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Catalysts for change: The emerging technologies accelerating digital transformation in the public sector

3 mins
Written by 
 at Stotles

Using Stotles contract award data to evaluate the three foundational pillars of a strong digital economy (UK Digital Strategy), this blog will identify the most important emerging technologies associated with building a robust national infrastructure, unlocking the power of data and enhancing national security.

To start identifying public sector trends and upcoming opportunities relevant to your business, sign up to Stotles for free.

1. Building a robust digital infrastructure

The first priority for digital transformation programmes should be to ensure essential public digital services run on world-class secure, reliable digital infrastructure. This includes developing high-speed broadband networks and upgrading outdated hardware and software computing solutions. 

To identify trends in digital infrastructure technology, we’ve analysed keywords that appear in contract award descriptions between 2017-2022. We discovered that there has been a significant rise in references to both network services (41%) and cloud computing (188%) since 2017, indicating the public sector’s increasing  demand for infrastructure solutions.

Notably, there has been a strong rise in demand for 5G technology, with the government prioritising delivering 5G networks to the majority of the UK by 2027 (UK Digital Strategy, 2022). This growth is evident in the graph below, where references to 5G increasing 685% across the 5 year period. 

To track relevant keywords across  contract award data and understand your public sector market better, sign up to Stotles for free

2. Unlocking the power of data

Building on strong digital foundations, the second priority for digital transformation should be to unlock the power of data from our public services. In legacy systems, data is often incomplete, messy and siloed. Advanced data analytics technology can help authorities unlock insights contained within their dataset to make more informed decisions.

To identify the most important technologies driving data analytics in the public sector, we’ve analysed keywords referenced in combination with data in contract descriptions between January 2017 and April 2023. 

As shown below, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are most commonly called for in combination with data in government contracts, indicating the significant importance for these technologies in data-related projects.

To download our full report on artificial intelligence in the public sector, download our 2023 AI Procurement report here.

3. Building a resilient digital environment

Finally, as our lives and public services become increasingly reliant on digital technology, the importance of making sure our digital services are secure from threats is critical. Stotles’ cyber security white paper provides comprehensive insights on the cyber landscape in the UK public sector, focusing on potential opportunities for suppliers. 

With the government committing £2.6bn into cyber and legacy systems over the next two years, the white paper analysed common cyber-related services referenced between 2016-2021 in contract award descriptions. 

Most notably, we found 171 references to ‘identity and access management’(IdAM) solutions, indicating the significant demand the public sector has had for these solutions and their importance in government cyber security strategies.

To download the full Stotles report on the £22b future of the UK's cyber security, please click here. 


In conclusion, digital transformation in the UK's public sector requires a focus on building strong digital foundations. This includes world-class and secure digital infrastructure, unlocking the power of data, and investing in security and the digital economy. By building stronger digital foundations, the public sector will deliver better services, improve efficiency, support economic growth and protect our national infrastructure.

The analysis in this article was conducted using Stotles contract award data. To start identifying key public sector trends and upcoming opportunities relevant to your business, sign up to Stotles for free.