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Civil Servants are Users too…yes but

I uploaded some comments to this blog post but for some reason they are stuck in a moderation queue so I though I’d put them out here… feel free to put me straight as I am wondering whether I might not have quite understood the real sense of the post…

Stephen — I am a big fan of much of what GDS do and have done. Which I sum up as the fact that you have changed the conversation regarding users, government use of technology (and its supply chain) and modern business models. That may sound trivial to some but when I was a Civil Servant things were so bad on all those fronts that the GDS era is an unbelievable achievement. But… this does bother me. You are talking in this post about tools that are easily available (in fact you already have some of them) to any organisation. I am not aware of even the biggest digital poster children — Uber, Netflix — building this kind of stuff for themselves — its such a commodity. I get the point about pulling data together across depts and the giving people the tools but with the right platforms you can do this anyway — either with configurations, APIs, pre built integrations and plug ins or just links if its not worth it. What do I run this aspect of my business on? — timesheet, expenses, pipeline etc — Salesforce/1000 feet. Document management, doc workflow rules etc Box.com, email, productivity, collab — google and 365, company sentiment and engagement — know your company, Video calls G2M etc etc. We haven’t got into our deeper HR applications yet but there are any number of cloud based HR apps that will work well for us.

I understand your point that GDS doesn’t want to build everything but isn’t it more the case that government shouldn’t be building everything rather than just GDS. For me the question is not which dept should be doing it but whether government should be doing it at all.

There is so much that the civil service does that is different from other organisations that needs your best design and development skills I am just struggling to see how this fits into the “different” category. Happy to be put right if I have got the wrong end of the stick.

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