The Transformation of Everyday Work Lives Through Cloud Computing

The UK government’s public cloud-first initiative has benefits beyond value for money. Public cloud solutions can have a transformative effect on the everyday work lives of employees in the public sector. As the spectre of Brexit looms large and civil servants are tasked with greater and greater workloads, we examine some of the ways that a public cloud computing platform could help to unlock the potential of the public-sector workforce.

The demands of Brexit

Since the EU referendum, the workload of the civil service – particularly those in Brexit-facing departments like Defra, BEIS, and DCMS – has increased dramatically. According to a TUC study, public sector workers account for 36% of the 2.1bn hours of unpaid overtime that workers in the UK did in 2016, despite representing just 26% of the workforce. The triggering of article 50 has only compounded the pressure, with time now limited for departments to lay the foundations for a future outside of the EU.

In fact, the situation is so dire that one in eight of the civil service job cuts that were enforced after 2010 have been reversed since the EU referendum, with a total of 11,500 new jobs created. In departments like Defra, the need for recruitment is so great that Brexit-related staff increases are likely to fully reverse the post-2010 job cuts. Clearly, civil servants are overworked, under resourced, and struggling to keep up with the demands of an imminent EU exit, particularly within the context of an already-stretched Whitehall that’s still reeling from the government’s austerity and reform agenda.

The problems with legacy architecture

But Brexit is only one piece of the puzzle. Another aspect of the problem lies with the aging legacy systems which are still at the heart of the digital infrastructure of many public-sector organisations. Legacy IT (defined by a report from the National Audit Office as “systems and applications that have been operationally embedded within a business function but superseded by newer and more effective technologies”) can be an enormous barrier to productivity in public sector organisations.

From inconsistencies between systems to multiple systems doing the same job, legacy architectures can be incredibly complex, and frequently produce astonishingly high levels of IT debt. This all results in more work for public sector employees and, coupled with the demands of Brexit, it’s placing an unbearable strain on the day-to-day work lives of employees in the public sector.

Public cloud computing solutions

Could Brexit, in some sense, turn out to be a catalyst for change when it comes to digital transformation? The onus is now on the public sector to evolve and lift the burden on their overextended workforce. Part of the reason why there are so many problems with legacy architecture stems from the fact that complexity arises when systems which were designed to be autonomous need to be integrated together. The implementation of a single cloud computing platform like ServiceNow could have enormous practical benefits for employees in the public sector, and provide significant gains in productivity and job satisfaction for the public-sector workforce.

The advantages of cloud computing solutions – particularly in comparison to legacy systems – are numerous. It can help governments to streamline workflow systems and improve mission effectiveness, all of which cuts down the amount of time public sector employees spend on boring, labour-intensive tasks, and allows them to focus on the bigger picture. In addition, public cloud platforms can automate and scale service delivery, meaning that public sector work can be made much more cost and time-efficient, and allow management to deploy resources more effectively. From easy-to-use service portals to workflow systems enabled across departments, the uses of cloud computing reach far and wide, and if it’s utilised effectively, cloud computing can have a transformative effect upon the everyday work lives of employees.

It’s also important to remember that in the near future, we’re likely to see more stringent controls around citizen data, with GDPR set to be enforced in May 2018. ServiceNow can protect data through its structured response engine, which prioritises threats based on impact before resolving them. In the event of citizen data breaches, this is likely to alleviate pressure on already overworked public sector employees.

With Brexit looming, there’s no better time to resolve the problems of legacy system architectures and effect radical change in the life of public sector workers through an innovative cloud computing platform.

Alex Osborne

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