John Jackson, the chief information officer at Camden Council, explains the four key areas that he focused to begin digital transformation in the authority.
The main drive behind the push for digital innovation in Camden was austerity and budget cuts as the council faced tens of millions in spending cuts.
The primary goal was the transform public services at reduced costs, but to also balance the demands of an aging population and increased demands on the services that are now needed on the move, he says.
Jackson explains that the council acknowledged quickly that digital innovation and technology was the only way to achieve such goals and to do he focused on four things to “enable big savings and change what we do in local government”.
- Joining-up our data – Previously, “the full picture of what our residents needed was scattered throughout the organisation, making us inefficient and unresponsive,” he says. So a key priority was to integrate data into a holistic approach to customers and prioritise resources better.
- Government as a platform – “As a government agency we were struggling to deliver low cost online services. Our legacy systems were inflexible and difficult to change,” it required an overhaul of the website and systems to provide one joined-up service so that residents no longer had to log in on 16 separate occasions in some cases.
- Transforming the workforce – When Jackson arrived staff were “anchored to desks” and an enormous paper trail spread around the office, but today the majority of council employees work remotely or in shared office spaces on laptops and mobile devices rather than desktops. “Visitors to Camden often think we’re a technology company as opposed to a government agency,” Jackson summarises.
- Harnessing analytics – “We weren’t an organisation that was using easy to use visualization tools to mine our data, spot trends or deliver new insights. We decided that had to change.”
“My experience has been that to transform government you need to join up your data, harness analytics, build scalable platforms and move to a mobile and digitally enabled workforce.
“And if you make digital part of what your organisation does every day, you have a great chance of succeeding!” Jackson concludes.
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