Innovation in the Public Sector is alive and kicking, with local authorities and public bodies leading the way in implementing truly exciting transformative projects as we race into the era of ‘Next-Generation Public Sector.’

Contrary to some popular reports this digital era is not five or even ten years away, it’s happening right now. This point was proven at SAP’s Innovation Forum earlier this month, which provided a day chocked full of thought provoking examples of digital transformation and next-generation technology in action – from robots that can solve a Rubik’s Cube in 30 seconds to local governments driving the regeneration of entire cities and communities.

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is at the forefront of this digital revolution of services to both customers and employees. Hardik Shah, deputy director of the organisation’s Chief Digital and Information Officer group, revealed the impressive level of innovation involved in HMRC’s aim of becoming the most most digitally advanced tax authority in the world.

In a seemingly simple, but hugely effective, shift HMRC has begun moving customer interactions from phone calls to webchats – which enables customer services to go from only being able to handle one customer at a time, to being able to deal with up to four or five simultaneous customer enquiries.

This is just one small cog within HMRC’s ‘Digital by Default’ movement, which is streamlining services and systems across the organisation. At SAP, we are working with HMRC to help it adopt a more flexible, virtualised infrastructure that will reduce its costs and ensure a multi-channel approach. Its infrastructure is already 50% virtualised, while 90% of its SAP estate is virtualised on the private cloud.

Through this enhanced infrastructure, HMRC has been able to launch 18 new digital services in the last year – providing five million businesses with access to tax accounts digitally and enabling eight million of HMRC’s 45 million individual customers to access digital tax accounts.

But the campaign isn’t simply using technology for the sake of ‘going digital.’ The organisation employs 24,000 people on the frontline in customer service – the largest customer services team in the country – and HMRC is working closely to develop employees’ skills and help internal users to use the technology, before educating the wider taxpayer community.

This is a great example of the organisations needing to act fast. The IT estates currently in place within Public Sector organisations have taken 30 years to evolve, with new technologies being placed upon layers of legacy architecture and systems. Now is the time to address that organisations have fundamentally changed and need alternative IT structures.

It also proves that the Public Sector is wholly capable of leading the digital agenda. The desire to implement organisational transformation, driven by digital technologies, is everywhere and leaders have bold ambitions for their organisations. However, realising and delivering on these ambitions is traditionally fraught with legacy barriers, cultural challenges and technical difficulties.

The Next-Generation Public Sector will be underpinned by emerging technology like artificial intelligence, big data, IOT, robotics and augmented reality, and the time to look at these technologies is now. Digital is where we are, 2020 may be the Government’s goal but projects such as that being driven by HMRC show we are there already.

For more information on how SAP can support you in the move from legacy, moving legacy to the cloud, or help you go for a complete digital transformation play, get in touch now.

*published on behalf of Darren Hunt, Head of Strategic Industries and UKI Board Member at SAP

To view Darren’s Linkedin Profile click on this link

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