How can lawyers support digital transformation in the Public Sector?

Andrew Cooke

How can lawyers support digital transformation in the Public Sector?

Reflections from Andrew Cooke, Microsoft’s Head of Policy for Worldwide Public Sector

A partnership approach to supporting transformation

Back in 2017/18, when I was practicing as Microsoft’s lead commercial lawyer for Asia, it became apparent that there was a significant shift under way in how our customers, especially those in the public sector, wanted to work with Microsoft.

No longer were we solely a technology vendor, but in light of the new world of digital transformation, it became apparent that we were fast becoming a “trusted partner” to our public sector customers in helping them realize what had become known as their “digital transformation” goals.

As a technology company, we had lots to share in relation to our expertise and insights into cloud and emerging technologies that underpinned digital transformation, and as customers, our public sector community had much to teach us, as it related to their unique requirements, as well as what they needed from Microsoft, which in turn would help us evolve.

This virtuous circle of learning and partnership approach to innovation represented a welcome shift in dynamics and has underpinned and enabled some incredible advances in the way the public sector has consumed and benefited from technology, as well as how the technology sector designs and delivers solutions.

A new challenge for Public Sector legal teams

At the heart of realizing many of these ambitions was the legal, risk and compliance teams within governments, who were being called on to advise in a way that would foster innovation, but at the same time ensure that the principles of legal risk were not compromised. This was not an easy task.

Microsoft and Linklaters collaborated on a thought leadership piece titled “Lawyers: Agents of Change in a World of Digital Transformation,” which was crafted in an industry agnostic manner, but is particularly relevant to those who advise the public sector on their digital transformation journey.

The paper borrows heavily from Microsoft’s own leadership principles of (i) creating clarity (ii) generating energy and (iii) delivering success, to engage in a conversation with the legal community, not only on what digital transformation means to a technology company and a law firm, but what it can mean for the consumers of technology and those who advise them.

In the spirit of our Public Sector Center of Expertise’s mission of supporting the evolution of public sector organizations by sharing insights and best practices, research, and resources on digital innovation, we are pleased to share “Lawyers: Agents of Change in a World of Digital Transformation,” a unique piece that we hope the legal community that advises the public sector on their bold digital transformation goals will enjoy reading.

The whitepaper was originally published in 2018, and as we reflect on how we can lean in to work with our Public Sector customers on their policy and digital transformation journey, the merits of the partnership approach we highlighted then remain true today.

Download the white paper

To find out more:

Public Sector Future Podcast

Microsoft in Government Twitter

Microsoft Research

About the Center of Expertise

Microsoft’s Public Sector Center of Expertise brings together thought leadership and research relating to digital transformation in the public sector. The Center of Expertise highlights the efforts and success stories of public servants around the globe, while fostering a community of decision makers with a variety of resources from podcasts and webinars to white papers and new research. Join us as we discover and share the learnings and achievements of public sector communities.

Questions or suggestions?