Building back better: Government services are falling behind in digital adoption, as red flags have been reported

As the UK government and public sector seek to ‘build back better’ after the COVID-19 pandemic, connectivity funding is proving to be key to successful growth. We explore this in more detail; building on the findings of the Neos Network report on digital transformation.

The public sector is left behind in the digital dark age due to insufficient investment in basic IT connectivity systems. A new report has found that the public sector only achieved around a third of key indicators for successful digital transformation initiatives, scoring lower than all other industries involved in the study.

These real-world metrics were identified in a survey of 247 medium and large UK businesses and providers of data, cloud and network infrastructure services. Overall, four out of five UK organizations are unable to scale their plans to their full potential with current connectivity arrangements. Only 20% of UK organizations say they are able to undertake digital transformation plans.

Produced by Neos Networks, a leading provider of internet access and business connectivity, the findings highlight the challenges the public sector faces to ‘build back better’. The report also focuses on what is needed to ensure UK businesses have future-ready systems and how many businesses need investments in connectivity to grow.

The findings follow an independent report by the Digital Economy Council, which said the state of government digital services was “one of the biggest barriers” to innovation in the public service.

Responding to Neos Network’s Digital Transformation Report, 84% of organizations say their digital transformation plans have accelerated due to COVID-19. For almost half (49%) of respondents, these plans have been accelerated by a year or more. Almost all organizations (98%) said they consider digital transformation important to their future strategy.

The factors that influence the success of the digital transformation of the public sector

The report found that four out of five companies saw a “very successful” digital transformation success rate when up to 20% or more of the digital transformation budget was spent on connectivity or networking. For companies allocating 10% or less of their budget to connectivity or networking, the success rate fell to one in five, illustrating the fundamental role connectivity plays in digital development.

The report highlighted 14 “keys to success” surrounding digital transformation. The following factors are most common for high performing companies:

  • 90% — Recognition of the significant benefits of SD-WAN (including proactive management, better performance insights, and application control)
  • 74% — IT is always involved in specifying and implementing connectivity solutions used in digital transformation
  • 72% — Connectivity and networking budget represents 10% or more of overall digital transformation budget
  • 72% — Having a “very supportive” telecom partner
  • 63% — Considering securing remote Internet connections very important

Industries that have adopted these digital transformation metrics are more likely to experience “very successful” digital transformation outcomes. Companies in the energy and utilities sector are the best positioned, holding an average of seven “keys to success”. They are followed closely by the transport sector, which has just under seven keys.

The industry with the lowest score was government and public sector, with just over five indicators satisfied. However, the reality is that organizations in all sectors have work to do, with none demonstrating more than half of the 14 identified “keys to success”.

“With the economic landscape we are seeing at the moment, UK businesses are in desperate need of investment, particularly in the digital sphere,” said Andy Bell, public sector sales director at Neos Networks. “We know that connectivity is absolutely essential when organizations pursue digital transformation and this report confirms it: companies’ digital initiatives are more successful when there is a real focus on connectivity.

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

“And in the longer term, the education sector must not lag behind when it comes to digital: the next generation must have access to up-to-date digital systems. After all, they are the ones who will propel the economy of tomorrow.

Lyall Creswell, Founder and CEO of Transport Exchange Group, also said: “There is no doubt that COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation initiatives. In our industry, this is mainly due to changes in consumer behavior and the huge increase in online shopping and deliveries. Consumers have warmed to the idea of ​​using e-commerce for everything from groceries to financial transactions, and it has had a huge impact on the logistics industry.

“One of the biggest issues in our industry is the skills shortage: most couriers and transport companies do not have dedicated IT resources to develop an appropriate digital transformation strategy and implement the right technology. Sometimes there is also a reluctance to fully support digitization. But there has been a stark contrast around the acceptance of digital workflow before and during the pandemic. »

“It’s easy to get wrapped up in day-to-day work and put off big projects like digital transformation until next year,” said Pete Hanlon, CTO at Moneypenny. “It’s also easy to think that this is just a technology project, rather than a business change. Without the right level of focus and buy-in from all areas of the business, digital transformation will never happen.

“Companies that are more agile and take a digital-first approach have been best positioned to meet the challenges over the past two years. I believe we will see an unprecedented level of investment in digital transformation over the coming years as more businesses adopt a similar digital-first approach, this investment can only be good for post-pandemic recovery.

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Ashley C. Reynolds