Article

Tech Trends 2019

UK Government and public services perspective

The story of technology trends is inseparable from the story of the public sector. Governments and other public entities support foundational research and put new tools to use. As technology evolves and public sector priorities grow broader and more complex, leaders feel pressure to make the most effective use of the newest advances.

As leaders work to reshape their organisations and realise the possibilities offered by technology, they rely on fresh, relevant insights. This perspective provides a UK Government and Public Services lens on Deloitte’s Technology Trends 2019: Beyond the digital frontier.

Macro technology forces at work


Nine technology forces (cloud, analytics, digital experience, blockchain, cognitive, digital reality, core modernisation, cyber, and the business of technology) have been the backbone of innovation past and present. These forces are critical for organisations— their controlled collision can compound the effect of purposeful, transformational change.
 
What is the “state of the state” of these forces today and how can organisations harness them?

Getting started

  • Learn from the changes of the past decade. We look back on cloud, analytics, and digital experience as the new normal, however there is still much potential to be leveraged within the public sector.
  • Embrace technology at the core. The importance of technology to the business continues to increase. Teams should evolve their capabilities and practices to take advantage of the mechanisms to improve delivery, transforming their core as well as the public facing services, adopting agility across the enterprise.
  • Keep your eye on the horizon. Blockchain, cognitive, and digital reality, which encompasses immersive technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and internet of things, are next in line to drive transformation to we deliver our services to the public, look for opportunities to lead the way in their innovative application.
  • Remain focused on outcomes, people and value-focused delivery.

Government and public services lens on the trends

AI-fuelled organisations

Leading organisations are harnessing AI’s full potential for data-driven decision making and generating valuable insights. To become a true “AI-fuelled” organisation, a company needs to find AI’s place in the mission, rethink its talent, focus on human and machine interaction in its environment, and deploy intelligent automation across core business processes and operations.

Getting started

  • Decide what AI means to you. Relevant applications can vary by organisation, mission, and situation.
  • Strive to become an “AI-fuelled” organisation. Change the question from “why AI?” to “why not?”—and get started. Think big and start small.
  • Train the people you have. Both in the mission and in IT, the nature of your plan and your maturity to date will help determine which skills to add.
  • Add the skills you’re missing. Hire or contract for talent as necessary.

Trends in action

The NHS is using AI and robotics to help put doctors back on the front line instead of performing back office administrative duties. Hospitals have begun by exploring how to automate parts of referral administration, speed up triage processes and to calculate reimbursement. Initial proofs of concept are already producing strong results, suggesting AI has a key role to play in the future NHS.

NoOps in a serverless world

Cloud providers have doggedly automated traditional infrastructure and security management tasks and are increasing the complexity and value of “as a service” capabilities. As a result, technical resources are interacting less and less with the underlying system infrastructure. Operations talent can shift to increasingly agile teams focusing on higher-order (and higher-value) activities that more directly support mission outcomes.

Getting started

  • Shift administration to an engineering footing. Determinedly standardise, modernise, and synthesise so you can apply engineering principles and automation to operations.
  • Go cloud native. Pilot and pursue technologies that don’t involve managing physical servers from containers to storage “as a service.”
  • Transform your processes. Make your processes automatable and repeatable without human intervention.

Trends in action

Pay-as-you-go models offer flexibility and cost-efficiency to public sector organisations that need to manage seasonal demands, for example spikes in tax returns. Government organisations are beginning to pilot or use container-based, function-based, or other new cloud computing models. Off-premises resources don’t require large-scale apps – agencies can “pay by the drink.” But a fresh look at internal systems helps cloud apps mesh properly.

Connectivity of tomorrow

Advanced networking offers a continuum of connectivity that can drive development of new products and services or transform inefficient operating models. From edge computing, software defined networking and mesh networks to 5G, low Earth orbit satellites and ultra-broadband, organisations across sectors and geographies are relooking at advanced connectivity options to transform their enterprise networks and enable their digital journey.

Getting started

  • Transform your enterprise’s connectivity. To enable your cloud and digital transformation journey harness Software Defined Networks, Network Function Virtualisation and evolutions in connectivity capabilities.
  • Plan for the upcoming explosion of bandwidth. A wirelessly connected world will bring changes that bring new demands and new opportunities.
  • Obtain the right people, processes and supply chain. Greater efficiency and agility, requires more than just the technology.

Trends in action

Public sector organisations can break through existing connectivity limitations when new networks give more power to field workers. Field-deployed personnel will soon have greater bandwidth on their mobile devices than they have at their desks today. This could have major implications in policing and health.Are your current processes and systems ready to adapt? Advanced connectivity can extend AI, image recognition, facial recognition, and other tools into the field.

