Technology leaders warn of 'data blindness' in government IT

A group of leaders in the technology sector have come together to warn against the public sector continuing its era of "data blindness."

The news follows an announcement made by Prime Minister David Cameron that he has a vision of a "smarter state" which involves the government making better use of digital and technology.

Civica, a provider of specialist systems, software, technology and outsourcing services, has published a report calling for a shake-up in IT-enabled transformation in the public sector.

The document is a culmination of warnings from technology leaders that unless significant changes are made to the way the public sector works, it will be unable to make the Prime Minister's 'One Nation' vision a reality.

According to the report, priorities for government and other public bodies going forward should include digital, increasing its data IQ, developing a self-service and social nation and committing to outcome-based intervention driven by an overall cultural shift.

It notes that we live in an age where people are constantly plugged into a myriad of systems, devices and social networks, which creates more data than ever before.

However, there is a challenge for all organisations when it comes to making sense of this data to realise tangible benefits for the end user.

"From a data insight and analytics perspective, the last ten years have seen public sector organisations progress only 20 per cent of the way through the business transformation journey, with the remaining 80 per cent to be delivered over the next ten years. For innovation to happen we need to step out of this era of data blindness," added the firm's CTO John Hood.

Huge culture shift required

The report also places an emphasis on public sector organisations to improve the customer experience, develop all services with the user in mind and develop a more joined-up approach to procurement.

However, the technology leaders who developed the report all agreed the that necessary changes will not take place without a radical shift in culture.

Such a culture shift will need to be driven by CIOs with a vision that goes beyond the parameters of just technology.

"The CIO crucial to any IT-based transformation project. In reality, it's never about technology; it's all about change management and being willing to bite the bullet," claimed Jonathan Mitchell, CIO at global recruitment firm Harvey Nash, which was involved in the making of the report.