Post-Pandemic: How Should the Public Sector WAN Evolve?

Sep 04, 2021

Bridgeworks CEO, David Trossell speaks to GPSJ (Government Public Sector Journal) about the innovation in WAN Acceleration, bringing solutions to the UK public sector industry.

Post-Pandemic: How Should the Public Sector WAN Evolve? Bridgeworks
September 4, 2021

Like many sectors, local authorities were forced at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 to shift much of their workforce to a remote working model. The subsequent demand for their services accelerated their digital transformation programmes, and the pressure to continue them is unlikely to dissipate. 

Martin McFadyen, Head of Public Sector, Virgin Media Business adds in his article for Open Access Government, ‘Local authorities, digital transformation and the COVID rebound’: “Beyond these immediate pressures, there’s an exciting opportunity to be grasped. Our study with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) shows that continued digital investment within local and central government could add £32 billion to our national economy through efficiencies and cost-savings being reinvested in skills, education and services.”

Digital transformation push

Organisations have been talking about digital transformation for years – especially in the banking industry, but who would have thought that the driver inside the public services and healthcare systems for digital transformation would be COVID-19? The public sector – and particularly the National Health Service – has been forced to expedite their digital transformation programmes to maintain critical services.

Organisations are now looking into dedicated wide area networks (WANs) for the likes of the NHS, the Home Office, academia, and other organisations. This has showcased by example with the UK armed forces, already having a dedicated network.

Hybrid working

For many people working from home has been a absolute God-send from the daily commute.  That means much of the time staff will work from home, and migrate once in a while to the office for face-to-face meetings with their colleagues, or to meet representatives from other organisations, or members of the public. For most day-to-day activities though, meetings will be held using online video conferencing tools.

One advantage is that people will benefit from having a greater work-life-balance with hybrid working. There are, as revealed by the CEBR and Virgin Media Business study, economic opportunities to gain from a fresh approach to the world of work. It will take a huge investment to see any return.

Overlaying SD-WANs

There is still a need to address the demands of the public sector WAN, as SD-WANs on their own may not be the answer in isolation. Digital transformation organisations are going all-in with the cloud, but surprisingly, performance bands are still limited. The new hybrid model of work will require significantly improved performance, adding a WAN Acceleration overlay provides this ability.

With many large data transfer requirements, such as MRI, Xray, and DNA, moving data while encrypted over distances, is becoming more critical. WAN Acceleration with its ability to mitigate the effects of latency and packet loss, by using artificial intelligence, machine learning and data parallelisation, can improve WAN performance enormously.  Data can be sent and received in encrypted formats – a big advantage over WAN optimisation. 

Evolving the public WAN

My top 5 observations for evolving the government and public sector WAN are:

  • Data is the future of public services and health care systems, but only if you can get to it.
  • WANs will be the spine of digitisation, and everything will hang off this.
  • It must be powerful and have expansion headroom built into it from day one – upgrading is disruptive and time consuming.
  • Seek out more of the innovative SME and startup companies that are offering SaaS.
  • When handling people’s personal data and it must be protected, not only at rest but in transit. 

Improving IT procurement

The government and public sector may also need to step back to improve how they buy, implement, and deploy technology. Many IT projects in this sector either fail, or end up costing far more than expected. Perhaps this is the time to take the government up on its promises and to engage with some of UK’s world leading SME tech companies to bring unique prospective and advanced technology to the table. 

People often accept that large multi-national tech companies have the mass to take on programmes such as these, but should there be conditions on government and public sector contracts to engage with UK companies in the same manner as defence procurement does when purchasing from abroad?

The challenge for the NHS is the fact that there is no ‘NHS’ per se. It is an umbrella term for 30,000+ organisations.  The growing dependance of mobile devices, text messaging, as well as telephone and video calling are here to stay. With data volumes set to leap forward, the evolution of digital transformation programmes would be enhanced with WAN Acceleration solutions such as PORTrockIT ameliorating government and public sector WANs and SD-WANs.


Click here to read the article on GPSJ (Government Public Sector Journal), pg 20



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