01 Jul 2021

Google Cloud: Building a case for data beyond the pandemic 

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way the world operates, and has provided a unique opportunity for government agencies to make significant changes to the way they run. To prepare for the “next normal”, we look at the key learnings from the last year-or-so that government agencies can apply to deliver e-services.   

It’s no secret that the best services rely on data to drive decisions. Data scientists, data analysis tools and global networking infrastructure can all help to tame vast amounts of data and leverage its insight. This data can be used to prioritise government resources, power change, or accelerate the rate of development as we’ve seen with apps for contact tracing or debunking fake news.  

Leveraging data insight to prioritise resources   

Last year we saw a wave of businesses go digital and leverage the cloud to keep up with the changing times. Now, as businesses look to establish themselves post-COVID, many will want to build on those rapid developments and continue growing at an accelerated pace. However, where there’s finite resources in the public sector and not all government agencies will receive investment at the same time. Data collected over the past year can offer government bodies an insight into which services should first be placed on a cloud or digital platform.   

COVID-19 triggered an overwhelming need for information, flooding healthcare support centres with calls. Platforms like Clustaar partnered with governmental organisations to keep the public informed. With support from the Google Cloud for Startups programme, Clustaar scaled its architecture to handle more than 8 million queries from over 1.5 million people. Turning to data now will help us decide which services should migrate to the cloud first and have more elasticity built in.  

 Providing services to more people moving forward  

  Asking data questions around how frequently a service is used, who it’s used by and how people are interacting with it – whether that’s via a mobile app or a browser, or transactional or one-way – will give government organisations the relevant information to make informed decisions with their IT budget. 

The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) built a digital hub on Google Workspace to transform its processes and efficiently coordinate employees and partners across multiple locations. By doing so, it was able to transform collaboration and accelerate the rate of biomedical research. Placing Cloud Search at the heart of the NIHR hub made vital information discoverable within seconds. Governments worldwide need to ensure that the right technology is in place to provide e-services to more people after the pandemic is over.  

Accelerating the rate of technological developments   

During the pandemic we’ve seen businesses dial up digital investment and develop more quickly than ever before. To meet the needs of the UK government, we worked with Apple – as well as developers, governments and public health providers – to develop the Exposure Notifications System, the application programming interface and system-level technology supporting the government’s track and trace app.  

While not all government agencies can simply rip out their old systems and start developing new apps and e-services from scratch, they’ll need to operate differently to how they have done previously. Putting a “plaster” over problems that occur with legacy systems will no longer be an option.  

Each scenario calls for us to rethink how e-services can be better deployed in government. Looking beyond the pandemic, services will need to reach more people than they have done in the past. Data can offer us real-world insights into the successes and failures of government operations, which will be invaluable in preparing for the “next normal”.  

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This article was written by Pip White, MD for Google Cloud UK and Ireland. Pip has about two decades of sales leadership experience, driving enterprise cloud solution sales strategies, strategic alliances, inside sales, and technical team management. Learn more about Pip White here.

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