A survey* by application platform KnowledgeKube has revealed significant digital challenges facing the public sector as it looks to innovate, drive down costs and deliver more effective services.
The study, based on interviews with senior central and local government IT executives, outlines digital transformation priorities for 2015 at a time when the newly elected government and its Cabinet Office are under close scrutiny.
In the run-up to the election of May 7, the Labour party heavily criticised the Cabinet Office, stating that it had failed to deliver the 25 digital exemplars it set out in 2012, despite millions of pounds of investment into the Government Digital Service.
When discussing current digital transformation priorities, almost 60% of the survey respondents agreed that there was a need to ‘update existing legacy processes’. A third of respondents also stated that ‘integrating and connecting existing applications and data’ is a priority.
However, the survey revealed that government executives face a series of barriers when it comes to driving digital innovation, which commonly requires software development.
When discussing these obstacles, 50% of respondents cited ‘red-tape culture’ and ‘old style leadership’ as key challenges, while 46% agreed that the ‘cost of innovating’ was holding them back.
Almost a quarter (23%) cited a ‘lack of resources and training’ as a clear issue and 26% admitted they had a problem with ‘perceived risk’, while two fifths (42%) said ‘the scale of the challenge’ is often too daunting.
Peter Robbins, Managing Director of Mercato Solutions – creators of KnowledgeKube, said: “The public sector is taking positive steps towards creating and implementing digital services yet it is the pace of this transformation that indicates significant barriers to much-needed innovation remain.
“The combination of an IT skills shortage, high perceived cost, and therefore risk, associated with going digital, coupled with a fear of failure, are qualities that undermine the very ethos of driving rapid innovation and change. This is holding back experimentation required for digital glory.’’
‘‘In order to progress, there needs to be a greater focus on the ability to re-engineer and optimise existing processes with greater speed and efficiency.
“CIOs and innovation leaders are now starting to look at the emerging category of disruptive platform-based technologies that challenge the norm of rapid application development without using code. That means game-changing simplicity, speed and cost of automating processes.”