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Outgoing Socitm president sees limited progress on digital

24/04/15

Nick Roberts has told the organisation's conference that authorities are 'still at an early stage in the journey' and need to ask questions about services

Public authorities still have a long way to go in realising the potential of digital services, according to the outgoing president of public services IT association Socitm.

Nick RobertsNick Roberts, who is also head of ICT at the London Borough of Croydon, was speaking at the organisation's spring conference. He said the key feature in achieving the Digital by Default agenda would be that services are designed by "looking from the outside" at the services, and how people have to navigate them.

"It still feels like we're at an early stage in the journey," Roberts said. "At the moment it requires that in transforming transactions we have to have to make some difficult decisions.

"It covers areas such as which services we need to rebuild, which once give us a fundamental opportunity to change the business, and how we integrate and mesh these together. It's a case of fitting the jigsaw pieces into existing business."

He said that a number of questions have to be asked. These include what type of platform are public authorities trying to build, and which will provide the foundation stones for doing things differently. Cloud services should play an important role, and he cited reports that about 50% of the initiatives to move to cloud are coming from business rather than ICT leaders.

Other questions surround identifying processes that can make the greatest contributions to efficiencies, identifying the applications that need to change, and whether an organisation should build a solution itself or re-use something already developed by a neighbouring body.

"Sometimes the greatest value is in allowing to collaborate as a community," he said, relating this to the role of Socitm.

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