Applying ecommerce
to local government
Benefits

   Why move from offline to online?
                            online?

      1          2             3
  Reac...
Reach more people
Increase efficiency

$$$
 Total cost




 $
Increase efficiency

 $$$


                       offline
interaction
  Cost /




    $                  online
Increase efficiency
Freedom of choice




     I want to go
     to Melbourne
Freedom of choice




     I want to get
     a valuation of
      my property
Ecommerce tradeoffs

                      Price



                        Self
                      service

Convenienc...
Local govt tradeoffs

                Convenience


                         Self
                       service



      ...
Channel Strategy


            Don’t force
           people online

      But make online
     attractive and easy
Channel Strategy
Channel Strategy


                     co-
                   service
                   model
New models
New models
Who moves first?
What to build?
Pets.com

Founded in 1998
$300m investment capital
Liquidated in 2000
How it works
How it works


     Where can I get
     building consent
      information?
The way we think is
radically different
than the people we
    design for
Inside out
(our natural view)



       language
        culture
      experience
      knowledge
                     Out...
research




 design
           delivery
Ask (and listen)
Observe
Explore/Refine
Measure


                   35 continue online
100
arrive             65 exit     and…
                   give up?
      ...
people spend
more time on
other websites
than on yours
Interactions


  Request product or service
  Exchange of money
  Provide information
  Encourage Participation
Context

Request product or service
Ecommerce                Local government
Order books, music,      resolve or report a...
Context

Exchange of money
Ecommerce              Local government
Pay for stuff in       Pay rates, fines, or
shopping ca...
Context

Provide information
Ecommerce             Local government
News, “news”, games   Parks, museums,
                ...
Context

Encourage participation
Ecommerce          Local government
Create content     Vote, discuss
Organise content

Tr...
Context
Models change
    1979
    SONY Walkman




    1984
    SONY Discman




    1992
    SONY MD Walkman




    1999
    SO...
Models change

2001
APPLE iPod




2010
10 billion songs sold through iTunes Store
Environment changes
Mediums change
Mediums change
Expectations change

       1990           2010
Roadmap

Benchmark where you are today

Define a vision & how success
would be measured

Create a roadmap that shows how
t...
Thank you!
      you!
Questions?
Applying Ecommerce To Local Government
Applying Ecommerce To Local Government
Applying Ecommerce To Local Government
Applying Ecommerce To Local Government
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Applying Ecommerce To Local Government

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[This is a rough, unedited crib of the actual talk given at the ALGIM 2010 Web Symposium. Also I went over my allocated time so I’ve elaborated on a few areas. If you have feedback on these notes, please write to me: mathew.sanders@gmail.com or twitter @mathewsanders.]

Introduction

Since the start of this year I’ve been working with the Local Government Services team at Datacom, which is a group of about 20 developers, analysts, and project managers who are dedicated to creating software solutions for local government.

But my background and experience is working in ecommerce projects for companies like Air New Zealand, House of Travel, AMI Insurance, The National Bank, Telecom, and New Zealand Lotteries helping to improve their online customer experience.

What I want to share with everyone today are some ideas, tools, and thinking that are established in ecommerce, and hopefully get you thinking about how they can be applied to your own projects in local government.

Why move from offline to online

Often we’re so focused on simply completing online projects that we forget to step back and look at the benefits of why we’re doing these projects in the first place. I believe it’s important, and healthy to step back and reflect on why we’re doing what we’re doing.

In ecommerce, I think of there being three main benefits to moving from offline channels to online channels:

To reach more people
To operate with more efficiency
To create new business models and opportunities
To reach more people

Here’s a Google map showing all the retail locations for Flight Centres in New Zealand. As you can see they have clusters of stores n the main centres of Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, and a range of stores scattered in other locations throughout New Zealand. They have a great network, but at the same time if you live outside one of the towns that has a store it’s very difficult to do business with them. And even if you live close to one of their stores you also have to visit them within their opening hours, which might be difficult depending on your work situation.

