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3 ways technology can help public sector organizations share data securely in a post-pandemic world

The events of the last 3 years have placed a great deal of pressure on public sector organizations. The need for staff to work remotely – and in many cases for citizens to access services remotely – has created a need to digitize at a quicker pace than at any other point in history.

With very specific software workflow requirements and heightened security needs around citizen data and sensitive information, government has been particularly slow to approach the challenge of integrating systems across departments. To say nothing of really tackling the question of data storage and analysis in a robust, modern sense. But even forward-looking organizations with a good track record of tech adoption have encountered difficulties when it comes to ramping up their capacity.

Traditionally, computer systems and software solutions have been purchase to perform specific functions. They’ve thus been siloed by default, and also partly by design. Created and customized to fulfil specific needs at specific times, without much of a view to the future.

This not only means that many legacy systems aren’t capable of handling the needs of public sector organizations, but that they aren’t capable of securely handling and sharing the sensitive citizen data these organizations must use to deliver services effectively.

The best modern software solutions help ensure citizen data handling is secure and compliant as they come with pre-built public-sector-specific data governance capabilities. And most of today’s systems are fully integrated across a single source of truth, so all data is stored in a single repository, then assessed and analyzed via visual, intuitive dashboards.

Click to read Helping public sector organizations enhance value with FP&A and HCM v2 (gated)

1. Unique digital identifiers

Unique digital identifiers represent an extremely powerful tool for public sector data sharing security. With a unique digital identity, citizens and businesses can access many services from different government agencies — from paying tax to applying for a drivers’ license — by logging in just once, creating a Customer Resource Management (CRM) single customer view. Removing the need for the creation of new accounts and new passwords – which has traditionally been a problem plaguing even services which are provided by the same organization or department.

Live examples of this include British residents proving their identity online to access government services using Gov.UK Verify. In Europe, the EU Once-Only project has a pivotal role to play in creating a single digital market across the continent. The Nordic-Baltic eID initiative allows citizens and businesses to access cross-border digital services by using their national eIDs.

2. Cloud ERP solutions unify data-flows for greater data visibility – and greater data security

Delivering services efficiently in a digital environment requires a seamless experience for both your teams and for the citizens they serve. And a seamless experience demands unified platforms and easy data sharing.

Modern cloud ERP solutions make this possible by creating a “single source of truth” for all data held across your organization. Integrating information from a wide array of tools and systems in a way that enhances their capabilities and ensures data is protected with a high level of “always on” security (as in Unit4’s own partnership with Microsoft).

What’s more, the public sector also has to deal with a melange of legislative requirements, compliance check boxes, and changing regulations behind the scenes. It’s easy for these to dominate the agenda, getting in the way of providing essential services to those who need support.

Cloud ERP can be a gamechanger for public sector regulation and reporting because it allows every stakeholder to access the same platform. This means everyone can access centralized data whenever they need to, creating levels of transparency that would have hitherto been impossible.

3. Future-oriented operational platforms

More than anything, the pandemic has shown that flexibility and agility in the face of changing circumstances will be essential for facing new crises.

Making the right investment in systems that can flex, scale, and change with the needs of your organization not only creates better people experiences. It also helps to create a more solid foundation for security by reducing the potential for security threats in the form of human error.

For example, if your ERP system creates a digital working environment in which all data can be accessed, shared, and manipulated with the stakeholders and personnel who need it to deliver services, people will be less likely to resort to fundamentally insecure workarounds that might lead to data loss or data breaches. (Unified systems are also significantly less vulnerable to problems of bad security patching, poor password hygiene, and poor access control.)

The potential of “standardized” low-code and AI and ML powered tools that give your people the ability to retrieve and manipulate data instantly and through automated compliance may not just be a powerful tool in reducing the time spent completing lengthy and manually intensive workflows. They can also represent a powerful tool in keeping citizens’ sensitive personal data secure in your organization’s systems.

How can Unit4 help you?

Our next-generation solution cloud ERP solutions are designed from the ground up to eliminate siloed operational models in people-centric sectors like government and public administration. Our cloud-native architecture allows your organization to safely and securely store and process all your data across every department, and our microservices delivery model and no-code customization features make it possible for everyone who uses the system to create the tools and features they need to satisfy their particular workloads and requirements – all within a single solution.

To see what Unit4 can do in the public sector, check out our interactive industry focus here.

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