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How technology can help public sector organizations achieve their ETHIC goals

from  October 8, 2020 | 5 min read

In response to the COVID pandemic, a new concept is emerging for public services. The public sector; and national and local governments, in particular, are embracing the new ETHIC of service delivery.

A new E.T.H.I.C. for public sector

Increasingly, public sector organizations are being asked to do more with fewer resources. On top of this, the COVID crisis is fueling demand for services, adding to the public sector's workload, and affecting the level of service they can provide.

Add to this an almost overnight requirement to switch to a remote working business model, and you have a perfect storm of indicators that change is needed fast.

For many organizations in the public sector, it seems as though only a complete overhaul of existing processes can solve this. An overhaul that implements new solutions and systems to help streamline mission-critical processes and enable remote working.

How can the public sector work smarter in the future?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to rethink their approaches to digital transformation … Although they face the same complexities as large enterprises, they do so with fewer resources. ERP solutions today, can provide a constant, up-to-date view of the state of the business, but also the intelligence to help people steer new courses that provide service differentiation and growth.

Mickey North Rizza, Program Vice President, Enterprise Applications and Digital Commerce at IDC.

Given these challenges, public sector organizations must adopt a new E.T.H.I.C. for the public services they deliver. Doing this will mean embracing several key features across their organization that change how they work in the future.

By shifting the focus and rethinking how they work, public services can produce more with less by reframing work and removing or automating manual tasks to focus on delivering citizen value. Doing this will require a new understanding of how the organization works and the systems and processes needed to elicit change.

Making services more efficient

Making services more efficient is key to the public sector’s future. But where do these efficiencies come from?

The obvious choice is the systems you use and the processes you work in. These offer the most potential for optimization. Whether it’s through automation of low-value tasks, integration, and consolidation of systems or optimization of data collection, analysis, and reporting.

Modern cloud-ERPs give you this flexibility instantly, without the costly development that comes with legacy systems.

Trust across the board

For the public sector, trust means more than systems that work. They also have to be as secure as possible. The data you hold is often more sensitive than other organizations, and people won’t trust a service if they don’t feel safe.

According to the IDC’s SaaSPath Survey trust is the most critical factor when evaluating systems and vendors. “Trust comes from transparency, building innovative solutions together, and providing exceptional value beyond the sales cycle.”

So your ERP must be able to address concerns like cybersecurity and role-based access restrictions quickly and easily. But they must do this without impacting service levels. And they must able to adapt to future threats. Meaning ongoing updates and optimizations must be simple for users to manage.

A system you and your citizens can trust is the foundation of a service people can trust.

Not just more, but highly responsive

The pandemic has shown us how vital it is for public sector organizations to react quickly to unforeseen events. The IDC's survey also concluded that using cloud or software-as-a-service (SaaS) software to run businesses more effectively will become indispensable. Why?

Cloud-based software delivered on a SaaS model means two things: it can be accessed anywhere, including working from home, and it can be scaled up and down quickly if demand for services suddenly rises or falls. This can be critical to how your public service responds, adapts, and recovers in a crisis.

For an even more responsive solution, some providers even offer low-code/no-code solutions. These need little to no programming from your people when adapting or making changes. Your people can set up projects, assign people and budgets, and configure reports without external consultants' assistance or costs.

Make the user experience more inclusive

Prioritizing your People Experience is a significant factor in delivering better services, both internally and externally. Doing so means your people have tools they can use to provide services people can use. In our experience, good People Experience makes work enjoyable and satisfying. It improves engagement and drives up productivity.

To achieve this, what you need to look for are processes and systems built around the way people work, rather than software that makes people adapt to the way it works. These usually use agile, iterative implementation methodologies and rely on customer feedback and support to determine development.

Convenience becomes a cornerstone

The IDC’s SaaSPath Survey also found that “the second most important attribute when evaluating ERP technology is superiority of features and functionality. Organizations need to know they have business processes with intelligence embedded into them.”

A key indicator that this is central to a software solution is its use of AI and digital assistants and other intelligent innovations to improve people's work. Also, these systems are built around understanding the actual needs of users. For example, our digital assistant Wanda understands normal everyday language and automatically performs tasks. Learning from the user's behavior, noting preferences, recognizing patterns, and anticipating needs.

Public sector employees can then use these digital assistants to refocus how they work, automatically completing tasks like raising purchase requisitions, submitting timesheets, approving or denying expense requests, and processing workflow tasks.

By being focused on users and everyday convenience, they make processes more straightforward. These simplified and more natural user experiences will, in turn, improve people-centric services and boost performance.

How can Unit4 transform how you work in the future?

We have seen that COVID-19 has had an accelerating effect on digital transformation efforts, particularly focused on giving people the tools and insight they need to be successful. In services organizations, where people make the difference, having accurate, up-to-the-minute data is more important than ever, and modern ERP that delivers a simplified user experience and flexibility is becoming business-critical.

Mike Ettling

CEO of Unit4

We've partnered with IDC to address the critical questions related to adopting solutions that help organizations reach their ETHIC goals. With a particular focus on the European public sector, this interactive event presents an opportunity to explore the new avenues for efficiency gains and smooth operations in the challenging environment of the 'Next Normal’.

Please note that the live webinar will be presented in English and provided OnDemand with both Dutch and Swedish subtitles.

Unit4 has been helping public sector organizations succeed at digital transformation for the past two decades. According to customer reviews on Raven Intel, Unit4 projects are planned 33% more accurately and delivered on-time 12% more often – and on budget 10% more often – than the industry average.

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