With online channels of course you remove these barriers of time and location, and have the ability to reach anyone who has an internet connection, 24 hours a day.

To increase efficiency

When you interact with people through offline channels (such as phoning a contact centre or interacting in person in a store) the total cost to interact with people is directly related to the number of people you interact with.

For instance, it costs about double the amount to interact with two people as it costs to interact with one, and about triple the amount to interact with three people as it does to interact with one.

But online channels can follow a different pattern. The total cost does increase with the number of people that you interact with (because bandwidth and server costs will increase as you reach more people) but it doesn’t follow a linear relationship, instead it doesn’t cost much more to interact with 10,000 people as it costs to interact with 1,000 people.

Something exciting happens when you think about costs as cost per interaction instead of total costs.

With offline channels, you essentially get a flat rate. It costs about the same to interact with your 50th person as it does you 500th.

But with online channels, the cost per interaction decreases with the more people that you interact with, eventually to the point where the cost per interaction trends towards zero.

Two perspectives are important here. Economically and psychologically it becomes a lot easier to interact with people. In ecommerce this can allow for businesses to pass on cost savings to customers, or even offer free services. In local government this can allow an organisation to operate with lower cost per interaction.

When you’re operating in an offline channel, customer interactions may either be consciously or subconsci

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  • Thank for sharing the idea.it really different and remarkable.
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  • Thanks for providing additional comments and notes Mathew! I was gutted I missed your presentation but heard from a few that it went really well. Glad you mentioned the SOCITM cost analysis per channel and Redbridge example. I have used these examples too (or should I say trashed!!) after I visited both of them during my UK Study Tour in 2007. The Google video is also good - I'm going to reference it in an intranet posting about why you should give your intranet a 'name/identity' as a lot of the older staff in our workplace struggled with the difference between an 'intranet' and the 'internet'.
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  • [This is a rough, unedited crib of the actual talk given at the ALGIM 2010 Web Symposium. Also I went over my allocated time so I’ve elaborated on a few areas. If you have feedback on these notes, please write to me: mathew.sanders@gmail.com or twitter @mathewsanders.]

    Introduction

    Since the start of this year I’ve been working with the Local Government Services team at Datacom, which is a group of about 20 developers, analysts, and project managers who are dedicated to creating software solutions for local government.

    But my background and experience is working in ecommerce projects for companies like Air New Zealand, House of Travel, AMI Insurance, The National Bank, Telecom, and New Zealand Lotteries helping to improve their online customer experience.

    What I want to share with everyone today are some ideas, tools, and thinking that are established in ecommerce, and hopefully get you thinking about how they can be applied to your own projects in local government.

    Why move from offline to online

    Often we’re so focused on simply completing online projects that we forget to step back and look at the benefits of why we’re doing these projects in the first place. I believe it’s important, and healthy to step back and reflect on why we’re doing what we’re doing.

    In ecommerce, I think of there being three main benefits to moving from offline channels to online channels:

    To reach more people
    To operate with more efficiency
    To create new business models and opportunities
    To reach more people

    Here’s a Google map showing all the retail locations for Flight Centres in New Zealand. As you can see they have clusters of stores n the main centres of Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, and a range of stores scattered in other locations throughout New Zealand. They have a great network, but at the same time if you live outside one of the towns that has a store it’s very difficult to do business with them. And even if you live close to one of their stores you also have to visit them within their opening hours, which might be difficult depending on your work situation.

    With online channels of course you remove these barriers of time and location, and have the ability to reach anyone who has an internet connection, 24 hours a day.

    To increase efficiency

    When you interact with people through offline channels (such as phoning a contact centre or interacting in person in a store) the total cost to interact with people is directly related to the number of people you interact with.

    For instance, it costs about double the amount to interact with two people as it costs to interact with one, and about triple the amount to interact with three people as it does to interact with one.

