COVID-19 UK Public Sector Survey: 7 in 10 leaders agree automation helps meet government challenges

October 15, 2020

Surveyed during COVID-19, UK central government leaders find consensus on using emerging technologies to handle rapid change

London, UK  — Appian (NASDAQ: APPN) today published survey results examining the UK public sector’s approach to digital transformation during the pandemic.They reveal that COVID-19 has overtaken Brexit as the top disruptor to digital transformation in government, with 64% of respondents claiming the pandemic has forced them to rewrite their previous digital plans.

The “Government Transformation in a Post-Covid World” survey, conducted by Dods Research, shows the changing role of emerging technologies during the pandemic, as well as drawing 10 recommendations for digital government after the crisis ends.

Investing in digital transformation is helping government departments respond to the pandemic, including enabling remote working for staff. Yet respondents also reported issues with legacy systems grappling with higher volumes of data to process and a growing demand for fast, efficient and seamless digital experiences.

From 100 senior public sector leaders surveyed, two of the top three top goals for digital government over the next five years are operational efficiency (90%) and simplification (78%), with existing infrastructure, incompatibilities, and lack of internal expertise as the main barriers to achievement.

Intelligent automation technologies are accelerating digital government in the UK, helping departments keep pace with change. The government appears committed to investing in emerging technology, with 80% currently implementing automation, and 69% agreeing that ‘in the future, automation will support my organisation to address operational challenges’.

Delving deeper into their digital plans, 65% of government technology leaders either currently implement or plan to implement Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), and 56% either currently implement or plan to implement Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

The survey report distills these results into a series of 10 recommendations for government digital transformation in a post-COVID world:

  1. Consider automation to speed up processes and efficiency
  2. Strive for simplicity
  3. Improve the government worker and citizen experience
  4. Consider low-code options
  5. Invest in the right solutions and save money
  6. Source and retain talent and skill sets
  7. Place security at the core
  8. Modernise infrastructure with scalability
  9. Adopt a culture for the future
  10. Improve the availability and quality of data

Dig into the findings behind these recommendations by downloading the full “Government Digital Transformation in a Post-Covid World” survey report.

Methodology

The survey, conducted by Dods Research, gathered responses from 100 senior technology leaders in UK central government between June and July 2020. Almost a third of respondents worked for the Home Office (32%), with 20% working for HM Revenue and Customs, 11% at the Ministry of Defence, and 6% in the Cabinet Office. In terms of job roles, the majority (64%) were classed as executives, with 25% Senior Executive Officers, 21% Executive Officers, and 19% Higher Executive Officers. More than a fifth (23%) were Senior Civil Servants at Grade 6 or 7.

About Appian

Appian provides a low-code automation platform that accelerates the creation of high-impact business applications. Many of the world’s largest organizations use Appian applications to improve customer experience, achieve operational excellence, and simplify global risk management and compliance.