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Through the looking glass: turning digital fantasy into reality

Introducing tech solutions can not only cut costs, but also improve services

According to an extensive survey carried out by Advanced, 51 per cent of British organisations see Brexit as an opportunity for growth and prosperity, leaving 49 per cent to consider it a threat. In fact, Britain’s largest public sector entity, the NHS, sees Brexit as more of a real threat to business survival (57 per cent) than respondents in other sectors (49 per cent). So which half do you fall into – opportunity or threat?

Carried out in October 2016, Advanced’s inaugural annual trends survey of more than 1,000 professionals in the UK also reveals that a shocking 85 per cent of respondents in the public sector believe the government has not provided enough budget to successfully implement its digital agenda.

So how can technology help the sector to ride the turbulence that digital disruption and Brexit continues to cause?

HEALTH AND CARE

With digital technology at the centre of the NHS Five Year Forward View, it is now accepted that better use of data and technology can both improve the quality of our nation’s health and care services, and save money.

By connecting different systems, technology empowers care providers with ways to improve operational efficiencies and employee productivity, reduce errors and risks, and increase the capacity to manage limited resources effectively. With simplified and automated processes in place, it enables staff to spend less time on paperwork and administrative tasks, and apply more focus on improving care.

Mobile solutions such as Advanced’s Caresys Mobile give care workers easy and secure electronic access to patient information and care schedules at the point of care, automating manual processes and empowering employees with the right digital tools to do their job efficiently.

Of course, all this means operating a connected organisation underpinned by a secure infrastructure, something woefully undervalued. Our research shows more than a quarter of British organisations (26 per cent) have left themselves open to the danger of cyber attack.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. While almost 90 per cent of public sector finance professionals still rely on outdated manual processes for managing at least part of their budgeting and forecasting, there are some public sector organisations that are blazing the tech trail to cut costs.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Government restrictions, imposed in 2010, required Islington Council to reduce its controllable spending by 35 per cent. It responded by implementing a budgeting and forecasting solution to replace complicated spreadsheets and improve financial transparency and decision making. After four years the council managed to reduce its core finance costs by 40 per cent, amounting to £3 million in efficiency savings.

However, it’s not just about budgets; the advantages are wider reaching. With organisations having a seamless flow of information between their different departments, decision-making is sharper and quicker, and the opportunity for collaboration more comprehensive, both internally and externally.

Embracing cultural change is the biggest barrier to delivering efficiency benefits in the public sector. By investing in modern technology and reviewing operating processes, organisations are better prepared to respond rapidly to future compliance and regulatory changes. While technology is unable to drive this on its own, it can help lead the transformative revolution that both the government and service users demand.

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