Digital Transformations & The Public Sector

Implementing a Public Sector Digital Transformation

Implementing a Public Sector Digital Transformation is not an easy feat. With numerous obstacles to tackle, digital transformations need to be thoroughly researched as well as strategically planned and steered with the right people at the helm.

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The UK Government claims to be one of the most digitally advanced in the world. They’ve developed GOV.UK and opened its code, enabling replication by other governments. The Government Digital Service (GDS) is leading digital transformation and local authorities are also growing digitally with a number of initiatives. From Oxford City Council using chatbots to Aylesbury Vale District Council using AI for responsive web chats. But, there’s still a mountain of work to be done when it comes to optimising services for the wider public. 

Reaching the wider public should mean that the government is offering services that work for everyone in our population, or at least the vast majority – to start with. These services need functionality, accessibility, security and sustainability as its four core pillars. On top of that, they need to ensure they are giving the top-tier user experience (UX). 

5 Obstacles The Public Sector Faces

When a digital transformation takes place within a government, it faces a unique set of problems with long-term consequences for failures.

With this said, it’s important that the following 5 obstacles are considered so that the transformation is successful… 

Digital Transformations

Public Sector Difficulties

1. Long Term Functionality

High-level functionality is always important, it’s the very foundation of digital transformation. There are around 1 billion singular transactions per year with core government departments, increasing closer to 1.5 billion when more organisations such as local government are considered.

You’ll need to start by looking at user workflows for the full lifecycle of transactions and the functionality that supports these transactions. How does this currently work (if at all) and where do you need real change?

You need to identify the right technologies that will work with any existing system or consider a complete upgrade. This is an area for careful consideration as some government departments have legacy contracts or software licensing that will need to be reviewed. Many new tech options are cloud reliant and some government business-critical systems can prohibit software in a third-party or cloud environment.

This is where research plays a huge part. If you’re unclear on the technologies you need, then you will need to review your current situation with the help of a qualified professional or an expert consultant. Any new technologies you implement should be fully connected, sustainable for future improvements and offer opportunities for automation.

2. Establishing Trust

Going beyond large scale project management considerations, the government also needs to consider inclusivity. In 2011, around 150 million calls a year to government were self-reported as avoidable. This strain on government systems and employees is costly but there needs to be an understanding of why the public are calling, rather than using a digital alternative.

The public sector supports many vulnerable groups of society and these people will fall into core demographics for utilising government services. In 2018, there were still 5.3 million adults in the UK who were digitally excluded because of a lack of internet access, or low levels of digital literacy. These people need to be catered for.

This means using innovative thinking and a user-focused approach to improving services. Transformations need to establish trust, promote security and put users at ease by making information clear and easily accessible.

3. Demographic Research

To establish a successful transformation, you should consider not just what the government objectives are, but also who your users are and what they need.

The research will give you a clear understanding of who your core demographics are and their drivers in using a particular service. The needs of the elderly accessing healthcare are in direct opposition to a 30-something searching for local business support.

With the right analysts, you can gain a unique understanding of the demographics who will utilise your services and their online behaviours. This allows you to design effective workflows, creating positive outcomes and speeding up processes.

4. People and Culture

One of the biggest impacts on whether a digital transformation is successful, is culture change. Transformations involve a fundamental change to current ways of working. Existing employees will need to adapt, and in some cases you will see prominent skill gaps with a need to upskill.

Having the right leaders in place will be crucial to managing culture change and shifting mindsets. Project leaders need to manage employee expectations and their development, as well as motivate them through cultural changes.

You will almost certainly need to employ either interim staff or permanent employees, as you’ll need fresh, innovative thinking and defined specialist skills. Having an effective team, made up of industry experts enables you to deliver substantial change quickly.

5. Cost-effective Procurement

When it comes to procurement, there’s lots to think about. You’ll need to look at any rules and regulations for your department and if you have any existing legacy contracts. Before you engage with a supplier, identify your objectives and the problems you are looking to solve.

Although most consultancies will charge a hefty initial fee for an advisory discussion, at amarti we don’t. We want to sit down with our prospective clients and look at what they want to achieve and advise on how they can get there with our help – for FREE.

Because how can a supplier claim to help you if they don’t have a clear understanding of your project? And how how can they charge you an initial fee before they even have their foot in the door, or any understanding of the project?

If you’re undertaking a digital transformation, find a consultancy that can be flexible and can scale according to your needs.


Let’s talk about it together! Contact us today!