitation once, and get on that contract. And then folks can, from the different agencies, can buy off of that. And that can make that a little bit more streamlined, and we're seeing that happen. However, we're also still seeing individual states putting out their own RFPs even if it's on a backdrop contract, they still want to make sure that they're really getting an opportunity to look at everybody, to see what they have to offer in their ideas. And it still can be lengthy. Because there's a lot of people that need to review that and weigh in, and... But ultimately, at the end of the day, it's going to come down to, probably, more often than not, a public procurement process that could take months.
Cathy: And in the federal government could take even longer than, months longer. So...
Gina: Even longer than that. Right. And these RFPs, I mean... An RFP is a request for proposal, right? It's this huge packet. I mean, the whole point is, it's in service of a fair and transparent process.
Natalie: (Laughs) Right. Yeah. So people can bid, and, you know, it's open to...
Gina: People can bid, and... Best price, most value for tax dollars.
Natalie: That's right.
Gina: That makes a lot of sense. But it adds process and time.
Natalie: It does.
Cathy: It does add process and time. And then one of the things that, you know, we're starting to see a lot of RFPs come out for, you know, specifically around the digital experience or the citizen experience, right? And I always find it interesting when the response is requested in Times New Roman font size ten in a Word document in this format...
Cathy: I almost feel in many ways that's missing the entire point of what the storytelling we're trying to even get across is. So I love it when, if we do have to respond to RFPs, we have the license by which to tell a story. Because it's almost like that's exactly, you know, you're trying to help somebody through their experience, and sometimes it gets stuck with procurement. And you're going back to these antiquated ways of responding to things. So I always find that an interesting, you know, dichotomy to have that. But on the flip side, when we have the opportunity to respond, you know, and show them some of the great things that we can do and how they can really speak to their constituencies, I actually don't mind the RFP process as much. Just because, you know, you do get to tell your story and show them what they could get, which is really neat.
Natalie: Yeah, I think a lot of the success really of an... even an end project comes down to how that RFP is written. It comes down to that very, very first beginning process. Because many RFPs come in and they're technically driven, and, like, there might be 1 or 2 lines in this 60-page document that say, "We want a good user experience," right? But it's really just a list of requirements. And they've already solutioned out what they want, right? Those are not the kinds of things that, from a user-centered perspective, that I get really excited about, right? The things that I get excited about are the RFPs that come out and say, "Here's the problem that we're having. How can we find a partner to help us solve this problem?" And I know that some of the agencies I've worked with have partnered with GSA or 18F within the government to help them write their RFPs. And that was actually a really fantastic... I'm not sure how much that's happening anymore, but that was happening quite a bit years back, and it led to much better RFPs in terms of clarity of what they were requesting and what they needed. And then, to, Cathy, your point, it let us tell a story as opposed to just checking off requirements in our response. Because that's what so many of them come down with is, you know, okay, we need to make sure that we say this very specific thing in this very specific way so we can pass that gate and get to the next stage.
Gina: What are GSA and 18TF, Natalie?
Natalie: General Services Administration and 18F. So, those are... kind of agencies within government that help support government services. I'm... that's probably a really terrible explanation of them.
Gina: It's simple, but that's all... that's the headline. (Laughs)
Natalie: But yeah. And 18F is almost like the government's own internal digital agency. So they do a lot of consulting, they do a lot of very cool kind of innovative projects. But a lot of what they do is consulting or working with agencies to kind of help them through this process, and help them build things that are good for the users.
Gina: That makes sense. And, you know, I mean, there's something that we sort of plowed ahead without, without saying, and maybe I'm stating the obvious here, but particularly in public sector, it is very, very common to outsource or partner with a service provider like NTT Data and others.
Gina: And our competitors, right? And bring in a team to build something, rather than build the team in-house.
Gina: For a variety of reasons, right? Most of these agencies are focused on their core competency. Providing public education, running public trains and buses.
