Defence Australia — Transforming services for over 90,000 personnel

Research & Service Design


I was a member of a 12-person team at The Customer Experience Company (CEC) that supported Defence Australia through a large-scale, multi-year customer experience (CX) transformation program.

My role on this project was as a Journey Lead, Researcher & Service Designer. Over 12 months, I was responsible for taking three user journeys through a human-centred design methodology and working closely with product owners, stakeholders and the client's technical delivery partner throughout the process.

The Challenge

The Australian Department of Defence wanted to improve the service experience for its over 90,000 employees across Australia. Each day, employees had to navigate a complex ecosystem of manual processes, many systems and forms to access the services that they needed to do their job.

The department engaged CEC as a research and design partner over two years, to help design and implement an integrated service delivery experience, ServiceConnect, with a vision of providing access to services 'any time, anywhere'.



For each user journey explored, we conducted a mix of exploratory research, to understand which problems were worth solving, and user testing, to ensure we solved the right problems the right way.

I conducted and helped coordinate:

  • Ecosystem mapping to assess the size and complexity of each service journey, as well as the relevant actors.
  • In-depth customer interviews to understand the current customer experience, and later to test designs at each stage of iteration.
  • Stakeholder interviews and focus groups to understand the department's service ecosystem, and the experience of those who delivered the customer experience.
  • Detailed service blueprinting to capture the customer journey across all touch points and the relevant front- and back-end actors, policies, processes and systems that enable the experience.
  • Regular stakeholder showcases were also used as an opportunity to get feedback and buy-in from the program team and stakeholders.


In my role, I helped coordinate, facilitate, analyse and synthesise ~40 customer and stakeholder interviews, and contributed to 12 stakeholder showcases.


The Solution

Over the course of the project, I researched and designed 3 out of the 12 service areas explored by CEC, which would form part of the foundational and first releases of ServiceConnect.

We took an iterative approach to design, leveraging our in-depth understanding of customers, stakeholders and the ecosystem to develop low-fidelity concepts that we tested with customers and iterated. Testing at each point of iteration meant that the final, high-fidelity designs and flows we handed over were ready to build — validated against customer desirability, viability and feasibility.

We worked with the organisation, their stakeholders and their build partner to document and package each digital concept in a tailored way; this ensured the integrity of customer insight was maintained while enabling the build team to continue implementing and integrating parts of the solution.

For each of the three journeys I led, we delivered:

  • Insights into the current-state experience
  • High-fidelity screen designs and flows
  • Detailed current- and future-state service blueprints
  • Service ecosystem maps
  • Change impact and stakeholder readiness assessments
  • Baseline metrics and estimated qualitative and quantitative business benefits


The first release of ServiceConnect was successfully deployed in November 2022, with an enterprise-wide rollout from February 2023. The department expects an estimated 30% uplift in customer satisfaction, ease of use and operational efficiency as a result.

In 2023 the work was awarded two Australian Good Design Awards for the categories Service Design and Design Research in recognition for outstanding design and innovation.


I acknowledge the Cabrogal people of the Darug Nation, the traditional custodians of the land where I live and work. I pay my respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

© Nusardel Oshana 2023

I acknowledge the Cabrogal people of the Darug Nation, the traditional custodians of the land where I live and work. I pay my respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

© Nusardel Oshana 2023