Talking 5 with Local Public Services Member BBD
Each month, techUK's Associate Director for Local Public Services, Georgina Maratheftis, interviews a member active in the local government space about their vision for the future of local public services and where digital can make a real difference to people and society. This month we talk to Liesl Bebb-McKay, Business Development Director Europe at BBD, about why digital and local government make the perfect partnership.
Welcome, Liesl. Firstly, tell me more about you, your career, and how you got to this position today?
I've had one of those atypical scaffolding types of careers. My roots are in both the business and the technology & startup worlds. My passion for building business & creating sustainable change has led to my long-standing partnership with software solutions company BBD, where I operate as a director for the Netherlands business and manage their strategy and business development efforts in Europe.
A Chartered Accountant by training, my career began in finance & consulting before I discovered my love of banking and innovation in London. After many years in Investment Banking and running an innovation team in Johannesburg, I made a move to Europe in 2019. My experience in all things transformation ranges from large-scale cultural change and diversity program implementation to banking, strategy, and innovation with a specific focus on cloud, blockchain, AI, and platform technologies' impact on solution design, and my experience with business acceleration solutions has resulted in numerous client processes being streamlined and optimized.
Growing our BBD European business has been interesting, to say the least, especially given that our initial forays into this region began just as COVID was emerging at the end of 2019. Our focused and agile approach has been an essential driver of our ability to build sustainable relationships over this time.
What is the real prize for local government when it comes to digital?
Digital is as wide-ranging a topic as the needs of local government! Teams are constantly balancing the needs of their constituents and stakeholders with the budgets available to make the change. This balancing act is where digital becomes so valuable. We've repeatedly seen that leadership teams create affordable and value-adding impacts by applying appropriate and impactful digital transformation at the right-sized scale and time.
In our experience, this appropriate change comes in 3 primary forms (so three prizes then, I guess!).
It starts with a 1. clear and deliberate data strategy, coupled with 2. a sustainable plan for modernization and architecture and 3. executed via the cloud to create infrastructure efficiencies.
A data strategy is not only about collecting, storing, and maintaining data in secure and efficient means but also about using analytics to create meaningful insights that can assist decision-making and sustainable impact.
As local governments move towards newer technologies and stakeholders demand an increasingly impactful and personalized experience, it's essential to bridge the technology gap between legacy infrastructure and the new API-driven economy. Getting to market quickly and seamlessly can be accelerated by building and deploying the new while retaining what can be maintained in the old and applying a pragmatic approach to digital transformation.
Applying the cloud for efficiency is no longer a "should we" question, but "how do we do it better" and "how we do it sustainably" question, infrastructure innovation, when done well, is a game-changer.
What is your vision for the future of local public services?
Local public services are invaluable to our communities' sustainability and ecosystems as a whole. We know the impact that well-managed communities can have in the short term and the legacies that we will leave.
I imagine an increasingly collective future. We will see policymakers and administrators' local insights combined with local community impacts powered by sustainable digital initiatives.
My vision for this new era is that we can increasingly harness the intelligence of local data to create an agile and timeous response to community needs. I subscribe to the philosophy that "it's not about the tech" but rather about using the power of the technologies available to us today to create sustainable solutions for the humans that we serve.
The cloud and our ability to automate and modernize at scale using well-honed technologies are invaluable to creating a collective outcome.
Georgina is techUK’s Associate Director for Local Public Services
Georgina works with suppliers that are active or looking to break into the market as well as with local public services to create the conditions for meaningful transformation. techUK regularly bring together local public services and supplier community to horizon scan and explore how the technologies of today and tomorrow can help solve some of the most pressing problems our communities face and improve outcomes for our people and places.
Prior to techUK, Georgina worked for a public policy events company where she managed the policy briefing division and was responsible for generating new ideas for events that would add value to the public sector. Georgina worked across a number of portfolios from education, criminal justice, and health but had a particular interest in public sector transformation and technology. Georgina also led on developing relationships across central and local government.
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