Building back better: Government services falling behind on digital adoption, as red flags reported

As the UK government and public sector seek to “better recover” from the COVID-19 pandemic, funding for connectivity is proving key to successful growth. We examine this in more detail; based on insights from Neos Network’s Digital Transformation Report.

The public sector is left behind in the digital age due to insufficient investment in core IT connectivity systems. A new report has found that the public sector only meets about a third of the key indicators for successful digital transformation initiatives, underperforming all other industries included in the study.

These real indicators were identified in a survey of 247 medium to large UK organizations and providers of data, cloud and network infrastructure services. Overall, four out of five UK businesses are unable to make full use of their plans with the current connectivity deals. Only 20% of UK companies say they are able to deliver on digital transformation plans.

The findings, conducted by Neos Networks, the leading dedicated internet access and business connectivity provider, highlight the challenges facing the public sector when it comes to “building better again”. The report also focuses on what is needed to ensure UK businesses have future-ready systems and how many businesses need connectivity investment to thrive.

The findings come from an independent report by the Digital Economy Council, which found that the state of government’s digital services is “one of the biggest barriers” to public service innovation.

In response to Neos Network’s digital transformation report, 84% of companies say their digital transformation plans have accelerated due to COVD-19. Almost half (49%) of those surveyed had their plans accelerated by a year or more. Almost all organizations (98%) indicated that they see digital transformation as important to their future strategy.

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The factors affecting the success of digital transformation in the public sector

The report found that four out of five companies experienced a “very successful” digital transformation success rate when up to 20% or more of their digital transformation budget was dedicated to connectivity or networking. For companies that spend 10% or less of their budget on connectivity or networking, the success rate dropped to one in five, demonstrating the fundamental role that connectivity plays in digital evolution.

The report highlighted 14 “keys to success” around digital transformation. The following factors are the ones that are most common to very successful companies:

  • 90% – Recognizing the significant benefits of SD-WAN (including proactive management, better performance intelligence and control of applications)
  • 74% – The IT department is always involved in specifying and implementing connectivity solutions for digital transformation
  • 72% – Connectivity and network budget accounts for 10% or more of total digital transformation budget
  • 72% — have a “very supportive” telecom partner
  • 63% – view securing remote internet connections as very important

Industries that have embraced these digital transformation indicators are more likely to achieve “very successful” digital transformation outcomes. Energy and utility companies are best positioned – with an average of seven “keys to success”. Closely followed by the transport sector with just under seven keys.

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The lowest-scoring industry was government and public sector, with just over five indicators met. However, the reality is that organizations from all sectors are struggling, with none having more than half of the 14 identified ‘keys to success’.

“Given the current economic landscape, UK businesses are in dire need of investment, particularly in the digital space,” said Andy Bell, Public Sector Sales Manager at Neos Networks. “We know that connectivity is absolutely imperative as organizations drive digital transformation, and this report validates that: Organizations’ digital initiatives are more successful when there is a real focus on connectivity.

“When COVID-19 emerged and forced remote working, many ‘digital dinosaur’ organizations had no choice but to invest in connectivity. However, it is important to keep the momentum as the UK needs advanced connectivity if it is to deliver economic growth in the current economic climate.

“And looking to the future, the education sector must not lag behind when it comes to digitization: the next generation must have access to modern digital systems. After all, they are the ones who will drive the economy of tomorrow.”

Lyall Creswell, Founder and CEO of Transport Exchange Group, also commented, “There is no doubt that COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation initiatives. In our industry, this has been largely driven by changing consumer behavior and the huge increase in online purchases and delivery. Consumers have warmed to the idea of ​​using e-commerce for everything from grocery shopping to financial transactions, and this has had a massive impact on the logistics industry.

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“One of the biggest problems in our industry is the skills shortage – most courier and freight forwarding companies do not have dedicated IT resources to design an adequate digital transformation strategy and implement the right technology. Sometimes there is also a reluctance to fully support digitization. But there was a sharp contrast in terms of digital workflow adoption before and during the pandemic.”

“It’s easy to get bogged down in day-to-day work and put off big projects like digital transformation for next year,” said Pete Hanlon, CTO at Moneypenny. “It’s also easy to believe that this is just a technology project and not a business shift. Without the right focus and buy-in from all parts of the business, digital transformation will never happen.

“Companies that are more agile and adopt a digital-first approach have been best placed to navigate the challenges of the past two years. I believe that over the next few years we will see unprecedented levels of investment in digital transformation as more companies adopt a similar digital-first approach. This investment can only be good for the post-pandemic recovery.”

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