Streamlined Efficiencies for Public Sector Through Intelligent Automation, ServiceNow NowForum 2017

 

The shift to cloud, services-based computing and new efficiencies brought about by intelligent automation was always going to be tough for the public sector. This truth is predominantly down to security concerns surrounding governmental data workloads. Once we have collectively accepted this reality, globally, then we can start to work towards the road ahead.

We tabled this open reality as a foundational truth to introduce its public sector technology implementation panel at the ServiceNow NowForum London 2017. Speakers  from our own team as well as the UK Home Office explained how practical deployments in the public sector space, have most usually featured a combination of on-premises solutions and cloud native technologies.

The goal all public agencies and departments will now be working towards, is one of streamlining government services to improve mission effectiveness.

Streamlining mission effectiveness

Of particular note here is the value of configuration management. Bringing systems in line with strategic digital objectives through configuration that is supported by intelligent automation has helped government departments more quickly see the value in new cloud services.

In this regard, the UK Home Office has openly stated that the Home Office Executive Committee has now embraced (and in fact is now demanding) change to bring online cloud services-based computing to the fore.

Of course, things are different in the public sector because not all of the same commercial pressures and drivers exist and work as they would in the private sector. With every segment of funding requiring public policy approval, we can also see that there are skills issues as IT departments and teams need to move to digitally-transformed operations.

For the public sector, it is widely agreed that we can combat this issue by working in open collaborative groups and avoiding silo-based development.

Digital reform breadth and scope

Looking at the wider status of digital reform programmes and initiatives now being developed, we know that digitization in the public sector will extend into every area of operations from administration (and, in the UK, in Whitehall) through to prisons and every other level of public services.

Given the matrix of departmental complexity facing digital migrations in the public space, ServiceNow is in a special position due to its expertise in and knowledge of working with multiple workflows and processes (and the management dashboards that sit above both) in concurrent operational environments.

But this concurrency of operations should also serve as a lesson. That is to say, public bodies need to architect their platforms with an inherent appreciation for data segregation so that specific sensitive information is only shared with those groups or individuals that should have access to it.

Public sector User eXperience (UX)

Looking at the shift to digital that government departments are making, wider technologies like biometrics will eventually be applied, so a system-level shift is happening at all levels. In line with these developments, the public sector reflects moves seen in the private sector that demand more consumer-like technology functionality for the enterprise-level tools being used every day in the workplace.

We can definitively say that so-called User eXperience (UX) has entered the public sector’s appreciation of technology.

We must also appreciate and realize that the public sector is different in the sense that a customer’s first language could be any one of 30 or 40 different world languages for any particular user. This again means that the front end needs to be eminently configurable and manageable through the controls offered by the ServiceNow Platform.

Further, the public sector is implementing technologies including Skype for Business and even chat platforms to a degree. For a public body with (for example) 15 divisions, as we stand in 2017 we might expect perhaps two of that total to have moved to use chat applications and other related social tools.

State of federal automation

With so much of the work in public sector digital reform currently in a state of flux, we need some benchmarks for the future. ServiceNow’s October 2017 survey Today’s State of Federal Automation has revealed that 41% percent of federal decision makers indicate they need intelligent machines to keep up with the rising volume of everyday work, but the adoption of machine learning in the federal sector is stymied by their existing legacy tools.

So the road ahead for public sector technology is dynamic, connected and transformative. There is a wide appreciation of the need to eradicate paper-based systems and outdated elements of administration that rely on legacy technologies, and move to a more connected system of services provision enabled by intelligent automation.

When the public sector grasps the opportunity for streamlined efficiencies as it is doing, we will finally be able to deliver the smart government services needed for the smart cities of tomorrow.

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Chris Pope
Chris Pope is a strategy leader at ServiceNow, helping customers transform their IT with enterprise service management. With more than 15 years of experience in driving enterprise-class technologies for Global 2000 companies, Pope has a proven track record of managing large-scale process and technical projects with global reach. Prior to ServiceNow, Pope worked at leading financial institutions UBS, NYSE Euronext and Lehman Brothers. He holds a degree in electronic engineering from De Montfort University in the UK.

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