Are Paper Trails Still Strangling Public Sector Offices and Services?

There is growing concern that the UK is not responding quickly enough to the opportunities presented by technology to improve efficiency within the public sector. Could more be done – faster – to take advantage of increased automation and connectivity opportunities?

How automation is transforming the UK

Doing more, for less, is the current driving force in all parts of the UK’s industry and commerce.

Factories, transport firms and logistics ventures throughout the UK are investing in the latest equipment and software to create leaner, quicker and more automated systems and processes.

Even restaurants, hotels and retailers are harnessing the power of technology to improve the customer experience and increasingly automate transactions. You can walk in to a coffee shop with your beverage pre-ordered, auto pay and walk out without any human interaction. At some hotels, you can check in, receive a room number and open your bedroom door using your phone, completely by-passing a human receptionist.

Technology is truly transforming the way businesses operate and how digital workplaces can support a seamless and infinitely controllable flow of data.

Are public sector offices ‘on trend’?

Can the same be said of the myriad of organisations providing public sector services? They may have embraced teleconferencing and virtual meetings to avoid wasted time and travel expenses, but how committed are they to automating processes and adopting lean principles?

Big data heightens the issue further. Having such a vast amount of information coming in to an organisation can only be an advantage if the tools and systems are in place to manage it effectively.

There is potential for public sector organisations to see digitising documentation and improved data analysis capabilities as the ‘be all and end all’, missing the boat on the next steps in the evolution of automation and document management.

Public sector slow to change

Paper trails and lost documents are a lingering source of administrative confusion in the public sector. Has IT impacted on this sufficiently?

The Ponemon Institute conducted research which suggests that the answer is no. The survey found that public sector decision makers are still finding it hard to grasp the transformational capabilities of IT. In fact, there is concern that even those public sector organisations that have embraced the digital workplace are losing faith in the way IT can meet customer expectations.

Similarly, research by Crucial into how healthcare professionals view NHS IT systems found the view that “current operating structures are too isolated, compartmentalised and rigid for delivery across a multi-speed IT environment.”

The Department of Transportation recently formed a committee to look at the whole topic of automation, which seems a positive sign, though it would appear its remit is largely on how vehicles can be automated.

Making changes in the public sector always requires long lead times, but is there enough being done? Manual systems are still rife, at all levels of the public sector, and this is leaving local and national government wide open to data breaches, high labour costs and inefficiency. All of which lead to public loss of trust.

How document management software brings automation

One of the simplest and most crucial ways in which public sector offices and services can achieve far greater efficiency – shedding the manual paper systems that strangle lean working – is by using documentation management software.

Fingertip information control

Imagine how much time staff in a public sector office currently use searching for the right information or relevant documentation to carry out their daily tasks. Even digitalised forms, letters and reports can be stored in multiple places, with various versions at different stages of approval. It can be time consuming to find the most up to date version and make sure everyone is aware of amendments or that the communication reaches the inboxes of all the right people.

With the right software in place, they could find what they need instantly, using document management solutions to enable them to quickly move on to more productive tasks.

Greater accessibility

Public sector organisations can use document management software to streamline information coming in, supporting daily operations and outward bound. The additional benefit of this, is that access to documents is available at any time, from anywhere in the process or from remote locations. This represents a substantial time saving.

Security and accountability

Document management systems in a digital workplace offer far greater built in security for sensitive information handled by public sector offices. The best versions offer multiple levels of security – and can meet compliance issues with the general Data Protection Regulation by such added value as integrated encryption systems.

What if IT systems crash? The right document management software will have automatically backed-up all files. Plus, the software provider can offer knowledgeable technicians to unlock the issues and safeguard the data.

Connectivity and control through integration

There was a popular buzz phrase not long ago, that the public sector needed more ‘joined up thinking’.

One of the primary advantages of a document management system is that it can be integrated with other software to ease the flow of information around an organisation. Duplication and redundant information can be eradicated, and the core data that needs to be shared and used on multiple platforms can flow freely.

To investigate how document management software can make your public sector office or service more efficient contact us today


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