How does the government feel about digital transformation?

How does the government feel about digital transformation?
Mercato Solutions’ Cristina Ionita discusses how modern tech could change the public sector

Caspar Herzberg |

Digital transformation is not only relevant in the private sector, but also within the public sector where many practices and processes can be automated and optimised. The British Government has recently approved a budget of £80 billion to be spent on 41 major programmes, 19 of which are digital transformation initiatives valued at around £38 billion.

In many cases, the adoption of digital transformation practices suggests a change in planning, implementation and leadership to achieve better outcomes.

Saving money and enhancing services are two main concerns for public sector organisations. Digital transformation can help the government and public services become more flexible by understanding and working with data better.

The risks of not adopting digital innovation can be high. Relying heavily on legacy technology when the world of digital is expanding at the speed of light can keep you locked in costly and unproductive ways of operating.

To keep up with changing needs would be expensive and time-consuming. The opposite effect can happen when introducing entirely new platforms as a part of modern operating systems. It’s important to define key strategies to bring innovation forward while retaining common features.

Digital technologies have a major impact on government. According to Deloitte’s recent UK report ‘The ascent of digital’ the journey of digital transformation doesn’t come without its challenging moments. The study found that there are many factors that delay digital transformation in the public sector:
Simplifying the status quo
The unclear vision for digital change
Establishing the need for the project
Claiming resources
Poor strategy plan
Lack of pre-build templates
Skill gap
Risk and return on investment (ROI)
Slow-speed IT architecture
Costly projects
Difficult maintenance of new systems  
Unrealistic timeline

Rather than focusing on the new technology and trying to understand how it will work, we encourage public sector organisations to take a moment and clearly visualise what they want to achieve. Gathering all the perceived problems and challenges together helps to highlight the areas of improvement or missed opportunities where investment should be made. Think about it as a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis for digital transformation. 

Now that you have your vision, you need to consider the scale and complexity of the digital transformation initiatives. Think of the limitations you may have such as legacy systems, contracts, compliance, governance, data sensitivity, data storage and connectivity.

By harnessing the power of digital, public sector organisations can rebuild some of the most high-volume services and make them digital by default. This can include improving user experiences, adapting to a changing environment, full deployment transformations and internal process transformation. 

Here are a few examples of digital solutions for the public sector that can enhance services and modernise old systems:
Back-end transactional systems
Data architecture
e-Procurement solutions
Enterprise applications
Smart City apps
Online education portals

Successful digital transformation programs require experience, risk awareness and understanding of the long-term incremental nature of transformation. Our agile methodology and delivery anticipates the need for flexibility and applies a level of pragmatism into the delivery of the finished product. 

We start our public sector projects with a process to capture the day in the life of a domain expert. From this we gain a holistic understanding of opportunities for transformation. 

Risk is reduced when you build with KnowledgeKube for many reasons:
1. Development is cut from years to weeks
2. Applications are launched to market more successfully
3. Build a greater confidence to use the applications
4. The ROI is incredible comparing with traditional development
5. Governance and compliance are taken care of
6. All skill levels can use the tools due to their ease and accessibility 
7. You have complete ownership over your applications
8. Legacy systems are easily connected to modern systems
9. Automate slow manual processes
10. Continue to grow and expand your applications

Cristina Ionita is the digital marketing executive at Mercato Solutions

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