Tag Archives: GEDS

Make Government easier (part 1)

The other week I had the pleasure of giving a keynote at the annual DPI conference – put on by the Association of Public Service Professionals. (I’m hoping to slidecast the presentation soon – just trying to get my hands on a recording ofthe presentation).

In the audience were something like 800 IT professionals from the Public Service – a great group of people – many of whom I’m had a great time connecting over email with this past week.

direct.srv.gc.ca_direct500_images_english_titleObviously, I spent some time talking about social networking in a government context – Facebook.gc.ca as I’ve come to refer to it. As many people know (but don’t think about in these terms) the government does offer a social networking piece of software, its called the Government Electronic Directory Service or, for short, GEDS.

As I’ve mentioned before GEDS has limited functionality, it only helps you find someone whose name, phone number or title you already know. But that can still be useful and so a ton of people – both within and outside government. However, after talking to a number of people, I’ve discovered that not one person I’ve met actually knows how to get to the GEDS website. They all have to search for it in Google to find it! Talk about making one of the best IT tools within government difficult to find/use!

Why is that?

Because the GEDS URL (or web address) is the easy to remember:

http://direct.srv.gc.ca/cgi-bin/direct500/BE

Really? Why did the people who created this IT directory simply not make everyone’s life easier and make it:

http://geds.gc.ca

Now, while I think GEDS should be replaced but something more sophisticated, I nonetheless bet that its usage would be much higher – or at least, its users would be much happier – with this little address change.

It’s a simple change – but exactly the kind of thinking that applied more broadly, could make our government run just a little more smoothly.