How DVLA is driving smooth customer journeys via digital

Transport is going through the most disruptive change in a century and technology will be of significant importance in enabling this to happen, with DVLA playing a significant role in this.
4 October 2018

DVLA’s CTO talks about the agency’s efforts into digital technology. Source: Shutterstock

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is responsible for maintaining the registration and licensing of drivers in Great Britain, holding over 48 million driver records and over 40 million vehicle records.

With this magnitude of data to take care of, it’s no wonder that the organization is striving to become a center of excellence for all things digital.

TechHQ spoke with Dave Perry, Chief Technology Officer at DVLA about the agency’s digital and technology agenda.

Escaping from the legacy world

Under the strategy towards creating a stronger digital organization, the DVLA is moving the majority of its legacy systems to new open systems.

Having external suppliers was limiting how innovative the agency could be. According to Perry, the agency needed an in-house team who would really care about the company’s future and be fully dedicated to the digital journey ahead.

Yet, transforming these legacy systems on monolithic architectures into lower cost, more agile, open system landscapes has been one of the biggest challenges, according to the CTO.

“The pressures of constant change whilst running a high volume online service do not stop, so we need to ensure we can not only service the needs of today but transform at the same time,” said Perry.

The move to an insourced environment has also increased the pressure of being able to recruit people with specific skills. In the last year or so, the DVLA have been on a real recruitment drive to find tech talent for a range of roles from apprenticeships to master degrees.

“Thankfully we have a culture that can attract new talent and promotes career development and with a real opportunity to build a career we have been able to fill the posts relatively easily,” said Perry.

Making it easier for the customer

One of the predominant reasons behind the DVLA driving full-speed ahead into the digital era is to provide customers with a seamless experience.

“We want to give our customers a choice of how they deal with us.  Be it face-to-face at the Post Office, by post, over the phone or online,” explained Perry.

“Technology is obviously an essential component within this allowing us to deal with our customers at a time and in the way that best suits them,” he added.

Moving away from monolithic legacy systems has allowed the agency to offer a number of new ways for customers to deal with DVLA, from hopping online to inform the agency of selling a car, to checking your vehicle tax and MOT status via Alexa.

It’s all about the people

With many legislative changes occurring in the UK government, along with unpredictable customer behaviors, the DVLA are having to ensure they can respond as efficiently and quickly as possible.

But according to Perry, it’s the people, not the technology that enables the delivery of a best-in-class IT service.

Like many other companies in the journey towards digital, this has involved focusing predominantly on promoting a change in culture.

And the DVLA believes that the key to digital transformation success is encouraging independence and freedom amongst their talent.

“By taking the shackles off and trusting people to make decisions, they’re now delivering as much functionality in two weeks as they were delivering in six months previously,” noted Perry in a blog post.