New Survey Underscores UK’s Public Sector IT Challenges

It’s clear that money continues to drive IT decision-making, as 86% of public sector IT pros name cost as the top consideration when procuring IT solutions.

Budget, resistance to change, and the IT skills gap lead the list of challenges facing the UK’s public sector organizations as they strive for digital transformation. This was just one of the key findings of a new survey conducted by iGov and Park Place Technologies.

Now available for download, “The Challenges of IT: Improving Operations in the Public Sector in 2019” illuminates the greatest barriers and risks for public organizations. The survey reflects the voluntary responses of 232 professionals from 219 unique organizations across the UK’s, and it provides insights into where attention should be focused in order to facilitate and accelerate operational enhancements and digitization.

The results indicate the UK’s public sector still relies more extensively on legacy technologies than current government dictates might lead one to believe. In fact:

  • Despite the government’s Cloud First policy, only 6% of organizations had fully cloud-based infrastructure and only 21% say they follow the policy in full. By contrast, two-thirds of organizations continue to rely on traditional methods.
  • Over half of organizations (55%) struggle with legacy technologies. This figure rises to nearly three quarters (74%) within the healthcare sector, even as the NHS nears the end of its Five Year Forward transformation initiative.
  • A discouraging sign, more than half (53%) of survey participants say that resistance to change is slowing adoption of new technologies, so a cultural transformation may need to precede digital transformation throughout the public sector.

Less surprising, perhaps, was that limited budget resources stand as the #1 concern, cited by 83% of respondents. It’s clear that money continues to drive IT decision-making, as 86% of public sector IT pros name cost as the top consideration when procuring IT solutions. Fewer look at customer service, maintenance, or the provider’s reputation, which could leave public sector organizations in the lurch if poorly supported, “bargain basement” technologies fail them.

On the positive side, 83% of respondents anticipate benefits from cloud technologies, and more than seven in ten expect automation to have a mid – to high-level impact on their organizations. Predictive analytics is similarly lauded, with two-thirds of survey participants (67%) seeing it as making a future contribution.

Public sector IT professionals clearly see the advantages of emerging technologies, but they are straightjacketed by many factors as they work to deliver the safe, secure, high-quality services UK citizens demand.

But that’s just one takeaway. The iGov survey also dealt with the skills gap, healthcare’s IT challenges, and much more. It’s a helpful read for anyone seeking to understand technology in the public sector from an insider’s perspective. We’ve made the full report available for download here.