5 Tech Trends in the Public Sector
As the clock struck midnight on 1st January 2019, the IT channel was awash with predictions about what will dominate the technology industry in 2019. In the UK Public Sector – against a backdrop of the most stringent data security regulations ever and the B-word hijacking most discussions – we take a look at what’s prevailed as some of the most important tech trends at the halfway point. 1. Putting APIs at the heart of your cloud security strategy In July 2019 Jason Macy, CTO, Forum Systems, in SC Magazine argues that the UK Public Sector is leading the way in cyber security, “Most would assume that cutting-edge innovation is only ever being driven by the private sector. After all, without the profit incentive and competitors snapping at their heels, why would anyone in the Public Sector bother to take a leadership role in any form of technology? Being a leader is a lonely place to be, and you have to take a lot of risks to get there. But this is precisely what has happened in the UK. As someone who is actively involved in top level cyber-security discussions with organisations and governments around the world, I can personally testify that the UK Public Sector is a world leader in cyber-security.” Many believe the government’s Cloud First digital agenda, which mandated all Public Sector IT projects to seek cloud solutions before anything else, has spurred this unprecedented shift to cloud services by the UK Public Sector. In fact, 78% of the UK Public Sector is now powered by the cloud, according to latest figures published by the Cloud Industry Forum. Macy states that putting APIs at the heart of your cloud security strategy, as much of the UK Public Sector has done, demonstrates an understanding that cloud security and API security are one and the same. 2. Realising the potential of technology in education In April 2019, UK Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, published his strategy for education and the technology industry. This set out his vision for technology as an effective tool to help reduce workload, increase efficiencies, engage students and communities, and provide tools to support excellent teaching and raise student attainment. Hinds highlights infrastructure, skills, safety and procurement as the four key challenges in education, with connectivity, cloud computing and digital safety listed as the main drivers to enabling digital transformation in schools, colleges and universities. SCC works closely with Higher Education customers to enable Digital Transformation via the adoption of new ways of working and delivery of student-focused services that harness changing technology. In transforming the digital workspace and building a secure, agile and scalable environment, we create a robust, efficient and modernised IT infrastructure that delivers greatly improved outcomes. 3. Future-proofing the skills of Public Sector technology professionals SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2019 suggests that Public Sector technology professionals have a growing desire to utilise their expertise and focus on their career-based learning. This is in order to play a bigger role in their organisation, finding that 95% of tech pros surveyed have worked to develop a skill over the past 12 months. The report also found that the most important technologies for career development in the Public Sector align with the top three technologies for organisations’ digital transformation over the next three to five years: cloud and/or hybrid IT (66%), automation and/or orchestration (52%) and SIEM and/or threat intelligence (56%). Digital skills are one of the challenges common across the whole of the UK Public Sector. And with technologies including artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics, as well as careers in data science and coding, becoming more prevalent, it’s clear that more training is required in these areas. Blockchain (56%), AI (51%), and quantum computing (49%) were the top three technologies tech pros felt unequipped to manage with their current skillsets. 4. Digitising the Police Force SCC believes that digital transformation will support and enhance the way Police Forces operate and help them to better achieve their missions. Digital solutions will relieve the pressure on Police time, make better use of data, integrate services, combat the growing problem of cyber security and ultimately release officers to deal with situations that need greater human involvement. Forces are seeking to transform ways of working to allow more effective engagement with the communities they serve. Protecting people and property, maintaining the peace, detecting crime and bringing offenders to justice remain the core functions of policing. But it’s not been easy. Scrutiny of data use and some objection to new technologies such as facial recognition and AI criminal intelligence – alongside more traditional challenges to funding and resource – have been hurdles in the broader digitalisation of police forces. Forces that have modernised, however, are seeing huge benefits as outlined by a number of SCC customers here: https://publicsector.scc.com/police/. 5. Brexit No 2019 list is complete without Brexit. The fact is Britain leaving the EU will have an impact on most things, so its inclusion might be obvious – but as Public Technology Editor Sam Trendall explains, “The impact on every single branch of the Public Sector will be huge. The effect Brexit will have on the work of digital and data professionals may be a little less obvious than in policy or delivery. But it will still be the single biggest issue they face this year and will, in some way, shape, or form, affect most day-to-day tasks. “For many public-sector organisations, EU nationals will represent a significant chunk of both their workforce and the citizens they serve. Simply ensuring continuity for these people will be a key challenge for the Public Sector in the months ahead, and digital platforms and effective use of data will likely be a major part of the solution.” SCC’s depth of experience and knowledge in the Public Sector, gained over 30 years, has built us a reputation as a thought leader and trusted advisor. Whether it was being appointed as one of the first national resellers to deliver technology to the NHS or being the first provider awarded PAN Government accreditation for our Secure Cloud Services, SCC has always been a leader in the provision of technology services to the UK Public Sector. Find out more about SCC’s Public Sector business on our dedicated website: https://publicsector.scc.com.