Public sector ‘needs to up its game’ on digital transformation

Public sector organisations are only 20% through the journey of ICT-enabled transformation according to a leading supplier.

A report by Civica says that unless government organisations overhaul the way they work, they will fail to deliver savings required by the Conservative government.

The call comes after prime minister David Cameron announced on Friday that he wants to create a “smarter state” to meet efficiency cuts.

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John Hood, chief technology officer at Civica, said: “From a data insight and analytics perspective the last ten years have seen public sector organisations progress only 20% of the way through the business transformation journey, with the remaining 80% to be delivered over the next ten years. For innovation to happen we need to step out of this era of data blindness.”

Civica said that the public sector needs to increase its “data IQ”, develop a self-service and social nation and commit to outcome-based intervention driven by an overall cultural shift.

Councils and other government organisations need to move away from their current reliance on multiple systems to collect data towards a “whole area approach” to identify and avoid overlap between organisations, draw out insights and create predictive services, Civica said.

Steve Shakespeare, managing director at Civica Services, said: “To date, public services have been data rich but information poor.

“With £30bn in savings yet to be found, data insight is pivotal to enabling public service organisations to act smarter, identify opportunities for greater efficiency and deliver services at the point of need.”

Public sector staff should not overlook the potential for wearable technology to help identify problems before they arise and allow preventive action to be taken, according to the report.

Civica said its research has found that only 9% of local government heads of service and ICT directors believe wearables for supporting integrated patient care will be commonplace in five years’ time.

Changes must be led by chief information officers with a “bold, strategic vision which goes beyond the parameters of technology-based transformation”, Civica said.

Jonathan Mitchell of recruitment firm Harvey Nash said: “The CIO is crucial to any IT-based transformation project. In reality, it’s never about technology; it’s all about change management and being willing to bite the bullet.”

Colin Marrs

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