Adopting digital

Local authorities (LAs) are overwhelmed with an endless list of urgent tasks and a growing demand to carry out heavy workloads on shrinking budgets. With some even facing bankruptcy, it’s unsurprising that investment in digital infrastructure falls to the bottom of the priority pile.

However, digital spending is an opportunity for LAs to drive resilience and positive change for good in the long term. From streamlining internal activities to improving customer experiences and meeting their increasing digital needs. Adopting a customer-centric approach to digital change will make these goals more achievable.

1. Create customer-centric change

As public-facing organisations, LAs must place their end customers at the heart of their operations. Subsequently, this should be no different for digital change. Equipped with a wealthy bank of customer-related information, LAs can better understand their customers through satisfaction feedback, website engagement metrics and data on call length queues.

Assessing this information will enable LAs to pinpoint where digital investment can bring the greatest value to the end customer. Data-informed decision making is vital for meeting the customers’ needs and wants. Adopting this approach will empower LA teams to make significant service improvements.

2. Refresh legacy processes

The digital world is no longer solely focused on technology – it’s about people and culture too. If digital change is to be successful, every member in the LA must become a digital leader. Evolving time and cost pressures make it difficult for LAs to invest in staff learning and development. However, it’s important that this does not fall off the agenda.

Purchasing new digital tools can only bring so much value. To maximise the investment, everyone from care workers to councillors must be digitally confident to deliver positive change. This includes having a sound understanding of the digital tools on the market and knowing when it’s time to make an upgrade.

3. Embrace AI for operational change

Artificial intelligence-systems (AI) are more than just buzzwords and serve as key enabling technologies that promise to deliver significant productivity benefits for LAs. These include cutting down administrative workloads to free up time for more complex tasks and helping to drive strategic priorities across the organisation.

The improvements delivered by AI-systems extend to the customer’s experience too. Some LAs are investing in AI-powered chatbots to support end users in navigating their websites or to submit online requests. Having a data platform and knowledge bank of the organisation will allow the AI chatbot to quickly harvest and share information with the customer, maximising the accessibility of services.

4. Cooperation drives successful change

To master data-informed decision making, LAs would benefit from collaborating with their partners and suppliers, such as the NHS and local businesses, and other local authorities. Siloed working is a barrier to strategic change and working with third parties can help to create a clearer picture of customer needs.

As LA teams seek to improve the delivery and experience of services, the importance of customer insight is increasing. Heading into digital change well-informed, will give investments the best chance of delivering the desired results.