On 29 September, The GovTech Summit will bring together the world’s brightest technological innovators with Europe’s leading public sector decision makers to rethink how governments can operate and thrive in the new post-COVID-19 world. Some of the most prominent political and public figures leading Europe’s accelerating transfer to the digital economy and recovery from the COVID-19 crisis will share their experiences and the lessons to be learned as we go ‘From Crisis to Recovery’
The GovTech Summit is delighted to welcome Adobe as our Gold Sponsor. Ahead of the event, we sat down with Mark Greenaway, Adobe’s Head of Northern Europe Enterprise, to discuss his views on the future of digital public services.
Thank you for joining us, Mark. We’re really looking forward to welcoming you to the GovTech Summit on 29th of September. I’m pleased that you’re able to join us as a speaker at the event. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what your role is at Adobe enterprise?
Hi, thank you really looking forward to the event. I lead the digital media business for Northern Europe. That’s the UK Nordics for Adobe. And we work to empower our major commercial and government customers to create and deliver digital experiences for the customer and for the citizen. We help organisations including governments, transform and deliver digital services,
I believe, most people will know Adobe best as the developer of the Creative Cloud suite. But the company has also been the driver of digital transformation in both public and private sectors. Can you tell us a little bit about the company how the company has and is helping modernise the public-sector?
Absolutely. Adobe is definitely best known for enabling creativity with the Creative Cloud platform, which is the enabler of creativity for all for so many people around the world.
Accelerating document productivity, and enabling rapid electronic and digital signatures with document cloud is another area where we work with government, commerce – and Adobe Experience cloud empowers businesses and government to provide digital experiences to citizens, experiences that put people first: well designed, consumer like experiences.
Digital is growing, we’re working with various European governments to create and process digital content, which is secure, improves citizen experiences and also provides operational efficiencies to government as well. We’re very proud to work with governments and public sector agencies to enable digital transformation and public service delivery.
For years, public services have been seen to lag behind private sector services in terms of how customer-centric they are and in the quality of users’ experience. Over the last five years, would you say that the pressure on the public sector to catch up has increased?
I think citizen expectations have increased, with exposure to apps, digital offerings from the public sector – the proliferation of devices and content that’s out there has made transformation of government services really inevitable.
The private sector has led the way in responding to customer expectations; But then the pandemic occurred. The pandemic made transformation essential in so many ways. It’s forced us to look at a digital-first approach to citizens.
Exceptional content and enablement help citizens feel like they’re being supported as well as they often are in the in the private sector. And, you know, these citizens are stakeholders and customers.
But there’s more to it than just delivering a smart digital experience. So, for example, working with IBM, Adobe has been transforming a social security programme for a devolved government. And this is going to make public services easier to apply for by citizens. As a result, we’re already achieving a much higher percentage of digital applications. And that means cost saving and major efficiency improvements in delivering that service to citizens.
On the 29th of September, you’ll be joining a panel entitled ‘transforming government: how will COVID change the way we use technology to govern?’ What impact do you feel COVID has had on public sector transformation, particularly among European public services and how has Adobe helped in responding to these challenges?
So, first of all, I think it’s really important that we thank all the public servants and government members who are potentially watching this and will be at the event. it’s they who are continuing to work so hard to keep us safe, to continue to deliver essential services, often through their own departmental and personal challenges. At Adobe, we’re very grateful to our public servants for what they’ve been helping us with during this time.
I’m really looking forward to discussing the test that that COVID-19 has brought to us all and the learnings that will come from it. In many ways, I think it’s impressive how quickly government agencies have adapted this year when the necessity arose. Things that would otherwise have taken years have actually been completed within months.
At Adobe, it was it was really important for us from day one, to play a part and do whatever it is that we could we could do to help government and business. Generally, we set up an international rapid response team, we look for areas where we can immediately provide help to governments at no additional cost for the period of the crisis.
For example, in the US, we set up the COVID-19 screening and testing platform, working alongside Accenture, Oracle and a range of other technology companies. We focused very hard, typically in Europe on enabling government agencies to continue to operate – often with staff largely at home, striving to deliver existing processes.
We’ve also been able to help deliver new digital services in some cases as well. Education has been a huge area of focus for Adobe, we move pretty quickly to enable students to access software from home so that they can enable continuity of learning cognitive projects in many cases we’re continue to offer that where institutions are affected by closures.
Education may be more digital experience in the future for many and at least one UK Russell Group University has moved to build that digital experience into the student experience from day one.
Generally, now is an opportunity for innovation like never before. citizens and stakeholders would remember this time like few others in living memory. We want to ensure staff have access to software and can conduct business from home. We are striving to enable it in person services government services can be delivered in a distance way.
Several police forces in the UK have actually moved to remote witness statements, video interviews and electronic signatures for these statements; besides the obvious benefit in these types of reducing contact, it’s also saving a huge amount of time and cost for officers and staff, not least in travel times as well.
On the education side – through digital learning for Wales – we’ve equipped half a million students in Wales with Adobe Spark to enable creativity at no cost. And in other areas adjacent to government, we’ve enabled banks in the UK to implement government policy by helping them deliver emergency finance to businesses large and small, through online forms, often supporting ID verification, and enabling signatures for speed and security payment, this has been an important challenge for banks, through what became known as the bounce back loans. Many of these were developed and launched within days. And while it was driven by the UK Government, it was actually implemented by banks and we’re very pleased to be able to help our commercial customers.
The GovTech Summit offers a platform for tech firms of all sizes – from start-ups to established ‘big tech’ firms – to meet and collaborate with public officials on the future of public sector transformation. Start-ups have played a huge role in the public sector tech response to the crisis so far other particular areas in which Adobe has worked closely with start-up market and other priorities for Adobe in this area going forward.
So digital was already growing before and it’s even more important now. We want to empower government to transform citizen engagement. And we want to work through our extensive partner ecosystem for that as well – from the large to the small.
We have mentioned IBM, at one end of the scale. But in other cases, we’re working with technology providers to deliver identification solutions on the smaller end of the scale. The key really is to focus on the citizens requirements, and then deliver the best technology to help address this at Adobe. We don’t imagine that we can do all of this. We need the innovation from the start-up community as well to partner with. There’s no one size fits all approach to government transformation.
I think the most important thing is that commercial software and ‘on the cloud’ gives government organisations the chance to build for today and also scale for the future. In government, we certainly see that the physical and digital worlds are starting to blend.
Wonderful, thank you very much for joining us, Mark.
Thanks, I’m really looking forward to the event.
Join Adobe, Mark and others at the GovTech Summit on 29 September. Register for your free pass at www.GovTechSummit.eu