Natalie: Right. Right, yeah. Which they should.
Gina: Running public libraries. Which they should, right? And many of these agencies actually do have, you know, they're often small and spread very thin, but their own in-house, you know, technology teams, right? But the advantage of going with a partner, right, is you can ramp up a cross-functional team very quickly for exactly the amount of time you need for the engagement, right? There's... there's cost savings and there's flexibility that you wouldn't get by hiring in-house. But I think this is an important thing to know. So, when you're having a frustrating, or hopefully good, but maybe frustrating experience with an experience out there in the world, like, it's usually not built by the Postal Service or by the Department of Education, right?
Gina: It's built, you know, with their partner. Which is something that, you know, I just think is so important to, to point out. Our clients in the public sector, you know, they'll talk about their teams just being really stretched. They talked about their struggles hiring, particularly when, you know, when things were just on fire in the tech industry and, you know, they can't offer the salaries that a big tech company can offer, for example.
Gina: So getting talent is hard. And role by role, it's harder to bring people in rather than go through a procurement process and bring in a team. So whenever I have a good experience, I think, like, "Good job." Like, I think about all of the public servants and the long procurement process and everything that went into making the thing happen.
Gina: And I appreciate it a little bit more. And I was kind of hoping that we could go around and talk about at least one of our just sort of favorite digital experiences from public sector that we appreciate and use on a regular basis. Natalie, maybe, if you don't mind, I'll start with you. I've got a few, but I'll start with you. Do you have a favorite?
Natalie: I mean, mine is a little niche, and I'm biased because I did some work on it. But it's USWDS, which is the United States Web Design System. And this is essentially a design system that...
Gina: Oh, yes!
Natalie: You know, and this is meant to help agencies scale and quickly spin up. 'Cause that's another thing is, some agencies have like 70 different websites, right? Because every effort has some new website. So this is a way to make things easy to scale, easy to maintain. It's built-in accessible, it's built-in mobile friendly. So even if I'm not working on public sector, I often reference this website for best practices and ideas, just in terms of when I'm designing interfaces.
Gina: Oh, very cool. What's the site? And we're going to link to all of these in the show notes as well.
Natalie: It's designsystem.digital.gov.
Gina: Oh, this is so nice. I had no idea this existed, I'm so glad I asked. Very cool.
Natalie: Yeah. So this is, this is a huge labor of love. And this is led by USDS, United States Digital Services and 18F. They all kind of have hands in creating and maintaining this.
Gina: And I can see, you know, in the showcase here on the website, I can see, oh, look at all these government sites that use this design system. Like, I recognize it now.
Gina: Interesting. Very cool, very cool. How about you, Cathy?
Cathy: Well, this one is near and dear to my heart, just because it literally... we live by it in my household. So, the MTA app. We live outside of New York City, so we're not in New York, but our son goes to school in the city, and he takes the Metro North into school every day. And for him, being able to find out when his train's going to be, where the train is, what the nearest train is, because let me tell you, at 6 A.M. he has fallen asleep and ended up at a station he didn't expect to be at...
Natalie: Oh no! (Laughs)
Cathy: Oh, yes. And so, you know, that MTA app, it is... it is Bible to us. And then, you know, I love the fact that you can buy your ticket and activate your ticket. It's all one-stop shopping for me. So we, we live by that MTA app, because it's really something that we use daily in our house. And the fact that our 17-year-old son uses it, and it gives me as a parent some good comfort knowing where he is on a daily basis, I'm good with that app. That's my favorite app.
Gina: This warms my heart, obviously.
Gina: So, because the MTA is a client, was a Postlight client, is now a Launch client. But full disclosure, we didn't build the MyMTA app. And I use it and I love it. You want to go meet the train, you want to go meet the bus.
Gina: You don't want to wait for it, right?
Natalie: Or you don't want to be late for it, even worse.
Gina: You don't want to be late for it, exactly. Exactly.
