Digitizing CX and employee workflows drives 205% ROI for government

The onset of the pandemic forced agencies to adopt digital services virtually overnight. But sustained digital transformation will require more than just short-term stopgaps — it will require agencies to focus on foundational changes with long-term gains.

Every type of government mission — from providing disaster relief and public health services to supporting small businesses and securing infrastructure — needs the right technology to make digital services more accessible. And more than ever, legacy IT systems and siloed data are increasingly incompatible with user expectations in the digital age.

The President’s Executive Order on Transforming Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government calls for 36 customer experience improvements in citizen-facing services across 17 agencies. This drops the gauntlet for agencies to adopt digital customer experience (CX) tools — to modernize their approach and help relieve 9 billion hours in annual paperwork burden.

Along with laws like the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act(IDEA) and the President’s Management Agenda (PMA), the CX executive order demonstrates the government’s aim is to modernize service delivery and focus customer experience that meets the public where they are at.

To realize this vision, agencies need more than an overnight fix. They must fully modernize their systems with CX and document workflow applications that personalize user experiences and streamline processes — while also saving operating costs.

Forrester TEI study spotlights productivity gains from modernizing CX tools

In a recent Forrester Total Economic impact (TEI) study commissioned by Adobe, Forrester Consulting examines the potential ROI to public-sector organizations from deploying Adobe Document Cloud and Adobe Experience Cloud for government.

To better understand the benefits, costs, and risks associated with this investment, Forrester interviewed 10 representatives across 6 government agencies about their experience using Adobe tools. For the purposes of this study, Forrester then combined the results into a single composite organization.

With tools powered by Adobe Document Cloud and Adobe Experience Cloud, agencies are finding new personalization-based solutions to not only serve the public but also reduce the complexity and cost of their operations and create engaging employee experiences. Interviewees revealed how using these solutions helped address some of the government's most pressing modernization challenges. These include keeping pace with technological change at scale while maximizing legacy capabilities, meeting citizens’ evolving expectations, and creating space for innovation.

Using these tools to migrate to the cloud, digitize forms to reduce transaction time, eliminate paper-based operations, free up IT time, reduce customer service interactions, and build mobile-first responsive customer experiences enable organizations to more than $6 million in total value gained over three years with investment payback in 6-months for a 205% ROI.

Digital CX tools improve workforce productivity and reduces the “time tax” on the public

For years, federal, state, and local agencies have operated their customer-facing services on a traditional paper-based model, where forms were often completed by hand and were either mailed or faxed, racking up time and monetary costs.

Adding to these challenges is lag from the years-long implementation of the 21st Century IDEA, which called on agencies to make their websites mobile-responsive and adopt features like web-based forms and electronic signatures. Doing this would not only streamline the customer experience, but it would also allow agencies to more efficiently process, transport, and store essential information.

Utilizing Adobe technology, interviewees were able to simplify and digitize certain labor-intensive practices.

By saving documents digitally and formatting them to be accessible on both desktop and mobile, organizations were able to slash transaction times by 30% giving time back to the public.

Additionally, organizations were equipped with standard templates for creating digital forms and mobile-responsive websites quickly and easily. It also enabled them to personalize content and easily translate it into multiple languages.

“Being able to build for reuse standard templates is significantly easier. When we’re managing content on 20 websites and have to change configurations based on state-of-the-art goals, all of that can be done with just a content specialist, and it’s way faster.”

— VP of Digital Customer Success, Technology Support, Industry Partner

Analytics allows organizations to track the customer journey and identify where the user abandons a form and engagement tends to drop off the page. This insight allows teams to make more informed website improvements. At the same time, public sector organizations can make refinements more quickly with less need for IT and developer support. This reduces the number of hours spent on digital projects by 65% over three years and saves more than $377,000 in productivity costs on CX projects.

Adobe Document Cloud and Adobe Experience Cloud improves productivity in creating digital customer experiences by 33%.

Streamlining customers’ digital journey leads to call center savings

As the pandemic ground in-person interactions to a halt, agency websites quickly became the primary source for information.

The Forrester TEI study found that organizations can quickly update and revise their websites, making it easier for users to navigate and find their desired information. Additionally, interviewees expressed a lack of data and insights when the public logged into the site. Adobe technology enables the organization to create a unified profile to A/B test which page designs drive the most user engagement and deliver relevant customer experiences with personalized messages and content that enable digital self-service.

Pairing these capabilities with Adobe Experience Manager tools, organizations were able to optimize their website navigation more quickly, improve search and reduce the number of clicks it took to reach key webpages.

“We have been able to demonstrate that the amount of self-service through the website has doubled in the last two years. So for every customer that goes to the website to complete a form, there’s one less customer that needs to call our call center.”

