Satpal Biant, Head of Public Sector, SAP UK, looks at how small-scale digitalisation can have a big impact on the public sector
Vaccines now offer a tantalising light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. Yet how we live and work may never revert to pre-pandemic norms. Remote working is one example: considered a temporary protective measure at the outset of the pandemic, it now underpins a transition of much of the UK economy.
For many local government bodies, the immediate move to remote working was a patchwork transition made from necessity. Now, with the very real prospect of a hybrid working future for years to come, local leaders must prepare by investing in technological infrastructure that will support the long-term process of government digitalisation.
Those apprehensive of radical change need not be. Digitalising the public sector is a mammoth task – but much of it will be done via small-scale projects. Here we discuss examples of how small-scale digitalisation can have a major impact.
Improving the employee experience
The pandemic has meant massive strain on public sector staff. If government bodies want to engage and retain staff in the future, they need to focus on providing the best employee experience possible. Yet many public sector workers face antiquated processes just to complete everyday activities like expensing.
Outdated paper systems that require in-person approvals take time and effort that employees just don’t have. Recognising this time drain is the first step. Implementing the right technology is the next.
By deploying something as simple as Concur expense management technology to streamline these daily processes, organisations not only ease the burden on employees, rewarding them with much needed time and money back, but they can also create cost efficiencies for the business.
Reducing bureaucracy via automation
While many workers join local government to contribute to a common good, bureaucracy can distract them from carrying out more impactful work.
The good news is many bureaucratic or administrative functions can now be digitalised and automated. For instance, cloud-based payroll solutions can manage staff wages in a less time-consuming and more efficient way. These solutions can be fitted with AI that monitors workflow and allocates projects based on employees’ time commitments. Employees can then track their time allocation through easy-to-read digital dashboards, simplifying project management.
Automated systems like these can also approve annual leave requests based on staff availability and the predicted workload over time.
Creating a better local government
The COVID-19 crisis and extensive remote working have brought to light the benefits of using technology to improve work collaboration and productivity. Moving forward, public sector leaders should consider how technology can improve work experience by removing the limitations of mundane, repetitive tasks and give government workers more time for high-impact work. These small steps would have a major positive impact on the working lives of public sector employees – a small but welcome token of appreciation for their incredible work over the past 12 months.
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