Currently, the VA averages 125 days to complete a disability claim. This is over four months that veterans go without much-needed benefits. Providing a streamlined web portal for filing claims could cut down the time between filing and initial review. In addition, enabling on-demand support may not directly contribute to a shorter wait time, but it will let the veterans know they haven’t been forgotten while they wait.
As with our previous example, the VA web portal would require distributed digital infrastructure to help meet veterans where they live, and direct interconnection services to move data from source to destination quickly and securely.
In addition, should the agency choose virtual agents to offer customer service to more veterans with a shorter wait time, edge infrastructure will be essential to training the AI models needed to create a human-like experience that delivers accurate results.
Passport renewal at State can go from months to days
For most Americans, their primary interaction with the Department of State is acquiring or renewing a passport. Unfortunately, this process is widely considered slow, frustrating, and overly dependent on manual paperwork. Even for an expedited passport renewal, the wait time is between 5 and 7 weeks. After citizens receive their passports, getting through international airport security checkpoints can also be frustrating.
It’s no surprise the executive order calls for the Department of State to address passport wait times with a new digitized renewal experience that does not require mailing physical documents, and offers an online payment option instead of mailing a check. Deploying distributed digital infrastructure at edge locations can provide the level of low-latency connectivity needed to move data quickly and securely from applicants to processing locations. With these capabilities in place, the Department could complete passport renewals in days instead of months.
Inter-agency collaboration between the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at airports could also help improve customer experience when it comes to using passports. In fact, the DHS has been tasked to improve its own customer experience across both domestic and international travel. To do this, the DHS must test innovative technologies that reduce wait times at airport security checkpoints, improve identity matching and communication during additional screenings, and give customers additional mechanisms to provide feedback. Again, these kinds of improvements are only possible via modernized IT infrastructure.
Start your IT modernization journey today
Platform Equinix offers a global colocation footprint, making it easy for federal agencies to stand up distributed IT infrastructure near end users. In addition, our Equinix IBX® data center locations are home to cloud on-ramps from top secure cloud providers, making it easy to establish a cloud-adjacent connection that allows access to their services on demand. Platform Equinix is also vendor-neutral, meaning agencies can pursue a hybrid multicloud approach without getting locked into a particular vendor and dealing with excessive data egress fees.
Equinix Fabric enables dedicated software-defined interconnection between ecosystem partners, helping data move where it needs to go quickly and securely. This empowers agencies to move data anywhere in the world Americans need to access it without giving up chain of custody for that data. In addition, Equinix Fabric supports direct inter-agency data transfers.
We’re only scratching the surface of what’s possible with IT modernization for federal agencies in this blog. With the right approach to digital infrastructure, agencies could successfully implement every customer experience commitment listed in the executive order.
To learn more about how Platform Equinix services can help you deploy the distributed digital infrastructure you need to serve Americans better in more places, request a consult, an IBX data center tour or a Digital Strategy Briefing.
 McKinsey & Company, “The call to rethink government customer experience.” Authors: Jesal Dalal, Marcy Jacobs, Kunal Modi, Meg Sachdev, and Sarah Tucker-Ray. July 28, 2022.
 The White House Briefing Room, “Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government.” December 13, 2021.