    But online channels can follow a different pattern. The total cost does increase with the number of people that you interact with (because bandwidth and server costs will increase as you reach more people) but it doesn’t follow a linear relationship, instead it doesn’t cost much more to interact with 10,000 people as it costs to interact with 1,000 people.

    Something exciting happens when you think about costs as cost per interaction instead of total costs.

    With offline channels, you essentially get a flat rate. It costs about the same to interact with your 50th person as it does you 500th.

    But with online channels, the cost per interaction decreases with the more people that you interact with, eventually to the point where the cost per interaction trends towards zero.

    Two perspectives are important here. Economically and psychologically it becomes a lot easier to interact with people. In ecommerce this can allow for businesses to pass on cost savings to customers, or even offer free services. In local government this can allow an organisation to operate with lower cost per interaction.

    When you’re operating in an offline channel, customer interactions may either be consciously or subconsciously treated as a scarce resource, but in digital channels they can be treated more as an abundant commodity.

    Moving away from abstract models and looking at some actual figures, the British counterpart to ALGIM SOCITM looked at a range of local government organisations, and their average costs per channel.

    Their results show some current average values for customer interactions in different channels. Converted to NZD, contacting online costs $0.60, contacting over the phone costs 12 times that amount at $6.90, and contacting in person 24 times the online cost at $14.00, so already there are some amazing savings to be made by using online channels, and while it would be difficult to decrease these average cost per contact in offline channels, online the value could decrease even more simply by shifting more people into the online channel.

    Freedom of choice

    Imagine if you wanted to take a trip to Melbourne. I did a quick Google search and found about a dozen companies that I could deal with to help make my travel arrangements, and there are probably just as many again if you count all the different airlines that travel between New Zealand and Australia that you could book direct with.

    As a customer in ecommerce, you have a huge freedom of choice for who you deal with, and companies use a range of techniques to convince you to use them in preference to other competitors.

    As a customer in local government you can’t choose which council you’d like to deal with – that’s determined by where you live, but you do have a freedom to choose how you interact with a council, and in most cases you can choose to interact in person, over the phone or online. Some of the techniques that are used in ecommerce to get your business could also be used in local government to encourage people to use online channels – with the benefit of operating more efficiently.

    Tradeoffs

    In ecommerce self service channels there are various tradeoffs that customers make when choosing to interact with a channel. Price, convenience (accessibility), and ease of use (usability) are all factors that contribute to if a customer uses a channel or not. As an example, when a website may be very difficult to use but at the same time people may have access to a great price, and they have the convenient to interact anytime of the day maybe from the privacy and comfort of their home so they make the effort to use the difficult to use site.

    In local government there isn’t the option to shop around for a better deal on price, so the factors come down to convenience and ease of use. Because there is no driving factor of finding a better price, I would argue that usability for online channels is even more important in local government than it is in ecommerce because if something is too hard online, then people will just revert to interacting through other, less efficient channels.

    The take home message here is that while there are great benefits from an organisational perspective to operate online channels, you can’t force people to use online; you have to make online an attractive and easy to use alternative to other channels.

    Cross channel strategy

    As part of convincing people to use an online channel you have to stop thinking of different channels operating in isolation to each other. It’s critical to develop a channel strategy that sets goals for a preferred channel, and in offline channels gives visibility of, or options to switch into the online channel.

    A local council in Denmark have developed an interesting technique to encourage people to move from offline to online that they call co-service. When people come in person to perform some task, council staff and citizens complete the task together on a shared workstation that helps people see how easy it is to self service and encourages people to try online self service at home next time they have a question or task to complete.

    New models

    Air New Zealand’s Grab-a-Seat is a great example of a sales method that only exists thanks to an online channel. A concept of selling a handful of low cost fares each day technically could be done through offline channels, but because cost per interaction is so expensive in offline channel it would probably cost the airline or travel agent more money to sell the fare than the cost of the fare itself. Also, getting word out about the fares, and letting people quickly make a purchase decision from their work or home just isn’t practical in offline channels as it is online.

