Digital Transformation: do the benefits outweigh the headaches for public sector organisations?

Public services within the UK are facing constant increases in demand combined with further cuts meaning they need to be more efficient with the resources they have. The advancement of technology has improved processes in much of the private sector, however for public sector organisations adoption has been tough. Outdated IT systems, budgetary issues and lack of technical skills in the workforce have made the digital transformation journey a turbulent one begging the question, do the benefits outweigh the headaches for public sector organisations?

At the start of May, eShare attended and sponsored Digital Transformation: Delivering the vision for agile, flexible and secure public services, which was hosted at the American Square Conference Centre, London. The conference gave stage to some first class speakers who were sharing their experience of digital transformation within their organisation and some of the challenges they have faced.

The conference itself was a fantastic event, offering the chance for those attending to learn from each other and discuss what their processes are currently, both digital and manual. This was valuable as it was evident from the conversations at the eShare stand that there is a huge variety of experiences, of which many were struggling to make the final hurdles towards transforming digitally. They found themselves using multiple, incompatible solutions, which in the grand scheme was actually hampering their digital transformation journey. Due to this, they found themselves looking for solutions to make that final connection and put everything in one place rather than using the disjointed digital landscape they had created.

It was clear from attending the conference that the breadth of problems organisations are facing is sizeable. Some are finding budget, training and stubbornness to change a problem while one organisation mentioned they have built a bespoke scheduling solution but are questioning whether it is even going to be useful. This further highlights the need to think about the actual requirements you need from technology as well as external factors such as consumers/citizens when considering updating your processes.

One particularly interesting talk came from John Rogers, Head of Systems from Wiltshire Council, who spoke about how dysfunctional their processes had been for constituents in the area. Examples included green waste collection, council tax payments and planning permits where constituents were completing some parts digitally and some paper when it was all part of the same process. The talk followed on to discuss how the council have been transforming digitally within the organisation to reduce the complexities of the processes using digital tools.

In 2015, a research user group by Deloitte looked into digital government transformation and it found that 84% say digital technologies and capabilities enable employees at their organisation to work better with customers/citizens. This helps support the work that Wiltshire Council, among others, have been doing to further their development digitally and drive efficiencies within the organisation. In the same study, the top objective of digital strategy was to increase efficiency, with 89% of the participants agreeing with this, further supporting the need for greater developments in this area.

The research group clearly shows the potential positive impact that digital transformation can have, however, it was found that only 25% of employees had the sufficient skills to execute the organisation’s digital strategy and only 27% of companies of were providing opportunities and resources to obtain the right skills. This seems to be a continuing issue as some attendees mentioned they were becoming increasingly frustrated with how slow organisations were implementing new systems, whilst others said generally the uptake of digital tools had been quite positive. Mixed reports such as these show how digital transformation continues to create headaches for many organisations in the public sector.

Another theme regularly touched upon was collaboration and that for organisations within the public sector, this was key approach moving forward. This is something that eShare’s Business Development Manager, David Richardson, reiterated in his presentation as he discussed how to leverage digital transformation within the top level of the organisation to improve governance. His presentation used case studies to show the experiences of some of eShare’s clients who have digitised their board-level activities and decision-making processes using our board portal solution, BoardPacks. He discussed how collaboration at the top level not only reduces risk but increases transparency and accountability, also paving the way for easier adoption of technology across the entire organisation.

eShare are proud to offer a solution that continues to further the development of digital transformation in the public sector by offering a secure platform to collaborate on where key decisions can be made using the right information available at the right time. The conference was a great opportunity to discuss with those who came to the stand how using a solution such as BoardPacks is an easy way to set the wheels in motion when digitally transforming their organisation. David Richardson further supported this when asked about the conference and how BoardPacks could be useful for public service organisations: “It was great to catch up with delegates after the presentation and back at the eShare stand to hear their experiences of digital transformation.
As the Board is responsible for creating the culture within an organisation, we believe the adoption of board portal technologies such as BoardPacks at the top of the organisation is the best way to generate improvements in this area.”

If you would like more information on how eShare can support your digital transformation journey then please get in touch.

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