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Will digital integration save the public sector?

All of us use public sector services from time to time, whether it’s paying our taxes, filling in forms or looking for information on services and benefits. The use of digital systems has streamlined these interactions. Almost half of us now interact with public services online and around a quarter of forms now get completed electronically.

But public sector technology projects frequently get a bad press. They are routinely large, complex and, some would say, overly ambitious. This means that they are prone to fail or may suffer from substantial budget overruns. Yet on the other side of the coin, digital integration can help to streamline the delivery of services and cut costs. One-off registrations, for example, can collect information that is used for a number of services, making life easier for the service user who doesn’t have to repeat the same information over again when they go to deal with a different department.

Going digital also helps to eliminate paper-based processes, making it easier to handle and find information and further cutting costs. However, the public sector needs to work to make itself more mobile friendly. The majority of web access is now from mobile devices and yet many public sector websites are still not at their best on smartphones or tablets.

Getting it right for consumers

There are many recent examples of public organisations using technology to the advantage of their service users. Police forces have been exploiting 4G technology to allow their officers to complete forms on the go, cutting the paperwork and ensuring they spend more of their time on the beat.

Similarly in the NHS, being able to capture and review information digitally helps to deliver better services and improve patient outcomes. Local councils, too, have been making use of apps to engage younger groups who may not use other forms of interaction, for example, to help youngsters into training and volunteering opportunities.

Benefits for the organisations

Of course, digital transformation projects can help the organisation too. We’ve already seen that there are opportunities in cost savings and improved services. Yet many public sector staff don’t currently have the technology they need to achieve this.

By adopting an integration strategy and working with W3P, they can improve their services with a flexible and secure solution based in the cloud. This means no need for additional hardware in many cases and no complex, time-consuming development. Pricing is on a subscription-based model which helps to spread the cost of the project and which ensures that it can scale easily. A pilot can easily turn into a full-blown implementation.

Of course with GDPR almost upon us, it’s important to keep data private and secure. W3P solutions do not need access to personal data during the transformation process as this can be achieved in an anonymised fashion.

The public sector needs to embrace the opportunities offered by digital integration. Being able to unlock the full potential of the technology can lead to improved efficiency, greater productivity, and ultimately better value for the taxpayer.

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