Interview: Karl Wood, Tricentis
What’s on your tech wish list from governments, innovators and the wider industry in 2022?
From the industry overall: fewer acronyms would be a good start. Next would be a shift towards the simplification of solutions, making tech easier for those with true business knowledge to implement and run successfully. For the government — the greatest challenge will be finding a way to simplify their processes so that tech can do more for them. The high customisation levels required to meet different department workflow and process demands results in solutions that are harder to support and ultimately more expensive. As tech providers, it is our responsibility to produce software, but also to listen and work collaboratively with departments to ensure the best solutions can be deployed with the least amount of customisation required. This will lead to solutions that are easier to support and faster to adapt to market changes.
How can I.T. have a greater impact on organisational efficiency in 2022, and who should lead the charge?
By removing the existing disconnect between those in lower and mid-level staff and the executive leadership team in departments, I’m confident that government can identify some game-changing efficiencies. Those staff that are on the ground most often have the best insights and ideas, but they rarely share them because they are afraid to rock the boat or are simply bogged down in work or customer processing. Implementing systems to capture feedback from frontline staff will potentially have a much better impact on organisational efficiencies than bringing in an external consultant to identify issues. It’s a cultural issue that needs to be led from the top.
What is the major potential tech pain point that will face all organisations large and small in 2022?
I anticipate that those who’ve invested in the well-hyped ML and AI solutions for complex deployments up front will be very disappointed. The reality is that both are incredibly useful for isolated use cases with a specific purpose, but not suited to completely solve enterprise-sized problems out of the box. We saw this with the initial deployments of RPA two years ago — isolated process usage delivered excellent results, but when you try and scale fast and wide there are serious disconnects. I think we’ll see a fall back to manual processes and more resources and people required to manage the issues, especially given how reactive our response to COVID has been. Until the technology and processes align to allow interoperability and integration between departments, using ML and AI for overly complex online services and digitisation will be a problem that government will wrestle with.
Will things go back to a ‘new normal’ in 2022?
I suspect the new normal began long before COVID hit us. In early 2019 we had already seen a significant shift in operations and workflow, with a shift to integrate flexibility into government departments. This only amplified through 2020 and 2021 to the extent that we saw our Tricentis software testing software being used by government staff working remotely — a definite first. As we move into 2022, this will continue, and government will be scrambling to attract talent — alongside private enterprises — and seeking to balance the need to deliver secure and privacy-compliant remote workplaces to offer flexibility for workers.
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