While 3D printing is becoming more widely used in general engineering the use of 3D printing in the medical and allied sectors such as dentistry has only just begun.
Public services will only be truly transformed by paying equal attention to managing change, using the most flexible mobile solutions and designing-in security from the outsetMobile technologies that remove geographical constraints and free-up staff from time spent on unproductive tasks, combined with new ways of more flexible working, have the potential to make a significant improvement to the delivery of public sector services.However, if we are to exploit the full potential of mobile technologies, we must transform current working practices. Barriers will be more organisational than technological: users will need to be trained and incentivised and management will need to be convinced of the benefits of implementing flexible working practices.
Furthermore, given the strategic importance of information security and assurance, the new processes, mobile devices and the data they carry will need to be fully secure.
A time for change
First, there is the change issue to consider. As with all major initiatives, mobile solutions should be driven by business need rather than pulled by technology, with a clear focus on change management. A significant number of information and communications technology (ICT) investments never meet their objectives, often because projects are too technology-led, with users having little involvement in the system development process. They fail to recognise the reasons for change and the benefits it can bring and they are not given sufficient time to go through the psychological steps of giving up old ways before embracing new ones. The secret of success will therefore rest as much on our ability to respond to human complexities as it will on providing the right technology.
Moving to technological considerations, the mobile solution architecture and its components must be as open and flexible as possible in order to accommodate new business functions. It should be scalable so it can incorporate new network technologies such as 4G and new mobile devices.
The overall approach should be ‘bearer-agnostic’, that is, working with existing bearers and advising on the use of the most suitable carriers for new mobile solutions. At the heart of the mobile solution is the mobility gateway: a single, secure access point used by mobile and flexible workers.
Mobile workers access applications wirelessly through the same gateway used by flexible workers located at home or in shared office space. The mobility gateway provides access to applications, databases and information when and where it is needed. The mobile solution will need to run on a wide range of devices from PDAs through to laptops, vehicle-based terminals and bespoke mobile devices, formatting and presenting the data accordingly.
Moving to the issue of information security and assurance, recent high-profile data losses have raised public concerns over the ability of government departments and large corporations to protect confidential data.
‘Cyber-security’ is widely considered to be an urgent and high-level problem, with new ICT initiatives being readily exploited by miscreants ranging from political extremists and organised criminal groups through to individual hackers and collusive insiders.
The answer is to design-in security from the outset, encompassing new work processes, mobile devices and the data that flows through them all. This means implementing a set of controls in the form of policies, practices, procedures and organisational structures, in addition to the focus on device security. It will be, however, a careful balancing act: too much security will slow down operations and degrade customer service, whereas too little will leave the system vulnerable.
The potential benefits of technology-enabled flexible and mobile working are compelling.
While the technology behind the two is similar, the benefits differ since they involve different groups of users with different ways of working. Flexible working is often associated with a wider transformation programme. The benefits are primarily improvement in staff morale, increase in efficiency, accommodation cost savings and reduced environmental impact.
The benefits of mobile working relate more to increased productivity, improved customer service, improved data quality and improved personal safety.
Innovation and resilience
As the only consultancy to specialise in information intelligence – collecting, managing and exploiting information to reveal actionable intelligence – Detica is well-placed to deliver the next generation of bespoke mobile solutions for transforming public services.
The mobile solutions award further extends its relationship with OGCbuying.solutions as a provider of ICT and multi-disciplinary consultancy services. Detica has provided innovative, secure and resilient solutions to some of the most complex problems facing government departments and defence customers for over thirty years.
By offering a proven and cost-effective solution for mobile and flexible working, the company is now in a strong position to work with its partners to deliver the next generation of mobile public service solutions.