Public Services > Central Government

Next Generation: Public Sector 2.0...

Published 23 November 2015

Sharon Bagshaw, vice president, central government, defence and health, IBM UK and Ireland discusses what the UK public sector could look like in the wake of a forthcoming digital transformation plan

The phrase 'doing more with less' is a mantra that will resonate across all areas of business, be they private or public sector.

Reduced budgets and increasing pressures on service delivery from more demanding customers/citizens, means efficiency has never been more critical.

The '2.0' tagline is a populist term used by many in contemporary business and cultural circles to denote a fresh, dynamic new approach to a previously dated strategy. Possibly nowhere in the UK is there a more shining embodiment of this, than the government's plans for digital transformation - with the right approach it truly could be 'Public Sector 2.0'.

So what might the UK's next gen public sector look like if the last twelve months are anything to go by?

Certainly 2015 has witnessed significant steps towards the digital transformation of government and the wider public sector. Led by the minister for culture and the digital economy Ed Vaizey, and chancellor George Osborne 'Public Sector 2.0' is taking shape faster than ever before and we should see a full proposal for the Digital Transformation Plan levied before the end of the year.

While digital transformation at government and public sector level is a fundamental economic necessity, the reality of these new services (to British citizens and legislative bodies), will ease the cost pressures on legislative bodies by making processes more efficient, and improving citizen experience and interaction along the way too.

The next gen public sector will be characterised by two key words; engagement and efficiency: efficiency in terms of economics and processes at institutional level, and engagement in terms of citizen-government interaction. However, in order to actually realise these goals the position of technology will be pivotal.

'Public Sector 2.0' will harness the power of big data and analytics, mobile first technology, CRM elements, hybrid cloud and even the Internet of Things (to name but a few), as it marches forward towards a truly digital future.

For example, big data and analytics represent significant opportunities for efficiency, innovation and engagement; mobile first technologies will mean that public sector bodies are able to provide more intuitive and relevant portals for engagement with the populace; CRM and Salesforce style technologies will allow for more relevant and bespoke interactions; hybrid cloud platforms will make data sharing and usability more efficient; and the IoT will provide more valuable data for analysis from touch points that haven't even been considered yet, potentially leading to new streams of revenue and even job creation.

One of the government's key aims of the broader digital transformation agenda is to engage more with its citizens and make the whole politician-citizen (voter), relationship more transparent, more fluid and more accessible to all. Social media has permeated society and business in general over the last decade, and its presence and wider cultural influence will be an intrinsic part of Public Sector 2.0 too.

Government at both national and local levels will need to reconsider their messages and the channels of communication it uses with the public, and the next gen public sector will need to interact more with citizens; foster the interaction of citizens with each other, and explore how these outcomes can be used to best effect - all of which will be underpinned by technology.

Although it's impossible to predict the future with any certainty and the exact details of are still not set in stone, it is fair to say that technology and citizen engagement will be the underpinning factors of 'Public Sector 2.0'.

Sharon Bagshaw is vice president, central government, defence and health for IBM UK and Ireland

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