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As a business and technology consultancy focused entirely on the public sector, BetterGov has been delivering Digital and Modernisation programmes and solutions to a broad range of Central and Local Government clients for many years. This deep experience gives us an up-close, practical understanding of the challenges faced throughout mid to long-term transformation programmes. In particular, there is a need to rapidly pivot to meet new technological threats and opportunities, the course correction required to do so, and the need to map out the strategy required for teams to be upskilled when deploying emerging technologies and adopting the new processes these enable. What can sometimes be overlooked amidst the need to deploy new technologies and release digital-first services is the need for senior leaders to apply at least as much focus on the people part of the transformation, upskilling and involving the teams who will benefit from new initiatives and whose roles will inevitably evolve to optimise the impact of technology tools and digitised services. Empowering employees with the necessary skills and critically, making modernisation something that happens for them rather than happens to them, facilitates accelerated implementation of new technologies and processes and ensures these improvements become a permanent, sustainable part of the organisation’s operating model. 

We will focus on three aspects below: the essential drivers of Government Digital Transformation, the core role of Modernisation, and the importance of upskilling throughout the journey. 

The Essential drivers of Digital Transformation in Government?  

Digital transformation in government involves integrating and utilising digital technologies, tools, and processes into all areas of public institutions, fundamentally changing how they operate and deliver value, both to internal customers and to citizens. This process involves identifying and adopting new tools and rethinking business models, methods, and the human experiences of employees and end-users. BetterGov client engagements are driven by one or many of the benefits of transformation, from increased efficiency and cost savings to enhanced, transparent citizen experiences and environmental sustainability. 

The Role of Modernisation in Course Correction

Modernisation is the term broadly describing the evaluation and updating of legacy systems, software, tools and processes to align with current technological standards, business practices and governance. It is a crucial aspect of course correction, creating the right technological and operating ecosystem to both improve the delivery of current services and, at the same time, provide a fertile environment for developing and delivering future services, ensuring the organisation sustains (or achieves) excellence whilst being able to respond rapidly to evolving needs and expectations. However, modernisation is not a one-time fix; it is an ongoing process that requires continuous improvement and adaptation. 

How does BetterGov bring about course correction? 

A McKinsey survey involving public-sector leaders found that almost 80% of major change initiatives did not achieve their objectives. A considerable 94% of respondents indicated that they faced at least one challenge associated with these endeavours. Moreover, less than a third were confident in handling these challenges effectively.

BetterGov’s Course Correction services, delivered within the BetterDigital, BetterFuture and BetterSystems service offerings, are designed to rapidly re-visit initial investment and capability business cases, and the future states envisaged at the outset of a programme or project. Through our accelerated discovery-as-a-service and classic root cause analysis, we identify not only where problems are occurring and the appropriate solutions to those problems but also where and how to develop a digital technology, process and people model and environment that prevents those issues from arising again, across any and all transformative activities.

This allows our clients to ‘take control’ of their current and future digital transformation projects, lessening their susceptibility to fractured or differing methods and technologies in projects delivered with or by third parties and providing a genuine foundation to build internal skills and subject matter expertise. 

Is upskilling the cornerstone for Digital Transformation success?  

Let’s first look at what upskilling means; it is about enabling, empowering, renewing, teaching new skills, and improving current skill sets for team members at all levels of an organisation. In the context of digital transformation, upskilling is critical for several reasons.   

  • Facilitates Smooth Implementation | New technologies and processes can only be effectively implemented if the workforce knows why they are being deployed and can use them practically. Upskilling ensures that employees are not just passive recipients of new tools but active participants in leveraging them to improve outcomes.
  • Enhances Adaptability | The pace of technological change and expectations means that organisations must be adaptable. A continuously learning and improving workforce can recognise and respond to new challenges and opportunities far more rapidly and with less disruption to existing operations and services. 
  • Increases Employee Engagement and Retention | Investing in employee development shows that the organisation values its workforce, leading to higher engagement and retention rates. Employees who feel they are growing with the company are more likely to stay and contribute to its success whilst ‘owning’ service improvement and innovation rather than seeing those things as someone else’s domain .
  • Ensures Long-term Sustainability | Digital transformation must be sustainable for it to be successful. This sustainability is achieved when the workforce can use new technologies and drive further innovations and improvements iteratively and on an increasingly self-service basis. 

Successful Upskilling in Action for us at BetterGov 

By identifying critical skill gaps and addressing these through upskilling, the organisation can implement comprehensive training and development programmes focussing on real-job situations and relevant practices. We deploy a series of collaboration exercises across teams (from top to bottom), targeted at tangible rather than theoretical challenges,identifying the knowledge gaps that may be contributing to those challenges and skills needed to close them. As a directly attributable result, organisations see a significant increase in operational efficiency, reduced downtime and improved product quality. Additionally, employee satisfaction and retention rates improve, underscoring the long-term benefits of investing in workforce development. 

When any public sector organisation undertakes digital transformation and modernisation, upskilling teams is not only an imperative need but is universally beneficial, especially if course correction and any level of self-service is at the top of the agenda. By equipping teams with the necessary skills and nurturing a culture of continuous learning, public sector institutions can ensure that the changes they implement are effective, enduring, and sustainable. This investment in human capital is the cornerstone of a successful and sustainable digital transformation strategy and by ensuring they do so, public sector institutions can better address their citizens’ evolving needs and expectations, ultimately promoting a more inclusive, responsive, and efficient system of governance.