Digitisation of the Irish Public Sector
With over 15 years' experience delivering technology solutions to public sector bodies across Ireland, Mike Lillis, Chief Commercial Officer at Storm Technology reflects on the impact of evolving customer and employee expectations and the likely implications of the current global health crisis on public service delivery.
The rise of mobile technology and on-demand data has resulted in a notable but gradual shift in the way we consume services in recent years. However, current restrictions in the face of Covid-19 has rapidly accelerated this rate of change, driving an increase in digital services consumption.
With a more digitally aware public, the public service is being challenged with meeting new customer service expectations. Less accustomed to paper or postal based submissions of government-based processes, like freedom of information requests, parliamentary questions, letters to local TD's or public service representative, this new audience is challenging public sector bodies to rethink their digital strategy.
Similarly, from an operational perspective, local and central government recognise that manual handling of large volumes of paper results in elongated response times creating a perception that there is a lack of efficiency within public sector departments. This dependency on paper can also bring an increased risk of manual error due to incorrect filing or loss of paperwork.
Faced with these challenges, the government's resolution is a strategy of digitisation.
Shifting from the traditional paper-based document management to secure electronic storage using technologies such as EDRMS. These strategies along with targeted workflow allow for digital files to be directed to the relevant areas of the public sector department, group or business unit while adhering to pre-defined security and data governance settings. This ensures efficient response times for the public. Most importantly, the digitisation of this data allows for business intelligence that can monitor and highlight any exceptions or bottlenecks of data that are falling outside of agreed response time for the public.
Like the evolving customer expectations, employee expectations have changed. The recent uptake in remote working has led to increased familiarity with digital engagement technology. Employees now communicate and collaborate beyond email with instant messaging tools allowing teams across one or many departments, to connect with each other in real-time, regardless of geographical location. The ability to break down communication barriers between departments and distance has had a positive effect on employee engagement and in turn on the public sectors ability to efficiently manage its relationship with the public.
The ability to break down communication barriers between departments and distance has had a positive effect on employee engagement and in turn on the public sectors ability to efficiently manage its relationship with the public.
With features like AI and machine learning becoming more and more prevalent in the technology sector, it is only a matter of time before the public sector can expect its next wave of digitisation to bring an even stronger level of customer service to the public.