Four technology innovations challenging the public sector (and what to do about them)

By Mark Hall, public sector director at Redcentric

In this new ‘digital forward’ era, the Government is focused on delivering digital public services via initiatives such as Government-as-a-Platform (GaaS). Seen as a way to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness of public services, the ‘digital first’ directive has left some IT managers tasked with how to deliver these innovations both securely and collaboratively.

It’s clear that much progress has been made in the past few years, but we still have a long way to go before the public sector is able to manage the transition from data siloes to collaboration that will deliver improved services across departments.

At this stage in the transition journey we see four clear areas of transformation that IT managers need to incorporate into their strategies if they’re to truly deliver on the digital directive.

  1. Mobility: public sector IT managers have an enormous opportunity to utilise mobility to deliver innovations in digital services. BYOD and MDM can enable the public to access services on whichever device they choose and more importantly mobility gives departments the opportunity to share data and collaborate securely. This means that IT can make better use of the information that it already holds: from placing chips into patient wristbands to monitor where they are during their stay in hospital to connecting with visitors to local council offices via apps that manage and deliver access to the desired service while on site.
  2. Data driven services: that brings me nicely on to the second driver for change – the ability and need to share data. In the past, security of data traversing networks and storage has always been a challenge for IT managers, yet the benefits of data driven services far exceed the challenges. Universities can use data mined from social media to understand the mental health and attitude of new students during their first term, centralised government services, such as tax, passport control and DVLA for example can share personal data to provide a streamlined service to users.
  3. Security: for many public sector IT managers security challenges are the main reason for not implementing the data sharing and collaboration that central government could so keenly benefit from. Ensuring that data is secure and free from harm is an expectation by the public who think nothing of sharing their data with anyone who asks. Public sector IT managers need to look to the private sector for help and inspiration. The private sector, beholden to its shareholders, has developed innovative ways to secure data inside and outside of the organisation.
  4. Transformation: more a way of thinking than a technology, transformation is about making a cultural shift. It’s about changing the way the organisation thinks in order to deliver improved services or simply making improvements to processes. This transformation is being demanded by the public who is now used to doing everything online and cannot understand why the Government is not digitally aligned. As the public sector embraces transformation, so must the services it delivers.

As the UK public sector remodels its services, it has to face up to the challenges of doing so while faced with restrictive resources. Yet the answers to many of these have already been overcome by the private sector. IT managers need to look outside of its environment to other industries, such as manufacturing or retail, to see how innovations are helping companies to stay ahead.

Want to hear more about how to handle the transition? Then join HP and myself at 12.15pm in the main conference room where we’ll be exploring the topic in more depth.