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4 key takeaways from Government Computing Conference 2017

On the 27th April 2017, Government Computing hosted their annual conference in London with a focus on digital transformation in the public sector.

With a number of important figures from local and central government speaking, we thought that it would be useful to pick out some of the key points raised at the event.

“Maybe digital isn’t top priority anymore”

Although a number of people within the private sector identify digital transformation as a priority, the same cannot be said for the government – according to Jessica Figueras, chief analyst at GlobalData Public Sector.

Of course, with Brexit and the election dominating headlines over recent months, this can’t be seen as too much of a surprise.

However, this could be a missed opportunity for the government. According to an article by Civil Service World, putting more services online, making them easier to use, and automating processes behind the scenes could save £2 billion by 2020.

“Embrace and take advantage of new technologies”

This seems to be a common theme in the public sector.

Mark Cain, Director of Digital Transformation at the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service,) gave a valuable insight into the challenges him and his team currently face.

One example given was the use of DVD discs to store sensitive data. With the risk of these being discs being lost or misplaced and time being wasted burning the information onto them, they are now becoming increasingly reliant on file collaboration software.

This offers them a more secure way of storing information, while also giving them the opportunity to collaborate with other departments and move away from costly legacy hardware.

“Digital will reduce cost and increase customer satisfaction”

This is something that all public and private sector organisations are looking to do.

Matthew Cain, who is Head of Digital at London Borough of Hackney Council, explained that although it’s not easy, this can be achieved by councils collaborating with each other.

Sharing resources can ease the financial burden on an individual council and encourage users to work closer with their colleagues and share best practices.

One way this could be achieved is through the use of a project extranet.

The advantages of using an extranet include:

  • Increased security and privacy – You can work online in a safe and fully secure environment, away from prying eyes.
  • Utilise the benefits of the cloud – Allowing users to work anytime, anywhere.
  • Co-author and comment on documents – Avoids large chains of emails and having to track changes across multiple documents
  • Low risk, high return – The leading suppliers only charge for what you use, reducing the risk of investing.

“Use collaboration software for effective stakeholder engagement”

One of the more positive takeaways from the event were the stories of public sector organisations who have embraced digital technology and have achieved real results.

Our Sales and Marketing Director, John Glover, discussed how NHS England have used Kahootz to increase engagement from their stakeholders.

Their initial need was to support internal staff to share more information. With very little training, staff have developed their own internal ‘Wikipedia’ on Kahootz and now have a platform that encourages creativity through empowerment and idea sharing.

The results? There are now 100+ projects/communities, 220,000 page views in 3 months and 1200 active users. All in all, a more engaged workforce.

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