The IT Pro Podcast: What’s so hard about public sector IT?
It’s a complex task, but government and public sector IT is ripe for transformation
Public sector organisations have a reputation for being somewhat behind the times when it comes to IT transformation, frequently hampered by tight budgets and Byzantine bureaucratic procurement procedures. However, while this reputation isn’t entirely unwarranted, the reasons behind it aren’t as straightforward as they might appear.
In this week’s episode, we’re looking at why public sector technology tends to lag behind the cutting edge, as well as what steps might be taken to give public sector technologists more room to innovate, and we’re joined by HPE’s senior vice president and UK MD, Marc Waters.
“I would say there is a high degree of scrutiny on public sector projects, let's remember that. And let's also acknowledge, over that same time period, some incredible successes with government digital services, particularly around vaccine data, for example, and getting value from it. So we need that balance.”
“The other point I'd raise on on strategy that's worth coming back to, is how the UK Government is thinking about data. And I mean about data as an economic asset for our country, and for our business environment within the UK. We see a lot of talk around [the UK’s] economic agenda to be a science and technology powerhouse. Probably the biggest asset the government has in enabling that is data, some sort of coherence of department or local authority technology strategy, linked back to a broader data strategy for the country is, for me, sorely missing. And there are good examples of how this is being done in the EU, in a number of other countries, in the US that I would - and I do - push government to pay more heed to.”
“Edinburgh, led by the University, was awarded a city deal from the UK Government to become the data capital of Europe. That's led to the creation of the Edinburgh International Data facility, which is ultimately a high performance compute artificial intelligence platform, fully containerized, that gives access to practitioners, both public and private sector and devs, to machine learning, training modules, access to data, or insight from that data to train algorithms and it boosts the outcomes that can be delivered both public and private sector across Edinburgh. And we've seen as an offshoot for that, a huge growth in data skills in Edinburgh as a result. Edinburgh University is now a leader on data education, and you start to get these kind of communities, these areas of skill. That's an example of it working well.”
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