Five years ago, the government outlined its cloud first policy calling for the public sector to “consider…cloud solutions first before…any other option”. Even so, today four-fifths of local councils still rely on on-premises infrastructure, according to freedom of information requests.
What went wrong? At a time when local government is strapped for cash and facing rising citizen expectations, digital transformation should be a no-brainer. Cloud adoption offers the win-win of drastically reduced spending and modernised digital services.
But for many in local government, it’s a question of balancing risk with reward. For some IT leaders, taking the first steps can be daunting and it can be tempting to put off any digital change to avoid the chance of decisions ending badly.
Certainly, embarking on any kind of change – and these days we’re seeing it increasingly at scale – requires careful consideration. It’s not like local government has money to waste, so the right decisions need to be made first time. Yet, around £128m of every £1bn invested in new projects is currently lost due to poor performance, according to the Project Management Institute.
The initial process of discovery, arguably the most critical part of any transformation project, can help establish a clear business case, assess digital readiness, develop a long-term strategy, and more. Taking the time early to do research, set benchmarks and apply insight can lead to the technology you’re looking for, and pay dividends further down the line.
And this isn’t somewhere to save time and cut costs. Simply put, the more local authorities invest at the beginning of a transformation project, the easier and more cost effective digital change usually is.
Such change is inevitable, but rather than it being something that happens to you, you should arm yourself with customer insight, service area requirements and awareness of potential roadblocks to give you a firm basis for digital transformation. It also makes it easier to stay focused on the right goals, embed a culture that accelerates change and respond to future demands.
On this journey, local authorities should follow in the footsteps of proven approaches and consider what help they need to make change happen. Finding the right partner will bring the skills, capacity and objectivity to discover the right opportunities and allow the authority to minimise the risk of any transformation project.
This will enable organisations to go further and faster than they could on their own, facilitating bold and ambitious innovation and breaking boundaries. After all, if you don’t start knowing where you’re going, the likelihood is you’ll never arrive.
Mubashar Hussain, cloud practice lead, Agilisys
Column sponsored and supplied by Agilisys