Government Operations for a Digital World

Robert Cade and Simon Street look at 4 Digital Seismic Shifts demanding a re-think of the fitness of Operating Models for Government Operations. 

“Do you feel that your operations are set up to deliver in the digital world in which we live?”

If we asked a room of leaders of our Government’s Departments the above question, we don’t think that we would see many raised hands. If we were then to ask…

“Are you feeling the heat of a more demanding Customer on your services levels?”
“Are you drowning in the Data Lakes of your Operating Teams but failing to extract the value?”
“Are you feeling that your model just lacks the agility to keep up with the bewildering pace of digital changes?”
“Are you over-whelmed by the misalignment between what the Department’s core business really needs and the technology you have to deliver it?”

…we might find a unanimous chorus of agreement.

First the good news. When Francis Maude announced his ‘Digital by Default’ strategy in 2012 he promised online transactions could be 20 times cheaper than by phone, and 50 times cheaper than by post. He estimated that the strategy would save £1.2bn in just 3 years. In 2014, the UK is amongst the world leaders in embracing citizen centric digital channels. Indeed, Australia has now decided to follow the UK’s digital strategy.

But looking deeper is a bit more worrying. Digitisation is demanding a lot more than just widening channel choice. We thought it would be interesting to take a view of Digital maturity across Europe. An eGovernment Benchmark Survey told us that the UK is falling behind its Continental neighbours in investing in the development of the back-office tools necessary for automated advanced services.

  eGovernment Benchmark Survey –

Four Root Causes. The operating models of Government are seeing 4 Seismic Shifts forcing their operations to remain in a continual state of flux. What are they?

  1. Shift to Customer Centricity. Power to the customer: increased choice and increased voice for citizens on the services they receive. In the NHS, patients now wish to make better informed decisions on their healthcare pathways. In the DfE, parents want greater information about schooling options. But how does the Operating Model provide multiple channels to enable this while driving economies of scale across them? How does performance management drive improvement in service provision?
  2. Shift to Data Driven Decision Making. Research we did with MIT spotted that organisations who deploy ‘Big Data Analytics’ increased their performance by 26% to date and this is forecast to rise to 41% in 2016. This offers significant opportunities for Government Departments: for HMRC to ensure the better collection of taxes; for DWP enabling the prevention of fraud and error in benefits. But how should their Operating Models manage and exploit these new data sources? What new capabilities need to be in place within their organisations to analyse and then act upon the data, becoming intelligence led?
  3. Shift to Pace, Iteration, and Agility. With new digital technologies disrupting the market on a weekly basis, Government Departments need to innovate more quickly and decrease delivery cycle times. This new agile way of working is being championed by Government Digital Services (GDS) who has driven the “alpha, beta” concept into normal practices. So how do Departments simplify their processes to meet this new way of working? How does their governance need to change to enable agile decision making?
  4. Shift to Business and Technology Alignment. The usability of technology has increased dramatically. This means that it can be operated by all staff, and indeed citizens, to deliver business outcomes – often while they are mobile and through multiple devices. For example, Environmental Agency staff take iPads into the field enabling them to record findings in real time reducing the need for office working. At DVLA, online car registration is now going further to make the entire production of tax discs obsolete. So what technology infrastructure changes could transform the core business processes in these Agency’s Operating Models? How does the culture need to change to take advantage of these new technologies?

Please share your operating model challenges. Please share your views – what are you operating model challenges in each Shift? Want to hear more about the eGovernment Benchmark Survey or how your operating model can become more Digital by Default? Contact us at @robcadeuk or

Sponsor for this post is : 

Simon Street, VP CCUK.
Simon is a Vice-President and head of the Operating Model & Performance Improvement capability of Capgemini Consulting UK, and has over 25 years of consultancy experience at board level in Manufacturing, Financial Services, Retail and IT organisations. Simon specialises in transformation, enterprise-wide reorganisation and process cost reduction and change management. Within Capgemini Consulting he has re-organised and led the service lines of CCUK as COO; co-led the CC role in a group wide lean programme; and has managed the CC input into multiple projects for Capgemini group. He is also co-author of an international book on managing change in transformations.
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