Organisations often have complicated paper or email based workflows with information being passed around the organisation. Data and content is sometimes stored in legacy databases that are not joined up and don’t talk to each other which means information can be inconsistent.
A truly digital solution will create data that is both human and machine readable; collaborative environments that enable the secure exchange of data and user interfaces that provide an excellent customer experience on whatever device they are accessed.
This enables automation, information sharing and improved engagement, and ensures the long-term benefits of collaboration and data re-use are realised.
So how can you transform public services and increase efficiencies?
Unlock and enrich data to make it more useful
Unlocking your data not only has transparency and re-use benefits for third parties, it can also increase efficiency and visibility within your organisation. Ideally, information should be generated and managed as data from the outset.
Online capture templates can force information into the right structure and automatically mark it up at the point of capture, to make it both human and machine readable.
Join up processes
By unlocking data, using open standards and browser based environments, visibility between different processes can be improved and efficiency increased compared to previous manual processes.
Transforming documents into data, harvesting data from files and websites, connecting systems and using online validation tools and provenance trails to confirm and track processes can turn processes that were previously paper based and intensely manual into transparent online processes.
Enable re-use of information
Unlocking your data will make it more useful, both to others and to you, driving better services, increased transparency and even economic growth. Releasing data regularly as 5 star open data – structured data in linked data formats using URLs to reference it – makes data more discoverable for re-use.
Publishing data through an API (Application Programme Interface) then enables further collaboration and sharing of information.
Make services resilient
Important public data needs to be both protected and accessible, supported by an infrastructure that provides resilience, geographic failover, ISO 27001 supported by standards and continuous monitoring and alerting.
Ensure accuracy and consistency
When publishing regularly updated content and complex information, a version control is critical and even more so when the information is published across multiple channels. A single source of approved content, in a media neutral format is essential to ensure consistency across all outputs.
Use customer insight to create better services
Good public services need to start with the user. By understanding how users want a service to work, testing prototypes and updating them throughout the project iteratively in line with user feedback, you can ensure that the finished service will be easy to use and encourage greater take-up.
Go mobile and create new channels
With mobile representing 30% of all internet usage in the UK, it’s essential that users have a good experience on smartphones and tablets. It all depends on how your audience wants to interact with you - whether that means a responsive website, an app designed to enable a specific task or content readable offline and on the move.
Create value from content
By delivering information to specific audiences in the formats and channels that end-users want, public sector organisations can make official content more useful and engaging, creating products that will deliver messages more effectively, that can then even become a revenue stream.
Authored by: Jeremy Hook