The Department of Labor (DoL) is placing a heavy focus on customer experience (CX) and the end-user experience to convert the agency’s modernization efforts into digital transformation, according to CIO Gundeep Ahluwalia.

Over the years, DoL has shifted its priority from outputs that his team delivers to focus on the outcomes for the end users, the CIO said.

“We must start talking about and thinking about digital transformation,” Ahluwalia said during an Oct. 5 FCW event. “And what is the difference between a classic modernization play and digital transformation that actually has impact on the end users and then outcomes – not outputs. It’s customer experience, right?”

“At the end of the day, if you’re designing solutions from that end-user perspective… it is the key ingredient that makes a pure modernization play into a digital transformation play,” he added.

Ahluwalia explained that techies are often guilty of looking at modernization as “an end in itself,” when it’s actually a means to get to a digital transformation state. He said that has been the “key difference” for DoL, which has baked that mindset into every program.

For example, Ahluwalia said 5G wireless technology has been something he is challenging his team to think of from the lens of customer experience.

While everyone is excited about the possibilities of 5G technologies, he said his team is focused on the end-user, whether that’s considering how to “build resilience into our ever-changing needs for real estate,” or how to “remain nimble even in a classic infrastructure play.”

“I always tell my team we should always strive to convert modernization into digital transformation plays and focus on the customer experience and who we’re trying to serve at the end of the day – whether it’s internal DoL employees, or the public,” Ahluwalia said.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.