In Government, the word 'efficiency' has almost exclusively been replaced with the word 'austerity'. The two terms, however, are not interchangeable and the question remains why is insufficient serious effort being made by our Government to lead the efficiency agenda?
There's a lot of productivity that can be harnessed by both public and private sector organisations. Human elements will, of course, require a boost in productivity but it is the machine and technological efficiency that is often overlooked. With a degree of serious assessment, organisations can make significant gains in productivity through changes in their technology strategy alone.
Here at Icon UK, we assist organisations with processing all kinds of information efficiently within forms and documents; think of workers being able to quickly, easily and 'compliantly' create and send documents through every type of media with little IT involvement. In this ‘omni-channel’ approach, every document can have the maximum amount of personalisation needed. Better still, with state-of the-art technology enabling both legacy Systems of Record and modern Systems of Engagement, it’s a fraction of the cost and complexity of updating current or sourcing alternative systems.
And when citizens, workers and consumers are happy with the documents, the technology enables half of the country’s paperwork (i.e. that still using wet ink signatures) to be replaced simply with biometric electronic signatures which are highly secure, legally-compliant and allow the signature to be uniquely identified just from the angle, speed and pressure of a handwritten signature on almost any touch device, Smartphone, Tablet or PC. Even the DWP have now recognised this potential and are reducing fraud with real-time elimination of moon-lighting and similar upon signing for benefits in Job Centres.
There is a huge opportunity to replace inefficient processes (expensive licences, frustratingly complex outdated IT, security code generator devices, waiting for couriers, paper handling and storage, etc.) and the enabling of mobile workers to provide services from wherever they are, without needing to return to the office to complete the documentation. Over 70% of Germany’s top 30 insurance companies, 40% of their top 20 banks and the Swiss Social Security already have solutions delivered by Icon. Our software speeds up all transactions and perhaps that's what is helping to drive their growing economies.
Gaining efficiencies through such document and identity technologies is just one area amongst many potential efficiencies available to Government to help balance the books. Government needs to lead not lag, a philosophy not lost on Francis Maude who last year addressed 'the economics of identity and the role of GOV.UK'. This activity is both critical and essential if we want to compete and win internationally.
Is it time for the Public Sector to embrace efficiency alongside austerity?