Farmers.gov was developed on the Salesforce cloud-based platform. This allowed the team to leverage a number of integrated customer engagement and user authentication tools to meet the unique needs of every farmer.
As an early example, before the launch of farmers.gov, the USDA’s loan process was time-consuming and cumbersome. Previously, when farmers or ranchers received federal loans from USDA, they were unable to view their loan balances or payment histories online. This meant customers had to go through a largely manual update process by phone, mail and email, causing information delays and straining the bandwidth of field office employees.
It also facilitated an agile, iterative development process where new features and capabilities could be delivered as they were developed to maximize value.
Working with GSA’s Customer Experience Center of Excellence, we identified the features and capabilities most important to farmers and loan officers alike.
We then developed a series of concepts, wireframes and prototypes that we iteratively refined with FPAC executives to best meet these needs. The initial applications were then implemented within a matter of weeks for customers to view their loan data. It provided quick, easy and real-time access to loan payment history and balance information and tax documentation, significantly improving the FPAC customer and employee experience.
To further accelerate development of farmers.gov while maintaining consistent quality, Accenture also helped USDA stand up the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) to manage a continuous backlog of features and implemented a DevSecOps pipeline to quickly prototype and test new features.
The development of farmers.gov has been a journey and a deep learning experience—for designers, developers, employees and users.
The use of HCD design in particular was critical to explore, imagine, design, develop and promote compelling digital experiences. Accenture worked closely with USDA to design services, systems and experiences around the needs, challenges and business objectives of customers, including employees, producers and stakeholders.
This human-centered approach accelerated and broadens adoption of the new processes and user interface, speeds time to value, and has led to sustainable, customer-centered transformation.
To better serve America's farmers, ranchers, and foresters, FPAC is building a dynamic, online customer-driven website—farmers.gov—that delivers the information, tools, and first-hand advice built around the needs of the people who grow our food, fiber, flora, and fuel.