Thursday, 25th April 2019
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Lack of funds holding back public sector digital transformation efforts

Three-quarters (75%) of IT decision-makers in the public sector say that digital transformation is one of their organisation’s top three strategic priorities today. Yet, nearly half of those polled (49%) said ‘budget restrictions’ was the top barrier to achieving it. That’s according to a new study commissioned by technology company, Yotta.

The research also identified ‘in-house skills shortages’ (highlighted by 36% of respondents) and ‘outdated systems architecture (referenced by 35%) as key barriers to digital transformation.

Phil Oldbury, director of customer service, Yotta said: “There is huge pressure on every public sector organisation today to do more with less. They have got tighter budgets to meet and fewer people in-house to deliver core services. Some councils clearly see this lack of funding and resources as a barrier to their digital transformation efforts.

“Yet, the public has growing expectations in terms of the quality of service delivery,” he adds. “All of this is effectively pushing organisations to move to digital; deliver efficiencies, improve quality and productivity; and cut costs. It is rapidly becoming a strategic necessity.”

Technology and systems can be the key catalyst to digital transformation, helping councils to kick-start their efforts and enabling them to achieve the savings and efficiency benefits they are looking for. When it comes to the next 12 months, at least, these systems are apparently top of mind across the public sector. 40% of IT decision-makers polled say ‘implementing new digital technology’ is among their organisation’s two main digital transformation priorities over the next year, while 39% cite ‘upgrading existing infrastructure’.

The end goal of this investment is more agile service delivery. Nearly half (45%) of IT decision-makers polled number ‘improved operational efficiency’ among the main benefits they expect their organisation to achieve from digital transformation in the future. Respondents also anticipate that the approach will result in improved engagement with the people using public services. 35% expect ‘enhanced service delivery to public and other stakeholders’ to be among the main benefits their organisation will achieve.

“To be a success over the long-term, though, it is important that digital transformation is a truly organisation-wide initiative,” continued Oldbury. “Its success depends on organisations taking their staff along with them on the journey, training them to understand the technology and ensuring they appreciate why the organisation is changing its approach. But it is also key that initiatives not only have senior management buy-in but are also driven from the top.”

In this context, it may be concerning that 25% of respondents say that their organisation’s ‘head of information systems division/CIO/IT director is primarily responsible for the delivery of their organisation’s digital transformation strategy, and just 13% referenced ‘chief executive’.

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