— VP of Digital Customer Success, Technology Support, Industry Partner

By making common issues more easily addressable online, the organizations were able to reduce customers’ reliance on call center interactions. This led to a 50% reduction in the time customer service representatives spent on calls and emails by year three. In turn, this freed customer service representatives to focus on solving more complex issues.

Overall, the study estimates that the composite organization would see more than $735,000 in total value over three years due to efficiencies gained in customer service interactions.

Digitization sparks sustainability savings — the answer to the “nine billion hours paper burden”

The President’s CX Executive Order noted the annual paperwork burden placed on the public by federal agencies alone has been more than nine billion hours, leading to labor-heavy workflows that bog down both employee operations and the customer experience.

Agencies stand to gain huge efficiencies by using digital workflow applications to digitize their documents. Leveraging Adobe technology, public sector organizations were able to save both time and resources by shifting to digital documents that were easier to collect, store, share and track information. That included converting physical documents into PDFs and utilizing Adobe Acrobat Sign while meeting security protocols Adobe Acrobat Sign to digitally collect information and signoffs while meeting security protocols. The Forrester TEI estimates those efficiencies would help the nearly $1.6 million in total value over three years, including $765,000 in internal transaction time savings and 60,000 labor hours.

“There was a lot of paperwork that got moved around and got lost or went incomplete when people traveled for business or vacation. Once we got Adobe Document Cloud, we could have people approve and sign things within the same day. It improved our workflow on projects by weeks at a time.”

— Lead Innovation Lab, Transit, State and Local Government

Process digitization and document modernization also meant that organizations had less need for paper-based services — sparking sustainability cost savings and improving the environmental impact for today’s remote workforce. Interviewees spoke about how their organization’s usage of mail houses would add a fraction of a penny to every letter sent, with upwards of millions of documents being sent that would create thousands more dollars in expenses.

With just 20% of documents moved to digital after three years, the composite organization gained more than $1.15 million in total value.

By using Adobe Document Cloud, agencies were able to cut back on spending in areas like mailing, shipping, printing, scanning, and faxing documents. The report noted that with just 20% of documents moved to digital after three years, the composite organization gained more than $1.15 million in total value, which included $300,000 in incremental savings on document printing, scanning and faxing costs.

Legacy IT and regulatory compliance efficiencies

IT modernization has been a top priority for the government over the last three administrations, but the costs of maintaining legacy systems often crowd out investment for new technology. Likewise, new tools must adhere to the government’s stringent security, statutory, and regulatory requirements to be deployed on agency networks.

The Forrester study shows how Adobe’s solutions tackle both problems by offering low-code templates to easily update websites. Adobe Experience Cloud integrates seamlessly across a wealth of content management and collaboration software, including Microsoft, Workday, ServiceNow and Salesforce, to help modernize legacy systems, reduce workloads, and curtail maintenance costs.

The study noted that the composite organization saw a 30% decline in IT costs over three years, with a 75% reduction in time spent providing IT support with Adobe solutions in place.

Those efficiencies created more than $666,000 in total value, which included $300,000 in avoided costs from prior approaches to building digital customer experiences and digital documentation.

Additionally, organizations reduced the cost of maintaining regulatory compliance. This is because Adobe solutions are compliant by design — adhering to digital standards like the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Production (FedRAMP), StateRAMP, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), and others.

Because Adobe solutions bring built-in compliance to digital documents, time spent on regulatory review dropped 33% by year three of deploying the tools, with more than 2,700 labor hours saved.

CX efficiencies don’t stop with the customer

There has been great emphasis on modernizing the customer experience to improve access to government services. Modernizing also offers time and cost efficiencies that help the government optimize its operations and unshackle employees from dated processes.

With Adobe’s suite of CX tools, modernization does not have to be disruptive or laborious. It has the potential to be a seamless transformation that can help enterprises operate with less reliance on time and materials while meeting rising customer expectations.

By scaling up beyond the $6.25 million in benefits identified in the Forrester TEI study, federal, state, and local agencies could leverage Adobe Experience Cloud and Document Cloud to help achieve their IT modernization and CX goals. And they can achieve this without the traditional technology-funding hurdles or challenges of a wholescale lift-and-shift cloud migration. Integrating these tools into existing IT environments can help create sustained momentum for digital transformation well into the future.

“Several factors led us to Adobe: internal pressure from another department to get off a server they hosted that we didn’t have budget for. The limited functionality of our legacy solution for authoring meant we had to take a central approach to posting content, rather than allowing our authors to post content on their own. Also, we needed to add multilingual support to more broadly serve our audience.”

— Chief Technical Officer, Social Services, State and Local government

Adobe Document Cloud and Adobe Experience Cloud each consist of a set of applications that enable organizations to enhance operations and customer journeys.

Learn more about Adobe Document Cloud applications:

Learn more about Adobe Experience Cloud applications: