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ServiceNow: How technology can help the public sector put citizens first #techUKSmarterState

This Guest blog was written by Kam Patel, Head of UK Public Sector at ServiceNow.

The role of our public sector is simple — to serve its citizens to the best of its ability.  

We rely on our public sector for so much, from tax returns and business licences, to life changing healthcare and education. And yet, an increasingly unpredictable landscape has seen our services continuously challenged with budget cuts, staff shortages, and a lack of resources with which to resolve these issues.  

The result? Citizens simply aren’t getting the services they deserve.  

So, how can we help our public sector do more — become smarter, more efficient, and more citizen-centric — with less?  

The key to answering this question lies with the right technology.  

The challenges facing the public sector  

The lasting impact of the Covid pandemic, the ongoing talent shortage and a faltering economy mean that the sector is working with extremely limited resources.  

Budgets are tight. Yet, outdated legacy technology and siloed ways of working means that not only is a significant amount of money wasted on inefficient processes, huge amounts of IT budget is spent just to keep legacy systems in support and various technologies that simply don’t talk to each other, but also that citizens are left with a sub-optimal experience.  

And you can see this in action within any given area of the public sector.  

Take an NHS department, for example. When an employee is hired, they’re subscribed to all the tools and softwares they need to do their jobs. When that employee leaves, these subscriptions should be terminated, and the budget saved.  

However without automation, human error margins mean this vital step can easily go overlooked. The subscriptions remain active, and budget that could be allocated elsewhere — to patient care or updated technology — is wasted.  

And that’s just one example. Throughout the sector, clunky, outdated technology is causing issues. Police forces are unable to use data from hospitals or mental health organisations because information is coming in from so many different sources, local governments struggle to pass information to neighbouring councils who work on different systems, the list goes on…  

How can technology help overcome these challenges?  

The issue with legacy technology boils down to the fact it cannot be easily updated. To improve collaboration between services, we would need to streamline all systems in a way that allows them to work together. In the past, this would have required a time-consuming and expensive overhaul — which most public sector budgets simply couldn’t stretch for.  

But today, new technologies are available that can act as a physical interface, laying a modern, agile platform on top of the systems already in place, and allowing for the right kind of collaboration — and improved services all round.  

Social workers could gather relevant data from different sources and store it in one place, knowing it’s there when they need it. HR departments could keep track of team devices, saving money that can then be reallocated to citizen care, and emergency services can better collaborate with each other.  

The use cases are unlimited, but the result always looks the same — citizens get a better service.  

A smarter, citizen-centric public sector in the future  

With an increasingly complex landscape, in order to ensure that citizens can access efficient, reliable services as and when they need it, we need to keep our back office processes as simple as possible.  

Technologies like those offered by ServiceNow can slot into existing frameworks and completely revolutionise legacy systems without the need for huge, costly overhauls, and the knock-on effects for our public sector could be staggering. To find out more, visit our website.  

This article was written by Kam Patel, Head of UK Public Sector at ServiceNow. Learn more about this author here. To learn more about ServiceNow, please visit their LinkedIn and Twitter.

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