‘We’ve got people in call centres, almost none of the data is used’

There are no quick wins when it comes to improving public services — technology solutions often fail when the organisational and cultural change is lacking. But the private sector has shown that when data is used well and non-CIO executives become champions, it creates a better customer experience and increased productivity.

While there are “pockets of excellence” within the public sector when it comes to using data to improve customer experience, there is a lot to be learned from the private sector in the way it has done the necessary organisational reform required to back up technology change, says IBM’s Murray Bruce.

Murray Bruce

Murray Bruce

“People look for the quick wins,” he told The Mandarin, “but some of the things you need to do, they’ll never be quick. When you walk into the room and switch on the light, you know it’s going to come on. You’re relying on it every time you use it. They’re the things users don’t see, but if you don’t get those utility capabilities right, you’re never going to realise an agile front end.”

A common problem is implementing a technological solution on its own as a fix to a complex service problem, resulting in a flashy new IT system built over poor processes and/or poor data, argues Bruce, who is Director, Public Sector Asia Pacific, Japan and China at IBM’s Analytics Group.

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