Learn the 5 keys to managing a successful public sector IT overhaul


When the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom became operational in 2009, it faced a lot of challenges, including the existing IT provisioned by the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry is a much larger organisation with fundamentally different IT needs.  The new Supreme Court needed an agile, cost-effective solution that could keep up with its heavy case load. A total IT transformation was in order.

How did the court manage such an enormous shift?

There are two ways to answer that question. The first is a conversation with Farsight Consulting, Microsoft and its partners, Optevia and Risual. It's a conversation about the latest in cloud and mobile technology and the productivity it empowers. It’s an important conversation. But it’s not the whole story.

Pulling off a successful IT transformation requires more than just the right tech. It also requires leadership. You need to be able to build consensus and support for change within the organisation. Earlier this year at Cloud World Forum 2014, Paul Brigland, Head of ICT for the United Kingdom Supreme Court, spoke about building support for an IT overhaul within a public sector organisation.

Here are his top 5 tips:

1. Understand your end-users. Most workers don't really care about the high-level whys and wherefores of new technology. They just want tools that helps them do their jobs. IT professionals need a deep understanding of end-users’ requirements and pain points -- and they need to be able to come up with solutions that can be flexible. These days, one-size-fits-all IT doesn’t really fit anyone.

2. Take the time to articulate benefits. The days of “build it and they will come” IT are long over. If you want to build support for new tech, you need to be able show workers how the new tools will benefit them. That process starts before deployment and continues throughout the training and adoption phase.

3. Use a pilot program to build support.One way to get people excited about new technology is by showing them the difference it can make with a smaller pilot program. Once workers see first-hand how these new tools can transform the way they work, they'll be much more willing to embrace the challenges of a full-scale IT overhaul.

4. Make an honest assessment of your security needs.It's easy to assume that more security is always better. But public domain information doesn't require the same safeguards as nuclear secrets. Superfluous security measures may end up being barriers to productivity, which dampens support for the project at large. An honest and thorough risk assessment is essential to making sure your security is fit for purpose.

5. Leave enough time to do it right. All IT projects have their hiccups. It’s practically a law of the universe. What sets successful IT projects apart is that smart organisations leave time in their deployment schedule to account for little bumps along the way. The UK Supreme Court managed to deploy its IT overhaul in about six months thanks to sound planning, including doing the most difficult parts of the roll-out during the Christmas season, when workloads are light and testing is easier.

The court is now using the latest in cloud technology: Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Office 365, Windows Intune for mobile device management, and a new case management system based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Today the court is more agile, productive and cost efficient. They’ve made these upgrades with the future in mind, so that the next upgrade will be even easier. Their experiences can serve as a roadmap for other public sector organisations looking to make big changes in how technology supports their mission – so long as innovation and leadership walk hand-in-hand.

Want to learn more about how Paul Brigland led the Supreme Court through its dramatic IT transformation? Join us at Future Decoded on 10 November at London Excel. You’ll have a chance to hear the entire Supreme Court story, ask question and come away better prepared than ever to tackle your organisation’s next big transformation.

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