More than a third of local government staff believe their colleagues are standing in the way of new technology, according to a new survey.

The survey, commissioned by the IT firm 8×8, found 35% of council workers think co-workers are stranding in the way, because it will disrupt the systems they already have in place. And 22% say certain individuals are holding back on adopting new technology in order to preserve the status quo. But the survey also found the majority (51%) of workers believe senior bosses understand the importance of modern technology, with 82% claiming it has had a positive impact on their organization.

The vast majority of senior staff (80%) say their council now has a digital strategy in place, although only 65% of all staff are aware that such a strategy exists in their organization.

‘It’s encouraging to see optimism about the benefits of new technology amongst staff within local authorities,’ said the UK managing director of 8×8, Kevin Scott-Cowell. ‘Yet it’s clear a minority of individuals are still standing in the way of change and, while they are small in number, they are having a huge impact on their organisation. This isn’t a problem unique to the public sector – separate research revealed that IT managers in the private sector also face significant opposition from senior leaders when it comes to adopting new technologies such as cloud communications.’

Our experience is that there is a discernable fear of new technology, primarily driven by the associated fear of the unknown and worries about job losses. Whilst we agree with Mr Scott-Cowell that this is not a problem that is unqiue to the public sector, our experience is that it is much more prevalent there. Naturally people try to protect their own position and job role. It is therefore vital that change is driven from the top, with senior managers calming the concerns of staff and stressing the benefits of using technology.

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