    YouTube is an example of a business model that doesn’t even have a counterpart that I can imagine in the offline world. Where offline advertising business models (like TV, radio and print) focus on creating unique, valuable, or interesting content in exchange for your attention, YouTube has created a platform where we, the audience, are also creating the content that we view (this is a half truth because a lot of content on YouTube comes from commercially produced content like music videos, and TV shows).

    Who moves first?

    In ecommerce a lot of investment and effort goes into being innovative and getting into an online space first. This is because commercially there is a huge advantage of being the first mover because you can develop (and hopefully keep) the leading market share. A good example of this is TradeMe, which in the New Zealand market has succeeded in the online auction space where eBay and many others fail.

    This commercial pressure to move first doesn’t exist in local government, because there isn’t that potential to gain a competitive advantage, but that shouldn’t stop innovation and investment online because there are still the benefits of reaching more people, operating more efficiently, and exploring new opportunities that aren’t possible offline.

    Case study: Redbridge

    Redbridge is a great example of these benefits in action. They are a local council in London and represent about 150,000 residents.

    With their redeveloped website they saw the number of unique visitors (or the people they reach) almost triple and online revenue double to 2,000 per month (or as another perspective online revenue of GBP 600,000 per month). Assuming the average channel costs found by SOCTIM, from the online payments alone this council is saving between GPB 70-150,000 per year by using an online channel compared to offline channels.

    Field of dreams/pets.com

    There’s a film called a field of dreams that stars Kevin Costner. While walking through his cornfield the character he plays hears a supernatural voice telling him “build it and they will come”. Because of this he builds a baseball field which forms a central part of the movie’s plot.

    Unfortunately, this idea that ‘build it and they will come’ seems to have become a part of popular thought and there is some belief that anything put online, will, thanks to the power of Google, will be found, and used.

    But if there’s anything that we’ve learnt from the dot-com crash is that this isn’t anything further from the truth.

    Pets.com is a great example. It was founded in 1998, had $300 million in investment capital, and was liquidated just two years later in 2000.

    The pets.com mascot was in super bowl ads and the brand was widely known over North America, and pets.com had great competitive pricing, however the effort of going to a website each week or month to buy their supply of pet food didn’t compared to the cost savings didn’t compare to the convenience of adding the pet food into their regular grocery shopping. Technically there wasn’t anything wrong with pets.com but it was fulfilling a need that people just didn’t want to do online.

    Which leads to the next take home point: Just because something can be done online, doesn’t mean that it should be done online.

    How something works

    But having something that people would potentially want to do online doesn’t guarantee success either. Imagine if during testing you found that half the time that people went to use some feature of your website that it didn’t work and people were displayed with a server error. In a project situation this would be a bug with critical importance and would probably be classified as a showstopper – the project wouldn’t go live until that bug was resolved.

    Now imagine that technically, that feature works perfectly, but that half the people who used your system couldn’t find that feature so assumed that it didn’t exist, or perhaps they found it but found it so confusing that they didn’t use it anyway.

    The end result of both these situations is the same – half of the people that are using your system can’t use some feature, but we continue to give technical issues greater significance than usability issues, and a lot of the time we don’t even take the time to try and find if there even are any usability issues. Why is this?

    The way we think is radically different than the people we build for

    The problem with usability issues is that they aren’t concrete like a technical issue, they are subjective – something that might be straight forward task for you could be a show stopper for me.

    And the problem is that it’s natural to think that other people have pretty much the same perspective and views that we do, but in reality we (as web professionals in local government) truly do think radically different to the people we’re building systems for.

    As an example, Google went to Times Square in New York and asked people “what is a browser?” here are some of the responses that they recorded (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4MwTvtyrUQ)

    Comments on YouTube criticise that Google choose only the funniest responses from people who are “morons” but this is unfair. While I believe that everyone in this room would be able to answer the question “what is a browser” with accuracy and confidence that is because we spend most of our time each day thinking and using the web.

