The Pentagon’s Chief Information Officer John Sherman officially formed a Customer Experience Officer (CXO) Portfolio Management Office within his organization to improve the delivery of IT products for defense personnel and enhance their interactions on associated digital platforms.
“This office will establish a data-driven approach, informed by network and user device performance data and continuous customer feedback, to improve the [Defense Department’s] user experience (UX),” Principal Deputy DOD CIO Leslie Beavers told DefenseScoop in an email on Tuesday.
Broadly, the office’s staff will work to “develop strategic guidance, assess DOD’s performance, and align business objectives with user needs,” she said.
Boosting customer experience across the department’s sprawling IT enterprise has become a top priority for Pentagon leadership over the last few years — including Beavers and Sherman, who first acknowledged plans to launch this new CXO office back in August 2023.
Six months prior, in Feb 2023, an investigation by the Defense Business Board revealed that user experience with DOD information technology was largely average or below average. And before that, in early 2022, defense personnel led a viral social media campaign urging top officials to “fix our computers.”
In response to questions from DefenseScoop on Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesperson said: “I can tell you this is not a direct result of the ‘fix my computer’ memo, but is a result of the Defense Business Board recommendation and the CIO leadership team’s years of experience in both the commercial and government [realms].”
The official confirmed on Wednesday that Savan Kong was tapped to lead the new CXO Portfolio Management Office, in a permanent capacity. According to his official bio, Kong previously served as a digital service expert for the Pentagon’s Defense Digital Service (DDS) organization, general manager at the tech startup Rebellion Defense, and as the first employee at the real estate giant Redfin.
On Tuesday, Beavers spotlighted some of the office’s early aims.
“Key near term initiatives include updating the Digital Modernization Strategy to better align with the Strategic Management Plan and current IT and Cybersecurity approaches, updating performance analysis programs and processes, and providing targeted programs with process improvement assistance,” she told DefenseScoop.
Updated on Jan. 24, 2024, at 11:45 AM: This story has been updated to reflect that Savan Kong was tapped to lead the new CXO Portfolio Management Office.