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On the 18th-19th January, Hitachi Solutions Europe sponsored and attended the Central Government Partnership Network event in Nottingham.

At such a demanding and difficult time for Central Government and the UK Civil Service, it was a wonderful opportunity to extract myself from my day job with Hitachi Solutions and connect with industry leaders and other partners to share experiences, learn and hopefully discover new opportunities to innovate with our central government clients to help them meet today’s challenges.

Simon Robinson talking to a customer across a table at Central Government Partnership Network
Simon Robinson presenting alongside Chris Cope at the Central Government Partnership Network

What particularly struck me over the 2 days was how, when you dig beneath the surface of the individual business challenges, there were a very common set of inhibitors to innovation and improving efficiency, including:

  • Organisations being shackled by aging, costly, siloed legacy applications, unable to join up business processes and enable data-driven decision making, and unable to adapt timely to ongoing policy and business change.
  • Building and retaining high performing teams including the impact on productivity and results we are seeing with changes in post-pandemic ways of working.
  • When the challenges are many and resources and spread thin, how do we create the necessary time and space for real innovation?

Successful Digital projects are underpinned by strong change and adoption programmes aligned to them.

I was delighted to take to the stage with Chris Cope, Digital Innovation and Programme Manager, from the Environment Agency, to share their journey with us over the last 2 years supporting their transformation to the way they regulate through digital and data. From how they took a step back to understand the whole problem through Service and User Centered Design to replacing siloed legacy applications and data stores with modern, re-usable, cloud-based digital services (using #MicrosoftPowerPlatform and #MicrosoftAzure). And how in doing the hard work to modernise parts of the estate is now starting to open up opportunities to innovate using #AI and #DigitalTwins to shape the future of regulation.

Based on the feedback Chris and I individually received, it was clear that Environment Agency’s journey is one that resonated with many other attendees. Whether regulatory in nature or not.

I also had some enjoyable and candid conversations with digital leaders on how public sector engages with suppliers, both formally through procurement processes, but also in events such as this one. We can all gain better understanding of each other’s drivers, challenges and perspectives, allowing us to find the most effective ways to create successful outcomes for the sector.

All in all, a great networking and shared learning event.