Canon UK: How public sector digitalisation can deliver the “journey of a lifetime”

As technology helps revolutionise many parts of our everyday lives, it’s no secret that businesses and consumers alike are adopting smart digital solutions. But what about the public sector?

Canon UK has been a major player in the public sector technology space for some time, working with the government for over 30 years to supply a range of solutions and products.

Speaking to ITProPortal following the company’s recent eighth annual parliamentary reception, Bob Pickles, Canon UK’s head of corporate and government affairs, told us that the public sector represents its biggest set of UK customers.

"The need for innovation is the most incredible part of it - it's no secret that the public sector as a whole is under pressure to do more with less," he told us.

"We see our role in that as developing technology solutions that enable that to happen."

Canon is probably best known for its photography and printing offerings, which Pickles describes as “still our core technologies” - but even these are useful propositions to offer to public sector customers, including the UK government.

Pickles gave the example of school exam papers being printed using Canon hardware, and how the company provides managed print services to councils around the country, including Leeds City Council.

Canon UK has also recently launched its first online portal in order to detail the range of services and products it can offer to the Cabinet Office, making it easier for officials to identify the technology they need.

As Matt Warman, MP for Boston and Skegness, and part of the government’s technology advisory team notes, there is currently, "an emphasis on using technology to deliver far more for what the public expects."

The government is perhaps under more scrutiny than any other body or organisation when it comes to how it does business, so working with reliable and successful partners such as Canon can make a huge difference to citizens across the country.

Following the launch of the Gov.UK platform back in 2012, the government has been pushing to digitalise many everyday services, with Warman noting that the aim is to identify key pain points in people’s lives, and then attempt to ease this using technology.

"Digital services are very important, but you also need to offer a way for people to use them," he says, noting that this push needs to ensure it is a nationwide effort, benefitting all UK citizens.

The digitalisation of car tax has been one of the most popular success stories of government digital efforts, and one Pickles says can be applied to other areas, such as possibly taking birth certificates online. 

Ultimately, digitising processes such as these can make a real effect on people’s lives, proving that government and technology can operate in harmony to the benefits of many, and something that Canon UK is keen to continue its involvement in.

"Just doing the same thing a different way isn't enough,” Pickles notes, “our response is always to try to understand what the requirement is, rather than just coming along and saying, 'this is a great product, how can we squeeze it into your organisation...it's about us listening, and then responding to needs."