Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Why you don't need a digital strategy

Are you writing a digital strategy for a council? Stop it right now!

Most digital strategies I've seen focus on enabling customers to do things online, I've even seen councils claim they'll be delivering 100% of services online this year. Your strategy needs to be about more than just online.

Many strategies are created as a plan to deliver savings, with success measured in redundancies.  It's important to understand how digital technology can enable organisations do more and bring in additional revenue.

Some strategies talk about digital being a mindset. It's not. The problem is that the term "digital" has been conflated with "the internet" and most importantly service design.

Think about technology, think about the people that the technology supports, think about the service the people and technology support, and above all think about the user (and statutory) needs the service meets.

Organisations will always need specialists. Think about how your strategy will help highway engineers, social workers, town planners and teachers deliver a better service.

Organisations will always need generalists. Think about how your strategy will help them answer the questions and do the work a digital service can't, without needing to retain specialist knowledge on a wide range of topics.

Organisations will always need websites. Think about how your strategy will enable online self-service as much as possible, whilst supporting generalists and specialists for tasks that can't be completed entirely on the internet.

Understand that digital is an enabler for good service design, it is not service design in itself. Forget your digital strategy and start writing a transformation and delivery framework for your organisation.

This blog is written by Phil Rumens, Vice-Chair of LocalGov Digital, lead for LGMakers and who manages the digital services team at a local authority in England.

The opinions expressed in this weblog are my own personal views and in no way represent any organisation I may have worked for, currently work for, might be thinking of working for, might not be thinking of working for or have never worked for. In fact having said that they, might not even be my views any more as I might have changed my mind so I wouldn't take any of it too seriously.