The Record - Issue 20: Spring 2021

112 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om T he public sector, historically very reliant on legacy IT infrastructures and paper-based, manual processes, is in the midst of a tech- nological revolution. Julia Glidden, corporate vice president of worldwide public sector at Microsoft, says that coronavirus has accelerated its pace. “The pandemic served as an unprecedented cat- alyst for changing the way governments operate, particularly as public sector leaders recognised that the risk of doing nothing far outweighed the risk of rapid digital transformation,” she says. “As a result, the rollout of remote work capabilities allowed public servants to continue to securely do their jobs from anywhere.” Microsoft technologies facilitated essential col- laboration between public sector workers as the crisis unfolded. “The pandemic severely impacted continuity of operations for public and private sectors around the world and required government workforces to shift to a remote posture overnight,” says Glidden. “Collaborative tools such as Teams and file-sharing, our investments in cybersecurity, and data platforms to inform the allocation and distribution of supplies have all been critical to ensuring governments could continue to meet the needs of their people. “Our Modern Workplace offerings have helped public safety and justice organisations world- wide to maintain their operational capabilities. They have empowered court systems to meet judicial timelines for civil and criminal cases. They have also supported emergency call centres by allowing highly trained staff to work remotely and help people in need.” Many administrations completely revolution- ised their processes. “In 2020, the Canadian gov- ernment transitioned roughly 250,000 federal public servants to remote work, enabling them to continue to deliver critical citizen services during a turbulent time,” says Glidden. “And in the Philippines, the Supreme Court enabled vir- tual hearings via Microsoft 365, which enabled it to continue to serve justice.” While technology enabled traditionally office- based staff to move to home-working, Microsoft research revealed that this shift caused almost 60 per cent of workers to feel less connected to their teams. “One of our major areas of focus is to leverage digital tools to create a better and more BY E L LY YAT E S - ROB E R T S Technology is enabling public sector organisations to pivot from process-led to citizen-centric service provision. Microsoft’s Julia Glidden shares how the firm’s products and partnerships have driven this change during a global crisis Embracing F E ATUR E change