Thursday, 12 November 2015

Fuel My Account

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I hear a lot of 'Digital First' these days, it's the wayward half-brother of 'Channel Shift'. Now I am an enthusiastic channel shifter myself, but do believe it's actually 'Omni-Channel', we need to provide. Transaction and interaction costs will reduce, and as a by-product we will push up customer service and satisfaction levels too. Less folks are actually resisting 'Digital First' and it's not just because the 'older' customers are dying off, which was explained to me once by some housing director one afternoon, how we will solve that problem. I am glad to say she was way wrong on that one.  Universal Credit pushes us to 'Digital First' as does renewing car tax, so even if you are 70+ years old, you are being pushed in to engaging with the internet.

It's very interesting how the digital MyAccount culture is being rolled out in Scotland, under the unified banner of 'MyGovScot' and how this is supporting service delivery from public bodies. IE local councils to citizens, such as you and I. Perhaps I am actually a customer, rather than a citizen, I mean you get the drift I am sure.

I was accused last week by a good Scottish friend of being a 'Scotophile' and after I had considered it, I kind of embraced it. I often work there probably 6 days or more each month and I really enjoy working with everyone up there. I feel no detachment in any way, often my Mancunian accent is the biggest barrier with communication, it's certainly not in food or drink, as anyone who knows me even on a superficial level, that's a great leveller. I digress, but the point I would make is that there are some great ideas happening north of Hadrians Wall, that the rest of the UK can be exploiting.

You may have already caught some of my take on Scottish Housing Options, which I have seen firsthand, being involved with the Housing options Hubs, through the great folks at Arneil Johnston. Read more here at . The point is that there is some good practice, lessons to be learnt here.

MyAccount is an initiative which seeks to authenticate the citizen and then allow easy hook up to local (council, NHS, report a pothole online and other) services. So for example, the aim is for maybe a signed up and authenticated user to be linked quickly (& seamlessly) into local services delivered digitally, for planning, libraries, leisure, housing, easy payment for services and rates etc.

In any digital strategy worth its NaCl, low hanging fruit gets tackled first. In many of the councils I work with, those are generally access to Council Tax balances and housing balance information. For both of those, the ability to make a payment quickly and easily, is crucial. That must be facilitated by options to process a debit/credit card, Paypal or ability to sign up to an AUDDIS paperless DD etc. The reduction of this to 4 or less clicks is the holy grail. Make it easy and its less painless for that poor citizen. Who likes paying bills, I certainly don't!

With the Scottish MyAccount model, authentication is facilitated centrally, to reduce fraud. The Scottish National Entitlement Card (NEC) is one road into proving who you are. This layer is provided via . This puts all the authentication eggs in one basket. However, for me I would feel better if there were other options, to authenticate via Facebook or other social media, for people who maybe would trust to these platforms in preference to a 'Government' one. The outcome of identity checking will then determine a security level, (a degree of trust too effectively), from zero upwards, which will allow access to different services.

One of the challenges of this new digital strategy, is how system providers can support access through self service portals, to support this requirement. In contract terms, this might be judged a regional UK requirement. In whatever judgement, for successful portal access, a single signup access is essential. Then our digital users are in once and for good.  

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Related Post: When it comes to workflow, are your users more used to their tea-tray than their HMS Task-Tray?

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L7 - Fuel My FireL7 - Fuel My Fire.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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