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5. Leveraging technologies of the internet era

Staff sat around a table looking at a screen

We will not be driven by technology. We'll harness its application to deliver user-focused services and interactions.

Technology is our ally

Any use of technology will be employed to make the user experience better and will have been identified as a result of user need.

Technology choices will be made by our cross functional teams. They will not be constrained by the boundaries of the present or past, nor will those choices be made through a desire to explore the latest hype technology.

Choices will be considered and thoughtful, with a clear understanding of the need and impact, and by sharing evidence-based decisions, a standard will be created.

We share existing knowledge

We have a tech stack with pre-agreed frameworks and languages. This is not a tech constraint or a list of rules. It’s a current view of the world which can, and should, be challenged for the right reasons where there are opportunities to better meet user needs. It'll be in the format of a playbook, providing new starters and existing colleagues with a point of reference on how to design and deliver services.

Grow your own or reuse, (or buy versus build) has been a commonly used phrase and is often posed as a binary question, when the answer is often both.

We will look to reuse existing frameworks and solutions, where possible, from within our organisation, across wider government and beyond. Lots of the problems which are encountered today have already been solved, so we’ll look to leverage what has been done before.

We’ll network across a broad range of organisations and reach out to colleagues to share problems and best practice. Equally we know that nothing works ‘off-the-shelf’ and everything needs a level of configuration to meet the intended need.

So, we’ll grow our own where we can but use others where it is appropriate to do that - 'nobody builds power stations in their backyards anymore'.

We will understand the components which make up our services and identify which of those components can be consumed, adapted from existing or built.

Regardless of the approach, we’ll make sure there’s a robust ‘route to live’ with development and testing preceding production in repeatable like-for-like environments.

There are some barriers which prevent us from being as flexible as we could. However, with the successful exit from previous technology supplier contracts, we have increased our freedom in the technology space.

Our focus

Our focus over the next 3 years will be to create a more open and flexible delivery model for how we deploy, manage and terminate technology to deliver digital services to our users.

Our specific focus will be education, experimentation, open first and continuous iteration.

1. Education

We’ll make sure that our teams have access to learning in various forms, which allows our people to be up to date with modern technologies.

2. Experimentation

We will ensure that our people are able to experiment with new ideas and technologies in a safe and quick way, to learn the constraints and benefits of those technologies and make informed technology choices.

3. Open first

All of our code will be published in our GitHub repositories, unless there’s a clear security or commercial reason not to do so.

4. Continuous iteration

We will continually review our services, identifying any issues around maintenance and security.

This will support an ‘inception to decommission’ life view of our technology, moving from a previous view of ‘inception to live’. As a service we must continue to monitor and iterate beyond live.