Ontario Digital Service publishes “Start with users. Deliver together.” action plan

The Ontario Digital Service (ODS) recently published a digital action plan, ”Start with users. Deliver together.”, to achieve its digital priorities for improving “online experiences by making services more convenient, intuitive, and easy to use”.

The ODS team aims to activate more than 60,000 Ontario Public Service employees in its digital journey, and its action plan is an exceptional example of a forward-thinking Digital Transformation (Dx) strategy for the Public Sector.

Keeping pace with the expectations of users requires a deep understanding of their needs, of customer-centered design, and of lean and agile methodologies to deliver – and a commitment to continuously improve the user experience. In addition to user research, design, and prototyping, public sector organizations like ODS will need new technology and infrastructure capabilities to rapidly deploy, and frequently update, the new public service designs. These iterative design improvements will need to be made over a complex and heterogeneous IT environment, without the constraints of long backend upgrade cycles.


What does digital transformation mean for the public sector?

Among the multiple dimensions to address, the title of the ODS action plan puts the most important element of an effective digital transformation strategy first – Start with users. The ODS team is focused on redesigning online services, and designing a high-quality experience, for people and businesses in Ontario. Meeting user expectations for digital means providing modern, intuitive, and delightful experiences.

In addition to enhanced services for constituents, the plan addresses other priorities including the need to attract and nurture digital talent, and create more adaptable infrastructure and processes. Although not explicitly covered in the ODS action plan, public and private sector organizations are increasingly recognizing the link between enhancing digital experiences for employees and improvements to employee satisfaction, retention, and performance – and likewise the quality of service provided to customers. Providing an exceptional digital employee experience for 60,000 Ontario Public Service staff will be critical to their mobilization.


Implementation is the critical digital transformation challenge to overcome

An effective approach to digital delivery starts with concentrated user research and design, and putting the user at the center of the process. However, translating a deep understanding of user needs into the best possible application designs is a challenge when faced with the limitations of enterprise systems – both in terms of front-end application development, and back-end integration.

Too often a designer’s vision is limited by the design constraints of an enterprise system which lack the necessary fidelity to deliver exceptional user experiences, and is restricted to existing workflows. Moreover, the necessary specialized knowledge to develop user experiences are scarce, and the tools available are inadequate. Compounding these front-end challenges, is the lack of robust Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to the existing systems – or the need to build custom interfaces with costly and proprietary API development platforms.

The Ontario Digital Service recognizes the prerequisite to address these challenges in its action plan. The plan highlights the need for using open, standards-based approaches to front-end application development and back-end API integration. We have covered the benefits of application development and system integration using standard web technologies before in several posts, including:

Recently we also discussed how standard interfaces across multiple enterprise systems creates systems of productivity whereby service delivery is improved by simplifying and combining tasks in entirely new workflows.


Digital Delivery Approach

Digital Delivery Process Image

Keeping pace with the needs of users requires a deep understanding of their needs, customer-centered design, lean and agile methodologies to deliver – and a commitment to continuous improvement


What are the outcomes?

As the Ontario Digital Service builds momentum on its digital transformation journey, several early wins are highlighted which demonstrate the significant potential it aims to unlock.

InFlight is fortunate to have worked with a number of innovative public sector organizations to enable their digital transformation strategy, and see many similarities in their approach with the ODS action plan.


State of California

The State of California used InFlight to modernize its eProcurement systems, delivering an intuitive and responsive experience that made it easier for companies to do business with the state.


City of Boston LogoCity of Boston

The City of Boston enhanced the experience for key HR employee services functions by transforming their HR portal with InFlight.



These organizations, and many more, are advancing their digital transformation journey by creating new IT capabilities – and by starting with users.


If you have questions about digital transformation in your organization, give us a call 1-800-853-7505 or request a demo


Schedule a demo to see how
InFlight can make public sector
digital transformation projects a
success for you.


Schedule a Demo

Copy link