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Financial Innovation & Transformation

Turning Your Customers' Pains into Business Gains

No pain, no gain.

As customers continue demanding an easier, more digital experience, Federal agencies are doing their best to keep pace, but often fall short. The Federal government is riddled with manual business processes, which drive up costs and cause inconvenience to the people we are supposed to be helping.

In FIT, we've adopted the philosophy that customer pain is an opportunity for improvement, not a hindrance to be managed. Identifying pain points and understanding their cause is a sure way to identify inefficient processes, policy relics, and things that simply don't serve our customers well.

Transforming pains into gains

Over a six month period, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service built a framework aimed at helping federal agencies digitally transform their business processes to meet the changing customer needs. The Digital End-to-End Efficiency (DEEE) framework allows agencies to independently assess and improve their processes by providing them with the methods and tools to identify pain points and determine the right solutions to mitigate or eliminate them. Rather than picking one solution or technology, this framework will help agencies discern the best tools or techniques to streamline and modernize their processes.

What sets DEEE apart is that it evaluates the customer experience alongside the business process, gaining more insights and a deeper understanding of the customer and employee needs, and leading to identifying areas that present the greatest opportunities for improvement.

DEEE applies human centered design techniques to develop a complete understanding of the process, it's pain points, and opportunities for improvement.

This new approach is paying off--literally. We recently applied the DEEE framework against the billing and travel processes, and we identified significant cost savings potential!

If you are someone who is struggling with your internal business processes and need ideas for turning pains into significant gains, here are three lessons for you:

  1. Look for the biggest pains: Pain points are problems experienced by a customer or employee and linked to an inefficiency in a process. Pain points can be diverse and varied, so it's important to focus on the ones that are commonly experienced throughout and represent the greatest opportunity for efficiency gains. Pain points that touch many categories like the ones identified below, are likely to drive the most savings.

    One opportunity we found repeatedly when analyzing the billing process was a manual data exchange between systems which was also high volume, and represented an inefficient handoff resulting in data quality issues (crossing 4 categories).
  2. Optimize First: Once you identify pain points and start matching them with solutions, consider low-to-no cost solutions before pursuing new or more advanced technologies, which can bring higher cost and risk of adoption. Low-to-no cost solutions in the billing and travel processes included changing policy, improving training, and creating jobs aids before pursuing a new technology. Below is an illustration of DEEE's three pain point solution categories.
  3. Focus on Scale: As potential solutions are evaluated, it is also important to consider the opportunities and solutions that scale and drive savings (for example, repetitive manual activities performed by many people). Another savings opportunity was to look at the manual exchange of data between people or systems. Looking for these pain points (for example, manual intervention across many business processes) can easily lead to solutions.

We hope this overview gives you a better understanding for how the DEEE framework can help start your digital transformation. By evaluating established business processes while identifying customer pain points, we believe you will be able to accelerate your transformation through better prioritization and solutioning. Although many pain points are similar, there is no one-size-fits all solution to solving them. You know your business and customers best, so dive into the DEEE framework and start transforming your processes into one that delivers the best experience to your customers and you!

This is a blog series, so be sure to check back for upcoming blogs. The blogs will include insights to the DEEE framework and help agencies get started on selecting processes to get the most value, analyzing processes to identify pain points and opportunities; and identifying potential solutions that balance value and cost to prioritize improvements.

If you are ready to start your transformation journey, visit the DEEE page and download our playbook now!

For questions, e-mail us at

Last modified 05/18/21