On 25th September the Central Government Business & Technology (CGBT) Conference 2018 took place at Victoria Park Plaza, London. The event, hosted by Whitehall Media, was an opportunity for Civil Service departments to come together and share best practice in digital transformation.
As Instructus Skills has recently taken on responsibility for certificating and issuing apprenticeships in the Digital/IT & Telecoms sector, several members of the team attended the CGBT conference to speak directly with employers, industry specialists and key stakeholders.
The Government Transformation Strategy 2017-20 acknowledges that “government has been slow to use the transformative potential of digital technology to change the way it does business”. With that context, speakers outlined how their departments are embracing new ways of working with digital technology – and the importance of embracing that change across the board.
“Digital business is a term invented by people who have not realised the transformative power of information technology for the last three decades and who have suddenly woken up”
Jem Eskenazi, Chief Technology Officer, UK Export Finance
Helen Walker, Chief Technology Officer for the Department for Education (DfE), took the keynote speech, and outlined the scale of the challenge by suggesting that the UK government’s data use is 5-10 years behind the curve. In 2015 the DfE began a programme to bridge that gap and has now built the foundations of a modern data-driven process. One of these changes included the appointment of a single senior policy maker for Apprenticeships.
Holistic digital transformation was a key theme of the day, as several speakers identified their own top down solutions. The main takeaway was that an organisation’s road map needs to align with digital aims.
“Change or be changed”
Iain Patterson, Chief Digital Officer, UKCloud
Iain Patterson, Chief Digital Officer of UKCloud, tackled how to start digital transformation. He outlined the following three-steps as a broad starting point:
- Establish all terms, definitions and targets to ensure everyone is working on the same process.
- Clarify all known ways in which change will impact the business.
- Reduce risk to the process by getting buy-in from every department.
Panels from UK Export Finance and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) highlighted the unique challenges that individual departments face, meaning that a one-size-fits-all approach to digital transformation is not plausible. Yet the message of a unified, wide-reaching approach to transformation remained the same.
The overarching sense from the day was that government now has a greater awareness of the need to evolve. For change of this scale, the UK is going to need the digital skills to match. During the day we discussed apprenticeships and skills with those leading digital transformation at several government departments including the DfE, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Government Shared Services, Financial Conduct Authority and the ICO.
We also spoke with key IT suppliers and specialists including Unisys, EMEA, Littlefish, NUTANIX, Rimini Street and ZERTO. The insight from these businesses will be essential as we continue to shape future digital skills training.
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