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Only half of public sector IT leaders have the necessary resources

New research data gathered by UKCloud, about the key challenges facing the UK public sector, has revealed that 48% of senior IT professionals and business leaders feel they don’t have the resources necessary to understand and drive efficiencies from the data that they have.

As a society, we are moving to become increasingly data-driven in our decision making, with the ambitions of the public sector proving no different. Within the same UKCloud survey, 97% of UK public sector respondents stated they were, at minimum, evaluating digital technology and its potential to improve outcomes and services.

Yet, with only half of those surveyed believing they had the necessary resource, and two-third (67%) reporting that their public sector organisations currently allocated no more than a few days a month for employees to innovate and research new ways to unlock the value of data, it suggested that there is limited opportunity to discover and develop new ways of working internally.

Instead, focus has needed to shift to external support.

More than half (55%) of those surveyed said their organisations were starting to recognise the benefits of using specialist external partners to help safely adopt digital technology.

Within a public sector which handles a large amount of sensitive and confidential citizen information, ensuring the adoption of new digital solutions and data technologies are robust, secure and well-planned is essential.

Part of that also involves collaboration. Forming one of the key pillars in the Government’s National Data Strategy, the continued need to operate - and often operate in new ways - during a series of national lockdowns has emphasised how collaboration can be a key driver for digital and data change in the public sector.

The Government’s own strategy explains how there needs to be “better coordination, access to and sharing of data of appropriate quality between organisations within the public, private and third sectors”.

Within the UKCloud survey, some 62% of respondents supported the idea that being able to fully utilise data, particularly collaborating internally, was essential to providing better services. However, for nearly half (45%), there wasn’t a confidence in being able to safely and easily share data with partners and other agencies. Almost two-thirds reported still keeping some of their data stored in paper-based archives, making it difficult to share and extract value.

Leighton James, CTO at UKCloud, said: “In 2020, our State of Cloud Adoption survey really helped organisations across public sector begin to understand and address the blockers to cloud adoption.

“This year, I believe our State of Digital and Data survey will have a similar positive impact for public sector organisations and their industry partners.

“This survey shows that the UK public sector is committed to the benefits of digital transformation, and it is also clear that this transformation is too big a leap for many organisations. UKCloud, and our innovative partners, are focused on bridging that gap by delivering services and capabilities that are specifically developed to address the actual challenges facing most public sector organisations.

“I believe our latest survey will once again help our community understand and address these challenges in order to deliver better outcomes to those that rely on public services.”

Mark Jackson, National Cybersecurity Advisor, Cisco UK & Ireland, added, addressing some of the concerns raised in the survey around cybersecurity risk of sharing data: “Cloud adoption can positively reduce [this] risk, as many of the controls that are baked into a modern cloud platform are more comprehensive and better managed than those in on-premises equivalents.

“However not all data is created equal, so organisations should apply a sense of proportionality when considering where and when cloud is the right option.”

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