A big challenge in providing services for public sector organisations is managing and preserving data which can be decades old, but it's a challenge that Canon Business Services (CBS) has faced head-on.
This is according to A/NZ CBS general manager of Microsoft technologies Todd Elliott, who said these challenges are universal and can be faced when dealing with any large organisation, but particular care needs to be taken within the public sector.
“I wouldn't say it's necessarily distinct challenges from the rest of the world out there,” he said.
“It's just typically that the information is potentially a little bit more sensitive and it's typically a little bit older as well because of the requirements to hold on to that information.”
The facilitation of the move away from legacy systems to the cloud is ramping up for public sector organisations in particular as security and preservation of data are growing concerns, Elliott said.
“They've been able to get on any modern platform and then been able to very incrementally grow things and change things and react, instead of having to deal with big legacy systems,” he said.
“What we're finding is government agencies that have done that have been really able to become more agile and flexible.”
CBS has a number of customers across private enterprise and government but has a niche in the growing govtech space.
In January, CBS acquired Satalyst, which was historically focused on Western and South Australia, but the acquisition saw it expand to other operational areas in Australia’s east coast as well as picking up customers across the ditch in New Zealand from the wider pool of CBS customers needing specialist services.
Elliott pointed towards its work with the South Australian Tourism Commission to highlight that agility and flexibility, as it moved the government agency into the cloud with Microsoft Azure and built out solutions on Dynamics 365 for ongoing automation.
“Being in the cloud really opens them up for that innovation and agility,” he said.
Other customers include Western Australia’s Metropolitan Cemeteries, as well as a domestic violence reporting solution for the Department of Human Services.
This specific case study is unique, he claimed, as it crossed a number of government agencies, replacing a paper-based system that allows reporting of domestic violence incidents from a number of sources, including police, educators, community services, child protection services and healthcare workers.
The digitised system leverages Dynamics 365 and the wider Microsoft cloud environment and facilitates the coordination of these separate lines of reporting into a single point, allowing better visibility for the overall picture of a domestic violence case and its management.
On the future of govtech, Elliott reinforced the ongoing need to consolidate data and move past legacy data and systems to allow agencies to “get more of a single view of the citizen,” he said, as well as modernising platforms to provide a better service.
For governments, undertaking incremental projects, as opposed to traditionally large all in one go projects is a lower-cost and lower-risk option that also provides a “shorter time to value,” Elliott said.
“There’s been times were we’ve moved organisations to the cloud in two to three months when we were told that we wouldn’t get it done inside 12,” he added.
“It’s because we think differently, and we use the tools that are available. It’s about encouraging people to look at what’s out there, what can be done and then leverage those new technologies to really get onto that platform that allows that small incremental change all of the time.”