This blog is the second part of a series on how to create a comprehensive Business Process Model for Public Administration.
IV. TECHNOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT
Dipsalut needed a framework that would efficiently enable both technological development and its subsequent evolution
There was no single management system available that would provide coverage to all needs of management, administration, conservation, etc. For this reason, the technological environment consists of an information ecosystem.
This comprised of various intergrated solutions covering specific needs, without losing sight of the integrity of the information. It was therefore key that all applications are integrated (EAI) in a natural way – based on the intensive use of web services techniques – to ensure the solvency of the entire technology stack.
Regarding the software approach, an ecosystem of co-existence was created based on proprietary software and free software applications, having a specific gravity towards using open source applications . Throughout the years, the Open Source community has evolved significantly in multiple technology areas. It can now be said that there are lots of open source technologies with proven reliability. For this reason, and after analyzing the needs of Dipsalut, we found it was possible to implement a set of free software solutions that would perfectly cover the identified needs.
The ecosystem is based on a combination of cloud computing technology, along with a classic client-server structure for some specific applications. Multiple servers are available, they are located in a datacenter owned by the Girona Provincial Council, offering the requested reliability, service continuity and data backup. The infrastructure is based on what is known as a LAMP infrastructure.
Cloud computing services
For Dipsalut, a 24 x 7 availability and accessibility of some key applications such as SIMSAP and CRM were absolutely necessary, and for all 365 days a year. Moreover, the interaction with the municipalities and the fact that the deployment of applications had to happen efficiently and quickly, led to the use of “cloud computing” technology, in the form of “private cloud”.
Process for publications
Users should be able to access a map of processes in a simple and robust way at once, and in a clear and traceable way, without spending too much time. Therefore, it was decided to developing a publishing portal. Also an internal process to streamline communication between users, process designers, managers and so on was established.
Figure3: Example of processes by area
Contact management (CRM)
As targeting the customer, in our case the municipalities, is a strategic pillar, it is required to align all tools to help manage and optimize this relationship.
For Dipsalut, a CRM tool should provide coverage for operational information that complements the administrative procedure which is already recorded in other applications (log entry, records manager, etc.) The purpose is to bring all information together in one place, including all contacts that different people and areas have had with the same council management. To cover this need, SugarCRM has been implemented using its community version.
Integrated document management (ECM)
As a public entity, Dipsalut generates a large volume of documents of all kinds. To unify the document management model, after various alternatives, it was decided to implement Alfresco, an open source ECM solution.
In Dipsalut, the deployment and implementation of Alfresco Share allowed for various document repositories, replacing the way information used to be disseminated throughout the organization.
The rules for e-Government have been a source of reference from the beginning. It helped us create a system that was fully aligned with the legal requirements. As a positive side effect, the totality of all procedures performed in Dipsalut can now be made through the electronic office. This certainly made equal access to services much easier, regardless of the size and location of each municipality.
Dipsalut aligned with these established guidelines, in order to make the most of the relationship between all the partners of the agency. As a result of this commitment, Dipsalut has launched an electronic headquarters, which covers all procedures to be established with the autonomous agencies of Health.
V. QUALITATIVE RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS
Since the launch of Dipsalut as the autonomous organization of health, the penetration level in terms of number of municipalities and service requests has been increasing. At present, 100% of the 221 municipalities are “clients” of Dipsalut. Also, the number of applications and services that are part of the catalog is growing .
The municipalities now have a very high level of real actions, carried out in their municipality, thereby generating a traceable level of satisfaction which is in compliance with current legal regulations.
Moreover, the fact that municipalities can view the results and proceedings in real time, allows them to plan with greater effectiveness their specific municipal public health actions.
Dipsalut is definitely an element that is already part of the day-to-day operations of municipalities. From the frequent contact moments with municipal partners to check their level of satisfaction, it shows that Dipsalut is fully integrated. Moreover, local municipal officials see Dipsalut as a member of their team.
Referring briefly to SIMSAP (see previous blog post), one could say that with its launch many processes (request validations, allocation of orders to suppliers, planning actions, results delivery, validation actions, and so on) have been simplified. Less paperwork, less time and fewer errors, with more features and better service!
Looking at the results after just over three years of operational implementation of Dipsalut, the challenge now is to consolidate this organizational model based on the principles of efficiency and effectiveness, through an involved, empathetic, committed and qualified team.
The government can streamline their processes and increase effectiveness and efficiency. One the one hand thsi is based on a suitable methodological approach, on the other hand on the intensive use of information technologies.
An important conclusion is, that after thorough analysis of the organization, both the methods as well as the technology have proven their effectiveness. From my point of view, when resources are limited, the key success factor lies in reuse and adaptation of those elements that already exist in the market. This leads to a shortened time of implementation. If we are only dedicated to “invent” new ways, our efforts will have too low an impact or take too long, so we must be pragmatic in this process .
Finally, another success factor was that we ‘fragmented’ all functions and processes identified in the analysis phase into manageable units. In this respect, we must remember the famous phrase attributed to Julius Caesar to “Divide and conquer.” The decision to break down the project into smaller manageable units has certainly contributed to this. It helped us to focus our efforts at each moment on that particular unit only, which was key to solving the project completely. Obviously, the order of execution of each of these units has also been a key element to success.