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How open-source technology is a catalyst for digital transformation

The public sector is under increasing pressure to provide online services to meet the needs of users. Often we talk about digital transformation as leading innovation. The introduction of technology in an area of a business modifies the way it then operates, ideally for the better. Meaning, efficiency, cost-saving, adding value to customers and more.

Going digital, particularly for the public sector more so than private (as the private sector has had the jump on this for a long time) means mobile apps, eCommerce and the use of social media.

Terms like ‘data analytics’ and ‘cloud computing’ are becoming everyday use. And these technologies have positively impacted how companies operate. Customers want sites, products and services that are intuitive to use.

So it’s clear this dramatically impacts the ability of staff to deliver a high-quality service. More, we (as service users) have come to expect this thanks to our positive customer experiences within the private sector. And whilst the UK government has made great strides towards going online, there’s a lot more to be done before we’ll see a fully-efficient digital presence. 

The challenges we see are a result of tight budgets and the threatening presence of cutbacks. So the result we get is an advancing pressure from those within the public sector to adopt a total digital transformation strategy to solve problems with services.

Getting ready for transformation is made possible by utilising existing technologies, not necessarily needing to start totally afresh. Luckily, this also means less of a financial burden. More, it means adapting to the new demands of technology.

We list the challenges and opportunities for the public sector in adopting new technologies, with a focus on Drupal.


Cutting costs is essential

In our time of austerity, the ageing population is a catalyst for improving efficiencies within the public sector. So-called “baby boomers” are starting to retire from their working lives in great volumes, which is having a knock-on effect in terms of pensions, health and welfare costs. And adopting new technologies is an obvious route toward saving costs. Namely, replacing staff with technology both reduces costs and errors.

Security is paramount

The government is expected to safeguard the data of its citizens as well as protect their own assets from any potential hacking attempts. Reinforced efforts have to be made to secure digital assets.

High demand for online services

User needs are dynamic. We are all accustomed to efficient experiences and transactions in today’s online world. When we don’t get this, it becomes a frustration. We’ve seen a lot of progress, but the challenge is keeping up with changing demands.

Users expect the same easy-access experience across their various devices. And this demand doesn’t stop at public services, despite the sector being reliant on old technology. But, that incumbent tech cannot deliver the same level of efficiency in a world of fast-moving, front-end customer services.

Notable skill gap

We know technology development happens at a blistering pace and some teams are having to support systems that are decades old. As such they do not possess the modern skills needed to manage newer systems in our digital world. What’s more, the 20 - 30 age bracket is more familiar with the latest developments and programming skills, but cannot use this on older systems. So we have a skill gap.

Benefits of digital transformation

Process improvements

Automation of common, tedious and time-consuming tasks makes processes simpler and quicker. Also, there becomes little to no human error.

Find new channels of revenue

New technologies open doors to new avenues of profit that may not be possible without them.

User experiences are personalised

Customers have an expectation of having their unique needs met. And technology is here to help us meet their needs, thus delivering a fantastic user experience.


Open Source CMS

Open source CMS compared to a proprietary one offers greater flexibility, customisation and freedom of movement. As a result, costs are reduced not only because the system itself has no cost, but there is no vendor-lock in and all the unexpected charges this typically comes with. What’s worse for the customer with a proprietary CMS system is the lack of specialised functionality. A proprietary vendor is likely more concerned with chasing new business than it is developing new features to keep existing customers happy.

What’s more with open source CMS, like Drupal, is the speed of innovation. There is an active community of developers constantly working on improving the system, finding and fixing bugs and security issues, and developing new features. Drupal is forever maturing and this is why it is the leading CMS system.


Around the world, government bodies have found value in the Drupal CMS.

In conjunction with open-source technology the following solutions create a complete package:

The ability to share information with other departments and bodies and even private sector organisations means the scale of the service is significantly improved. Incumbent staff continue to maintain the back-end applications and the API allows the younger generation with modern skills and knowledge to work on the front-end.

