Mobile solutions ‘can save councils billions’

Councils in England and Wales could save more than £3.5 billion annually between them by fully implementing mobile solutions, according to new research.

A study by supplier Bluefin Solutions estimated that if all departments adopted mobility, the 365 councils across both countries could save more than £10 million on average each per year.

Chris Smith, head of public sector at Bluefin, told that councils needed to be braver in implementing mobile technology to catch up with the private sector.

He said: “There are a number of examples where councils have recognised that they need to spend a bit upfront to make long-term savings in this area.

“The private sector has done a lot of this already, but some councils are trapped in the mindset that they have to save before they can spend, whereas it should be the other way round.”

The study broke down potential savings from mobility into different service areas.

It said:

  • Council chief executives can save £2.7 million on average per year by motivating employees to use mobile-accessed collaboration platforms
  • Heads of transformation can deliver £1.6 million from centralising services via mobile websites, reducing operating costs and improving customer satisfaction
  • Heads of customer service can save £2.7 million per year by digitalising data and making it available to staff on mobile devices
  • Heads of human resources can save £1.1 million annually by enabling employees to submit timesheets and expenses using mobile devices, freeing them up to do more productive work
  • Heads of ICT can deliver £2.2 million through Bring Your Own Device policies

Smith also backed the recent advice from Socitm to concentrate on making websites accessible on mobiles rather than building standalone apps.

He said: “In our village we were recently flooded and getting access to the council’s website was a nightmare via a tablet or smartphone.”

The research was derived from figures provided by Forrester Research, the New Zealand Police and public sector ICT body Socitm.

Colin Marrs

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