COVID-19 puts smart workforce collaboration, records integration and data processing at the heart of public service.
18% of respondents log into 20 or more systems daily; 26% say their information search facility is ‘not at all intuitive’; 35% feel they ‘lack the right tools to find information efficiently’.
SynApps Solutions, the enterprise content management and process automation specialist, has published the results of its latest survey, which explores public sector information management processes, highlighting their significance in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The survey found that public sector workers are widely using unconnected, legacy information systems, and some are even using paper-based systems in parts of their operations, making flexible, remote working a stretch goal for many organisations. As the public sector transitions to delivering services in a ‘new normal’ that will almost certainly feature an increase in smarter working, the survey shows organisations must enable easy access to critical information wherever employees happen to be working.
“In a data-led public sector, the speed and efficiency with which employees can access information is absolutely critical to performance and quality of service,” noted James Paton, CEO of SynApps Solutions. “Almost three quarters of those who responded (73%), cited the use of multiple systems across their organisation as the single biggest reason they found it difficult to access information.” Paton continued: “In fact, 38% of respondents said they had log into 16 or more information systems in the course of a working day, which contributes hugely to service delays and performance issues.”
Furthermore, the research suggests that an employee making 16 searches per day, taking five minutes each time, will spend 6.6 hours each week waiting for search results to be returned – or more if those searches are spread across multiple systems. Respondents also reported that quality of the application interfaces they are using is a factor in how easily and thoroughly they can search. 26% say their information search facility is ‘not at all intuitive’, while 35% feel they ‘lack the right tools to find information efficiently’.
Perhaps the most surprising fact to emerge from the survey results is the fact that 60% of respondents rely on paper records to some extent. Encouragingly, however, 71% of respondents said they convert paper records into digital files, for example by scanning or using OCR technology.
“An Enterprise Content Management solution that automates document management and streamlines information retrieval from a structured repository brings enormous cost and efficiency benefits,” added Paton. “As workplaces become more dynamic and adaptive, the need for digital operations supporting collaboration at distance becomes more and more important. In the same way, platforms that aggregate quickly and efficiently wherever it’s required are a prerequisite for effective business process management.”