In my time, 15 years improving the public sector, and so many projects I lost count. In every single one, the IT is always a barrier. Why is that? Because it is almost always designed as a stand alone IT solution, and not viewed as a solution to a service end to end - systemically. And I was used to be IT and still remember...
The managers who received the suited IT sales person usually tells me a grief story, several years after the visit. Hopes dashed, money spent, and the system is installed and wont be budged. For managers who are increasingly searching for easy solutions to austerity, IT is attractive, and so is outsourcing, and so are sharing management teams, and so are... etc.
CRM is a project that failed. The systems are still there but the concept is meaningless to people in need. Those still working tey main functions have been switched off.
The front office - back office system is based on simple transactional flows - thats not the majority of work in local councils. The indexing and scanning process introduces the most admin waste I have ever seen anywhere.
The choice based letting system, taken from Delft, is hugely wasteful, and is quietly being modified out of existence in many councils, that are trying to work helping people with their housing problems. This system actually prevents people getting the help they need.
The ERP systems are hugely wasteful, in the way they were implemented. I end up working round them.
Digital front ends - I have never seen one that works for the majority of the demands that service gets. The planning one hardly ever used for real demands.
Then the national systems - thats an international disgrace. The IT providers had an inkling, in some cases, that the national NHS and integrated control systems would not work.
In the article that I am referring to here, they talk about the IT focusing on the transactional simple flows - but these flows only take up around 20% of the resource of the council to deal with. I would suggest managers focus on the 80%, those more complex issues, and those most needy, and fixing the root causes in our communities.
So, I am not disagreeing with the benefits of robotic automated systems, I would suggest that its a matter of priority, and busy public sector managers would do well to focus on the real problems to solve. Before I was helping the public sector, I was in IT, and I can see how it works from the IT industry perspective. Now I am on the other side of the fence, and I can see that IT has to follow the redesigned service, and not the other way around.
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