Digital Leader - Mayank Prakash, DWP’s Director General, Chief Digital and Information Officer

Profile picture for user Mayank Prakash By Mayank Prakash April 6, 2017
DWP is in the midst of a huge digital change programme. Mayank Prakash writes for diginomica/government about the progress being made at the department.

Mayank Prakash, DWP’s Director General, Chief Digital and Information Officer
Mayank Prakash, DWP’s Director General, Chief Digital and Information Officer

DWP is the country's biggest public service department and one of Western Europe’s largest IT estates. Our customers include people at almost every stage of life. Our social purpose means our digital transformation is supporting 22 million citizens. We’re delivering the biggest changes to the welfare state in sixty years, and in DWP Digital, we’re combining this social purpose with our ambition to make those services simpler and faster for our customers.

It’s an exciting digital transformation journey due to the huge scale and importance of our work: we operate across hundreds of buildings and process 7.4 million claims each year to pay £170 billion and managing £1.7T pensions assets. This is all enabled by a very large IT estate and a talented, committed team of colleagues. We are larger than most retailers, retail banks and investment banks and have more customers than most telecom companies. If we were a FSTE 100 company, we’d be in the top 5, but we would be different from the others, as our purpose is to help people change their lives for the better.

Digital to the core

Services redesigned by multi-disciplinary agile product development teams are challenging. We’re not just changing what we deliver; we’re changing our culture in all parts of the business. In DWP Digital, we’re moving away from being a reactive service-provider delivering business requirements, to solving problems and delivering business outcomes.

Gone is the old model of outsourced inflexible IT contracts. We’re creating and owning our digital future by building our own capability. We continue to partner with vendors who provide innovative products and services with a competitive advantage. However, we’re redefining our relationship with the market to access more flexible products and services from a bigger range of partners, from the blue chip stalwarts to exciting start-ups.

We now have world class innovation and research focus as we scan technology advances across industries globally, investigating new ideas and incubating new concepts to make public services better.

But what does this actually mean in practice?

It means fostering a culture of collaboration, inclusiveness and learning from others; wrapped up in necessary governance and enterprise design cohesion; and enabled by transparent progress tracking. Multi-disciplinary agile teams are bringing Policy, Operations and Digital specialists together and using their expertise to design, build and iterate products that truly meet user needs.

It all hinges on people who know their craft. So we’re hiring and learning: we’ve introduced digital career pathways and professional communities to enable them to advance further in their profession.

We’re also attracting the best talent and bringing in bright, creative and inquisitive people from a diverse range of backgrounds. From creative design to business architecture, data science to software engineering, user research to cyber security, we offer uniquely challenging and fulfilling career opportunities for people interested in making a real difference to society.

At DWP Digital, we’re excited

Working in DWP offers the chance to create and apply the latest technologies on a grand scale. It means changing the very infrastructure of government, while helping millions of people change their lives for the better. It means learning from leaders across industries and sharing with others keen to learn from us. Being the best at what we do is what drives me, and so many of my colleagues.

Digital transformation is reducing transaction time for millions of customers from days and weeks to minutes and seconds, it’s driving up user satisfaction on many of our services to 90% plus, and it’s creating better value for taxpayers. Everything we do is about improving outcomes for society, making our department more effective and efficient, and re-imagining user experiences.

Better use of data is core to our transformation vision, and we’re embedding analytics into our apps and business processes to understand our users better. Our Data Science team is changing the way we work and revolutionising the way policymakers use information.

Few other organisations provide the opportunity to innovate, design and implement the latest technologies on a scale as big as this. We’re shaking off out-dated perceptions, and along with other departments, demonstrating how government is a now a prime destination for talented and ambitious digital technology and data specialists who want to make a difference. It’s a transformation journey like no other, and I’m proud to be part of the transformation.