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Über dieses Buch

For businesses large and small, investment in digital technologies is now a priority essential for success. Digitizing Government provides practical advice for understanding and implementing digital transformation to increase business value and improve client engagement, and features case studies from the private and public sectors.





Governments and public sector organizations across the world are trying to balance essential, and often conflicting, demands: to deliver better, more relevant public services centred on the needs of the citizens and businesses they serve; to reduce costs and improve the efficiency of their operations; and to reinvent supply chains to deliver services quickly, cheaply and effectively.
Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson

Online Services — A Road Much Travelled


chapter 1. An International Problem

Over the past 20 years many governments have promised (often repeatedly and at great length) to use technology to modernize public services. Yet most have also struggled to make long-term improvements on anything like the scale of reinvention and innovation seen in the best of the private sector.
Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson

chapter 2. The UK’s Journey, A Lesson for Us All

The apparent inability to exploit technology in a genuinely transformational way in the UK public sector sits particularly uneasily with the UK’s reputation as a pioneer in computing. After all, it was the UK that brought the world figures such as Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing and Tim Berners-Lee, and innovations from Colossus to the BBC Micro, Sinclair ZX-80, ARM and most recently the Raspberry Pi. Add to this the fact that the British civil service itself was an early pioneer in the use of computers — and something appears to have gone seriously wrong.
Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson

chapter 3. Decades of Hope

In the previous chapter we set out the wider context within which the UK hoped to redevelop its public services — and highlighted some of the problems of organizational culture. This chapter reviews some of the modernization and technology-led initiatives of the major political parties.
Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson

chapter 4. 2010 and Beyond

As the first formal coalition government in the UK since the Second World War, some way of fusing and reconciling aspects of both parties’ manifestos and policy commitments needed to be found. This was achieved through the ‘Coalition Agreement’. The influence of Conservative Party and Liberal Democratic Party thinking whilst in opposition, together with some of the independent contributions discussed in Chapter 3, make their presence felt throughout this joint document issued after the two parties formed their Coalition government. Specific IT-related commitments include:
We will take steps to open up government procurement and reduce costs; and we will publish government ICT [information and communications technology] contracts online.
We will create a level playing field for open-source software and will enable large ICT projects to be split into smaller components.
We will require full, online disclosure of all central government spending and contracts over £25,000.
We will create a new ‘right to data’ so that government-held datasets can be requested and used by the public, and then published on a regular basis.
These echo earlier policy ideas that provide a common strand across all the major UK political parties — notably the efforts to open up the IT marketplace to better, more effective competition and to drive a level playing field for open source software.
Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson

chapter 5. Establishing a New Normal — Remaking Public Services for the Digital Age

Whilst government was preoccupied with its repeated efforts to move online, elsewhere we have seen the emergence of some truly digital organizations. These digital organizations use new business models and operating approaches to take advantage of opportunities created by societal and technological changes — such as increasingly available high-speed connectivity, access to huge amounts of real-time information on every aspect of the organization’s operating activities, and the convenience of digital media delivery models. However, a bit like other popular terms such as ‘Cloud’, ‘Open’ and ‘Transformation’, we recognize that ‘Digital’ is at risk of becoming meaningless through overuse, abuse and misunderstanding. We intentionally therefore use digital as an umbrella term for organizational values and practices that capitalize on the opportunities presented by the internet age.
Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson

The Big Idea


chapter 6. Establishing the Cultural Framework

We describe in this book an approach to the design of public services that centres on citizens and the front-line employees who provide those services — not about digital as merely existing services delivered on a computer screen. To succeed, it will involve a strong political and leadership commitment to a meaningful untangling of the fractured services, systems, organizations and processes currently in place. This new approach to user-driven service design needs to be underpinned by a much better architecture — a set of digital building blocks that enable us to reforge public services around its users in much more flexible and relevant ways.
Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson

chapter 7. Implementing a Mature Platform

We have briefly already touched upon the essential role of platforms. It’s worth spending a bit more time on this discussion: the concept is an important part of achieving an open architecture. But we need to be precise in our use of the term, since the word ‘platform’ tends to get used (and abused) in different ways in different contexts. Let’s begin with a review of several viewpoints of how different characteristics of platforms can help us understand the breadth of their application.
Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson

chapter 8. Future Digital Public Services

For many citizens, local services are our closest and most common interaction with government, and the public authorities who provide them are an important bedrock of local democracy and accountability. In the UK, this local landscape is surprisingly complex: there are hundreds of principal authorities: 27 county councils, 55 unitary authorities, 32 London boroughs (plus the Corporation of the City of London), 36 Metropolitan boroughs, 201 districts, 32 Scottish unitary authorities, 22 Welsh unitary authorities, and 26 Northern Ireland districts.
Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson

Service Providers and Digital Delivery


chapter 9. Organizational Structures and Digital Transformation

Throughout this book we have defined digital transformation quite broadly, encompassing everything from the cultural and organizational changes required to the related use of new digital technologies in order to enable major improvements — such as enhancing user services, streamlining operations or creating entirely new services. Fundamental to this intentionally broad definition is the realignment of technology and business models to more effectively engage users. Restating our argument, our contention is that this breadth of view is an essential element of any viable digital transformation strategy, and that limiting the concept of digital delivery is both naive and harmful — and likely to condemn governments to repeat the cycle of self-similar rhetoric of ‘better public services’ of the past 20 or so years.
Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson

chapter 10. Flexible Architectures for Large-scale Systems

In the past, public services often procured information systems that were ‘built to last’ when in fact the real requirement was that they should be ‘built for change’. Their tight vertical integration meant that modifying any part of a system often impacted upon the entire system. What should have been a simple update of a business policy, calculation or rule requiring a few hours’ work turned into a complex, bureaucratic and code-intensive process that instead took months of tedious effort. Such brittle systems built on ‘telephone book’ lists of upfront requirements ironically made it harder for policy to be nimbly adapted, yet the one certainty in government is the need to be flexible to meet constantly changing requirements and alterations in policy.
Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson

chapter 11. Agile Processes and Practices

Change cannot mean chaos: in most organizations all activities, and change activities in particular, are governed by a plethora of formal and informal procedures, practices, processes and regulations. These governance mechanisms provide an essential function in managing and controlling how software is delivered into production. However, we have also seen first-hand an overabundance of these controls in many organizations — to the point that they can severely limit the organization’s ability to be effective.
Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson

chapter 12. API Economy, Ecosystems and Engagement Models

Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, technological advances have driven fundamental change in how applications are created and deployed. Technologies such as cloud computing, mobile and the broader realization of smart devices have brought a growing reality to the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) vision for a massively intelligent, instrumented and interconnected world.
Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson

chapter 13. Conclusion and Recommendations

Our purpose in this book has been to examine the long-standing gap between political aspiration and the desire to use technology to improve public services, and — most importantly — to identify and recommend ways to close this gap. If the move to ‘digital’ is not merely to become a lazy rebadge of earlier online and e-government initiatives, government and its wider service provider and supplier ecosystem needs to learn and apply the lessons of successful digital organizations rather than merely continue to throw technology at existing services, processes and organizational structures.
Alan Brown, Jerry Fishenden, Mark Thompson


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