Digital: What we’ve learned so far

Last week, our Heads of Service got together to talk about digital transformation. As well as hearing updates on some key projects, like the website redesign and the digital work going on in libraries, we asked managers to map their own digital activity and share any lessons they’ve learned so far from their digital journeys.

There was some really positive and insightful feedback in the discussion, and it seems useful to share it more widely.

Firstly, phenomenon like Pokémon Go show us not just how quickly things change, but how huge the demand for digital services is. Managers who are already launching digital services to the public told us that the demand for them is there and encouraged colleagues to be bold, because people will use digital channels if they’re available.

Others pointed out the need to examine services holistically when redesigning them digitally and think about end to end processes; once people are online, keep them there – don’t get them onto a website only to have to phone in to complete the next step of the process or if something goes wrong. Investigating options like web chat will help this.

The group also discussed different kinds of users and transactions, and the need to segment and target different groups and in different ways. By breaking down services into smaller pieces and thinking about who is using them and exactly what they’re doing, it becomes easier and more effective to nudge people towards using digital alternatives.

We know that small, iterative changes can be just effective as big ones, particularly  when we’re changing the way we work. The group highlighted that doing digital doesn’t have to mean buying a “new shiny thing”, but can also be about making sure we’re using the technology we have as effectively as possible, and exploiting low cost, low-tech solutions too.

And finally, we had to acknowledge that we don’t know everything and can’t predict the future. So whatever we do to digitally transform our services, we need to build them with future flexibility in mind, so that we can adapt and change as new technologies and opportunities become available.