The digital transformation journey (Part Four): Reshaping services with technology and data

Part four of our look at some of the trends and issues for the sector in 2017 focuses on reshaping services through technology and data

Advances in a range of technologies and approaches have already prompted a number of public sector organisations to radically reshape the ways they work in order to reduce costs and provide a more streamlined and transparent service for users. In 2017, as further budget cuts bite and technology continues to develop, this is a trend that’s expected to gather further momentum.

Mobile, social, cloud, analytics, the Business of IT; these macro forces are behind many of the digital technologies that are fuelling innovation today. Rooted in these forces, technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, the Cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT), industrialised analytics, and autonomic platforms have the power to potentially reshape and transform every corner of the public sector.

IoT is an interesting one. From ‘smart cities’ to social care, the public sector is capitalising on the ever-expanding universe of connected things, but the real potential is unlocked when data is actionable and new approaches to data management and mission delivery models are considered.

Only last week the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced how smart IoT technology is going to be used in 2017 to reduce congestion on the capital’s roads, while councils are already using smart sensors on roads to collect data that can then be used to improve traffic flows. Such is the potential of IoT that researchers said earlier this year that sensors could cut millions from road-gritting costs and help local authorities be ready for the darker days ahead.

Elsewhere, an existing scheme within Newcastle City Council’s social care unit has already resulted in better support for families by matching them through data analysis with social workers who are specialised in dealing with their needs. It’s this sort of intelligent use of data that will effectively lead to reshaped services.

Looking beyond IoT, it’s expected that Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will become more mainstream in 2017.

They are no longer science fiction. The technology is here, and its benefit to the public sector has tremendous potential to reshape organisational processes, improve communication, reshape training and redefine the role of field service workers through immersion or adding context to the environment. The military, law enforcement, and national security agencies have been early adopters, using AR and VR to replace expensive field exercises, and to assist with threat identification.

All of this means that decades-old legacy and ERP systems will need to be changed – possibly to cloud-based or hybrid systems that are agile and flexible – a trend that will continue in 2017.

In addition, sensors, connected devices, mobility and virtual reality will continue to change organisations. This means CIOs will face even greater pressures to maintain core systems while also investing in emerging digital technologies. It also means, whatever the digital tools and infrastructure that are used, there’s no getting away from the need for effective collection and analysis of data, which will underpin any digital transformation.

All-in-all, 2017 promises to be an interesting journey as digital continues to reshape public services.


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 is 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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