5 minutes with: GCI’s Head of Public Sector, Joe Murphy

Historically, the Public Sector has been considered resistant to change, particularly when it comes to IT systems and solutions. However, it’s a sector that is currently one of the fastest to adopt new digital strategies, driven by the need to achieve better Return on Investment and improve the customer experience.

2 April 2019

Indeed, GCI customer the Parliamentary Digital Service (PDS) is a government body that exists specifically to develop and provide strategic direction for Parliament’s digital technology services. GCI’s Head of Public Sector, Joe Murphy, tells us more about how the Public Sector is embracing digital transformation.

 

What are the challenges for the Public Sector at present?

Budget cuts will always be one of the most prominent issues with the Public Sector; whether it’s a Housing Association, Local Government Authority or Central Government itself, the pressure has always been on for them to achieve more with less money. That means money-saving solutions are never far from the top of the agenda.

Additionally, with an ever-growing population and the current uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the pressure is on to find more ways of streamlining processes under increasingly-tight budgets. Traditional ways of replacing legacy hardware – i.e. with more hardware – keeps any organisation firmly in the CapEx camp when really, they should be looking at more modern ways of increasing mobility and collaboration, and ultimately going down the OpEx route to ensure they are providing value for money for their customers.


the UK Government and other Public Sector organisations have spent more than £3.2bn on digital, data and technology services since 2012


What are the current trends in IT procurement for Public Sector bodies?

One word – digital. In fact, Microsoft have termed it the “fourth industrial revolution”, and the UK Government and other Public Sector organisations have spent more than £3.2bn on digital, data and technology services since 2012. Far from this being an unjustifiable cost, in 2016/17 frameworks available through the Digital Marketplace contributed towards CCS delivering £725 million in savings including commercial benefits for taxpayers [1].

To clarify, the Digital Marketplace was created in 2014 to make government procurement easier and more transparent, and hosts Crown Commercial Service (CCS) frameworks including G-Cloud, Digital Outcomes and Specialists, and Crown Hosting Data Centres. This mandate means that Public Sector organisations have to start delivering their services in line with the Private Sector, and the rapid help evolution of technology is helping drive this.

The Public Sector now has a “speculate to accumulate” agenda – by spending on essential improvements to IT systems, it will save money in the long run - and its “Cloud-first” manifesto results in a decrease in spending on maintaining or replacing legacy hardware, an investment into easily-scalable platforms and an added benefit for staff to empower them to work from anywhere. They recognise that to enable change, they can’t do the same things today that they did yesterday and are therefore choosing Cloud-based Unified Communications solutions - such as Skype for Business – over traditional telephony networks. Thus, the Parliamentary Digital Service was born.

A 100-people-strong team, the Parliamentary Digital Service (PDS) works with both the House of Lords and the House of Commons, developing and providing strategic direction for Parliament’s digital technology services. As well as providing IT support and advice for Parliament Members and managing the Parliamentary network. Its responsibilities also encompass cyber security, developing specialist applications and running its website, intranet and social media accounts.

The message is clear; if an organisation that is traditionally assumed to be resistant to change - such as Parliament - can make the move to digital, there is absolutely no excuse for the rest of the Public Sector not to follow suit.


the Public Sector is currently one of the fastest to adopt new digital strategies, driven by the need to achieve better Return on Investment and improve the customer experience.


How do GCI fit in to this?

GCI have gone to great lengths to ensure we are in the right place to support Public Sector organisations in their digital transformations. For instance, in addition to our ISO certifications, we are active on 9 of 10 Public Sector frameworks and also have Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus accreditations. This means that from a procurement perspective, partnering with GCI ticks all the boxes.

However, what’s just as important is the wealth of experience GCI has in dealing with the Public Sector. As well as supporting the Parliamentary Digital Service, we have worked with organisations from right across the Public Sector; from Housing Associations such as Accent Housing, local government authorities like Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council, and even government agencies like Public Health England.

We also have a company full of highly-experienced technical geniuses that not only know digital transformation solutions inside and out, but also understand the unique needs that are faced by the Public Sector. We were involved in the early stages of consultations with the Crown Commercial Service, lending our expertise to steering groups and workshops to help ensure that the competitive landscape for suppliers is a fair one. Over the last 5 years, barriers have been removed by the government to make it a more level playing field for smaller businesses with more entrepreneurial flair who could think differently to big, established incumbents.

It’s these companies who have come on board to help steer them in the right, more innovative direction, and GCI helped play a pivotal role in creating this framework landscape. That means that Public Sector organisations can be certain of our pedigree and capability within their sector; GCI are well placed to help them in their digital transformations.

 

Want to know more about how GCI’s solutions can benefit your Public Sector organisation? Simply email enquiries@gcicom.net to request your complimentary consultation.


[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-spend-on-digital-services-passes-3bn-mark

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