Digital Transformation in Government: Key takeaways from organisations that have transformed

Written by Richard Matthews, Account Manager, Microsoft on 25 October 2016 in [node:field_sponsored_article_type]

Microsoft looks at three focus areas of organisations that have successfully implemented digital transformation strategies

Today, every citizen is in the midst of a digital transformation, either at home or in a work environment. The speed at which technology is altering our day-to-day lives is incredible. The advancements in cloud services, the effective use of big data, the application of cognitive services, and the democratization of mobile computing are dramatically improving the standard of living for citizens around the globe.

Across the public sector this transformation is also taking place. Organisations from the NHS to local councils to central government departments are introducing significant digital reforms to help improve service delivery and citizen engagement.

In Whitehall, for example, the Cabinet Office has introduced several digital transformation initiatives as part of its wide ranging reform programme. With the introduction of the Government Digital Service in 2011, digital transformation has accelerated and the drive to be digital by default has resulted in widespread changes in the technology and digital infrastructure across government.

Much of the work GDS has done over the years – most recently introducing programmes such as GOV.UK Verify and GOV.UK Notify to simplify the way citizens can access online services and streamlining government registers – has helped the government radically improve the way it interacts with citizens. However, there is still a way to go and citizens now expect government products and services to be as adaptive and straightforward as those they experience from commercial service providers.

But as a UK Central government organization, how do you make the leap from where you are today to build a digital service that embraces the power of data at the heart of what your priorities and responsibilities are?

We take a look at three key areas that organisations who have successfully built a digital service focussed on to see how others can transform.

1. Ensuring Accessibility to Meet the Citizens Needs

According to recent data on internet access for households and individuals, in 2016 82% of adults in Great Britain have used the internet daily or almost daily in Great Britain. Of these 82%, the Office for National Statistics show that 70% of these adults accessed the internet ‘on the go’ using a mobile or smart device. One of the significant cornerstones of an effective digital service, therefore, is accessibility. Services must be available to citizens wherever, and whenever, they need them.

This is what NHS Blood & Transplant (NHSBT) found when looking at ways to encourage more people to donate blood. Each year, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) needs 1.6 million units of blood to meet the needs of patients across England. This requires 200,000 new donors each year.

As a way to boost the number of donors, NHSBT sought to make signing up to donate and the donation process as easy as possible. To do this they harnessed Azure to develop an Online Booking Service, with an app for mobile devices that accelerates the donor registration process from around a month under the previous system to a matter of hours.

By introducing a mobile app, NHSBT has been able to appeal to a younger demographic which has increased donor numbers substantially, whilst significantly cutting infrastructure costs for the organisation.

To find out more about how NHS Blood and Transplant did this, click here.

2. Enabling information & data to be shared in a secure and reliable manner

Today, governments across the globe are amassing larger amounts of data than ever before. And with greater emphasis on data sharing, evidence-based policy and smarter, more citizen-centric services, the key is ensuring that data can be easily shared between government organisations and, where appropriate, is easily accessible for citizens.

Being able to share and make data available is key for Kent County Council, whose residents have a broad set of service needs in everything from help with small business growth to managing a growing senior population.

To ensure citizens are able to access the information they need, Kent looked at digital technology as a way not just to improve how they delivered services, but as a way to completely reimagine how they served their entire population. For example, with Microsoft’s health platform, residents can control and monitor their own health record with their mobile phones and are able to share that data with their carer network in a secure, reliable and cost-effective way.

To find out more about how Kent County Council transformed their services, click here.

3. Digital channels that enable effective communication & increase citizen engagement

Effective communication and increased citizen engagement plays a key role in finding new ways to innovate and deliver new services. With greater participation and feedback from those using services, the government can create more valuable and customised outputs for citizens.

This is what the Met Office found when looking for ways to engage those who used their service. The Met Office wanted to reinvent its Weather Observations Website to encourage academics, enthusiasts, and students around the world to participate in a public online weather community.

By building an Internet of Things solution on Microsoft Azure, the Met Office can double the nearly 9,000 remote sensors across the UK, New Zealand, and Australia—including, for the first time, mobile sensors—that it uses to collect and analyze data for tracking weather conditions and improving weather forecasts.

To find out more about how the Met Office is engaging citizens, click here.

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