Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The five stages of digital transformation

Digital transformation in any organisation is a process of evolution, from a paper based process to a one that better serves users and gains the most from digital.

I've detailed five stages, focussing on applying for an Events Notice. I chose this because it's a statutory service, but even for this there's a huge about of scope for re-thinking it around user needs and digital.

Paper Based

This is the most costly and time consuming for everyone. Every step with an icon of a person next to it takes manual intervention which makes the process longer for the user and more costly for the council.

Downloadable Form


The bad old days of eGIF saw councils fill their websites up with PDFs in an attempt to do things "electronically". As you can see from above, there's very little time saving to the user or the council, other than the user doesn't have to wait to receive the application form.

Online and E-Forms


Now we're getting somewhere and the customer interaction is down to one step, but look at the back office function, it hasn't changed. So whilst the customer's getting a nice, sometimes well designed front end, there's no saving for the council and it'll take just as long for the user to get their licence. This is what's sometimes referred to as "lipstick as a pig".


An End-to-End Process


You can see a clear change here, checks are completed by the online service querying a database or API. Information is automatically saved in the back office system so no re-keying, and the service generates the licence which the user could download and may be made available somewhere online for everyone to see.

So that's it, digital transformation done, right? Well, no.


Digital Transformation


We've approached the first four steps with the user need being "I want to apply for an Events Notice" but this isn't the case, no one wants to apply for an Events Notice. The user need is "I want to put on an event" and when you look at it like that things become different.

So our service above still has the statutory function of issuing a licence, it still has the efficient end-to-end process but it's got more. At the start we ask the user their needs, do they need advertising, a venue, staff to run their event and if they do, we build this into the service.

Because this is a digital service, though we're offering a lot more, once created there's minimal cost to the council.

Because these are optional extras and not part of the statutory service these can be chargeable and run by partners or the community, which means we've turned round what was a very costly process into something that now generates revenue.

Of course there's a lot more to digital transformation than this. I've not touched on the process of creating a digital service, but hopefully this is a good guide for those starting to think about the subject.
This blog is written by Phil Rumens, Vice-Chair of LocalGov Digital, lead for LGMakers and who manages the digital services team at a local authority in England.

The opinions expressed in this weblog are my own personal views and in no way represent any organisation I may have worked for, currently work for, might be thinking of working for, might not be thinking of working for or have never worked for. In fact having said that they, might not even be my views any more as I might have changed my mind so I wouldn't take any of it too seriously.