In today’s data economy, people, devices and systems are generating the data points to provide more opportunities for insight and connection than ever before. Data forms the lifeblood of any organization across both the private and public sector. While resources are in short supply and the need for cost efficiency is on the rise, this data is growing in volume and complexity. It is these pressures that are driving the evaluation and adoption of new classes of data based business platforms; platforms that are built on the cloud and cater for all types of data be it structured, semi structured or unstructured. The opportunity now lies in the ability to take advantage of capabilities such as AI and to support applications and solutions that can be rapidly developed and delivered.
There is no doubt that ‘digital transformation’ has formed the basis of digital strategy for the past 5 years. Government bodies across the globe have looked to digitise their processes and provide more open platforms for secure data access. Today, these same organsations are looking beyond digital transformation. Having already digitized business processes, they are now looking to reinvent them, using digital technologies. The Government is starting to look beyond efficiency improvements and cost savings to the next level of delivery of citizen value through innovation built on the cloud. In building this digital agenda, a governance model and technology infrastructure needs to be in place to prioritise data-driven insight and enable the connection of citizens, organisations and systems.
We are already witnessing how digital reinvention is changing the way public sector organisations are operating. For example, Digital Street is a key component of HM Land Registry’s new 5-year Business Strategy. It is a ground-breaking research and development project exploring how land registration might work in 2030. We are creating a pilot digital register for a small selection of properties by the end of 2017. This pilot register will be fully machine-readable and able to be updated instantly. Digital Street will contribute towards a property industry where people will buy, rent, sell, finance, build and manage property with ease.
Digital reinvention may be the next phase of transformation, but it is still important to consider the impact that efficiency savings can have on an organization, and UK citizens. The NHS Blood & Transplant Service are responsible for the safe and reliable supply of blood across the UK. They operate on an extremely time-critical scale, with up to 96 complex decisions involved in a single transplant case. By optimizing the organ allocation process and making data available in more flexible form, NHSBT has seen a 40% reduction in manual steps taken. NHSBT is now able to support staff in daily, critical decisions supporting the matching of the right organs to the right people on a much more informed level and ultimately strengthen a life-critical process in the UK healthcare system.
Technology is truly helping the healthcare industry in the UK. A new approach to children’s stay in hospital has been launched that will help Alder Hey improve patient experience at its facility which is fully supported by NHS England. The Alder Play app is powered by the very latest digital and cognitive advances and uses gaming and augmented reality to distract and reward patients having procedures in hospital. Parents can also interact with a chatbot called ‘Ask Oli’ to find out more about the hospital and what may happen to their child. Alder Hey has been working with IBM Watson technology and the Hartree Centre to enable questions to be answered in real time – this will be the first time that cognitive technologies have been applied in any hospital in the UK, in this way.
What do governmental organizations and agencies need to consider?
Driving innovation with digital insight
It’s no surprise that with the rise of devices and connections, citizens and organisations are creating more data about themselves than ever before. Organisations now have the opportunity to process large amounts of both structured and unstructured data to gain insights and make more informed decisions on citizen welfare and governmental processes. This data is only useful if it is processed in the right way – this data analysis provides the platform to make even more informed judgements, more quickly than without the assistance of technology. IBM Cloud is allowing organisations to kickstart innovation quickly by facilitating access to expertise in the market through partners who can help to drive business transformation through the automation and exploitation of data.
Balancing innovation with responsible governance
Where data is stored and how it is accessed is a huge consideration for the public sector. Ensuring that data access is convenient, transparent and in adherence with location-based regulations and requirements is rising up the list of leaders’ priorities. Highly regulated industries such as the public sector and financial services have nuanced and sensitive infrastructure and security needs. To make public services simpler, better and safer, the UK’s national infrastructure and digital services require innovative solutions, strong cyber security defences and high availability platforms. Cloud computing is essential to therefore embrace the digital intelligence that will deliver personalised services to UK citizens. IBM is also further building out its capabilities through its partnership with Ark Data Centres to deliver public data centre services that are already being used at scale by high-profile, public-sector agencies. With low-latency access to crown hosting and secure access to public sector networks, sensitive data workloads can be housed and managed in the most appropriate locations for public sector bodies.
As cost efficiencies and agility become the norm, it is these considerations which will begin to bring positive impacts to existing services and engagement between the UK government and citizens. It’s an exciting time to be in public sector technology as we can start to see how using data insight can truly reinvent engagement and services, providing the next level of services to UK citizens across all departments.