The digital face of government

Datacom and Adobe research report

Websites and the online reach they provide are a vital tool for government.

Government agencies looking to connect with and meet the needs of their stakeholders are heavily reliant on their digital presence. 

While New Zealand government agencies are making progress in delivering better online experiences, research shows they are being let down by site performance and search authority. 

“The digital face of government” report draws on the results of the Adobe Government Digital Performance and Inclusion (GDPI) Indicator 2023, additional analysis of New Zealand government agency sites and insights from Datacom’s digital platforms and transformational engagement teams.

How does our digital performance compare with global governments?

In a global comparison of the digital performance and inclusion rankings of seven governments – looking at customer experience, site performance and digital equity – New Zealand ranked sixth overall behind Canada, the UK, US, Australia and Singapore, with just the EU ranking below New Zealand overall.

48% yes, 49% no, 7% unsure

“What we are seeing is that there has been a real focus on experience which is a positive, but there hasn’t been enough consideration given to scalability and performance. We are also seeing the impact of search being considered an afterthought for a long time. That’s changing now but the way content is distributed and governed across agencies makes it hard to deliver search in a way that supports the experience that customers or citizens are after,” says Datacom Associate Director Digital Experience Platforms Elias Billeh.

“There are some relatively easy fixes that exist and we’re seeing a shift towards SaaS CMS or Digital Experience Platforms (DXP), that is helping address issues around scalability, performance, and security. With the right collaboration and alignment, today’s technology can enable an integrated public service, and we’ve seen this evidenced in the last few years with many large and complex organisations successfully creating really unified digital experiences for their communities and customers. The thing that still needs to be a major focus for every organisation is their content.”

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Unified online experiences lacking across NZ agencies

Analysing the digital performance of 12 New Zealand government agencies delivered mixed results, highlighting the inconsistencies in the online experience being delivered by different public sector organisations. One of the factors contributing to these differences – and creating issues with site authority and findability – is the distributed nature of New Zealand’s government online presence which sits across separate agency sites and lacks a cohesive ‘single front door’.

Customer experience

Customer experience was the highest-ranking area of evaluation for ten of the 12 agencies but experience scores ranged from 59.74 – which Adobe identifies as “emerging” – to 77.09 for the top performer, which is just short of “advanced”. Although customer experience was one of the higher scoring areas for New Zealand, more work is needed around the ability to complete and submit forms/tasks online, and to enable site visitors to more easily find and access timely services.

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Site performance

Results for site performance also showed wide variances across the 12 agencies. One of the 12 agencies scored 38, which equates to a “nascent” ranking, while the agency with the highest site performance scored 70. One of the standout areas that New Zealand agencies need to address is the mobile responsiveness of their sites, with speeds and functionality on mobile devices not matching the desktop experience for users.

Digital equity

Digital equity scores were uniformly low across all 12 New Zealand agencies, with scores spanning 44.17 to 60.1 – equating to an “emerging” ranking. New Zealand has web accessibility standards that all public service and non-public service agencies are required to meet, but scores were impacted by readability and a lack of available multilingual content.

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What factors contribute to the scores?

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Site authority and mobile speed a barrier

Mobile speed and site authority are two of the most pressing issues for public sector organisations to address. While the aggregate score for desktop speeds is 80 – which Adobe ranks as “advanced” – New Zealand’s overall site performance scores are dragged down by its mobile speeds (with a score of 43.2) and site authority, which scores 43 overall.

 Adobe government digital performance and inclusion indicator 2023

New Zealand vs Australia: how does our digital performance compare?

NZ digital performance graph stats
AU digital performance graph stats

“For government, the goal should be delivering seamless services that are relevant. Make it easy for people to deal with you and embrace digital-first service design so staff can support those who need it most,” says Datacom Associate Director Transformational Engagement, Lisa Casagranda. 

“More value needs to be placed on human-centred service design and delivering online experiences that support people to achieve outcomes rather than facilitating transactions. The Digital Government Leadership Group has a role to make agencies more accountable for delivering consistent and coordinated public services, which is statistically proven to have the greatest positive impact on people’s experiences of dealing with government.”

“From my perspective, the most significant area of impact for Government’s Strategy for a Digital Public Service is delivering integrated, cross-agency public services, followed very closely by agencies having the right resourcing and leadership to make this happen."

Lisa Casagranda profile shot

Growing expectations driving digital behaviours in the public sector

Digital experiences are improving all the time and people expect government agencies to match the level of service and accessibility being provided by the other organisations they interact with. The public sector needs to be focused on providing frictionless, personalised, “always on” experiences.

Trust, empathy & privacy sensitivity

Citizens today expect more secure, transparent use of data backed up by consistent, responsive services and “always on” channels.

Personalised & proactive communications

Demand for timely and tailored notifications of government support, payments, bills, and emergency and disaster communications – including relevant information about services and assistance – are part of growing expectations around personalisation.

Guided journeys

People are looking for more connected, orchestrated digital journeys that guide them to find the information they need and access services in a timely way.

Digital accessibility for all

Equitable access to digital content and services is a critical foundation to ensure government can enable participation and serve all of its citizens.

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Scores across each of the three evaluation areas – customer experience, site performance and digital equity – often showed wide variances. For example, the public sector organisation with the highest customer experience score and one of the higher digital equity scores (in a low-scoring category), also had the lowest site performance, impacted by domain quality and influence on SEO.

2022 vs 2023 graphic stats

Datacom and Adobe

A decade-long partnership focused on creating rich, engaging digital experiences

Datacom has been awarded Gold status in the Adobe Solution Partner Programme building on a decade-long partnership focused on creating rich, engaging digital experiences for companies and their customers.

We were also the first company outside of the US to adopt Adobe's Experience Manager as a cloud service - giving our team additional insights into how it can be used to engage with customers and deliver better experiences.

Our dedicated functional and technical consultants specialise in Adobe products and solutions. All our experts are certified and experienced in implementing the latest versions of Adobe products to ensure our customers get the most from the extensive Adobe suite of products.

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