The theme at recent public sector events has been the continued focus on service delivery and efficiency of provision. It has been nearly eight years since the Digital by Default strategy was issued and there has been a slow shift towards adopting the principles and approaches advocated by the strategy and led by the Government Digital Service.
In our view, the scale of ambition and more recently, some notable successes, has increased the number of ‘proof points’ that demonstrate that the strategy and moreover the approach is right. The market has reacted positively, and new entrants and services have helped provide the foundations for government to be an effective deliverer of digital services. However, as a collective effort the public sector and its partners are probably still in second gear; digital by aspiration not digital by default remains the case and the cultural changes required to think and act differently continue to be met with scepticism.
What can be done to reach 5th gear and achieve even greater success?
Valcon is a specialist transformation consultancy. We are independent and work exclusively client side to help shape, deliver and assure programmes. We believe change is best delivered as a series of small scale interventions rather than large, costly and complex endeavours. In our experience of working across market sectors, there are three key building blocks essential to accelerating the drive for digital:
- Value-based design: Abandon large-scale architecting efforts in favour of more selective value-based design. For a leading UK Insurer we reviewed their current operating model and isolated specific functional areas that would benefit from robotic process automation. We helped design a new RPA inspired future and the basis of a business case to underpin this assertion. We did not seek to redraw the entirety of the organisations operating model nor attempt to automate all aspects of service delivery. Targeted investments in this way deliver significantly greater benefit.
- Analyse delivery performance: Focus on proving and even predicting delivery performance to improve stakeholder support and confidence. For a government organisation specialising in ‘big data’ we provided the programme leadership and PMO function. Our reporting approach provided detailed views on the status of each project, moreover a confidence score on how accurate the information was likely to be and by using advanced analytics capabilities, we were able to significantly improve forecasts and outturn estimates. Sophisticated analysis that presents the data in simple terms significantly increases stakeholder confidence and support from senior owners.
- Sustain capability development: Make the necessary investments in people and working environments for them to be successful. For a technology firm, we helped define their global programme and project delivery system spanning a mix of ‘waterfall’ and ‘agile’ projects, including design of the roles and responsibilities of key delivery staff. We supported our client to source and interview staff and subsequently coached and mentored project managers and scrum masters in order to build a long-term, sustainable in-house capability.