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Civil servants ready to adopt digital transformation

Sopra Steria has released its second annual Government Digital Trends Survey and this year's report reveals that civil servants are prepared to embrace digital transformation.

To compile information for its report, the company surveyed 1,235 civil servants across all grades and departments. Three quarters of those surveyed believe that digital transformation has impacted their work and 33 per cent said that it was a large part of their jobs, which echoes 2015's survey.

In this year's survey though, more civil servants were aware of what digital transformation could accomplish. They have also begun to look at the topic more broadly, with 71 per cent of respondents stating that digital transformation will lead to a change in the structure of how services are delivered.

Sopra Steria also highlighted civil servants' concerns about three key issues facing government. While they admitted that digital transformation benefited government staff and citizens, they realised that measuring these benefits still remains a challenge. 25 per cent of respondents said that there was no relevant measure of success.

The biggest hurdle to digital transformation is a lack of digital training. A quarter of the civil servants surveyed said that they had not received the training they required to accomplish their roles at work. 53 per cent of respondents said that a lack of digital training has been the biggest barrier to shifting services online.

Putting the data collected by civil servants to good use also poses a problem with 65 per cent of those surveyed stating that they have a good understanding of their customers and services users. However only 55 per cent gather information systematically and only 43 per cent use custom behaviour data. Big data presents a number of benefits to civil servants but 40 per cent of them do not know how their department is currently benefiting from it.

The Managing Director of Government at Sopra Steria, John Baskerville, said: “There is an opportunity for the UK to continue to lead the way globally on digital transformation within government. The signs are positive – civil servants are starting to think differently about digital transformation, but the warning signs are also there. The next five years need to see a further move from just front-end improvements towards fully transformative digital projects in government. A lack of consistency in measuring digital transformation needs to be addressed urgently as digital with government matures.

"Skills and resources are becoming an increasingly critical issue; support is needed to help departments cope with the new demands their staff are facing. The benefits of digital transformation can truly be realised as government moves beyond just citizen engagement and into the wider reform of end-to-end business processes.”

Image Credit: Wichy / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.