Transforming the UK public sector

Can you simply throw a lever to transform your organization?

In UK public sector organizations, against the background of a continuing Covid-19 crisis and the required adjustments that continue following the exit from the European Union, embarking on transformation has arguably never been more daunting – nor has it ever been more critical to act.

Transforming service delivery in any organization can be a daunting task. There is often the temptation for CIOs to start by throwing one lever at a time. Some invest in new software to replace legacy systems. Others argue that making discrete improvements to existing service delivery processes is more productive. And some pin hopes solely on what appears to be the most innovative technology flavour of the day – AI, augmented reality, or robots.

Good judgement or dumb luck?

None of these approaches to transformation is necessarily wrong. You can make progress – but any step-changes in performance that result are usually more a result of dumb luck than good judgement.

Why is this? Well, changing legacy systems, processes or introducing new technologies is rarely straightforward. It often results in greater IT and business complexity rather than less. In turn, this complexity reduces still further the money and effort than can be directed towards a genuine transformation of service delivery.

For example, the life insurance industry has increased labour productivity over the last decade by replacing legacy systems and investing in digital self-service. However, in the same timeframe, IT costs as a proportion of operational spend have increased by 12% - for no improvement in operational costs.

The experience of many organizations in the public sector has been similar – discrete improvements in one area have resulted in increased costs elsewhere. For example, the removal of the paper vehicle excise disc at the end of 2014, and the subsequent threefold increase in vehicle excise duty evasion by private car owners is one such high profile disappointment.

As Fred Brookes Jr wrote in his seminal textbook on the joys and woes of IT and software development, The Mythical Man Month: “Add little to little and you get a big pile.”

Remove complexity

But what if you could find a way to understand and remove unnecessary complexity from your IT estate and business processes, while providing citizens with the high-quality, cost-efficient service that they demand?

Of course, if it was straightforward every organization would do it. But the concern we hear most is that it is too difficult to move the levers required to change from being an organization that simply reacts to policymaker and citizen demands, to one which proactively delivers what they need.

These failures happen because public sector organizations are too scared to try to move more than one lever at once. However, focusing solely on new software, discrete process improvements or greater automation has been at the root cause of the inability of government organizations to shine against their peers in the private sector.

Instead, what if you could move all the levers that lead to transformational business change simultaneously? Sometimes you need to find a way to move multiple levers to keep the engines on track - a bit like railway signalmen used to in the recent past.

Throwing all the levers

The ability to throw the transformational levers simultaneously is what Software AG uniquely delivers in a crowded software market. With ARIS and Alfabet you can unlock new ways of working while ensuring IT remains efficient and effective.

With webMethods you can enable your systems of record, whatever their heritage, to become equal participants in the fast-moving world of tech changes - and increasing citizen expectations.

And at the same time, our Cumulocity IoT and analytics platform enables you to glean new insights from the data that your organization collects, analyzing and sharing it as part of your service delivery – regardless of whether that data comes from connected devices, systems or business processes.

In these challenging times, we’ve all had to do things differently. We at Software AG have responded to our government customers faster than they expected and in way that helped them reach new heights in new ways. We can do the same for your organization; whether its transformation, EA tooling, integration, robotics, IoT or API management.

Drop us a line and let’s see if we can help you move those levers to effect positive change.

Steve.mcreavy@softwareag.com or Adele.carveley@softwareag.com