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Digital Transformation: A Strategy for Implementing 21st Century IDEA Act

Case Study

Digital Transformation: A Strategy for Implementing 21st Century IDEA Act

The client, an organization within a major agency that provides private sector professional services, equipment, supplies, and IT to government organizations and the military, is responsible for generating ~$15 B in revenue and oversees 10 program offices which cover the areas of Products and Services, Technology, Motor Vehicle Management, Transportation, Travel, and Procurement and Online Acquisition Tools.


The 21st Century Integrated Digital Services Act (IDEA) is the beginning of a new era in how government agencies interact with citizens and streamline their digital resources. The mandate requires all public-facing federal websites to meet specific criteria to improve the digital experience of website visitors. Under Section 3 of the 21st Century IDEA, the client is required to report their progress in implementing the website modernization requirements stated in the Act. This includes:

  • The cost and schedule of modernization and 8 IDEA requirements of websites and digital services
  • 5-year timeline of implementing the 8 IDEA requirements

The client engaged Censeo to perform a data-driven assessment of all its 100+ websites across 10 offices to ensure compliance with Section 3 of 21st Century IDEA. This will enable the client to identify modernization initiatives which are delayed and prioritize them; improving the experience of millions of customers who interact with the client’s digital services.


Using Censeo’s deep expertise in data-driven decision making and proprietary data modelling tools, a four-step approach (figure 1) was employed to derive at the conclusion.

Censeo four step approach

  1. Distributed a standardized input file to 100+ website owners to collect IDEA specific data
  2. Exported individual website data into a central database. This makes it easier for data to be re-organized, mirrored, and analyzed
  3. Developed a diagnostic tool to analyze IDEA priorities
  4. Recommended actions to achieve compliance faster.

Collection of Data

Censeo collected website data from all 100+ website owners. All website data was consolidated into a central database to develop a client specific diagnostic tool. The tool was used to develop strategic solution models and views. Uniformity and consistency of data was an important aspect of data collection since the input was coming from 100+ website owners. This task was simplified by distributing a standardized input file to all website owners to report data dimensions such as program office name, website name, current labor costs to operate and maintain, current infrastructure (domains, hosting, software, and hardware) costs, timeline to modernize 8 IDEA requirements, costs to modernize 8 IDEA requirements, and decommission year (if applicable).

Analysis of Data

The diagnostic tool was used to analyze the current state of modernization and how it aligns to the priorities of IDEA. These priorities were:

  1. Improved customer experience through compliance with 21st Century IDEA and related laws/policies
  2. Cost savings achieved because of reducing redundant, outdated, and trivial content.

Using the diagnostic tool, Censeo developed 3 strategic views to monitor cost and progress.

Graph 1: The dynamic dashboard which tracks the modernization timelines of 8 IDEA requirements using a set of upper and lower bound thresholds. This helped the organization understand the current state of IDEA and when they will be able to deliver an enhanced digital experience to its customers.

Analysis of Data

Graph 2: A cost avoidance view to show net benefits of implementing IDEA, since implementation of IDEA will result in decommissioning of redundant and duplicate websites; decreasing the annual cost of operating the website portfolio.

A cost avoidance view to show net benefits of implementing IDEA

Graph 3: A site rationalization plan to show that implementing IDEA will streamline the client’s website portfolio since implementation of IDEA will result in decommissioning of redundant and duplicate websites.

IDEA will result in decommissioning of redundant and duplicate websites

Actions Recommended

Analysis of the client’s website portfolio identified an important trend in the current state of implementation of IDEA. Using Censeo’s deep experience and the diagnostic tool created for IDEA, Censeo developed recommendations to ensure compliance is achieved sooner.

Trend: Some program offices have websites which start modernization after 2022. This increases the overall time to achieve compliance per IDEA for the organization’s website portfolio and increases the time to achieve cost avoidance.

Recommendation: The diagnostic tool helped identify program offices and websites which were stated to undergo modernization after 2022. After a thorough analysis, Censeo recommended that investments relating to the identified program offices and websites should be fast-tracked to achieve quicker compliance and cost savings results.


Censeo used data-driven insights to provide the client with an actionable path for improving the current state of implementing 21st Century IDEA. The proposed recommendations will reduce the time to achieve compliance by 40% for the overall portfolio, result in achieving cost avoidance of ~$40 M faster and improve the digital experience of its customers by 20% through rapid deployment of IDEA. Government agencies should have developed plans and budgets for fully digitizing their existing services. Agencies with multiple program offices, business lines and websites should develop a central data driven tool to track progress against the goals of 21st Century IDEA. This will allow them to:

  • Monitor yearly progress (agencies are also required to submit annual progress reports to Congress for the next five years) and identify websites which are delayed.
  • Perform a root-cause analysis to identify cause of delay.
  • Take actions to fast-track delayed websites to enable a modernized suite of digital services.

By providing a clear, feasible path forward, Censeo created a significant opportunity to improve the lives of the public by transforming how the government uses technology and their ability to deliver enhanced digital services in the public sector that match the quality of design functionality and performance of digital services found in the commercial sector.

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