I recently heard how well the take up of mobile IT in social care has worked at Knowsley. This went so well that the Head of ICT was stopped in the car park one day and told by a social worker that “this was the single best thing the council has done for me in years”. When was the last time that happened to any of us?

The 30%+ productivity gain typical is mobile tech deployments isn’t just a bonus for the organisation, its a massive win for the person who’s not making unnecessary journeys into the office and spending fruitless hours typing up paper notes. Frankly no-one becomes a social worker to do paperwork.

This is a great success but, incredibly, even with the savings we all need to make, it seems there are many functions, not just in social care, which are still using paper where good alternatives have been found. There’s a variety of excuses for this  – it’s too expensive to switch, management want to “see” people working, IT creates a  barriers to user interaction etc. Important considerations but ultimately irrelevant.

One real problem is the however lack of “transformational ICT” capabilities – we’ve lost of a lot of capacity and many ICT functions only have enough capacity to keep the lights on. But if your organisation standards to improve the effectiveness of 500 people by 30%, that’s equivalent to having 150 additional staff, or an additional budget of ~£5-7 million. Each year.

ICT isn’t a dirty word.  It’s what your kids, nephews or grandkids hassle you for at Christmas. If you take the time to design what you want, explore the options and negotiate you can get something amazing. But ask for advice, see what has worked in practice elsewhere to help get it right – and don’t forget to ask us!

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