By Graham Adamson and Alan Anderson
You cannot connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards.
Successful digital delivery across and between central government departments is a journey of learning then acting upon past challenges to successfully fulfil digital programmes, fit for the future.
Did you know the government plans to invest between £13 billion to £22 billion maintaining outdated technology until 2026?
This is according to a Digital Economy Council report, “Organising for Digital Delivery.”
So what are the key deliverables every public sector CIO must have on their Digital Roadmap as they switch on their laptops in the morning?
Developing your digital platforms and services
We all know the many challenges of creaking, aging digital platforms and processes. It’s no secret that public sector departments need to upgrade and maximise their use of ICT technology, implementations and digital infrastructures. Therefore, developing your digital platforms and services is vital.
As a public sector CIO, digital transformation is much more than rejuvenating your ailing IT infrastructure – a more pressing concern is maximising the use of innovative technology, for example cloud serverless.
How do you make digital platforms and processes work together more efficiently?
- Does your organisation even have a Digital Roadmap? Roadmaps provide direction and structure, allowing for a strategic view of investment to support business users
- Don’t build on sand: identify key technologies such as serverless computing or platforms to invest in, ensuring the foundations are there in the first place
- Single out Digital Services that add most value to your government or civil service organisation
- Select and prioritise platforms such as Intelligence Data Analytics, Integration with Microsoft 365 (M365) and Azure to drive operational performance gains, especially to achieve Smarter Workplaces
- Establish a service-based, not just a technology-based digital methodology
Co-operate to accumulate in digital delivery
The “joining the dots” analogy resonates in maximising people, processes and technologies, both inside government departments and those that are interdepartmental. Such an approach is imperative across key public sector bodies – for example the police and justice sectors where digital innovation and succession planning are key. This is why you must co-operate to accumulate in digital delivery.
So how can CIOs improve their engagement and co-dependency between their stakeholders and processes?
Across the entire policing and justice sectors, the challenge is to plan ahead and accelerate your digital capability between every department and their function throughout the entire process.
That process, in practice, may include the moment a criminal is apprehended by the police, a case is created or sent to the Crown Prosecution Service or Procurator Fiscal. Information is passed to the courts then legal teams where the accused, if convicted, is either processed into the prison service or released into the probation service.
Procuring and maximising suitable technology and processes to enable swift, seamless and sharing of organised and secure data is paramount. And this must encompass the storage of and access to data and information across every step of the judicial process. Judicial public bodies must be interoperable with each other.
Departments may already use powerful tech such as M365 that harnesses foundational and advanced features e.g. Information Management and Power Platform. The goal is firstly to get them to work to their functional best, and secondly for them to integrate across different and disparate public sector bodies.
But, as a CIO, ask yourself this: do you realise the full potential of your business applications and the benefits of such powerful platforms? And do you have all the digital skills at your disposal to maximise the use of these platforms to drive digital delivery and interoperability?
Kick digital skills shortages into touch
The Crown Commercial Service offers top tips for you as a CIO to help address key skills gaps within your public sector department.
Likewise, a Digital Skills Gap’ survey revealed by Open Access Government estimates a UK workforce of eight million digitally skilled individuals are required to deliver £240 billion potential economic benefits between now and 2026.
Of course, digital skills gaps extend across many disciplines: data, cyber and cloud to name just a few are key areas demanding skilled professionals.
But it’s not just technology skills shortages: Key skills are required across entire digital functions: including client management, communication, digital delivery, agile, project management, marketing and sales.
Conclusion – connect all the Digital Roadmap dots together
Ultimately, making structured investment in digital platforms and services, unifying departments and suppliers plus finding the best talent is instrumental to deliver real change within and across public sector bodies.
Greater synergy between all three is vital for your Digital Roadmap to achieve a holistic, joined up public service, more efficiently, effectively and innovatively.
It must be fit for the future.
Only then might you be able to reverse the prophesy:
Connect the Digital Roadmap dots together. Forwards, not backwards.Back to all insights