    Most other people in the world aren’t doing this, instead they have specialist skills and are teaching our children, keeping up healthy, entertaining us, feeding us, clothing us and don’t have the need, or the time to understand the details of the internet.

    Some of you may think of yourselves as newbies, or perhaps not having the web as a major part of your role or job description, but even still, as a group of people, we are far more technically literate than the rest of the general population.

    Next is an example of a question that the Auckland fan page asked its followers on Facebook. It asked “are you in favour of auckland becoming a super city?” some of the responses show (and remember that these people are probably Auckland residents) that some people really aren’t aware of the political transformation that the cities of Auckland are currently undergoing.

    Again, these people aren’t stupid, they aren’t morons, instead it’s just an example that as a group of people, we are more politically literate than the general population.

    Inside out/outside in

    This leads to a serious problem. Because of our unique view of the world, which has been shaped by the language, culture, experience and knowledge of working as web professionals in local government, we have a very different view of the world to everyone else. Think of the two views as include out (which is our natural view of the world shaped from being within the organisation) and outside in (the view that everyone else has when viewing your organisation).

    These different views mean that a solution that we view as being perfectly natural and intuitive, may be viewed by others as being complex and full of jargon.

    Tools to help focus on the outside in view

    Ecommerce has developed, or adopted a range of tools and techniques from different fields such as anthropology, economics and ergonomics that can be applied at different phases of projects (research, design and delivery) that can help refocus the view from inside-out to outside-in.

    Some examples of these include asking (and listening) to your target users during the research phase. What do they want, what ideas do they already have? This consultation probably isn’t going to give you any direct answers, but will give you insights to how people think. This can be done in person with contextual interviews, or could be facilitated online. One example of this is the City of Seattle (http://www.ideasforseattle.org) which is using an online tool to get discussion around how their city could be improved moving into the future. The tool facilitates useful discussion by asking people to review, discuss, review and vote on ideas that people have publicly submitted.

    Another example is card sorting, which is a great low cost, fast technique to understand how people group and think about different types of content.

    A great introductory guide to card sorting is published by Donna Spencer and can be purchased from Resenfeld Media, and if you use the promo code MSANDERS you can get a 20% discount (http://www.rosenfeldmedia.com/books/cardsorting/).

    Developing low cost prototypes and evaluating these with you target group before going through the actual build phase is another great technique to make sure that your approach is outside-in focused instead of inside-out.

    Finally, measure and track everything that you can. One great measurement is your bounce rate which looks at the ratio of people who view only a single page on your website before leaving. In commerce this is the equivalent of a potential customer walking into your store, then abruptly turning around and leaving without even really looking at anything.

    From a local government perspective, I would consider a high bounce rate a serious symptom because it suggests that you’ve got someone who has the desire to interact online, but for some reason after viewing just a single page they have changed their mind (unless of course it happens they have found the exact answer they wanted to on the first page).

    If people are bouncing on their website, it’s important to try and understand why. Have they found the information they are looking for online, or perhaps are they reverting to an alternative offline channel?

    Reinventing the wheel?

    A frequent comment that I hear is that applying these techniques takes a lot of time, and a lot of effort, so instead of wheel, let’s look for an example of what other people are doing well, and just do that!

    The answer to that comes in two parts: sometimes you should, but sometimes you shouldn’t.

    The first part is the good news which comes from Jacob Nielson’s first law which says “people spend more time on other websites than yours”.

    The idea behind this principle is that when a lot of other websites have adopted some convention, for better or worse you should probably also use this convention otherwise it will just be a source of confusion. Some examples of this are having the logo on the top left of each page, and having this link to the homepage, hyperlinks should be blue and underlined, and buttons should have a visual affordance that clearly show they can be ‘pressed’.

