Public Sector Lags Behind Business In Device And App Use

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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O2 and YouGov report suggest businesses are saving significantly more because of technology than public sector

Devices and apps are saving the UK’s largest businesses a combined 11.1 million hours and £3.3bn a week but just 3.3 million hours and £869m a week in the public sector, according to a new YouGov survey.

Among the perceived benefits of adopting more technology are greater efficiency, flexible working and customer satisfaction. Forty-eight percent of senior managers who responded to the survey, commissioned by O2, said digital is integrated into their business strategy, but this rises to 55 percent for the private sector and drops to 42 percent for the public sector.

Nine out of ten private organisations used laptops for work, with three quarters using smartphones and 26 percent using mobile broadband.

Device use

Parliament Government London © anshar Shutterstock 2012In the public sector, eight out of ten organisations use laptops, 58 smartphones and 26 percent mobile broadband, but 47 percent use feature phones for work purposes – a quarter of which are used by senior management.

Indeed, senior management in the public sector are much less likely to have a laptop for work than their private sector counterparts, with 55 percent and 35 percent having laptops and smartphones compared to figures of 70 percent and 57 percent in business.

“This suggests that although device usage is relatively high in the public sector, out-dated devices with low functionality such as standard feature phones make up a significant proportion of device usage in this sector,” said the report.

Business applications

Businesses are also more likely to be using applications and software than government organisations. Nine out of ten private companies can access their network through a VPN, while two thirds use collaboration tools like presentation software, ideas forums and instant messaging.

While 81 percent of public sector organisations can access a VPN, just under half use collaboration tools. However interestingly, it appears as though there is virtually no difference between access among both customer facing and non-customer facing staff due to standardised IT policies in the public sector.

Office-based staff have greater access to technology than frontline staff in the public sector, possibly due to budget constraints, whereas use in business was determined more by role.

“This standardisation of technology access throughout public sector organisations could suggest that public sector organisations are less likely to see the value in technology compared to private sector companies,” continues the report. “Evidence to support this includes the fact that public sector organisation are significantly less likely to believe technology has had a positive effect on their business and that access to business technology enables employees to be more productive.”

Among the perceived benefits of adopting more technology among businesses include flexible working, greater efficiency and increased customer satisfaction.

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