Bridging the end user - IT divide
Louise Day, Head of IT at the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, on making the IT department more proactive and productive
Public sector IT is undergoing significant transformation. In the last 12 months, the government has driven initiatives like 'digital by default' to support the offering of better services to the public, not to mention making huge cost savings of up to £1.2bn over the first three years. As more citizens get on board with everything from booking their driving test or paying taxes online, it is the job of the IT department within those organisations to ensure these services run smoothly.
Not only is digital getting the public's backing, it is getting the support of employees. A shift towards a more mobile workforce is becoming increasingly popular, but productivity, staff satisfaction and empowerment are three further reasons why the mobile device age is creating a reason for adhering to a digital manifesto. This, in conjunction with the rise of online services, has created both headaches and opportunities for heads of IT who need to immerse themselves digitally.
Supporting Victims through Technology
With cost, efficiency and going digital the three top points on every public sector organisation's agenda, how can the IT department support a successful digital transformation? The answer is simple: good technology.
From Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority's (CICA) perspective, we have two key audiences to think of when it comes to IT: the victims and the workers who support them. With both audiences becoming more reliant on online services, it is important that our back-office solutions facilitate this digital activity.
Online communication is becoming far more popular than older, more traditional methods i.e., paper-based inquiries. In fact over 80% of applications made to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority are now processed through our online portal, a figure we would like to increase further. As Head of IT, it is not only my responsibility to ensure that I take into account wider changes being made by central government, but also to recognise the impact on our customers - and our workforce.
The victims of violent crime are at the heart of our business and it is the duty of the IT department to run as the backbone to the organisations, ensuring it not only runs smoothly but also that it never falters.
The Importance of Service Desk
When we invested in LANDesk's Service Desk in August of this year, we were looking for a tool that understood the wider context of our business and took away the headaches from IT by automating the handling and - to some extent, remediation - of end-user issues and freeing up our employees' time. Now users can log their own issues, reducing the time spent calling the IT department and creating more time to help victims of violent crime.
Previous IT service desk solutions did not allow us to effectively support our wider business objectives, such as reducing cost and maintaining high customer services levels. IT was restricted by logging problems, as the old system was slow and inconvenient. Adopting a service desk management solution enables CICA to free up user time spent calling IT, and instead spend it on victim support. This also helps us understand more about the IT issues that cost the business time and money. On average we receive around 1,500 calls per month, and we can now dig deeper into why these issues are happening, allowing us to be more proactive in our approach to managing IT.
We can now give employees the ability to log and monitor the progress of their own incidents anytime from anywhere. Since the implementation went live, the IT department has seen many benefits including time savings, effective monitoring of issues, and back-up functionality -- all of which previously didn't exist. With more independent users, the number of calls and emails seen by the IT department in the last three months has been dramatically reduced.
The service desk empowers users and cuts out admin tasks for the IT department so that it can focus on more proactive and strategic activities.
IT is the backbone of business efficiency and an effective service desk is the gateway to achieving a more productive, cost-efficient environment. Our work with LANDesk is crucial in enabling us to manage IT effectively and is bridging the gap between end-users and IT. This has given CICA both a short term fix in terms of cutting administrative time and longer term visibility into IT strategy issues.
It is critical for public sector organisations to be more efficient. But this can only be possible with the right technologies that allow workforces to be more productive and IT to focus on other innovative solutions to continue improving services. Public sector pressures will never go away, but technology is - and will continue to be - an enabler in helping to reduce cost and drive improvement.