ServiceConnect: Accessing Information and Services at Australia’s Largest Government Department


Employing Design research and Service at a grand scale, The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has taken significant strides towards modernising its service delivery with Service Connect; a digital platform that streamlines access to services for Australian Defence Force personnel and members of the Australian Public Service.

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  • The Australian Defence Force, with over 130,000 personnel and staff, plays a critical role in advancing the nation's interests. However, many internal services this workforce relies on are outdated, falling short of the standards of private sector or peer Government organisations. The current employee experience is tarnished by the frustration of time-intensive and error-prone efforts required for basic requests, which detract from their primary roles. The Directorates for Service Delivery aspired to create a seamless end-to-end experience so employees could access services anytime, anywhere; Empowering their people to focus on furthering Australia's interests without unnecessary distractions.

  • The customer-centred research approach was comprehensive, involving 650+ interviews across 11 customer journeys to define customer desirability before developing solutions. The research challenge was significant, given the vast and complex ecosystem of services, stakeholders, systems, processes, and policies within the organisation; approaching this involved: Remote interviews and in-person contextual enquiries with a diverse range of personnel and staff to understand customers' needs and expectations; Ideation and concept testing with customers to iterate designs; Managing the cultural shift of employing a customer-centred approach for stakeholders; Extensive engagement with stakeholders to gain a holistic understanding of the current state of service delivery.

  • The Human-Centred research approach, although culturally new to Defence, proved to be transparent and inclusive, exposing stakeholders and employees to its efficacy compared to traditional approaches. It elevated the voices of lower-ranked personnel to senior decision-makers, addressing their pain points despite their limited agency. This approach provided the evidence base for the Integrated Service Delivery Program and the ServiceConnect digital experience. With the first release in November 2022 and an enterprise-wide rollout in February 2023, up to 30% efficiency uplift is expected, resulting in improved employee satisfaction and more effective spending of tax-payer dollars.

  • The following is a list of some of the features and deliverables produced by CEC for the ServiceConnect Platform. This suite of deliverables and documents aimed to guide the delivery towards a systemically feasible solution and user-centred experience. Insights and principles: Derived from research insights, CEC developed CX Principles; as simple, easy-to-follow guidelines for designing and implementing services under ServiceConnect. Current state discovery: Qualitative research was the backbone and foundation of all decision-making and development behind ServiceConnect. CEC spoke with 650+ Defence employees over ~18 months to understand the current state and define opportunities for future state solutions. Low-mid-hi design ideation: CEC conducted 6 months of design ideation, starting with low-fidelity prototypes, and collaborated with Defence stakeholders to create sustainable and desirable solutions. Service Blueprints: In preparation for build, the team focused on documentation, compiling months of research, design and consultation into a series of design artefacts. One of these artefacts was service blueprints, which matched the future state experience – represented with concepts, designs and user stories – with feasibility considerations and factors presented by stakeholders.