18 October, 2019

What is Digital Government Transformation? An interview with DWP Chief Digital Officer Mayank Prakash

Providing online access to public sector services has evolved from early E-Government efforts to Digital Government today.

The core building block is digitizing offline processes, moving paper-based forms workflow online so citizens can self-serve their own requirements.

This makes them more convenient for users and as insights from the SOCITM Better Connected report series described there are considerable cost efficiency improvements, highlighting a ‘Cost To Serve’ ratio that explains how much each different Citizen CRM channel costs:

  • Face to face : £7.40
  • Telephone: £2.90
  • Web: 32p

This is a hugely powerful win/win. Citizens can be spared the drudgery of visiting offices, repeatedly filling in paper-based forms, and government can be spared all the expense required to process them.


However it’s not an insignificant task to achieve these capabilities and benefits.

GovTech writes about how services have been moved online but still users still phone in their enquiries, and how this presents agencies with complex challenges where they can’t easily determine why and how this impacts the usability of the service.

This is a universal challenge, with fewer than half of newly designed UK council web sites passing a SOCITM usability test and in the USA Federal agencies accounted for five of the 10 worst customer service providers across 21 leading industries.

Case Study: DWP

Computer Weekly offers this interview with DWP Chief Digital Officer Mayank Prakash, where he explains the scale of the challenge for these large departments.

DWP has one of the largest IT estates in the UK, running 55 million lines of code and supporting 85,000 employees who serve about 22 million customers and process £170bn in payments every year.

“Behind it is one simple thing, which is that our strategy is to deliver,” says Prakash, adding that 11 million people in the UK choose to interact with the department online.

“To get 11 million people to interact with us online, and do that channel shift, means we’ve completely transformed how we deliver our services,” he says, adding that all services take a multichannel approach, offering telephony or face-to-face interactions too.

Prakash says it has gone from taking days to process the information, and customers interacting with the department via phone or post, to “online interaction which takes minutes and has 84% digital channel take-up and a 92% satisfaction rate”. Another successful service has been the check your pension service, which has been delivered in collaboration with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The service has 93% digital take-up, with 88% user satisfaction rate.

A key aspect of this case study is the financial model – They received no new funding to pay for the digital transformation, it was achieved by saving 37% of their billion pound spend, and then reinvesting it, close to £400m saved every year and then reinvested.

The transformation is Europe’s largest, a success that Mayank attributes to the culture change of a shift from waterfall methods to Agile, making possible over 100 releases delivered every fortnight, and now every week, and also migrating to a hyperscale hybrid cloud environment.

“Driving large-scale transformation doesn’t happen by luck alone. It happens as a result of continuously, with tenacity, executing on our strategy to deliver.”


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