Putting the customer at the centre of how services are delivered with the adoption of digital technologies is driving sweeping change across most sectors. But as public services are transformed to support citizens in the digital age, the external customer service element is only one part of the equation. To deliver customers the full benefits and efficiencies of a digital strategy requires a focus within the organisation too.
The digital agenda brings new opportunities to enhance ways of working
Across the public sector, there are many opportunities to rethink conventional ways of working in order to bring benefits to employees, and increase public sector efficiency, as the citizen experience is enhanced.
Take strategic hubs for example. By 2023, the Government Hubs Programme plans to reduce the government estate from around 800 to 200 buildings
. This programme places a focus on creating modern sustainable buildings, supported by smart technology and shared services, which will allow staff to work from a variety of locations. Driven by an opportunity to make more efficient use of premises, hubs offer the potential to enable new collaboration opportunities between different teams and departments and even drive up individual productivity.
In other areas of government too, technology is changing the way teams work. For frontline services, advances in connectivity and smart devices are bringing new capabilities to teams, from policing and healthcare to environmental monitoring. Many regional authorities and central government departments are looking at ways to transform and deliver cost efficiencies through the use of new innovation and integrated communications, from the Internet of Things to Unified Communications.
Putting people first
But regardless of field or location, it is important to remember that technology is the enabler. For technology to work well, it requires a focus on people first.
The employee journey, as part of digital transformation, is as important as the citizen journey as services are redesigned and delivered. This requires a spotlight on how people designing or delivering public services work, the changing nature of their roles, workplaces and teams, and where there is an opportunity to enhance or change processes or make physical space ‘smarter’ for greater benefit.
Focusing on people also helps transformation teams to manage and lead the impact that digital change has on culture and behaviour, and ensure people feel involved in exciting new developments. Here are a few key takeaways from our experience of helping organisations transform:
• Bring the right people together to drive the right kind of change. Don’t make the process too formal or lock people into specific roles too early. Instead, focus on encouraging open conversation to find out what the organisation and people really need.
• It can be time-consuming to understand how each employee group works, but this part of the process shouldn’t be rushed. Unless you consider the needs of every type of employee and their roles you won’t achieve your goal of becoming a truly digital workplace.
• The journey to becoming a digital workplace never truly ends. The goals you set can help deliver amazing results for your organisation today – but turning digital transformation into an ongoing process is the key to ensuring continued success.
Over the past decade, digital technologies have transformed the world. Reassessing how we work is a critical part of adapting to a changing environment and finding more effective ways to deliver crucial services.
Our experience shows that there are real advantages to adopting new ways of working when it is designed with teams and the end-user in mind. The increased flexibility at a very human scale ensures focus on what really matters: how best to serve the public now and in the future.
Read more about the trends we’ve identified that are helping to drive digital change in our guide here.