Technology continues to evolve every year. Nowadays we’re working with concepts that not so long ago weren’t even up for discussion or seemed like something out of this world. The fact is that, as integrations advance and new open trends gain momentum, modernising the public sector’s structures has become a crucial point for institutions. Fully aware of the need to innovate in order to keep up with the competition, companies are going above and beyond to stay up to par with this digital transformation.
With intelligence, willingness and, of course, the right investment, it is possible to tread a path towards success in this increasingly connected and open journey.
But does that also apply to the public sector?
Despite changes in management, public authorities don’t have to compete like private corporations do. However, they do sometimes struggle with an often lean IT department, lack of qualified workforce and the infamous red tape.
Many agencies still use legacy systems, which have been around for a long time and are naturally considered to be old. It is important to note that, despite their age, this does not mean that these structures are lousy. But are they updated enough to handle modern-day demands? What about communication with new systems? Are APIs used based on best practices to ensure optimal performance?
The bottom line is that modernising means changing. So, imagine migrating data and information from a system that has been used for many years. Disrupting a deeply-rooted institutional culture. Implementing a new way of working. It is only natural to face many obstacles in the decision-making process. But if the benefits outweigh the difficulties, it is definitely at least worth considering this change.
“Innovation in the public sector works as a radical shift that is justified by strategic, structural, human, technological, cultural, political and control means” (QUEIROZ and CKAGNAZAROFF, 2010, p. 685).
According to Gartner in a report published by the end of the first quarter of 2021, more than 50% of government agencies around the world will have modernised their essential legacy applications, such as infrastructure and central systems, by 2025.
The main driver speeding up this innovation trend in the public sector was the Covid-19 pandemic, which opened up to leaders and decision-makers “new opportunities to use data and technology to build trust, agility and resilience within public institutions,” said Rick Howard, Research Vice President at Gartner.
In the public sector, many IT environments are complex and rely on a broad range of systems and protocols, some of which are hybrid, which makes these environments even more complex. To solve this problem, there is an urgent need for standardisation and unified management, integrating legacy systems with new technologies in a secure and monitored manner.
In a word striding towards open innovation and demand, disregarding integration via APIs has never been more antagonistic to innovation.
APIs can make it easier to overcome the challenges of integration between legacy systems and modernisation of deeply-rooted structures, in addition to enabling the use of new technologies.
Connectivity based on APIs can make operations open and connectable, allowing all of the company’s teams to compose, recompose and adapt all of these APIs to meet ever-changing business needs. In addition, integrating legacy and current systems provides added security and standardisation.
These new platforms require the creation of connectors for more modern standards and protocols. Oftentimes, these connectors end up being created in an ad hoc manner, without following proper standardisation and security models, which makes the whole process even more complex and hinders control over integrations.
An API management platform can be a powerful ally to overcome this hurdle, since it enables connections to multiple data formats and protocols, offering a catalogue of built-in connectors and a framework to create new connectors.
Once created within this framework, they expose information in an HTTP protocol, translating into a REST API, with a modern and light format that communicates securely only with the Sensedia API Platform.
Transforming traditional organisations, such as public agencies, into digital hubs requires much more than technological investment and a strong marketing sponsor: it is crucial to lead the organisation towards a movement from the traditional procedural model – slow and highly dependent upon human validation – into a transactional model – faster and automated, eliminating human validation.
Below are some direct impacts that a transactional model can offer to public institutions:
All of that ultimately speeds up and boosts productivity, providing an environment with lower propensity to incidents, in addition to significantly cutting costs for public administration.
Sensedia offers several free materials on the modernisation of legacies and structures, digital strategies with APIs and microservices, and many other subjects related to innovation across different business sectors, including the public sector.