How can the IT channel optimise the public sector’s digital and financial resources?

During economic downturns, public sector investment decisions become more sensitive. Rene Stuiver, finance solutions lead at IT distributor Tech Data, looks at why access to capital will play a big role in paving the road to recovery

Posted 11 August 2020 by Christine Horton

As the public sector faces increasing demand across most of its functions in combination with stringent budgets as a result of the forthcoming economic downturn, the short- to medium-term future is uncertain.

While efforts are being made to create a safe environment to return to work, maximising remote workforce collaboration so public sector employees can remain productive requires immediate attention.

Taking note from the 2008 financial crash, access to capital will play the biggest role in paving the road to recovery. During economic downturns, public sector investment decisions become even more sensitive as departments look to maximise value for the taxpayer.

The difficulty in the case of COVID-19 is that investment is unavoidable to ensure public services are more resilient to potential future disruption and lockdown measures. The public sector has coped thus far but is now at a point where investment is necessary to function properly. Services such as schools, where teachers had to adapt to using collaboration tools overnight, need investment to ensure that any continued disruption to education does not affect learning.

Rationalising spending

Public sector organisations are closely monitored, and spending terms and contracts need to comply with official guidelines. This means that when moving at speed they need partners who can be flexible in order to fit their processes.

Financing solutions can help partners in the IT channel adjust their billing cycles to accommodate their end customers in the public sector. As such, channel partners can spread out the cost over time to help them avoid large capital expenditure of their own on procuring solutions for their customers.

Simplifying the problem

With a great deal to consider – from new safeguarding regulations like employee rotas, one-way policies and how to safely manage deliveries to the best options to accommodate them – public sector organisations will need to ensure that procurement processes are as efficient as possible. Keeping it simple will be key.

Excess complications will slow down the implementation of technology solutions. To accommodate their public sector end users’ needs, partners can simplify their processes with tailored purchase financing agreements. By leveraging streamlined processes, they can focus on serving end-users and building their own business. In doing so, partners can speed up the process for public sector organisations to acquire the technology they need and ensure that they can complete projects in alignment with the objectives they have laid out.

Getting the job done

The challenges which have emerged from the current operating conditions will trickle into the medium and the long term. With no sign of a quick fix, the relevant adjustments being made now to cope with the current crisis will also need to cater for the future.

Rene Stuiver, finance solutions lead at Tech Data

There is ongoing uncertainty around the future reopening of schools, potential disruption to front line services caused by local, or national lockdowns, and funding challenges resulting from reduced tax income and significant public expenditure. Public sector organisations will need access to technology that will help them to continue to deliver their services. To implement these solutions, they need support from agile channel partners who can work flexibly to meet their objectives at this critical time. Failing to deliver government services could ultimately leave vulnerable people exposed, so proactivity will be crucial in avoiding any further social and economic impacts.

While under normal circumstances advanced mobility and digitalisation would have been a “nice-to-have” on the public sector’s priorities list, it is now an absolute necessity. The coronavirus has accelerated the need to innovate in the public sector, and with no other options than to make rapid decisions, partners in the channel need to be on hand to share the burden.

By leveraging simplified, integrated finance solutions, partners can ensure that organisations in the public sector can access the technology they need at pace, while also making themselves more resilient for the future.