    But there are lots of reasons why you shouldn’t just do something that other people have done too, and I believe that the most important is context.

    Common interactions in ecommerce and local government

    In abstract terms there are quite a few common interactions that occur in both ecommerce and local government, but the context that these occur in mean that a solution for one, might not always apply for the other. At a high level, some of these interactions include:

    Request a product or a service
    Exchange of money
    Give information
    Encourage participation
    Let’s look at each of these in turn

    Request a product or a service

    In ecommerce this might include ordering books, music, clothes, or purchasing tickets for travel or a movie. At the heart of it, most of the time these are all fun things that we want to do. In ecommerce this element of fun is manipulated and techniques are used to encourage people to spend more time online, and to buy more fun things (cross sell), or upgrade their purchase to maybe the next level up (up sell).

    In local government people are generally wanting to resolve or report a problem like a pot hole in the road, or a noisy neighbour, or something that they have to do as part of a larger goal (like applying for a building consent). These requests aren’t really fun, unfortunately most people probably see these as an annoyance. Unlike ecommerce we should be trying to decrease the time that people are online, allow them to focus on this one task and decrease the pain that is involved so that they can get back to living a hopefully happier life.

    Exchange of money

    In ecommerce the exchange of money confirms the acquisition of that fun stuff – it’s fulfilling a desire. But as any retailer knows, people are quick to change their mind so there are a range of techniques that decreases the effort it takes for people to actually pay. There are a number of steps that take people through, what is called in ecommerce, a conversion funnel. The easier it is to complete, the less chance that people have to change their mind.

    In local government when there is an exchange of money, unlike ecommerce most of the time it’s not an voluntary exchange, but part of some higher obligation such as paying rates, or a fine for breaking a law.

    The idea of people changing their mind might not apply for much, but we can still use some techniques that help decrease the effort to complete the transaction, and decrease the mental (but unfortunately not financial) pain that someone goes through.

    Give information

    In ecommerce there are lots of business that exist to provide information in the form of news, gossip, or games with the goal of entertaining you or providing a welcome distraction. In exchange for giving you this content they are gaining your attention which they can see as advertising.

    Techniques are used here again to increase the time you spend on the site, the number of times you return to visit the site all to increase their potential advertising revenue.

    In local government the information is more for providing information or answering a specific question such as details about a facility controlled by local government (park or museum), information about public transport, or vacancies. Unlike ecommerce, it’s not a goal here to have you spend more time on the site, or come back frequently, but instead make sure you can find what you want easily, and quickly, and hopefully decrease the time you spend on the site.

    Encourage participation

    In ecommerce various business models have developed around the value of having a network of people or an audience. When more people participate, the greater the value the site becomes. Some examples of this are community driven websites such as YouTube, and locally TradeMe.

    In local government, there are also benefits from creating communities, and the value increases if more people are active, but again the context is not always the same. While in ecommerce the involvement might be trivial (such as uploading a video, or selling some old stuff) in local government the issues might be more complex and significant to your future.

    All of these are examples of how the context of an interaction may change between the world of ecommerce and local government and that models that have shown to work in ecommerce might not always work successfully in a translation to local government, however some of the principles are the same.

    A changing environment

    In addition to different contexts, how we define our online presence or identity is also changing. Not long ago the only sort of presence that was available was representing yourself through your website. Social media is changing this as major online sites form an online platform for people to create and participate in online communities. Because of this, as well as having your website, it’s also important to think about representing your company as a virtual person in social platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and more.

    Models change

    As technology, and social norms around technology change, the expectations of technology also change. Because of this, the models that we use to engage with technology will also continue to change which is just another reason why it’s important to continue to question and re-examine the ways we use technology.

    One telling example of this is to look at how personal audio has changed over time.

