How to Digitally Transform – Advice from The Director-E Owner and Local Councillor Les Phillimore

What advice would you offer to a Local Authority that is considering investing in Digital Transformation?

The first thing I’d say is that it is always about investment, affordability and application potential. There are limited budgets in local government and these budgets have to be split across a number of different priorities, not just digital transformation. 

In principle, many people believe robotics is all about creating a management storage system. This isn’t always the case, in my local authority we have a widespread digital transition strategy, known as Channel Shift and eventually, this will ultimately to lead to everything being digitalised.

As a result, I think my main piece of advice would be to be very clear about what you are trying to achieve. The nature of a digital transformation is thus – that no matter where you start, as you learn more, you’ll probably want more developments and start to see more opportunities within your organisation. Sit down with your in-house team and indeed your IT providers and take as many curveball and off-the-wall ideas as possible before you start the journey.

You also need to be clear about the key steps and goals that you wish to take and set those as the milestones. The initial project scope is absolutely critical, this is where many digital transformations fall foul, compromise delivery dates, generate additional funding demands and/or do not deliver what was intended – I cannot stress strongly enough – the initial project scoping underpins all subsequent digital transformation.  

Once you have those, you have to be open-minded about where that will lead you and your project. I would say that it is inevitable that once you start the transformation journey, new unexpected and opportunistic opportunities will open up. Never be afraid to be deep-think where you want to get to and indeed, where you could get to but never, ever forget about the impact on your people and your customers – these are the people that you are running the service for and will be required to administer it. 

To summarise, establish clearly where are the wins and where the losses are. Once you’ve done that, you can work out how to maximise the wins and minimise your losses. Of course, you also need the right people or company to deliver your ambition and you need to be tight on that critical first project scope to make sure you can actually achieve it.’ That initial scope will be the platform that everything else will evolve from – a bit like the internet coming into our lives 29 years ago!