Two-thirds of UK public sector organizations optimistic about post-COVID IT future, says GlobalData

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the UK public sector in the space of just a few months, and the role of IT departments has become even more critical as digital priorities have shifted substantially to deal with the immediate effects of the ‘new normal’. Despite the initial disruption, IT suppliers should remain flexible to client requirements and optimistic in regards to the opportunities that the pandemic will unearth, says GlobalData.

GlobalData’s report, ‘Pandemic Perspectives: COVID-19 Survey Results’, found that two-thirds of respondents believe that the UK Public Sector is in a strong position to bounce back from COVID-19*.

Jonathan Cordwell, Principal Health & Social Care Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “While COVID-19 has undoubtedly posed a significant challenge to IT departments, many have welcomed some of the associated changes. One of the biggest shifts has been the proliferation of flexible working arrangements with almost 80% of Central Government organisations believing that the pandemic will result in a higher percentage of home workers.”

It has not all been smooth sailing, though, as some organisations were left unprepared for the new operating conditions enforced by lockdown and social distancing rules. In particular, education institutions were left vulnerable as one third indicated that they did not have a business continuity plan prior to COVID-19.

Cordwell continues: “The survey results showed a strong correlation between the presence of business continuity plans and preparedness for the challenges faced due to the pandemic. This has prompted organizations to adapt or develop long-term plans with the likelihood of immediate changes such as remote working, becoming engrained into the fabric of working culture.”

In order to cope with the ‘new normal’, UK public sector organizations have had to accelerate critical components of their digital transformation plans. This, in turn, has fostered closer relationships with IT suppliers who have played a vital role to support the sector develop the necessary capabilities.

Cordwell adds: “Despite GlobalData’s procurement tracker showing a year-on-year decrease in both the number (37) and total value of opportunities (£13bn) available across the UK Public Sector in June, the survey found that there are many opportunities still to be had. This is exemplified by a quarter of healthcare organizations indicating a lack of sufficient IT knowledge/expertise, which is driving them to outsource. However, suppliers must also be aware that their clients’ priorities will have likely changed with a greater focus on dealing with short-term issues while longer-term, strategic initiatives may take a temporary backseat.”

* Building on findings from a survey of 150 UK Public Sector IT decision-makers

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