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Exception: Making ICT work harder and smarter for resilient public services #techUKSmarterState

This week (26-30 September) the techUK Central Government Programme is running its Building Smarter State Week in the run-up to the eighth edition of our flagship public services conference, Building the Smarter State, which will take place at The Royal Society on Thursday 29 September. All week we'll be featuring guest blogs from members on topics supportive the agenda.

Read the latest blog below:

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things. A simple mantra perhaps – yet Public Services must get the fundamentals right first to fulfil their vision of a Smarter State. Digital technologies, cyber security and services are playing an ever-greater role in unlocking the next wave of transformation to achieve resilient public services. 

And public services are making progress in this area. An example is in the Police Digital Service (PDS) which is delivering capabilities for smarter, digitally-enhanced policing. One of its core objectives is using data and technology to support decision making and strengthen operations, while producing value for money to better safeguard the public.  

But how can police forces achieve a smarter, more digitally enhanced public service by 2030? And how can digital leaders maximise the deployment and use of their Information and Communications (ICT) technology? 

Managing demand from digital platforms, professionals and resource 

One of the greatest challenges facing public sector bodies is managing the demand from their digital platforms, professionals and resource. Increasingly, they have more government requests for their technologies to deliver more efficient and citizen-centric services to sustain a smarter state. However, the challenge is achieving the best digital capability, skills, knowledge and expertise to work both harder and smarter. 

Establishing sustainable, strategic Business Services 

To navigate the road to a Smarter State, public digital services must establish and maintain sustainable and strategic Business Services. Critically, the route to get there is not just about deploying technology and ICT infrastructure – but more about the active engagement and co-dependency of stakeholders and processes. 

How can CIOs plan and roadmap business services, essential to strategic intent? And then invest in solutions such as development and training? One way is to build strategic integration and interoperability within and across public business boundaries and share data for core operations. For police forces, such an approach must be incumbent on them and in tandem with other emergency and local authority services. 

Maximising the best technologies for public service delivery 

Public services might already use powerful platforms, such as M365 that harness foundational and advanced features e.g. Information Management and Power Platform. But do public services realise the full potential of business applications and the benefits of such powerful platforms? Choosing and maximising such technologies is where public sector organisations and forces can “really influence” operational efficiencies and effectiveness, especially when working with local authority partners and suppliers of automation and intelligence. 

The key to achieving a Smarter State is to ensure existing ICT systems integrate effectively with those of other public sector departments. And this includes fostering collaboration and synergy with other forces to use these same technologies and channels. 

Taking the next steps towards a Smarter State 

Ultimately, fulfilling a vision of a Smarter State will thrive on getting the best from digital technologies, platforms and infrastructure to deliver resilient public services.  

Top tips for robust public services: 

  • Deliver strategy and roadmaps around key platforms – greater forward planning and budgeting on what the business wants to invest in and why 
  • Don’t build on sand: identify key services or platforms to invest in, ensuring the foundations are there in the first place 
  • Single out services that add most value to organisations 
  • Select and prioritise platforms such as Intelligence (Data) and Collaboration/Integration (M365) to drive Operational Performance gains 
  • Establish a service-based, not a technology-based approach 
  • Understand the best approach to introducing services into the business 
  • Focus on Service Design, User Needs and business-led adoption of change to establish sustainable services, CoEs or BoK 
  • Continually invest in people, training and adoption for continuous improvement

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This article was written by Graham Adamson, Head of Architecture and Data at Exception, a UK Cloud and Digital Transformation company as part of the Building the Smarter State Week. Graham has been in the IT Business for 30 years, after leaving Edinburgh University in mid-80s and is now an Enterprise Architect looking at both business and IT strategies, in advisory positions, learn more about this author here. To learn more about Exception, please visit their LinkedIn and Twitter.





Building The Smarter State Conference - 29 September

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