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Pegasystems Limited: Delivery Challenged
The government continues to face challenges across many fronts; political, policy, operational and economic. One common thread across many of these is around delivery or lack thereof. Many critics contend that since the delivery of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and the rollout of the Covid vaccination programme, Boris Johnson’s government has struggled to deliver meaningful reforms, such as to social care, or even to deliver everyday services due to Covid backlogs, such as healthcare, driving licences and passports. Delivery of large-scale government IT programmes is similarly challenged, with numerous high-profile projects either behind schedule or failing to deliver at all.
There are many reasons behind these delivery challenges but in IT delivery one of them is the government’s focus on delivering all, or certainly most, programmes almost exclusively in-house using bespoke code to build the necessary solutions. This is often done because of the complexity, or at least the perceived complexity, of government processes and how much they differ from those in private sector organisations. However, this focus on building systems using bespoke code is time-consuming, expensive and hard to manage, and still all too often fails to deliver. It also often ends up with a disconnect between the frequently huge IT team and the business staff who are ultimately going to own and use the system and with massive amounts of design documentation being passed to and from between them. Applied intelligently and in the right areas, low-code software development can revolutionise the way the government designs and builds IT by significantly reducing the amount of custom code creation needed and by transforming the way business people are involved in the process.
A low-code approach can bridge the divide that often emerges between the business users, subject matter experts and product owners and the technical design and developer teams. It enables people from the business side of things to be fully integrated into not just the design, but the build of the new system. It also enables post-implementation changes to be made directly by business teams rather than needing to wait for the IT function to have the time or resources to make the changes. Development teams will still require some professional developers for the more complex items but this approach allows genuine business input and integration into the development team resulting in improved outcomes at lower risk and saving both time and money compared to current development approaches.
There are very real barriers to successful delivery in many of the problem areas the government faces, whether that be intractable policy problems, lack of skills, or lack of money, but in the area of government IT delivery there are new approaches and new solutions that can be immediately adopted to improve delivery, whilst at the same time reducing cost and improving the quality of the service ultimately delivered.
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This article was written by Alex Case, Senior Director, Public Sector Industry Principal at Pegasystems. He was previously a Senior Civil Servant at 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office, was a Programme Director at the Ministry of Justice and a policy advisor at HM Treasury. He has also held senior consultancy roles at Deloitte and PA Consulting.
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:
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