Gina: We've worked with the MTA for a long time. Those are just some good people who want to help New Yorkers get where they need to go. (Laughs)
Cathy: Yeah. I don't know how people did it without the app, honestly.
Gina: Yeah, seriously, seriously, I don't... And you know, the MTA gets a really bad rap for a lot of reasons. That app is great, though. It makes me so happy that your son uses it. And I think maybe some of the things that we worked on with the MTA kind of make their way into that app in bits and pieces. But I agree, that's a really good one. Have you all used USPS Informed Delivery?
Gina: The Postal Service? Oh my gosh, it's so good. So, for those of you who don't know, you can sign up. Go to USPS.com, sign up for informed delivery. So, the postal service that carries dead trees in envelopes to your metal mailbox...
Gina: ...and slips them through a slot, scans every piece of mail that comes through, and can email you a summary of what's going to show up in your mailbox. And I signed up for it, and I was like, "This isn't going to be really useful." I mean, you know, I check... It's incredibly useful. If you are a person who travels, if you're a person who is waiting for things, if you're just a person who just wants to keep track of, like, what, you know, what am I going to get in the mail? I try to reduce the amount of stuff I actually receive in the mail because I just don't...
Gina: ...don't want to deal with postage or dead trees. But there's still things that show up, and it's so useful, and I'm so appreciative of it. And the volume that they must handle...
Gina: ...just absolutely fries my brain. It's insane. This summer, especially, we did a bunch of traveling, and I just, it was so nice to be able to say, like, Oh, is there something... (Laughs) Is there anything in the mail that I need to know about before I get home? Really, really like it. I also want to shout out the ParkNYC app, which is another one that I love because I grew up in the '80s where you'd have to, like, keep a bunch of quarters in the... (Laughs) ...in the ashtray in your car to feed the meter. And then when you were, like, out shopping or doing a thing, you'd be like, "Ah, I gotta go feed the meter!"
Gina: You'd have to, like, run back to your car so that you didn't get a ticket. And I love ParkNYC because you can enter in your meter, you can pay, you can extend the time when you're out and about, and it just makes parking in New York City way, way, way easier. And your car doesn't get broken into for the people who are trying to steal all your quarters. (Laughs) Which I really like.
Natalie: I still find it hard to believe that I don't need quarters.
Cathy: I love it.
Natalie: Like, even once... parking meters that just have credit card slots. Like, that's still a, "What? This is so cool."
Natalie: I don't need quarters?
Gina: It's true. No, it's really true. I just switched over to the contactless payment for the MTA too, and I swipe my Apple Watch on the way into the subway.
Gina: And I just feel like, I live in the future. This is awesome.
Natalie: That's pretty cool.
Gina: Like, I just feel so good about that. And it just makes me so happy. The problem is that I have a 10-year-old who, when she finds a vending machine that needs quarters, I never have quarters now.
Gina: Because I just don't, I just don't need them, so... (Laughs) That's alright. Less plastic in the world. We'll link to all these apps and experiences in the show notes, just 'cause I think it's important to just see, kind of, what's out there. And I also would love to hear, if you've got a favorite app that came out of the public sector, or government site that you really like... I logged into SSA.gov recently, which is like, the Social Security website, and it's really good. Like, you see, I mean, I don't know, who knows if Social Security's going to be here, or in what percentage, when it's time for me to get there. But you can see, like, your history of your wages and how much you've earned and how much you would get, you know, if you took it at a certain time. I was really, like, happily pleased and surprised by what you can get there. Are there any others that either one of you want to want to call out?
Cathy: I mean, we have some actually in our locality...
Gina: Oh yeah?
Cathy: ...that I find incredibly useful. And there's one that you can literally sign up for, it's called Nixle, and you can sign up for these alerts and it'll tell you when a tree is down and you can't go get your kid at school because, you know, something... Oh, man, is it fantastic. The fact that I know, you know, minute by minute, you know, what my routes are different places. And, you know, if the water main broke or something. Not that that happens a lot, but, you know, when it does, just having some notification that gets pushed out, that you can subscribe to is awesome. I don't actually have to question, you know, am I actually going to make it where I think I need to, or am I going to have running water today? (Laughs)
Natalie: That's great.