Intelligent interfaces

Intelligent interfaces combine the latest in human-centred design with leading-edge technologies such as computer vision, natural language processing (NLP), auditory analytics and advanced augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR). Working in concert, these techniques and capabilities can transform the ways we engage with machines, data, and each other.

Getting started

  • See beyond the long-established standards. Imagine new engagement patterns and capabilities that go beyond “click and type” and “touch and swipe.”
  • Rethink training, collaboration, and more. Take advantage of new ways to connect and learn.
  • Unlearn limits. How can intelligent interfaces observe, track, measure, and monitor without deliberate user actions like typing and clicking?

Trends in action

Intelligent search facilities can go beyond basic search engine functionality to identify relevant information and images. Digital image capture and computer vision can speed up application processes (to verify that digital photos meet identification requirements for passports and licenses). Enquiries can be handled efficiently through natural language interfaces and voice recognition. VR enabled training can better prepare staff for real-world scenarios, for example to deal with terrorist attacks in policing. In the longer term, VR and AR can aid technicians to repair infrastructure such as railway and pipelines, and allow virtual teams to collaborate more naturally.

Beyond marketing: Experience reimagined

Today’s astute users expect highly personalised, contextualised experiences as both citizens and staff. To deliver them, leading public bodies are bringing their operations, policy and IT executives closer, using new marketing tools and techniques powered by data-enabled emerging technologies to nudge, personalise and shape human experiences.

Getting started

  • Look beyond marketing. Leading organisations are rethinking all of the ways users interact with them.
  • Create connections. It’s not just pushing information — new tools and techniques enable customised experiences and better relationships.
  • Go all-in on data. Collect and manage information from users across all channels to better understand the interactions they desire.

Trends in action

Agencies that directly engage with citizens can adjust each individual’s experience from “high-touch” human contact to “low-touch” automation while keeping service consistent. Many public bodies may resemble businesses in the way they manage demand with nudging, marketing and channel optimisation. Data-based tools make this outreach more effective. Service programmes can use advanced marketing techniques to engage the population, gauge reactions, and adjust rollouts.

DevSecOps and the cyber imperative

To enhance their approaches to cybersecurity and cyber risk, forward-thinking organisations are embedding security, privacy, policy, and controls into their evolved IT delivery models. DevSecOps fundamentally transforms cyber and risk management from compliance-based activities (typically undertaken late in the development lifecycle) into essential framing mind-sets that help shape system design from the ground up.

Getting started

  • Integrate security. Don’t just test it at the end – build it in throughout the system and operational lifecycles, starting with requirements and design.
  • Expand your security culture. Compliance is still important, but the focus now is on proactive risk management.
  • Pick bold goals. Propel the culture forward— don’t be incremental on this one.

Trends in action

Enforcing good “hygiene” is both a culture change and a technology change. The European Directive on the security of Network and Information Systems (NIS Directive) has highlighted a need to have Privacy and Security-by-Design approach built-in to development teams. In October 2018, the UK Government published a Security by Design Code of Practice for Consumer IoT Security to support all parties involved in the development, manufacturing and retail of consumer IoT. With these and other trends we can see that organisations are now working to standardise, automate, and virtualise processes using close-knit teams that integrate development, security, and operations to reduce human error, speed results, and make difficult operations invisible to the user.

Beyond the digital frontier: Mapping your future


Digital transformation has become a rallying cry for public bodies. Yet all too often, organisations limit themselves to what they know, and don’t truly explore new technologies or entirely different business models. Developing a systematic approach for identifying and harnessing opportunities at the intersections of technology, science, and business is an essential first step in making digital transformation concrete and achievable.
 

Getting started

  • Embrace experimentation. Use “hackathons” and innovation days to test new techniques and technologies.
  • Look for proven patterns. There are many examples of other businesses who have used digital technology in surprising ways that can be copied.
  • Learn the landscape. New technologies include AI, automation, blockchain, and more. Catalysts include concepts like crowdsourcing, human-centered design, and the maker movement. Keeping up with what’s new prepares you to invent what’s next.

Trends in action

To make the most of technology adoption, public bodies are finding useful lessons in the private sector — and vice versa. Cashierless stores could serve as models for care exchanges. The NHS can use AI-enabled verification of eligibility that is becoming common in the insurance sector. Public bodies could use AI and other digital techniques to screen recruits like the private sector is increasingly doing.

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