10 May 2023

Guest blog: SolarWinds - Collaboration is a Two-Way Street #techUKDigitalPS

Guest blog by Sascha Giese, SolarWinds Head Geek as part of our Digital Transformation in the Public Sector Week #techUKDigitalPS

Collaboration is a central plank of any working relationship, and the relationship between the government and industry is no different.

It's a well-worn process familiar to many. The government sets the parameters and budget for projects, and the industry responds by bringing expertise, resources, and the ability to develop and deliver innovative solutions to help the government achieve its digital goals.

Well, that's the theory, anyway. In reality, the IT companies involved in these large-scale complex projects are faced with legacy systems and back-end processes often way past their sell-by date. In some cases, firms are faced with public sector systems built around on-premises architectures connecting public, private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments.

Either way, these are complex systems requiring a creative solution—not just in terms of modernising technology but in helping to break down the silos between different departments and functions within a department or organisation.

Collaboration is key to success

This is where collaboration plays such a vital role in addressing public sector ambition. A collaborative approach enables teams to work together more effectively and allows them to share information and resources and develop solutions more integrated and aligned with the overall strategy.

But sharing knowledge and expertise is one thing—taking this advice and implementing new approaches is another. And in many cases, it requires a certain give and take that may not be easy to accept.  

For instance, there’s clearly an aspiration within the government to offer services reflecting the kind of user experience you expect with everyday digital functions such as online banking, mobile shopping, or even hailing a cab using a smartphone.

But public sector IT teams need to learn from their private sector colleagues if they’re to develop fully automated apps and services available 24/7.

We can debate to what extent it means government apps and services will need to mimic the look, feel, and usability of popular mainstream apps. But if the user experience is to match the sorts of services commonly found on today's smartphones, it will require a sizeable input from the private sector in terms of technology and customer-centric focus.

Collaboration isn’t always easy

Acquiring this change of mindset within the public sector may not be easy, but it’s increasingly forming part of the collaborative process.

And while I'm on the subject of collaboration, we could all benefit from closer cooperation between the private and public sectors on matters concerning security.

As I've said before, the information flow regarding security and systems resilience is expected to come from private companies to the government. However, I strongly believe this should be a two-way street—data sharing about such attacks should also flow from the government to private enterprises.

Only then can we achieve an exchange of information capable of helping us all. 

Cooperation. Learning from one another. Being prepared to change long-held views and ways of working. These are all things we need to explore as part of the ongoing working relationship between the government and the private sector. It's what collaboration is all about.

This article was written by Sascha Giese, SolarWinds Head Geek. 

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