Cathy: So, it works out really well in that regard.
Gina: Yeah, that is great. That is great. It's this common theme of just like, meeting people where they are.
Gina: Making their lives easier, making...
Cathy: And solving common problems. Yeah.
Gina: ...day-to-day tasks just easier. That's right.
Cathy: Making it very specific to them, too, right?
Gina: That's right.
Cathy: You know, that personalization. And I think when people hear that, they think that's like, a really, really daunting thing. But, you know, as you said, meet them where they are and that's just knowing who you're trying to serve.
Gina: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. What's on your wish list? I love hearing feature requests, and wish lists are my favorite, 'cause I'm always just like, "Oh, yeah, that's a really good idea." Like, we should have that. Chances are there's an RFP and a procurement process right now for that thing.
Natalie: There very well might be, yes.
Gina: Chances are.
Gina: But maybe not. Who knows.
Cathy: Or there should be.
Natalie: The biggest thing for my wish list would be, a centralized site where I don't have to know where to go to get my fishing license. I can just go to one place and say, I need my fishing license, and then it'll take me to the right place. Because that's another thing with government agencies is, the general public doesn't know where one stops and another begins. And their sites are very closed off like that.
Gina: Right. City, city.
Natalie: Yeah. Well, even Medicare, Medicaid and SSA. There's a lot of overlap. There's a lot of things where you have to bounce back and forth between them, and it's like, well, as a user, I don't know that. I don't know that that part's with SSA and not with Medicare.
Natalie: So, something that is that kind of portal, that tells me where I need to go and lets me do it easily.
Gina: The switchboard. "How may I direct your call? What are you asking and where are you?"
Natalie: There you go. That's kind of what it is. Yeah, I like that.
Gina: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. No, it's true. Right. Because citizens don't have the structure of the government, right? (Laughs)
Cathy: And they shouldn't have to!
Gina: They shouldn't have to, right?
Gina: No. Right, exactly. Your product should never reflect your org chart. That's another one of our, one of our rules, right?
Gina: Yeah. Just meet the person where they are, coming without knowing anything else.
Cathy: Well, I think there's a component of that that makes people want to live in a place where they actually can make it easy for them to live where they are.
Gina and Natalie: Yes.
Cathy: That's the other part of it, right? You know, I think, you know, we're seeing a lot of shifting of the population and all of that. And, you know, people being able to recognize that when we're talking about government services, we're also talking about the recreation department and the community things, or even public waste or public works or whatever. You know, all these things combined make your community either really, really awesome, or it can really be kind of a pain. And, you know, you want people to live in that area, and you want them to feel, like, a sense of community. It's just another way to have them embrace that, because they have the ability to navigate their community even easier, and I think there's something to be said for that.
Natalie: I love that.
Gina: For sure. I mean, if sanitation isn't working well, everyone knows it. (Laughs)
Natalie: Right. Right.
Natalie: And when it's working well, you really don't think about it. But when it's not working well, hmm.
Cathy: Yeah, everybody knows.
Gina: For sure. Well, I want to thank you both so much for coming on the show and talking about all the great work out in public sector. The way that, you know, technology companies and partners can get together and just make better experiences for citizens. Launch is a new group inside of NTT Data that helps you and your org strategize, ship and scale world-class digital experiences. And we'd love to hear from you. You should send us a note to catalyst@NTTdata.com. Tell us, what are your favorite digital experiences coming out of the public sector? You are a digital leader inside the public sector. What are you seeing? What are you grappling with? We'd love to hear from you. We read every single email that comes in. Send us a note, catalyst@NTTdata.com. And thank you so much for listening. As always, we appreciate your time. Have a great week, everyone.
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