Enterprise -> Public Sector
By: Andy Jones, Director and General Manager, Europe, Xerox Global Document Outsourcing
Published: 25th July 2011
Copyright Xerox Global Document Outsourcing © 2011
Cost savings remain top of mind in the wake of the UK Government’s first official budget and as we anticipate the next stage of the Comprehensive Spending Review. This focus has created a number of unique challenges that are increasing the demands on an organisational infrastructure:
Meeting the new expectations is not an easy task, and many organisational infrastructures, in both the public and private sector, simply are not up to the challenge. Today’s emphasis on meeting short-term financial targets by avoiding large capital expenditures and taking existing assets off the balance sheet takes precedence over decisions to initiate change. And, as time passes, the infrastructures become ever more costly to update. To reverse this trend, it’s best to think of infrastructure as a strategy for growth and identify the areas that would benefit most from modernisation.
Picking your targets
When it comes to an organisation’s infrastructure, most people immediately think of information and communications technologies. This is true of the UK Government too, with the ICT industry being an immediate target for achieving cost savings through the formation of the Efficiency Reform Group. The estimated UK Government expenditure in this area is c£18bn p.a., according to the likes of Kable and Intellect.
Yet there are additional and even larger areas to consider. We believe the document-related costs of UK Government could be as much as £50bn p.a. The costs of handling, processing, filing, archiving and destruction of documents—as well as other steps in the document life cycle—are several times those of ICT. As such they are a very worthwhile target for efficiency savings.
In the past, improving these processes did not go much beyond a simple review of office-based printing with the idea of ‘printing less’. This narrow approach ignores the critical role printed documents play in business processes. To truly improve the infrastructure, it’s preferable to review how documents are printed across an organisation.
For example, there are multiple records that relate to one individual citizen, so Government departments have typically used printed records to understand the whole picture. Paper essentially is the ‘glue’ that holds many of these existing processes together. However, in an increasingly digital world, print often limits processes, representing one of the key features of a ‘legacy infrastructure.’ Following are several examples of where Xerox has helped public sector organisations transform their document-related processes.
Transformation in practice – The Department for Work & Pensions
The UK Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) wanted to review and revamp the end-to-end management of forms across more than 1,000 offices. The idea was to make information clearer and more accessible to the more than 20 million UK citizens it serves. The DWP faced two major challenges: meeting UK Government requirements to improve efficiency and reduce costs and eliminating repetitive processes performed by multiple suppliers in individual department silos.
Xerox worked with the DWP to create an infrastructure that supports continually improving service, is measured against advancing targets, and delivers value at every stage. The chosen solution transformed document services by creating a single-service management infrastructure for all core print and related requirements.
The effort has produced savings in a number of different areas:
Transformation in practice – Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust wanted to digitise traditionally paper-based services, specifically patient records. The Trust looked to achieve a 20 percent reduction in costs and a 20–25 percent improvement in lead times for print jobs through the use of a Web portal and standardisation of work processes. In order to meet the needs of both patients and staff, it also needed transparent reporting on service levels, demonstrating immediately improved efficiency.
Xerox worked with Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust to develop a ten-year records management partnership. The project was broken down into phases with the idea of continually improving service while rolling out the use of electronic records. Medical and union stakeholders would be involved throughout the process.
Just two years into the project, improvements have appeared in a number of areas:
What are the barriers to transformation?
These examples demonstrate the substantial benefits of modernising government infrastructure, and they point to what can happen when organisational leaders look beyond hitting short-term financial targets. It’s important to note, however, that these efforts do not come without a lot of work and a certain amount of risk. It seems a fairly obvious point, but suppliers need to demonstrate the return on investment of every single project and ensure they focus on outcomes.
Through its experience working with a number of different organisations, Xerox has identified six key guideposts that mark the path to successful modernisation. These points were summarised in a whitepaper presented by ACS, a Xerox company, to the U.S. White House last year. The whitepaper was prepared following the White House forum on modernising government, which took place on January 14, 2010.
According to the white paper:
At Xerox, we believe these points are extremely relevant to the UK public sector. As the case studies above illustrate, results happen when focus is put on the interactions between operations, technology, and policy. Marrying the demands of government and citizens with the capabilities of your infrastructure requires vision and the help of a trusted partner experienced in making these transformations happen.
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