Tackling public sector legacy technology through accelerated discovery

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Written by Luke Morton, Chief Technology Officer, Made Tech

One of the top priorities for the public sector in recent times has become digital transformation, as public bodies seek to improve services and generate a greater return on investment through technology. 

Though digital transformation is a focus, legacy technology still seems to be a hurdle that public sector organisations are struggling to overcome, with a recent study finding that 53% of central and local governments said it was one of the biggest barriers to transformation. 

So, why is the public sector struggling with legacy technology? There can be multiple factors to this, such as not wanting to upset the apple cart by moving away from solutions that people are comfortable with. 

If these bodies want to address these challenges and concerns, one of the best ways to do so is through digital discoveries. This process allows organisations to understand what legacy solutions are holding them back and what technologies can be put in place to enhance those services. 

If done in an accelerated and efficient way, a discovery that would normally take at least a few months can be completed in a matter of weeks, saving time and money. This is key for a sector where funding and time are at a premium. If public sector organisations want to undertake an accelerated discovery, in my experience there are three main considerations that have to be made. 


Outcomes over output

Rather than trying to fix everything at once, public sector bodies need to find where they can make changes to legacy technologies that will have an immediate impact. This will mean discovery teams can make decisions quicker as they are not hampered by red tape through trying to cater to the needs of every department, which can happen when trying to solve every challenge within an organisation. 


Diverse teams

Creating diverse project teams made up of different skill sets, as well as ages, races and genders, can have huge benefits for the discovery process. These teams benefit from being made up of individuals which have different frames of reference, reducing the risk of groupthink occurring and issues or solutions not being considered. 

Discovery teams which include people from non-digital backgrounds, such as service users, will help to identify problems that may go unnoticed. This is because these individuals will be focussed on user outcomes rather than the technical aspects. 


Taking a multidisciplinary approach

Quantifying and understanding the issues faced with legacy solutions from multiple perspectives can also help optimise a discovery. 

This can be achieved by streamlining the parts of the process that hold things up. Listening to staff calls with users instead of conducting interviews, and mapping out services through staff workshops are just two examples of how organisations can accelerate discovery without compromising on the insights they gather. 

Investigating both technology and user needs at the same time during a discovery can also help streamline this process. This will allow public bodies to avoid facing challenges after new solutions are implemented where problems may have been overlooked. 

Digital discoveries have a key role to play in helping the public sector tackle legacy solutions and provide services that benefit staff and users. Through teaming up with partners who understand how to optimise the discovery process, they will be able to identify problems and put in place the right solutions in a timely, beneficial cost effective manner.

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