Managed hosting

It’s safe to say that most think moving the public sector into the cloud is a must, but why is this? Firstly, the government budget has been inching towards more and better technology for some time (specifically, anything-as-a-service). Whereas previously, there was heavy investment in individual databases, servers, storage, applications, etc with no shared resources.

Indeed, a lot of public sector services are critical, even life-critical. As such, they need to be available around the clock, 365 days of the year. Putting websites and applications into the cloud supports this high availability. Say there is a spike in demand thanks to the self-assessment tax deadline or, let’s imagine, a pandemic. A system that is stand-alone would not be able to cope, whereas a cloud platform offers scalability

Benefits of LocalGov Drupal

LocalGov Drupal is a dedicated distribution and installation profile designed to assist UK authorities in publishing public-facing websites more quickly, cheaply, and effectively.

It is created and managed by a group of developers, content designers, and digital executives from around the United Kingdom.

Share common features, control and save costs

LocalGov Drupal can help control costs. Compared to proprietary solutions, LocalGov Drupal has a suite of modules, extensions and distributions that are all available for free. This comes down to the Drupal community which provides patches and maintenance for existing solutions whilst simultaneously developing new ones. So, if you’re part of a public sector organisation looking to control the cost of your digital projects, LocalGov Drupal is the solution that gives by sharing experience, building public assets, improving service delivery; ultimately saving public money.

Councils, for the most part, have comparable functionality requirements for their websites. Each council requires a news and events site, as well as a description of council services, among other things. When it comes to meeting WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility requirements, they share the same criterion. LocalGov Drupal develops a best-in-class, fully accessible version of each of these and makes it freely available to all local governments.

This method eliminates the need for councils to start from scratch. Furthermore, it prevents spending on the same features again and over again. Instead, if a council creates a feature that others could benefit from, they share it.

We've seen this with various features like search, forums, directory listings, and step-by-step pages and many other examples. So if a council doesn't have a budget for developing and sharing these features; you're welcome to use what other councils have already shared for free.

Go live faster

The development turnaround time for your council website is substantially faster because the functionality you need are already established and ready to go. Creating a new council website can take up to a year on average. LocalGov Drupal websites, on the other hand, are often only 8 to 12 weeks.

Security is at the core

LocalGov Drupal is specially equipped to deal with cyberthreat. Granted, the fear of open source systems being vulnerable to these threats still exists. However, agencies like Drupal who have a decade of experience with the open source CMS are able to prove this is far from the truth. Because Drupal has an open-source architecture, developers are constantly working on finding and fixing bugs and potential vulnerabilities.

What’s more, this isn’t the only line of defence for users of Drupal. The security team is made up of experienced Drupal veterans. The team sifts out threats, which they do so incredibly quickly that users are often entirely unaffected. If security is a top priority for your organisation, Drupal is a wise choice for ensuring privacy and safety.

Communicate to constituents

Public sector organisations need to reach as many people as possible and LocalGov Drupal shines here, too. Notably, in two ways. Firstly, through multilingual capabilities and secondly, through accessibility standards.

Drupal has a commitment toward being accessible to as many people as possible, and so meeting WCAG standards is a far easier process with Drupal.

Secondly, there are four modules within Drupal Core that offer translation into over 100 languages, right out of the box. With such a multicultural audience, it would be beneficial to a local government website to be multilingual. 

Drupal is perfect for the public sector

Drupal has an active community and so the CMS evolves toward solutions that are needed for businesses wanting to improve their web presence. With so many functions and benefits, it’s unsurprising that government websites globally have adopted Drupal. NASA, the Whitehouse and the Australian Government websites are built on Drupal.

With its robust core and open source ecosystem, the power of Drupal has been embraced by enterprise organisations like NBC and Pfizer. Drupal brings value to private enterprises and it brings the same strength to the public sector. It powers platforms for government bodies in Austria to Bhutan to the Netherlands. Drupal is capable of managing the needs of government agencies. Code Enigma is the agency that can help you make the move. Thanks to a number of benefits Drupal is the only choice needed for government websites. 


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