Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ:ADBE) and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) today announced the results of a survey, based on a poll of public sector executives across the globe, that identified constituent engagement as an increasingly important operational imperative. According to the survey, sponsored by Adobe and conducted by the EIU, eight in 10 government executives see constituent engagement as important to their agency’s success going forward. Most executives also acknowledge that failure to engage with citizens can hurt an agency’s ability to stay on budget and fulfill its mission.
For the purpose of this survey, engagement was defined as creating meaningful and sustainable interactions to improve constituent participation, compliance and satisfaction.
The survey findings, which were released today in a report titled “The Engaged Constituent: Meeting the Challenge of Engagement in the Public Sector,” examine the new drive in government for greater constituent engagement and how public sector engagement initiatives differ from those in the private sector. The report notes that public sector executives, like their counterparts in the private sector, recognize that advances in technology present a unique opportunity to create closer bonds with their constituents. Industry experts agree, but observe that the public sector must further challenge itself to capitalize on this opportunity.
A similar survey of business executives conducted by the EIU earlier this year found that creating a higher level of customer engagement is an increasingly important business mandate and that the failure to engage customers could result in considerable loss of sales and profits. “While government agencies are not under the same competitive pressures, they face many of the same consumer expectations,” said Kim Andreasson, senior editor, Americas, Industry & Management Research at the Economist Intelligence Unit. “Consumers, influenced by sophisticated Web-based communications and digital experiences with businesses, now expect more from government agencies when it comes to online information, Web-based self-service and other interactions.”
Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington, DC-based think-tank, explains, “Part of the reason government agencies lag the private sector in effectively engaging their constituents is that they are slower to adopt new methods and technologies. For example, many government managers continue to view the Internet as an ancillary mode of communication – failing to see it emerging as an essential vehicle to reach and respond to their stakeholders.”
Yet some government agencies stand out for their pioneering work driving constituent engagement. Service New Brunswick (SNB), a general constituent service bureau in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, has emerged as an early adopter to this new focus on constituent engagement. SNB acts as a single face to the constituent for most government services in the province, both online and in person. “The benefits to adapting to the changing needs and expectations of citizens are many,” said Mike McKendy, president of Service New Brunswick. “On one hand, improved service levels result in more satisfied users, allowing us to better deliver on our mandate. At the same time, by leveraging technology to deliver more engaging experiences and reusing that technology across numerous services and applications, we can expect huge gains in cost savings and internal efficiency.”
According to the survey, government executives believe the greatest benefits of engagement are increased transparency and accountability (63 percent), faster processing times (60 percent) and increased use of services (58 percent). In contrast to their public-sector counterparts, private sector executives identified the key benefits of engagement as improved customer loyalty (80 percent), increased revenue (76 percent) and increased profits (75 percent).
Both public and private sector executives agree that lack of engagement comes at a high cost. In the public sector, 80 percent believe lack of engagement adversely affects an agency’s ability to fulfill its mandate, with more than half quantifying the cost of disengagement at more than 5 percent of their annual budget. Echoing that concern, a large majority of private sector executives believe their companies lose sales each year due to lack of customer engagement.
“Today, individuals and businesses expect government organizations to provide interaction and information to them anytime, anywhere and through any medium,” said Rob Pinkerton, director of government solutions at Adobe. “By leveraging engagement technologies, government agencies can forge stronger connections with their constituencies and provide higher quality public service.”
A copy of the two-part report, “The Engaged Constituent: Meeting the Challenge of Engagement in the Public Sector,” is available at www.adobe.com/engagement. This research is part of Adobe’s comprehensive initiative to investigate customer engagement.
About The Survey
“The Engaged Constituent: Meeting the Challenge of Engagement in the Public Sector” is an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) white paper sponsored by Adobe. The research is based on an online survey of nearly 400 public officials worldwide, conducted by the EIU in July 2007, as well as in-depth interviews with industry experts, analysts and consultants.
About The Economist Intelligence Unit
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is the business information arm of The Economist Group, publisher of The Economist. Through a global network of more than 700 analysts and contributors, the EIU continuously assesses and forecasts political, economic and business conditions in 200 countries. As the world’s leading provider of country intelligence, the EIU helps executives make better business decisions by providing timely, reliable and impartial analysis on worldwide market trends and business strategies.
About Adobe Systems Incorporated
Adobe revolutionizes how the world engages with ideas and information – anytime, anywhere and through any medium. For more information, visit www.adobe.com.
© 2007 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Adobe and the Adobe logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.