    For the first 20 years Sony defined, and held the market share for personal audio. Starting with the Walkman, then the CD Discman, MD Walkman, and finally in the late 90’s the Network Walkman Sony used a successful model of personal audio being centred around the idea that music was consumed in chucks that were defined as a single album, and through media that allowed us to swap out cartridges that contained a single albums worth of music.

    For the Walkman we had cassette tapes, for the Discman we had Compact Discs, the MD Walkman consumed MiniDiscs, and finally the Network Walkman allowed us to sync an albums worth of music by connecting to our compute

    This model was never truly challenged until 2001 when Apple produced the 1st generation of the iPod. Apple’s vision was instead of swapping out an album’s worth of music, you could have your entire music collection in your pocket. It focused on making it easy to import your entire music collection, and a fast way to access it even on a small device.

    It did this not by focusing on just the physical device of the iPod, but also taking a lot of care into how music was imported on its computers, and how it was organised and synced using the iTunes software. Apple essentially created a product ecosystem with each component working together at what it was best suited for. Later it added the iTunes store into the iTunes software redefining how we purchased music (electronically instead of in store, and track-by-track instead of an album at a time).

    Doing so Apple redefined the music industry and earlier this year sold its 10 billionth track through the iTunes store and becoming the world’s largest music retailer.

    The take-home message here is that even models that have proven themselves overtime can be disrupted by new models of thinking as our expectations and attitudes changeover time.

    We are currently experiencing a technology shift that is redefining the way we interact online. I’ve already mentioned social media earlier but it’s interesting to look at how Facebook in particular has grown in the New Zealand over the last 12 months.

    In New Zealand, for many years TradeMe held the position of the website with the largest market share (defined by number of unique visitors, and excluding search engines).

    Last year in June 2009, TradeMe lost that first position ranking to Facebook, which rapidly overtook Trademe, and continues today to grow in strength as numbers of New Zealand visitors start to dwarf what TradeMe ever reached.

    It would be far to say today that for many New Zealanders, their experience of the internet would be limited to a few major websites (Facebook, YouTube) and their webmail.

    Secondly, I believe that mobile internet (which has been for many years an emerging trend) is finally establishing itself as mainstream. I’ve noticed more and more people interacting with the internet through their mobile devices, one friend who’s not used his laptop for weeks on end because he can access everything through his iPhone, and another friend how doesn’t have either a fixed landline or home internet connection, instead accessing online through her smartphone. What I find exciting is that these people who I see using mobile internet are not tech geeks or early adopters – they are everyday people not working in the tech industry who are just making use of communication tools that are finally becoming affordable to the general public.

    Finally our attitudes around privacy are becoming more relaxed. My parents have moved from people who hated the idea of me publishing family photos online to my personal site to happily having public conversations, and even showing interest (although not yet using) Twitter.

    Expectations change

    As these changes are occurring there are two broad types of people that can be defined by these changes. There are people (like ourselves) who are adapting to these changes – we’ve experienced and grown up in a world where this technology either didn’t exist or wasn’t widely available, and then there are people who are born into a world where this technology is commonplace.

    The exceptions and attitudes between these groups is enormous, and coming from the former group I can try to imagine, but never really experience what it must be like being born into, and growing up in a world with all the technology that is common place today.

    As a 10 year old child only 20 years ago in 1990, if I needed any specialised information, perhaps for a school project I needed to ask my parents to take me to the library where I could look up information in one of the volumes of encyclopaedias available, for more detailed information I might need to request a book from the National library, a 10 year old today can access millions of in-depth articles instantly from home by searching on Wikipedia. To call my grandparents I’d have to get special permission from my parents to make a toll call, as a child today I might text my grandparents, or I might call them on a flat rate plan and not even think about the cost.

    Finding spare parts for my built at home go-cart I’d search local garage sales and browse the classifieds in the trade & exchange. A child today might just as likely browse TradeMe. I grew up thinking tea was an adult drink. Now parents are probably drinking flat whites. I got my allowance in one and two dollar bills, children these days are just as likely to have an EFTPOS card.

