One of Methods Digital’s Directors – and former GDS Transformation Programme Lead – Michael Beaven spoke at the Transforming Public Sector ICT Summit at Salford University a couple of weeks ago. Below are some of the key points he shared with us.

Public sector organisations have often organically evolved to become large, complex, siloed entities with duplicated processes turning the whole thing…into a giant ball of spaghetti to put it nicely.

So the public sector leaders of today are now having to deal with the consequences of the past but also the challenges and opportunities that the digital economy throws at them. Tough job.

Luckily, you can make things considerably easier for yourself by taking the first steps below.


Step 1: Break down your organisation into parts and surface your value chain

To change things, you need to understand the environment within which you operate. And the way we like to do this is by breaking down your organisation by user needs, services, capabilities and technology.


Step 2: Identify common user journeys across services provided

Most of the time, a citizen will be ‘requesting information’, ‘applying for something’, ‘waiting to find out the result’, ‘getting something’, ‘paying for something’, etc. And most of these transaction patterns will not be unique to one service but apply across most of the services you deliver. So identify what those common user needs are.


Step 3: Identify common capabilities across services

Capabilities are the components you need in order to meet your users’ needs and deliver those services. They include people, process and technology.

Going through this Discovery phase allows you to highlight what capabilities are supporting your service delivery and identify the common capabilities used across services.


Step 4: Build a Value Chain Map to visualise where the opportunities for efficiencies are

Thanks to academic researcher Simon Wardley, we’re able to use Wardley Mapping to map your value chain against a scale of evolution (after all, you don’t operate in a void but within an evolving technology environment). The premise here is that competition drives everything to utility. Technology tends to move in the direction of ‘Commodity’.


In real life, this is what a lot of the Wardley Maps we work on together with clients look like:


So how is your organisation fulfilling your service delivery? Are you still stuck in the custom-built stage? Have you got 11 different ways of doing the same thing?

This value chain mapping allows you to quickly visualise where the duplications are and therefore the opportunities for efficiencies.

We have found that this type of visual technique works well when it comes to forming common engagement. It helps to break down complexity. And it helps to get people to actually see what it is they’re dealing with – as part of a team.


Step 5: Start thinking of common ways to build what you need

Think common people, processes, and technology. For example, do you really need 5 different payment systems, CRMs or case management tools? Can they not be built once and consumed by many? (The Gov.UK is a perfect example of that.)

Here is what it would look like for a local authority for example:

The four needs are still being met but this time with shared functionalities and shared data. Often the data sharing capabilities will be underpinned by a CRM Platform like Salesforce – an established cloud platform that helps you manage customer/citizen interaction more efficiently.

In conclusion, today, the Internet allows us to use common processes and capabilities and share and reuse high quality services at a fraction of the cost. To figure out what’s right for you, it’s worth going through a Discovery stage to understand your current business landscape and identify where the opportunities for efficiencies are for your organisation. If you need help with those first steps, feel free to get in touch with me on