Six steps to creating an effective, technology-enabled public sector

Johannesburg, 20 Jul 2020
Read time 4min 00sec
Kate Mollett, Regional Manager, Africa at Veeam
Kate Mollett, Regional Manager, Africa at Veeam

There’s no doubt the public sector understands that technology is essential to effective service delivery. Some of the greatest successes by government departments have been driven by the smart adoption of technology, and even when there have been bumps along the road, strong technology foundations have ensured the impact on citizens has been minimal.

However, Kate Mollett, Regional Manager, Africa at Veeam, explains that one of the biggest challenges facing the public sector remains the siloed nature of government departments. “In spite of efforts to align IT strategies across the public sector, they remain fragmented. Just as an example, each department has its own CIO and its own technology strategy. While this ensures that they are able to deliver against their own mandate, it also means that there are many missed opportunities for optimisation and consolidation.”

The global pandemic has seen the public sector taking a hard look at how it can leverage technology to improve service delivery. However, with budgets likely to be reduced, they also know they are going to have to do more with less.

Mollett says there are a number of strategic actions the public sector can take to help it achieve this goal.

  • Take advantage of the impetus provided by the pandemic

“There’s no doubt that having to deliver services with staff members working from home has caused the government to re-evaluate many of its preconceptions. What they have learned over this time can be used to reinvent the way services are delivered, but they need to move quickly while the memory of what has been accomplished is still fresh.”

  • Centralisation is key

“One of the challenges facing the public sector are the fragmented IT strategies across different government departments. Even though they have different mandates, there are many opportunities to adopt cloud-based services that can service all departments. Even more important is the need to create a centralised hub for all government data, allowing departments to seamlessly share information.”

  • Standardisation of data

“While a central hub for all government data is essential, this will only deliver value if there is a concerted effort to ensure that all data is stored in a consistent, standardised and, most importantly, digital format. There are many areas where critical information is still stored on paper and many others where archived data is stored on a multitude of backup media.

There needs to be a single strategy to digitise information still in analogue form and standardise all data to ensure it is universally accessible, today and in 10 or even 100 years’ time.”

  • 3-2-1 backup rule

“In storing and backup of data, it’s important to follow the 3-2-1 rule, which is a best practice and simply means that there should be at least three different copies of data, copies are stored in two different media and one backup copy is kept offsite.”

  • Use best practice

“This may sound like a mammoth task, but there are many examples, both locally and internationally, where these kinds of projects have delivered massive value to the government. By following established best practice, they can learn from the previous successes and avoid many of the pitfalls of this kind of undertaking.”

  • Get the basics right

“With every technology project there is always the temptation to try and build a solution that does everything. In order to create a new way of delivering services, they need a more functional, back-to-basics approach that starts simply and doesn’t over-complicate matters.

“This extends to every facet of the IT environment, from security to business continuity, from the network to the application. Focusing on what each element needs to do, rather than what people want it to do, can deliver a more streamlined and cost-effective solution.”

  • Put the citizen at the centre

“Customer experience is the number one priority for businesses today and it should be no different for the government. Putting the citizen at the centre of any technology strategy ensures that service delivery, and making it easy to get things done, becomes the number one priority.

“Just like any business, customer satisfaction should be any government’s singular focus,” she says.

Read more about the challenges faced by governments in leveraging and protecting their data by downloading this white paper.

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