13 Sep 2023

Canon: Digital transformation: the public sector journey to success #techUKSmarterState

Guest blog by David Crichton, Sector Director – Local Government, and Ginevra Pedrotti, Business Development Manager, at Canon, as part of Building the Smarter State week. #techUKSmarterState

While previous attempts at digital transformation have had mixed success rates, the UK Government has now set out a roadmap for digital and data. Part of this mission is to create ‘a system that unlocks digital transformation’ (known as Mission Six), by addressing systemic barriers and ensuring that all departments meet agile working standards as outlined in the new Digital, Data and Technology Functional Standard.

Due to legacy IT systems, the Government and other public sector organisations have historically been cautious in terms of digital transformation which has had an effect on time and resources, even with the potential to achieve desired cost savings, efficiency, sustainability and security goals.

We’ve seen the Government’s commitment to addressing this, delivering significant financial investment to allow outdated and inefficient legacy systems to be replaced to keep up with the digital age. It is urging public sector organisations to move towards a more sustainable document management approach to create a seamless work experience; provide citizens with improved digital services and reduce overall printing and mail costs.

By establishing a partnership rather than a mere transactional relationship with suppliers, Canon has helped many public sector organisations achieve a digital transformation system that is better suited to their needs, as exemplified by our work with Norfolk County Council (NCC).

Canon supported Norfolk County Council during the pandemic when action was needed to create new ways of working, including a rise in home working. Many of the existing processes were reliant on hard copies and in-office working.

Norfolk County Council invested in Canon solutions to improve its services and meet new demand for digital working practices. This included the installation of new Canon devices and cloud solutions, plus a new digital transformation services facility in Scottow. Powered by an array of Canon hardware and software solutions, the facility allows the Council to provide a scalable physical and digital presence to help them and their partners access a wide range of digital services.

The Council also procured several smaller Canon multi-function devices to enable it to establish pop-up offices and give hospital registrars the opportunity to go where they were most needed, whether they were working from a hospital one week or a library the next. Inbound and outbound mail services were also introduced to better support staff, allowing for more efficient workflows that went far beyond printer access.

In total, 60 new multi-function devices were added to 47 libraries in Norfolk, where Canon helped to facilitate a better system for public users to securely print, copy and scan with the added benefit of allowing libraries to charge for the service.

Norfolk County Council has now moved its printing services to the cloud with uniFLOW Online – an integrated software solution to manage all its printing and scanning workflows and devices. This provides advanced connectivity with Microsoft Office 365 and the ability to print at any time and from any place. It also deployed a number of wide format printers with production scanning capabilities, alongside Canon’s IRISPowerscan solution, which allow it to access data at ease and send a scanned copy of the requested file electronically.

Kurt Frary, Head of Information Technology & Chief Technology Officer, Norfolk County Council comments: "Canon is helping us to only buy what we need. We previously had to build huge systems which became obsolete and needed to be replaced every few years. We now expect that we will iterate our product suite with continual upgrades at least every six months. The flexibility and potential of the solutions Canon has provided is hugely exciting for the way we work."

We have a wealth of experience in supporting the public sector to unlock digital transformation and remove barriers to agile working. While the pandemic forced Norfolk County Council to take action, it’s clear from the results of the partnership just how much value our products and services have unlocked. From greater efficiency and security, to helping it meet cost reduction goals. Supporting its broader digital transformation journey has allowed the Council to better meet the needs of its employees and wider community.

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David Crichton is Sector Director for Local Government at Canon.

Ginevra Pedrotti is Business Development Manager at Canon.

Find out more about Canon's work with Norfolk County Council here.

From 11 – 15 September techUK is running our annual Building the Smarter State Week in the run-up to the ninth edition of our flagship public services conference, Building the Smarter State, on Wednesday 27 September. Book your tickets here.