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Leidos UK: Collaborating our way out of a challenging legacy

Guest blog by Roz Barrance, Director of Business Development, Civil Division, Leidos UK as part of the Digital Transformation In the Public Sector Week. #techUKDigitalPS

A legacy of technology systems we have created for all the right reasons - to support our borders, our police forces and to pay UK pensions - has created a multi-billion pound challenge in the UK public sector. Yet the true cost of reimagining and building a new set of systems fit for the next decade is more than that, as some of these systems are holding us back from realising the benefits of digital transformation. In a recent interview, I discussed how collaboration between industry and government, and indeed between government departments is key to delivering digital transformation. But, can we really collaborate our way out of the legacy? Or, at the very least accelerate it? And if yes, where should we collectively focus these efforts? 

Let’s start by establishing what we mean by collaboration in this context? The Institute for Collaborative Working defines collaboration as “Business relationships formed by committed organisations to maximise joint performance for achievement of mutual objectives and creation of additional value”. We have worked closely with ICW for many years and were one of the first organisations globally to achieve ISO44001, allowing us to realise the true power of collaborative working with our customers. 

Collaboration through an iterative approach 

Change is a certainty we all face. The missions we are tackling each day are increasingly complex and ambitious with multi-year programmes delivering transformational visions. With an already agile approach to delivery, finding the minimum viable route to early outcomes, realising their benefits, and building on these learnings can drive a step change. A crisis offers a great learning place for this type of approach. COVID-19 is a great example - we need to get better at looking at and learning from collaboration in crisis - and apply those learnings to our every day. Many people focused on achieving a common mission can overcome obstacles to change. But legacy systems put up a fight every step of the way. A strong, shared vision, which enables a step-by-step approach, with continued learning, and measurable outcomes at various stages, results in an iterative approach to delivery. This approach builds both trust and achieves policy goals, rather than continually striving for wholesale replacement of systems over many years, often failing to result in the desired outcomes.   

Contracting for collaboration

The Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) Playbook released earlier this year recognises the important link between successful supplier relationships and legacy IT. The legacy IT guidance which accompanies the playbook suggests you might use outcome-based and gain-share contracts for legacy IT remediation. Procurement can become an enabler for new approaches and behaviours not only delivering the desired outcomes but also allowing mutual benefit to be achieved. Sharing risk and reward on legacy IT remediation projects and using outcome-based contract mechanisms to provide a way to address legacy. Recognising the need for organisations to work together on a joint outcome or mission, and the humility to accept that no one has all the answers has never been more important. Building a framework for collaboration, which supports these contract mechanisms, will enable the maximum value to be harnessed from the whole delivery ecosystem.

Collaborating to make technology do the work for you

Technology continues to evolve at speed. Embracing evolving technology to tackle the barriers imposed by legacy, whilst employing more effective approaches to collaboration can facilitate a step-change in progress. 

The opportunities that new technology offers for transforming public services are appealing. They can improve the services provided to digital citizens of today, and tomorrow with efficient, resilient and secure public service delivery.

I believe collaboration is vital to implementing a step change to new delivery offerings enabled by technology for both existing and new programmes. The alternative of not collaborating to tackle the key question of how to improve service delivery is to further delay and ultimately cost more.

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.

Roz, Leidos.jpeg

Roz Barrance is the Head of Business Development for Leidos UK's Civil Division. Previously, she was the Portfolio Development Lead for Leidos UK's National Security Portfolio, and Programme Director, leading the delivery of one of Leidos' largest UK government programmes. Get in touch with Roz, to learn more.

To learn more about Leidos UK, 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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