14 Sep 2021

HCL: A New Age Public Service – Harnessing Digital Technologies

Guest blog by Bhupender Singh Tuteja, HCL Technologies UK Limited as part of Building the Smarter State week #techUKSmarterState

The technological developments have led to rising demand and public expectation seeking more engagement in decisions about the standard of public services they receive. A citizen-centric Smarter State is built on the foundation of future technologies that allows the Public Sector to work in partnership with citizens to co-create the digital solutions that work for them. Co-creation not only will help to reduce the public sector cost but also allows the citizen to participate by sharing their feedback for proficient public services and a smarter state of their choice. 

We all have seen how the public services responded to the unprecedented challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. 2020 was the year of many firsts in the public sector and sped up the need for public services to be more accessible for the smarter future that connects everything. The pandemic has reminded us of the importance of digital transformation and forced us to expedite the transformation journey.  

We are perceiving a large-scale, ongoing change in the behaviour and demand of the citizens. They are presently living in a far more connected digital world. To meet the future demand, the Public sector organisations and innovators need to explore and invest in the key digital technologies which will have a positive impact on citizen experience. Moreover, it is imperative to offer support to reduce the digital divide which is leaving behind many of the most marginalised people in our communities. In conjunction, it is also vital to develop the right digital and technical skills across teams and build more diverse public sector teams to drive innovation and improved performance. 

Digital Transformation – Unlocking the future of Public Sector 

1. Connected Society - Internet of Things (IoT) 

IoT is an emerging technology using which the Public sector can succeed with ample opportunity to transform services through automation and data analytics.  

Various use-cases leveraging IoT which has altered the way citizens interact with the public services making them smartly connected and transforming them into “Digital-Citizens”. This has also benefited the public sector organisations and local authorities to reduce operational costs and allocate resources more economically. The use-cases such as Smart Waste Management, Street Lighting, Smart Parking, Smart Traffic Management, Safety and Security have brought a paradigm shift in the way public services operate, providing enhanced user experience and improving citizens’ lives. 

With the use of IoT and sensors, the authorities can collect the citizen data, apply analytics, understand the need of citizens to improve the service delivery and enable new changes much faster and efficiently. Furthermore, the evolution of 5G will radically enhance the connectivity providing faster data rates and delivering groundbreaking solutions. Citizens will recognise new services coming their way, with high-speed connectivity in public places, real-time video streaming, augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality. 

2. Data-Driven Public Services  

The key to successful digital transformation is to build the data-driven culture which requires strengthening the capacity to use the data as a foundation for greater effectiveness, efficiency, and innovation. Combining demographic data and visualising can help the Public sector identify trends, a seasonality pattern, a possible projections and scenarios to easily identify citizens to plan a new or optimise current services. This would require collaboration across various departments to adopt a seamless data-sharing mechanism with a clear strategy to create an ethical, joined up and interoperable data infrastructure. 

On the other hand, the Public sector is required to address the barriers to data sharing and focuses on citizen trust who demand transparency, purpose and benefits of data sharing and security of their personal data. Public sector should pick these challenges and continue investing in open data culture. 

3. Working better through Automation - RPA 

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is transforming public services by automating routine jobs like data entry into the system and improving the ways of working. An RPA digital workforce can collect data from emails, online forms, scanned documents, and other channels of communication - quickly, securely, and without errors resulting in maximising the data accuracy. RPA would benefit public services to work smarter, enhance jobs and help deliver efficiently. 

4. Artificial Intelligence in Public Services 

Citizens are happy if they receive a personalised experience that fits unique personal preferences. This personalisation is empowered through Artificial Intelligence (AI). The use of AI can help public services adopt data-driven decision-making, learn citizen behaviour and serve with customised offerings.  

Likewise, the adoption of AI into the health system is essential in creating smart solutions making predictions about infection outbreaks to improve patient care. AI can work as a healthcare-enabling tool that can help in automating manual processes with high standards of precision. AI-powered tools can analyse patient data to support doctors prioritizing based on patient’s severity. Also, AI algorithms are powerful in testing and research like AI can read X-rays and scans in the case of diagnosis for more rapid results.