Public Sector Technology Predictions for 2022
Like many industries, the Public Sector has been impacted significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent changes it has enforced. Some might say that Public Sector organisations were already on their way to digital transformation as part of the Government’s Digital Strategy, while others view the pandemic as the catalyst needed to make public sector organisations adopt the changes they’ve long needed to make.
What is clear, however, is that technology has been at the forefront of the rapid digital transformation we’ve seen across all businesses over the last two years. But what has 2022 got in store for digital transformation in the public sector? Here, our Head of Sales for the Public Sector, Chris Fletcher, reveals his top tech predictions for the sector.
The changing face of digital
Before we begin to look at the predictions for the year ahead, it’s imperative to understand where we are in terms of digital and how we got here.
While technology has always been key in driving digital transformation and adhering to the Government’s digital agenda, the process has gathered pace throughout the pandemic, with organisations accelerating to become more agile and responsive to the demands of employees and citizens alike. Since March 2019, the needs of employees and citizens have changed, highlighting just how important it is to provide 24/7 digital access from anywhere for everyone.
As we move into a world that looks like something we’re more familiar with, one thing that will not change is the acceleration of digital transformation and the demand for more organisations to get on board. The public sector will continue to work in the way it has become accustomed to, becoming more dynamic in its working practices as a result. Internal decision making will be fast-tracked thanks to collaboration tools, while traditionally lengthy and complex purchasing processes will also become simplified in their approach.
The drivers for transformation
The key driver for technology transformation is how organisations adopt hybrid working - something all organisations under the public sector banner will have to embrace to thrive and keep up with changing demands from workers and citizens. Those that choose not to adopt or avoid operating in this way run the risk of experiencing what I call a “brain drain”, as their best employees leave for other public or private sector organisations who have taken the time to implement hybrid working practices.
There will also be a heightened focus on automation. The traditional manual operation of simple processes is not only expensive but offers a poor citizen experience and is not something that will be accepted by the public moving forward. We’ve seen that a transactional approach and service is already expected and will only continue to be an expectation of all public sector organisations.
Technology predictions for the public sector
I foresee the following technology trends for the year 2022, and probably for many years beyond for that matter…
We’ve already mentioned how the changing demands of citizens are driving technology adoption and this is set to continue to initiate change in the year ahead. For those who haven’t already adopted self-service or automation-driven technology, we predict this will be a significant area of focus and one that will ensure that citizens experience efficient responses to common problems or queries.
Using technology to automate decisions will also help to improve internal processes and free up team members to focus on more pressing issues. For example, automation could be used to pre-authorise blue badges or speed up planning decisions, revolutionising the customer experience while supporting internal staff.
Security has always been at the forefront of public sector organisations’ digital strategies and has in some ways, also been considered a barrier to technology adoption. Public sector organisations have traditionally adopted a risk-averse mentality rather than focussing on the benefits to the public and how technology could securely improve the service they provide.
However, as the pace of technology increases, this will become even more prominent. As more services become digitised and rolled out to citizens for access anywhere, anytime, we could see more vulnerabilities develop as cyber attackers take advantage of the new systems. It’s therefore important for public sector organisations to strike a balance between productivity and new ways of working while maintaining and optimising security across the organisation and into the homes of citizens.
Cloud has been high on the agenda for the Public Sector for some time now however, the pandemic has further demonstrated the benefits of cloud adoption for public sector organisations as they navigate their way to digitising their services. By opting for a cloud approach, public sector organisations can remove the infrastructure investment needed to update systems and services, delivering both cost efficiencies and potential space-saving initiatives.
Moving to the cloud also enables organisations to become more flexible, allowing them to embrace changes outside of technology like agile working. While remote working might have been previously restricted by legacy technology, the cloud allows organisations to promote an improved work/life balance while delivering the same secure experience found in the office.
SD-Technology has been considered the next-generation networking solution for a while, however as hybrid working and the adoption of cloud services become more prevalent, SD-WAN will become a greater priority as an enabler for connecting employees, offices and citizens.
While our technology predictions include some big changes for public sector organisations, it’s important to remember that budgets are often a big constraint for the sector. When it comes to spending priorities, organisations will need to consider all their options before making a decision and this can be a lengthy process. Therefore, I don’t predict an immediate technology revolution in 2022, but I do expect to see some permanent changes in the way services are accessed and delivered for the better across the sector.
If you’re an IT professional in a public sector organisation and want to know more about how you can deliver transformational IT within your budget and timescales, reach out to us today and book a no-obligation meeting with the team.