Making change stick has always been the biggest challenge for the Public Sector in the UK. The very nature of the organisation size, the vast array of services they provide and the people they serve, all create a perfect storm.
We have worked with the UK's Public Sector for nearly 20 years now, and in many ways it's the technology companies that are partly to blame. Not through any conscious decision but rather through the nature of the commercial organisations they are, the products they supply and the market they look to serve.
As I see it the root of the issue with truly sustainable and scalable change within public sector organisations – whether LA or NHS – is within their very structure. As organisations they have developed in business unit silos, and the companies that provide for them have then focussed on the core silos they address. Obviously, some companies will look at multiple silos but are still pitching separate products in to each. Often the tech providers are as disjointed across units as their clients. Effectively both sides are a set of jigsaw pieces that don’t quite join up.
This is a fundamental issue, as the services to be delivered and the processes that affect them are not based solely within these silos. Indeed, from the citizens perspective it should not matter how their service is arranged or organised, only that is it timely, proportionate and effective.
In order to address these issues a lot of money has been spent over the years on ‘Transformation’. A lot of well-meaning people and companies have advised on how public organisations need to reshape or implement new technologies to address the inherent inefficiencies; and whilst this approach is logically correct, it ultimately fails in reach, or longevity, or is too expensive. Why? Well, because of all the issues that need addressing in the first place. There is little capacity within business functions to implement change, and when it is put in place, it fails to remove the internal boundaries sufficiently. Organisational change generally doesn’t stick… we’ve seen it hundreds of times as functions are centralised, then decentralised on an almost annual basis to try and find the perfect structure and to squeeze out further efficiencies. The end result is too often reduced resources, demotivated staff, fractured process and little or no sustainable change.
So what *is* the answer then?
Transformation within the Public Sector can only be made effective and sustainable by addressing two core issues; releasing people's time and allowing effective operation across organisational silos. If these are in place, further change can be implemented and sustained.
And the truth is that technology plays a critical role in this. Not traditional business specific applications, but rather technology that enables – people, processes and systems. Technology that maximises investment in current software rather than replacing it, that works across organisation boundaries, effectively removing them. Technology that is agnostic and readily applicable to any organisation, any process, any existing application. Technology that is scalable, frictionless, and delivered as SaaS.
Most importantly, technology that releases people to do what they do best… their jobs!
The 4th industrial revolution is here already. It is now time for the Public Sector to embrace the wave of new technology to help transformation stick, not just to address austerity, but to enable better and more effectiveness services to citizens.
Interested in finding out more? Download our Ebook, Unleashing the value of IA in the Public Sector here
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Richard Boddington, Senior Client Manager