The Department of Defence engaged The Customer Experience Company (CEC) to revolutionise their service experience for their 90,000 employees across Australia. Each day, employees of Defence had to navigate a labyrinth of manual processes and forms to access assets, information and facilities required for their crucial roles.
The aspiration was clear: design a seamless, interconnected future service experience for the employees of Defence. However, the Department faced two significant challenges: Scale and Alignment.
- Scale: The prevailing experience was a product of hundreds of siloed groups scattered across an extensive and complex ecosystem sitting in the way of a unified service experience.
- Alignment: Driving change Defence-wide required the cooperation of many groups and individuals to recognise the existing problems, collaborate to find a solution, and agree to embrace the recommended changes.
Faced with these challenges, The Customer Experience Company (CEC) provided specialist Research and Design services to help achieve a collaborative, Human-Centred approach to Service Design across the entire Department.
Over a span of 20 months CEC partnered with the Department of Defence leveraging expertise in Customer Research, Insights, Strategy and Design to support Defence to achieve a vision of a seamless, integrated customer experience (CX) for 90,000 people.
A key part of the process is a vision, taking into account the broader context of the Department’s mission and objectives. The criticality of this is not to be understated given the scale of change required across the entire organisation’s culture, processes, policies, people, and technology.
To gain a comprehensive understanding of the Department’s ecosystem, CEC conducted over ~650 research interviews with the ADF (Australian Defence Force) and APS (Australian Public Service) across 12 service areas. Our empathetic research approach unearthed valuable insights, informed decision-making and aligned key stakeholders to the customer’s perspective. We ensured that our research approach remained Human-Centred, integrating the needs and aspirations of both the Defence employees and the Department's business and operational requirements into every concept, solution, design, and outcome.
The team designed, tested and iterated concepts to ensure the adopted solutions were desirable to customers, viable to the organisation, and feasible before making significant changes to processes or implementing costly technology.
Working in an Agile environment, CEC collaborated closely with The Department of Defence, key stakeholders and a digital build partner to rapidly iterate the design and focus effort towards what would return maximum value to the customer. CEC worked with a diverse and highly technical team of stakeholders to develop a prioritisation framework that considered impact and feasibility to help identify the value of each concept and compare trade-offs across allowing for informed decision-making to occur.
CEC equipped The Department with packaged, detailed digital experience concepts, to support implementation. This included reusable Service Patterns, high-fidelity screen designs and flows, as well as detailed current-state and future-state service blueprints for each service experience allowing the Department of Defence to further design, implement, scale, and continuously improve the service experience.
Alongside the design work, CEC quantified the quality of the current state experience, which set a baseline metric to measure future improvements against. This fed into the Department of Defence’ Benefits framework and supported the program to report progress to their governing bodies.
The first release of the new service experience was successfully deployed in November 2022, with an enterprise-wide multi-channel experience rollout from February 2023 onward.
The Department of Defence has achieved ease of use and operational efficiency and an uplift in experience benefits as a direct result of the transformational change. The initiatives reduce customers' administrative burdens, streamline existing touchpoints, and deliver profound impact to 90,000 people.
By closely collaborating with stakeholders, we fostered excitement within Defence on the possibilities of Human-Centred Design for this and future programs of work.
The application of a Human-Centered approach to service delivery is focused on empowering people to be more efficient and effective. The approach has built the foundation for continued momentum to perpetuate the ongoing transformation of the Defence service ecosystem and to continually enhance experiences for its employees now, and for decades to come.
In 2023 the work was awarded two Australian Good Design Awards for the categories Service Design and Design Research in recognition for outstanding design and innovation.
The Good Design Awards Jury commented: “ServiceConnect has been developed with robust research methodology. We were intrigued by the potential outcomes of the project, including its ability to raise the standards of internal services. We commend you for creating a human-centred solution that aligns with the Defence Force’s strategic objectives.”