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E-Government Strategic Plan

businesses, other governments, and employees. Appendix E provides an overview of departmental services by customer type. DOL's categorization of its customers has provided the basis for further analysis and segmentation to target and improve customer service. Analysis is based on customers and services, not on the agencies that provide the services; it, therefore, helps integrate DOL's efforts into the broader Federal approaches to customer identification and service improvement.

IMPROVING CUSTOMER VALUE

The set of activities an organization performs to create and distribute its goods and services-including direct activities, such as procurement and production, and indirect activities, such as human resources and finance-is known as the "value chain." In the private sector, companies achieve competitive advantage by linking the activities in the value chain less expensively or more expertly than do competitors. In the public sector, the concept of the value chain is most often applied to improving customer service.

With the advent of the Internet, the concept of the value chain is coming to be superseded by that of the value network. For example, the focus on G2C (Government to Citizen) services in today's customer-driven value chain is evolving into a focus on C2B2G2B2C (Citizen to Business to Government to Business to Citizen) in the new value network. To best serve the Department's customers today, DOL needs to redefine its relationships with other agencies, businesses, and suppliers to add the greatest possible value-from the customer's perspective. In this way, DOL becomes not just a service provider but also a participant in value creation for the customer. The key to value creation is working with customers to understand their requirements, then networking with other transaction partners to deliver superior service. Figure 5 provides an overview of the value creation process.

Figure 5. DOL Value Creation Process

DOL Value Creation Process

As shown in Figure 5, there are four basic steps in the value creation process: (1) understanding customer requirements, (2) exploring areas for improvement, (3) defining possible solutions, and (4) prioritizing opportunities. This process demands that the Department, its customers, and other organizations serving the same customers work together to identify service requirements and

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