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Capita: We do not need more technology

Guest blog by Al Murray, CEO Capita Public Service as part of the Digital Transformation in the Public Sector Week. #techUKDigitalPS

It is often quoted that 80% of users will only  use 20% of the features provided by a piece of hardware or software. Whilst the origins of these statistics were born from a 1996 study into options for moving  applications from an IBM mainframe to commodity hardware and software, most of us would agree that the technology that sits on our desk, in our pocket or on our wrist is not fully utilised.  Poor user adoption and utilisation has contributed to the failure of significant technology transformation projects – which is why I think more must be done to address the ‘programming’ of the wetware in the system. 

Creating headspace for your people 

People in the public sector, despite what some of the media would have you think, are extremely hard-working and have been operating in crisis-as-usual mode for two years now. With so much to do, the public sector could recruit or outsource to lighten the load, but I don’t think this is the answer – we need digital acceleration, and soon. Most public sector organisations have, within their existing estate, an array of tools that can be used to make people’s lives easier. So, what can be done to reduce the admin a person has to do? What can we automate? What changes can be made to the way people work to reduce the mental overhead on the huge volumes of data we expect people to deal with daily? 

Start small 

Gains compound over time and allow you to show benefits to both your people and your bottom line more rapidly than longer projects. It also reduces barriers to adoption, helping users, to embrace the  learning curve of new systems. In understanding these challenges, we have partnered with The Productivity Institute to produce a practical guide on public sector productivity. One of the recommendations from the research explains the importance of reviewing your systems, identifying the biggest bottleneck, resolving it, reviewing it again and then working on the next barrier until you create a seamless flow in your delivery chain. Little by little you will see gains and, importantly, a developing mindset of continually improving your deliverables.  


Collaboration is critical. People are naturally more engaged with something they have helped to shape, so we need to spend time with the recipients of our technology and really understand what they need, how they want to use it, challenge misconceptions and provide guidance on how to get the most out of their kit. More widely, there needs to be greater co-design and collaboration between public and private sector, as well as large and small sized suppliers. One of the critical things we still need to get right is data, especially how we share it securely to enable better insights, streamlined citizen experiences and purposeful outcomes. 

Maximise what you already have 

With the cost of living rising, it is right that the public sector looks at how it can reduce its costs. So, before splashing out on the latest shiny new technology, we need to make sure that we are maximising what we already have within our techstacks – to enable productivity across our workforces. We can always leverage new technology to bridge the gaps once we’re confident that we’ve outgrown our existing systems. As creatures of habit, we’ve become accustomed to placing digital transformation and technology at the front and centre of our lives. It’s time to put the people that we serve and those that serve them back at the centre of our plans.  

Learn more about how Capita is creating better outcomes for its citizens and communities here.

To read more from #techUKDigitalPS Week, check out our landing page here.

You can also follow the campaign on techUK's Twitter and LinkedIn - #techUKDigitalPS.

Al, Capita.jpeg

Alistair Murray is an energetic, creative, visionary CxO and transformational leader, with 30+ years of experience in a range of strategic leadership roles in complex, performance-oriented organisations with an outstanding track record. He has been a seasoned consultancy partner, a board level advisor and change agent for the MOD and a senior global CIO/Transformation Director for HSBC. Recently moved to Capita to join their very exciting corporate-wide transformation, help drive growth, improve overall relationships with key Central Government accounts and help to transform Government Services with world-class Digital services. To learn more about Al, please visit his LinkedIn.

To learn more about Capita, please visit their LinkedIn and Twitter.

On Tuesday 5 April, techUK was delighted to host the Cabinet Office and industry representatives for the launch event for the UK Government’s Digital, Data and Technology Sourcing Playbook which was published on 28 March 2022. The DDaT Sourcing Playbook sets out guidance – in one place – as to how digital projects and programmes are assessed, procured and delivered in central government departments, arms-length bodies and the wider public sector. Through the application of what is commercial best practice, the Playbook addresses 11 key policies and six cross-cutting priorities that will ensure government gets things right from the start when it comes to procurement.

You can watch the recording of the launch event in full here:

DDaT Playbook Launch Event

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