and management of electronic services would be centralized and elevated in the organization.22 See Chapter 4 for more on this issue.


In the future, the Social Security Administration will increasingly be viewed as a financial institution whose services are needed, and hence whose services will be expected to be available, on a 24/7 basis. Taking advantage of the experience of commercial financial institutions can help the SSA as it orients itself technologically and culturally toward weathering the oncoming storm of increasing workload, workforce transition, and changing public expectations. The commercial financial industry’s history of developing and marketing online services can provide the SSA with relevant experiences in the areas of adoption patterns, economic incentives, typical capabilities, Web site design, and organizational structure. Incorporating these lessons will require a strategic focus on electronic information and service delivery, metrics-guided improvement, and process transformation.

Finding: The experiences of large-scale financial institutions in transitioning to the provision of electronic services are instructive in considering the challenges faced by the SSA in formulating its medium- and long-term electronic services strategy.

Recommendation: The SSA should carefully consider the ways in which the experiences and approaches of large-scale financial institutions—including state-of-the-practice electronic information and service delivery, metrics-guided improvement, and process transformation, among other approaches and solutions—might be relevant to the kinds of services that the agency is providing or may provide in the future.


Julianne Mahler and Priscilla Regan have documented how federal agencies’ management of their Web resources has evolved over time, tending toward more-centralized control mechanisms. Many agencies have struggled with issues involving the degree of centralization in policy making and the locus of responsibility within the agency. See J. Mahler and P. Regan, “The Evolution of Web Governance in the Federal Government,” International Journal of Electronic Government Research 2(1):21-35, 2006.

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