    These 10 year olds of today will be the voters and residents of our near future and will have completely different expectations of how they interact with local government, and us, their parents will have our expectations also shaped by them.

    How to get there

    The online channel will continue to evolve, and as digital professionals in local government we will have to continue to reassess where we can make the most impact with our projects.

    Setting a roadmap of where our projects will take us in the next 1, 2, and 5 years will always be a moving target that we need to evaluate with each step, but even setting and focusing on goals that will change is better than working to no goals at all.

    To create a roadmap we need to first understand where we are moving from – or where we are today. This can be started by performing a benchmark of ourselves as an organisation, and comparing this to our competitors (or peers in the case of local government), and even organisations in parallel markets.

    Find ways to measure success, and set a vision of how success would be measured. Then create a roadmap that looks at ideas of what can be done, and how it can be done to take us one step at a time to our goal of success.
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Applying Ecommerce To Local Government

  1. 1. Applying ecommerce to local government
  2. 2. Benefits Why move from offline to online? online? 1 2 3 Reach Operate Create new more with more models of people efficiency opportunity
  3. 3. Reach more people
  4. 4. Increase efficiency $$$ Total cost $
  5. 5. Increase efficiency $$$ offline interaction Cost / $ online
  6. 6. Increase efficiency
  7. 7. Freedom of choice I want to go to Melbourne
  8. 8. Freedom of choice I want to get a valuation of my property
  9. 9. Ecommerce tradeoffs Price Self service Convenience Ease of use
  10. 10. Local govt tradeoffs Convenience Self service Ease of use
  11. 11. Channel Strategy Don’t force people online But make online attractive and easy
  12. 12. Channel Strategy
  13. 13. Channel Strategy co- service model
  14. 14. New models
  15. 15. New models
  16. 16. Who moves first?
  17. 17. What to build?
  18. 18. Pets.com Founded in 1998 $300m investment capital Liquidated in 2000
  19. 19. How it works
  20. 20. How it works Where can I get building consent information?
  21. 21. The way we think is radically different than the people we design for
  22. 22. Inside out (our natural view) language culture experience knowledge Outside in (everyone else’s view)
  23. 23. research design delivery
  24. 24. Ask (and listen)
  25. 25. Observe
  26. 26. Explore/Refine
  27. 27. Measure 35 continue online 100 arrive 65 exit and… give up? phone? visit? }Why?!
  28. 28. people spend more time on other websites than on yours
  29. 29. Interactions Request product or service Exchange of money Provide information Encourage Participation
  30. 30. Context Request product or service Ecommerce Local government Order books, music, resolve or report a or clothes. problem, apply for Book travel or tickets consent, request valuation… Fun Annoying Time on site Time on site Up sell/Cross Sell Pain
  31. 31. Context Exchange of money Ecommerce Local government Pay for stuff in Pay rates, fines, or shopping cart registration Fulfil a Fulfil an desire obligation Effort to complete Effort to complete Change of mind Pain
  32. 32. Context Provide information Ecommerce Local government News, “news”, games Parks, museums, vacancies Entertain or Answer a distract question Time on site Ease to find Repeat visits Time on site Ad revenue Pain
  33. 33. Context Encourage participation Ecommerce Local government Create content Vote, discuss Organise content Trivial Complex Participation Participation Value Democracy
  34. 34. Context
  35. 35. Models change 1979 SONY Walkman 1984 SONY Discman 1992 SONY MD Walkman 1999 SONY Network Walkman
  36. 36. Models change 2001 APPLE iPod 2010 10 billion songs sold through iTunes Store
  37. 37. Environment changes
  38. 38. Mediums change
  39. 39. Mediums change
  40. 40. Expectations change 1990 2010
  41. 41. Roadmap Benchmark where you are today Define a vision & how success would be measured Create a roadmap that shows how to deliver the vision in achievable phases
  42. 42. Thank you! you! Questions?
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