Modern technologies are providing a huge opportunity in the public sector to migrate from legacy systems. The benefits of such change are measured most especially in terms of dramatically reduced costs, raised service standards, channel shift and forward flexibility.
Though reducing in scale, there nevertheless remains a huge inventory of legacy systems in public organisations not only in areas such as customer relationship management and many other corporate functions but also in frontline services.
Traditional software systems were very expensive to buy even though in many instances the initial cost was absorbed many years ago. Nonetheless the ongoing maintenance and support costs tend to be excessive whilst any kind of substantive change is not only extremely difficult but often prohibitive in cost terms. In a constantly changing world these constraints prove difficult.
Legacy systems were typically characterised by their obsession with collecting large volumes of data rather than producing results. Thus, the systems spawned an industry of data collection with limited tangible benefits to the business users despite investing considerable resources.
The latest digital software technologies offer a very different way. They are highly customer focused whether the customer be internal or external. They excel at satisfying need, enabling fulfilment and delivering outcomes.
Information is vital; the trick performed by digital systems is “easy in and easy out”. Contemporary systems seek to exploit information rather than just collect data. There is a considerable emphasis on doing the work in the most efficient and effective way. So, process improvement and business flows are fundamental. Access to information rather than the laboured reporting processes of old just becomes a natural adjunct of workflow.
Perhaps more essentially modern systems are sociable - they look outwardly to the customer. Access to systems is much more inclusive typically offering omni-channel facilities to users with an accent on self-service. The systems are intuitive and intelligent and designed to interact easily with the user. Moreover, they are seamlessly linked to smart and functional front-ends with powerful dashboard viewing and reporting facilities that reach all parts.
The systems have been designed for today’s mobile and agile world. So, they can be easily accessed using mobile devices, and applications are available for off-line working pending subsequent synchronisation if necessary. This substantially enables agile working in the public sector.
Yet all of this comes at considerably less cost. Modern systems are much easier to maintain, support and, perhaps, most crucially, far easier to change. For instance, Meritec’s digital solutions are all based on the powerful ESB Agile platform. Whilst Meritec solutions compare extremely favourably with legacy systems in terms of data handling and functionality, they are primarily designed for user and business exploitation - i.e. enabling end-to-end fulfilment for customers through such as MyAccount and self-serve facilities. Moreover, making changes to the solutions is easy. Indeed, with a modicum of training users can soon become self-sustaining.
It’s time for forward thinking Authorities to bite the bullet; modernise and make Legacy a thing of the past….