15 years on, Zaizi’s role in a new era of government digital services
2022 was a big year for Zaizi. We proved our ability to deliver clear, measurable outcomes to our clients, which demonstrates our expertise in providing effective government digital services. We’ve designed and built complex new services for the Home Office, Border Force and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
It was also a milestone year for Zaizi — we quietly celebrated our 15th birthday as an organisation.
In this piece, I reflect on Zaizi’s journey and how our successes in government work evolved into a passion for building public services that benefit millions of our fellow citizens in the UK.
Passionate about government digital services
My background is in open source consultancy — and that’s where Zaizi started in 2007.
Open source was not widely known back then but it received much attention for its benefits. Companies that were growing at the time, such as Facebook and Google, were not using expensive licensed software; they were using open source.
Zaizi provided technical digital services to customers who used the open source enterprise content management system Alfresco. We built a good reputation among our clients. People knew that if their digital project was failing, they could call us and we’d come in to fix it.
In 2012, the government set up the Government Digital Service and their policy was to use open source software, which made sense to us. We knew the benefits — it’s cheaper to implement, customisable, and promotes transparency and collaboration.
We also realised that most of our work was in government. So we became experts in the space, hosting events and roundtables, showing what government could achieve with open source and how they would save taxpayers’ money.
We enjoyed public sector work — it was challenging, engaging and most importantly impactful. We worked directly with the customer and could see its impact on our fellow citizens and ultimately how it benefited society — this passion still drives our work today.
By 2017, we pivoted to working exclusively with the UK public sector and specifically, central government. We have been nominated and won awards for the government digital services we’ve helped build.
It’s our purpose to realise the potential of our staff, the public sector and the country as a whole. And we do this by designing, building and sustaining new digital services and products that make a positive impact to those living and working in the UK.
READ: How mission-led teams can reduce waste in digital public services
Strengthening our digital government business
Over the last few years, we’ve continued to strengthen our business model. We’ve built substantive new skills and capabilities across the business. We expanded our user-centred design team and recruited new staff members with skills in product management and Agile delivery and coaching.
Why? Early on, Zaizi partnered with design agencies. The work was well done but our engineers didn’t always understand the whole context behind what they were doing.
Having a team with various skills and expertise ensures that all aspects of a project are covered, from user research, design and development to testing and deployment. Overall, it leads to more robust and successful digital services.
During Covid, whereas others retrenched, we further built on our skillset and played a vital role in helping civil servants get their work done during the testing time.
We invested in new business leaders from senior central government positions to ensure we understood the space we were working in.
Serving citizens by creating better digital services
Over the past 15 years, the company has experienced significant growth. We have gone from a small team of 3 people to a workforce of over 150 employees. Our operations have also expanded from a single location in West London to multiple offices and teams across the country. We have ambitious plans for further growth.
And although many things have changed in that period, one thing hasn’t – we’re still passionate about helping our public sector clients, citizens, and employees realise their potential.
We want to extend the digital services we offer to uplift new areas of government and help them better serve citizens.
We want to provide services that improve the lives of every person in the UK and do more around data, AI, and new tech, making the UK safer and more prosperous.
And we’ll do this by upskilling and expanding our team. We’re creating new jobs and new opportunities across the UK.
More details on our aspirations in upcoming blogs next year. In the meantime, we’re looking forward to some well-earned rest. All of us at Zaizi wish you a happy Christmas and a prosperous new year.
What we learned from Digital Government 2023
“The consulting industry has infantilised government”- how do we bridge the digital skills gap?
Addressing the barrier to efficiency — tackling government’s legacy systems
What are the barriers for SMEs when bidding for government contracts?
How an inclusive culture fuels success at Zaizi
How to effectively manage legacy technology in government