Technology Record - Issue 32: Spring 2024

129 This is restricting health and social organisations’ ability to deliver timely and high-quality services to vulnerable citizens. “Case workers are struggling to process the volume of information they have in order to triage and prioritise cases, which is limiting how quickly they can help people,” says Kenya McKenzie-Jones, senior industry advisor for worldwide public sector at Microsoft. “A postpandemic world and the rising cost of living are intensifying the challenges people face, including mental health struggles and financial difficulties. This is further increasing demand on services.” All these challenges are compounded by a “crushing lack of human resources”, says Andy Pitman, US director for health and human services at Microsoft. “People join the health and social care sector because they want to help others, but when they’re facing such immense pressure and so many operational challenges, they become frustrated and leave,” he says. “Many organisations are struggling to fill empty roles, which further increases the burden on the remaining employees and makes it difficult to deliver helpful services in a timely manner.” Transforming with technology One of the biggest challenges is that many organisations are still using custom legacy platforms built on decades-old hardware and software that is no longer fully supported, says Pitman. “While these platforms are still somewhat functional and have been modernised in places, they are complex, siloed and expensive to maintain,” he explains. “They are also very inflexible, so they’re difficult to update when new operational processes, policies or industry regulations are introduced. Cloud-based technology is helping organisations evolve to a preventative health and social care model “A post-pandemic world and the rising cost of living are intensifying the challenges people face” KENYA McKENZIE-JONES, MICROSOFT Photo: iStock/Georgijevic PUBLIC SECTOR