Accelerating digital transformation in the public sector

After the announcement of the UK government’s Digital by Default Service Standard, it could have been concluded that the public sector was facing its greatest challenge of a generation. In the years since, the pressure has only increased and the subsequent challenges have been vigorously felt.

As technology evolves so do consumer expectations, forcing public-facing organisations of all kinds to adapt. Citizens, clients and customers alike demand access to services without barriers or friction. They expect their digital journeys to be quick, simple and personal.

In its bid to transform pubic digital services by 2020, the government is making a concerted effort to move public services online. Progress has been made, but it has come at a substantial cost. Efforts so far have used a tremendous amount of resources to hard-code, customise and deploy software.

>See also: Digital transformation in the public sector

As a result, an army of developers has been overwhelmed with demands. And, a global shortage of developers means that the odds of finding more developers to help increase with each passing day.

One of the biggest tasks is moving paper-based forms online. Recent research shows that moving 100 of these forms online by means of traditional methods would take 230 years and cost a staggering £150,000,000. Not to mention that traditional hard-coding methods make it impossible to alter digital services without having to go back to the original developers.

It is clear, therefore, that these methods are not sustainable, and current strategies of using developer-only teams will not meet the government’s objectives. So, how will public sector organisations move services online? With low-code, easy-to-use platforms that can build digital services comprised of eforms, automated workflow and backend integration.

Getting to know low-code

Traditionally, when organisations want to develop an application to meet their specific requirements, they rely on developers, who, as I’ve mentioned, can become quickly overwhelmed and are often in short supply. This “high-code” route often leads to untenable project lead times, particularly when there are several applications in development at the same time.

>See also: The UK government’s digital transformation: a scorecard

Consequently, the IT team, through no fault of its own, becomes a bottleneck. The alternative option – to hire in an external consultant – is very expensive, which could mean scrapping key projects.

A low-code platform eliminates these problems. It enables rapid application development and delivery with minimal hand-coding. Drag-and-drop editors with visual development tools eliminate the need for most traditional manual coding.

The real advantage is that non-technical staff, such as business analysts working closely with end users, can become power users, designing and developing the core aspects of applications. Meanwhile, your technical team can implement custom backend integration or complex business logic.

Benefits of low-code

A low-code platform offers government and public-sector organisations a route to accelerate the release of digital government tools such as e-forms and workflow automation. The employees who know the business better than anyone can develop applications that meet their precise needs, while the IT workforce becomes a powerful enabler.

These non-technical team members become highly productive enablers of digital transformation, ensuring the applications are fit for purpose because the people who know the processes inside out designed them. The technology can be personalised to ensure branding.

>See also: The UK Government’s Transformation Strategy

Instead of sweating over multiple code editors or tracing a change through hundreds of JavaScript libraries, your valuable IT team has more time to customise business processes, integrate applications with existing systems or add specific functionality.

Rather than taking responsibilities away from the IT staff, low-code platforms enable them to create more online services and delegate tasks to employees that live and breathe the services.

So, as public sector organisations strive to become entirely digitised within the next four years, it is clear that adopting a low-code approach can save time and costs. More importantly, it can ensure that all creative minds in an organisation are working together to accelerate digital transformation.


Sourced by Nick Pike, VP UK & Ireland, OutSystems

Avatar photo

Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...