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Governments failing to future-proof digital projects

The study commissioned by Zaizi also reveals that legacy infrastructure is hindering the adoption of automation and emerging technologies

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Legacy infrastructure is stagnating the shift to digital processes in governments
Legacy infrastructure is stagnating the shift to digital processes in governments

More than half of UK government departments are seeing slow or partial progress in digitising their processes, with even less exploring automation, a new study suggests.

 

Redesigning Government’s Digital DNA, commissioned by Zaizi, an end-to-end digital services provider, finds that legacy infrastructure is hindering the adoption of automation and other emerging technologies across 95 central government departments, bodies and organisations.

 

As a result, government digital transformation projects are not as efficient as they could be and not future-proofed to take advantage of emerging technologies and meet the ever-rising expectations of the British public, the report states.

 

Lack of skills, expertise and vision

 

The reason why departments are seeing poor progress could be because government departments are lacking the skills, expertise and vision needed to execute robust digital transformation projects.

 

Legacy infrastructure is also stagnating progress with two thirds of respondents (65 per cent) reporting their existing ICT infrastructure is hindering or partially hindering the success of implementing digital services and automating their processes.

 

The survey also found that half of digital transformation projects are overlooking technologies that include: Internet of Things (IoT), robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

 

When asked if their organisation had the skills and knowledge to apply these technologies, respondents replied overwhelmingly that they either ‘didn’t know’ or had none. RPA scored the highest for no skills (33 per cent), while one quarter (26 per cent) said that they had ‘some’ skills to implement IoT. Two fifths (39 per cent) did not know if they had the skills and knowledge to apply AI.

“The risk is that current projects will become a burden on the public purse because in five years’ time, or less, they will need to be revamped”

In contrast, respondents were more confident about their ability to implement more established technology platforms such as cloud services and software-as-a-service with 44 per cent and 29 per cent respectively stating they had ‘quite a lot of’ skills and knowledge in these areas.

 

“Every organisation is a software company of some guise in today’s world, yet this research indicates that government is yet to embrace this mindset. However, it’s hard to do so when you don’t have the skills and expertise to imagine digital transformation projects not just in the context of today, but also tomorrow,” said Aingaran Pillai, CEO, Zaizi.

 

“The risk is that current projects will become a burden on the public purse because in five years’ time, or less, they will need to be revamped.”

He continued: “Brexit looms large on the horizon and will compound the digital limbo government departments find themselves in. In the short term, [they] will need to digitise rapidly and smartly to minimise disruption to how government does business, but longer term now is the time to think more creatively about how this digital chasm is addressed from early talent capture through to embracing new ways working.”

 

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