The government must strengthen its case for business transformation when deploying IT projects, according to the Confederation of British Industry.
Areas that could be improved include contracting for specific outcomes and creating measurable goals; involving more staff in the design and implementation of IT change; and ensuring policy changes take into account system change, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said in its System Reset report.
There are also worrying signs that the public sector is starting to view IT as a risky investment, said Emma Watkins, CBI head of public services policy.
"Many technologies are available as off-the-shelf products and are already being used, but because there is no formal sharing of good practice, the benefits remain largely unknown," Emma Watkins said.
Initial steps to digitalise services have been made in some areas, but the government needs a more consistent approach across the board, said Watkins.
"Digital should be the norm rather than the exception, and not just a support function. In order to achieve that, the public, private and voluntary sector should all work together. I think the government is starting to move more in that direction," she said.
Moves to give police officers and midwives handheld devices, so they can update and access records remotely, and enabling the public to access more services online, are examples of good government IT can benefits for citizens and taxpayers, said Watkins.
Other recommendations in the report include: more standardising of systems and data models; discussions about investing in future technologies; combining compliance with prescriptive rules; challenging services to drive innovation and save cost; and not being hindered by unnecessary security concerns.