Martha Lane-Fox challenged the government to perform a “revolution not evolution” of its digital services. It has risen to the challenge, saving hundreds of millions of pounds already and setting the bar for the corporates who previously outpaced them.
Richard Stobart of Unboxed Consulting says “For the first time, our enterprise customers are looking up to our government customers in the digital transformation space”.
What does government know that corporates don’t? Simple. Government knows that the world no longer accepts clunky digital products that don’t deliver expected value. They treat the move to digital services as strategic transformation not pet projects. They focus obsessively on user needs. They work on culture not just code.
The Government Digital Service (GDS) has led the change, setting the digital service standard, change the way projects are led and financially controlled, hiring the best people and pioneering exemplar services.
GDS understands that the truly astronomical cost savings are captured, not on a shoestring, but by people who really know how to do agile. They’re invested in training the civil service, acting as a consultancy, giving ready access to experts at a competitive price via g-cloud, providing a clear online ‘handbook’ and working with SMEs - new, hungry talent.
Deliberate risk taking and transparent communication has reduced consequences of making an error, leading to rapid learning and huge cost reductions. What’s more, their open standards approach allows sharing across organisations, multiplying their impact.
The US led the information age but the UK is leading the digital product age.