The Office of Digital Services Georgia (DSGa) manages digital strategy for state agencies and elected officials to cultivate a mature digital presence and constituent-centric service delivery. The focus of DSGa expands GTA’s view of the technology landscape from larger systems to granular interactions. The state offers both through various delivery channels and consumer devices. Constituents access state digital properties through newer channels like voice assistants and chatbots that did not exist just two years ago. To be able to serve this need, DSGa enables an omni-channel approach, keeping information and data consistent and centralized.

Georgia GovHub Migration Completed

In FY 2020, the DSGa team completed the development of the new GovHub Digital Content Management System. The platform supports 77 state websites. To confirm the new platform’s technical excellence, the DSGa team contracted an external vendor to perform audits of the platform’s code, security, and accessibility. Further, a user experience firm performed a usability and user experience audit of a sampling of platform sites. Neither audit uncovered significant issues. The GovHub platform moved from development to support and growth, where DSGa will continue to expand and fine tune the offering per agency and constituent needs. The platform gives state organizations powerful tools to effectively provide Georgians with services and information. It also exceeds the latest web accessibility, security, and performance standards. Collaborating with leading private-sector partners and state agencies, DSGa fashioned a digital platform that features new branding and promotes a consistent look and message across state websites.

Redesigned GeorgiaGov Launched

As a part of the GovHub migration, the DSGa team rebuilt GeorgiaGov (www.georgia.gov) from the ground up. The platform was reimagined based on the content, user studies, and agency feedback. The team developed a service-oriented framework to focus on key use cases that Georgians face. For example, the “starting a business” guide touches numerous agencies and services. Across the website, information was consolidated into “guides” to help Georgians understand the full scope of the process rather than having to seek out that information agency by agency. A COVID-19 information hub was created that became a one-stop view of the state’s response to the pandemic. Revamped voting guides, which doubled traffic from previous election years, presented actionable information clearly and concisely. GeorgiaGov continues to grow through research and user studies to identify the next use cases and services.

New Agencies Added to GovHub

The primary focus of FY 2020 was to migrate existing platform customers from the old to the new GovHub platform. The new platform’s design, features, and security proved a compelling draw for non-platform agencies as well, so the team engaged in initial discovery to onboard some high-profile constituent-facing sites. Both the Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner and the Georgia Consumer Protection Division worked with DSGa in FY 2020. They plan to improve content and migrate the sites to the GovHub platform in FY 2021.

Training and Capacity Augmentation

To coincide with the GovHub migration to a new platform, DSGa offered monthly training classes for state agencies to learn the new content management system. Regular classes were also developed and conducted for a new site performance and measurement tool. In addition, the online knowledge base for on-demand instruction was overhauled. Special content-specific classes were also offered, as well as one-on-one coaching sessions. The delivery of the training program pivoted from in-classroom to online instruction over the course of the year.

 GovHub Analytics to Measure Success

DSGa rolled out a new analytics tool for all GovHub partners to actively monitor, measure, and improve the performance of state agency sites. The new product helps to ensure content quality, increase digital accessibility, and enhance search engine optimization, which all adds up to an improved user experience. 

Digital Academy

To provide digital content managers with the skills and tools needed to produce accessible content, DSGa offered a regular workshop series on content and understanding audiences. These courses are designed as a hands-on approach for state agencies to improve their content strategy, writing, and best practices for accessibility. State employees who successfully complete all courses receive state certification as content specialists. The courses are open to anyone who plans, produces, or manages digital content for state agencies.

 GOVTalks

DSGa hosted and presented a statewide conference in April 2020 for public service employees responsible for their organization’s website or applications. Dedicated to helping state agencies in Georgia create a top-notch web presence, the GOVTalks conference focuses on best practices for creating and managing user-centric content. While it was the 13th edition of the event, it was the first to be held completely online, with more than 100 attendees.

 Chatbot and COVID-19 response

DSGa, as a part of the future-facing roadmap, began researching chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) well in advance of FY 2020. The rapidly developing COVID-19 emergency accelerated plans for integrations. When the stay-at-home order was issued and unemployment claims increased at a staggering pace, the Georgia Department of Labor’s (DOL) call centers became overwhelmed. DSGa worked with the DOL team to implement a chatbot quickly to resolve some of the call center burden. The initial bot was deployed within three business days of the request. It was then fine-tuned to improve the features over the next several weeks. Shortly after the DOL integration, the bot was added to other key sites in the COVID-19 emergency. These sites included the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), the Governor’s Office, and GeorgiaGov. The COVID-19 emergency escalated the approach to the chatbot, and DSGa was able to more clearly articulate a path forward to the next iteration of an enterprise-wide AI tool.