The UK government’s ‘Digital by Default’ agenda is helping the creation of new digital services for the public and is also transforming the culture of government departments. One of the primary ways departments want to change is by embracing digital ways of communicating internally. Again, a quick glance at departmental digital strategies reveals related aspirations.
- The Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) wants to redevelop its intranet to make it the go-to place for all departmental information, and to allow users to personalise their online work profiles to a greater degree – including up-to-date information on the latest projects they are working on. With more staff working remotely and hot-desking, DCMS is looking at incorporating location updates to help people find each other more easily.
- The Department for Transport aims to use digital technology to support remote and flexible working, and make smarter use of the information it holds. It also wants to eliminate the ‘digital deficit’ where the technology staff use in their personal lives is often superior to that available for their work.
- The Department of Health plans to develop an internal programme of digital masterclasses to share experiences, knowledge and best practice. Additionally, it wants to review its in-house capability to develop and manage new digital products and implement fast-track approvals for digital procurement – using SMEs and the G-Cloud CloudStore wherever possible.
- The Cabinet Office is providing staff with enhanced digital collaboration tools, and will expand infrastructure options in line with the Government ICT Strategy and new security architecture.
What’s interesting about these departmental plans for digital internal communications is the fact that they could all be addressed by using cloud collaboration software like Kahootz.
In fact, government departments, local councils and many other public bodies are already using Kahootz to communicate in all these ways. To give some examples:
- Organisational intranet. When Herefordshire Council and the Herefordshire Primary Care Trust entered a partnership to create England’s first truly integrated local authority and health management team, it needed to find a way of sharing information and files without duplication. It solved the problem by opting for Kahootz cloud collaboration software, which provided the new partnership with a single, shared, secure intranet – and a lot more.
Web content team leader Dr Ashley Tucker explains, “In this way we could have one individual moderating and running the Kahootz collaboration group, providing all invited ICT staff with access to the latest structure diagrams, job vacancies and application forms wherever they wanted to access them. The alternative would have been to either duplicate information across two intranets, or design and develop a bespoke external website with secure login protection. Both approaches would have obviously taken a lot longer and demanded far more overheads.”
In the same way, government departments can use Kahootz as a turbo-charged intranet with no need for any other software.
- Remote working. Kahootz online collaboration software has remote working at its core. With government-approved security, it allows team members to collaborate when using a PC in the office or at home, and while using tablets or smartphones when travelling. The software is also fully accessible on all devices, meaning workers are able to access the system wherever they are. Organisations like South Gloucestershire Council currently use Kahootz to link staff based at different sites, on the move, or working from home.
- Eliminating the ‘digital deficit’. Many government departments still rely on dated IT hardware and operating systems, meaning staff often have access to better quality technology at home. When the gap between the two becomes too large, staff can face interoperability issues – such as finding documents and spreadsheets aren’t automatically compatible between their home and work systems. This means they become tied to working in the office. While high quality Cloud software can’t address the hardware ‘deficit’, when it works in web browsers on all internet enabled devices it ensures staff have access to the same modern software systems, giving them greater flexibility to work from their office, at home or in the field. And because packages like Kahootz include free, automatic updates, each user in every organisation has access to the latest version of the software at all times.
- Develop and manage new digital products. Developing new digital projects requires detailed cross-organisational collaboration. Software like Kahootz provides staff with the tools to manage each relevant project within a secure workspace. Tools and features like task lists, shared group calendars, centralised documentation, commenting, instant notifications and more allow teams to manage and work together on digital project development from any location. One organisation currently using Kahootz for online project management is Havant District Council, which uses the system for project development within its management and business development teams, planning policy team and elsewhere.
These are just some of the ways online collaboration can make internal communication ‘Digital by Default’ across government and the wider public sector. And in line with the Department of Health’s requirement, Kahootz is SME-built Cloud software that is available via the G-Cloud CloudStore.
But it’s not just internal communications that can be transformed by cloud collaboration software – Kahootz is an enhanced system like that demanded by the Cabinet Office. It can be used in many different contexts where you need to bring people together online – whether internally or externally.
To give you further insight, our next post will look at how government departments can use digital stakeholder engagement to empower open policy-making and reach new audiences in significant numbers. Be sure to check back soon to read it!