Our vision for digital transformation
"As a developing digital council we will use technology to provide our customers with the best possible service which adapts to their changing needs."
Digital by choice, not default
Digital transformation will mean putting our customers at the centre of service design, and this will mean making sure that we also provide non-digital channels for those customers who are not digitally able.
Physical and virtual technology are important enablers and tools to achieve digital transformation, however digital transformation is more about developing a culture internally and externally that puts digital service design at the heart of how we deliver.
By introducing improved and increased digital services, our customers will have greater choice about when and how they access our services. This is particularly important as our customers become more digitally savvy and have expectations that they should be able to transact with us online at a time and place that suits them.
This will ultimately need a fundamental shift in mindset away from the more traditional service-centric model we currently use at Ashford Borough Council (ABC).
The challenges to achieving this vision will include how we develop and update business applications to support modern online services and maintaining momentum to make this transformation a success.
Transforming how we serve you
The expectations of our customers are changing; increasingly customers expect to be able to go online to request a service, pay a bill, report a problem or see how far the council has got in dealing with their request at a time and place that suits them.
Due to these changing patterns of behaviour the council has outlined how we will be transforming how we deliver our services. By putting residents at the heart of the process we will be developing a greater online service and giving our customers a wider choice of ways to access council services.
Over the last few years the council has had a good track record of 'channel shift' where we have changed our processes to make it easier for residents to transact with us online. This was driven by the need to reduce costs and for the council to ensure resources were being used efficiently.
This has worked well and we have delivered efficiencies and introduced some innovative ways of delivering services, however, to ensure we keep up with our customer demands more focus is required.
Developing a greater online service for our residents
Our Digital Transformation Strategy sets out how we will achieve a greater online service for our residents. It includes four themes and areas of focus: website, technology, digital inclusion and culture.
The website is the key digital tool that customers will use to access ABC information and services. Last year we upgraded the back office system that manages our website with the aim of improving the data and information it produces so that we can analyse how and what our customers are accessing. This will enable us to redesign the content and structure in a more user-friendly way.
The technology strand is focused on introducing new software, such as a new customer service platform, that can support end-to-end service delivery.
As technology develops and customer requirements grow it is important that no one is left behind and unable to access services. A significant element of this part of the strategy will aim to promote, advertise and signpost sources of information and resources to help individuals to overcome digital barriers.
Developing and delivering digital services with the customer at the heart of the process is only possible if staff understand the vision and have the skills and motivation to work and think differently. Training and development in this area will therefore be undertaken.