The digital transformation journey (Part Two): Collaboration

As the year draws towards its close, Digital by Default News takes a look at some of the trends and issues the public sector is likely to come across in 2017. In the second of our five part series we turn our attention to the need to join up digitally with partners and internally

When it comes to predicting 2017’s trends there are a couple of things we can be pretty certain about – budget cuts will continue and demand will increase.

Central government funding for local authorities was slashed by over 40% in the last parliament, according to the Local Government Association, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies anticipates that the spending cuts will continue until 2020 or beyond. Throw on top of that problem increasing demand for services and the sector has a real problem.

As a result, 2017 will more than likely see councils turning to technology to find ways of automating processes and delivering services more effectively – and many will look to collaboration in order to ease their digital transformation and save on development costs.

 

Effective collaboration

Joined-up thinking is, of course, nothing new. Collaboration within internal organisations and with external solutions providers is already successfully working for many public sector organisations.

For example, The London Borough of Islington has rolled out an integrated health and social care initiative that brought in-house information systems together, while Wandsworth has introduced an effective self-service online service portal for residents.

Wandsworth council’s finance spokesman Cllr Guy Senior said: “We have launched this one-stop shop because it makes it much easier for our residents to access council services online.

“This saves their time, and reduces costs for us – savings we can pass on to council tax payers. We estimate savings of nearly £23,000 just from customers viewing their council tax eBill online and so not receiving a paper bill in the post.

“Plus there are more savings because residents are ‘self-serving’ whenever they want, rather than contacting the council by phone, email or letter.”

 

Partnering

Collaboration can undoubtedly speed up digital transformation and automation – and therefore help to realise cost savings and efficiencies much faster, hopefully with fewer headaches (or at least with the pain shared). Outsourcing is much the same and councils can benefit from a sector specialist sharing the knowledge they’ve picked up developing solutions for other authorities.

“Councils might look to partner with specialists who possess digital transformation expertise or particular capabilities in order to define and implement change, or they might look to utilise Cloud technology solutions, integrating with or replacing existing legacy systems and reconfiguring their data centre requirements,” said Richard Hanrahan from Agilisys.

“Whatever councils choose to do they must ensure that service providers add value, provide insight and future proof service delivery. Platforms and technology which are designed only to meet today’s demands are simply not enough. Organisations should be planning for the next digital frontier.”

 

Tell us about your digital journey

As the year begins to draw to a close, we’re thinking about what 2017 will hold for digital transformation in the public sector, and wonder how organisations are adjusting their vision, but we need your help.

Working in partnership with Agilisys, we’re inviting organisations across the country to take part in a short survey to tell us about their vision for digital, the opportunities they see, the challenges they’ve faced, and crucially, how far they’ve come on their journey. 

Complete the survey, and as a thank you, we’ll send you an advance copy of the resulting report to be published in the new year. There’s also an opportunity to enter into a prize draw to win an iPad mini in time for Christmas. Don’t delay – the survey closes on Friday 16 December.

 

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