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September 15, 2015

Tech leaders call for public sector to end data blindness

Public sector needs a culture change to achieve savings.

By James Nunns

Senior technology leaders are warning that unless the public sector overhauls the way it works, it will fail to deliver both the savings that are demanded of it and to make the ‘One Nation’ vision a reality.

The creation of data is continuously increasing as systems are plugged into more and more devices and social networks. This creates the challenge of trying to make sense of the data and to get deliver actual benefits to the end user.

Steve Shakespeare, Managing Director, Civica Services, said: "To date, public services have been data rich but information poor. With £30 billion 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."

For data insight and analytics, the public sector has made extremely slow progress in business transformation journey in the past ten years.

John Hood, CTO, 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."

Pressure on public sector organisations to improve user experience is pushing them towards self-serve. This means that consumers would be able to access when, where and how they want.

With this in mind, the tech leaders have urged their public sector counterparts not to overlook wearables. This would help to identify a problem before it develops further and allow for preventative action.

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However, according to research from Civica, only 9% of local government heads of service and IT directors believe that wearables for supporting integrated patient care will be commonplace in five years’ time.

Richard Jones, Senior Partner at Moorhouse Consulting, said: "We need to improve the user experience; that’s what people really care about. The provision of services need to flex how, when and what the consumer wants – exactly as is expected in other service industries."

In order to drive change in public service delivery, they must think differently. The report called for budgets to be released, a more joined-up approach to procurement and a focus shift to become more customer-centric.

Shakespeare, said: "We can’t underestimate the importance of getting under the skin of consumers. In this digital era, consumers of all ages have become accustomed to a certain style and level of instant service, making them impatient and demanding for organisations on the back foot.

"Technology has a critical role to play in reimagining public service delivery and enduring the cross-fertilisation of new ideas between public and private sector organisations."

A concurrent shift in culture is required. However, the change needs to be lead by CIO’s with a strategic vision that is bold and goes beyond the parameters of tech-based transformation.

Jonathan Mitchell, 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."

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