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tronic data interchange technology. Amal Aly is a lecturer in the Computer and Information Systems Department of. Sadat Academy for Management Sciences,.

~UTTERWORTH ~E I N E M A N N 0268-4012(95)00024-0

International Journal of Information Management, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp. 271-293, 1995 Elsevier Science Ltd Printed in Great Britain 0268-4012/95 $10.00 + O.(X)

Information Technology Support for Reengineering Public Administration: A Conceptual Framework K B C SAXENA AND A M M ALY

The growing complexity of the society and the need for government regulation of economic and social development is confronting public administration with a great deal of complex problems which may be hard to solve unless public administration becomes more efficient and cost-effective. As for developing countries, the high efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their public administration in place of the existing inefficiencies are equally important for sustainable development. Thus, public administration in both industrialized end developing countries is increasingly charged with the responsibility of improving its performance but, at the same time, make it more cost-effective. This dilemma could be possibly resolved by reengineering public administration processes through innovative and costeffective information technology (IT) support. This paper proposes a conceptual framework for information technology support in public administration. The framework conceptualizes public administration as policy planning, policy implementation, and policy administration; and proposes a three-tier architecture for support systems for the three aspects of policy management. Further, within each tier of support systems, the framework also proposes appropriate types of systems (such as decision support systems, executive support systems, expert systems, etc) for realizing appropriate support from IT. A phased approach to the implementation of this architecture and issues related to its application in developing countries are also discussed.

Dr Bhushan Saxena is a Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India. His research interests include decision support in public administration, public sector reengineering, information strategy for small/medium size organizations, and global transfer of electronic data interchange technology. Amal Aly is a lecturer in the Computer and Information Systems Department of Sadat Academy for Management Sciences, Cairo, Egypt. Her research interest is in the application of information technology for decision support in public administration of developing countries. 1AVEGEROU, C (1990) 'Computer-based information systems and modernization of public administration in developing countries' BHATNAGAR, S C AND BJORNANDERSEN, S (EDS) Information Technology in Developing Countries Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, pp 243-250

Introduction A revolution is taking place in both the role and process of public administration in the industrialized countries. There is an increasing demand by citizens for social actions and public services that have to be funded and monitored by government, coupled with their unwillingness to pay more taxes. Further, the need for government regulation of economic and social development and the growing complexity of the society is confronting public administration with a great deal of complex problems and tasks. Examples of such problems could be: how essential social services such as housing could be provided to the lower income group of people? Or, how improved healthcare could be provided to citizens with minimal financial impact? Solving these problems need more resources, which the public sector may have to provide only through 'working better and costing less'. As for developing countries, their public administration is, in general, highly bureaucratized and extremely centralized, based on an authoritarian legal system.t It has been shaped under conditions of domination 271

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(1994) 'The global economy' The Economist special supplement, 1 October

2WOODALL, P (ED)

3GULLEDGE, T R, SIBLEY, E H, HILL, D H AND SULLIVAN, L M (1994) ' F u n c t i o n a l p r o cess improvement implementation: public

sector reengineering' in Proc 13th IF1P World Computer Congress 94 Vol 2, Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, pp475--480; KATZ, R H (1994) 'Reengineering g o v e r n m e n t through information technology: the performance review' in Proc 13th 1FIP World Computer Congress 94 Vol 2, Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, pp373-379; OSBORNE, D AND GAEBLER, T (1993) Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector, Penguin Books

(1994) 'Business process reengineering' IFIP Newsletter l l (3) 1, 10 4GLASSON, B

5DAVENPORT~ T H AND STODDARD,

D B

(1994) 'Reengineering: business change of mythical proportions' M1S Quarterly 18 (2) 121-127

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from outside centres (under colonial regimes or under the influence of 'protecting' super powers), and has been assigned a significant and highly political role of planning and implementing the 'development process'. As many developing countries are in general characterized by lack of financial resources, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of public administration is of utmost importance in order to effectively manage the development process. However, according to a recent report on global economy,2 most developing countries are now having an annual GDP growth of 3.8 to 7.6 per cent, which is 40 to 180 per cent more than the average GDP growth of rich industrialized countries (2.7 per cent)! This has several implications. First, if the developing countries want to maintain their existing growth rate, they would have to plan their strategy in order to be able to compete with other countries--both developing as well as industrialized; and experience with countries such as Singapore has shown that information technology (IT) is an excellent facilitator for effective realization of any such strategy. Second, if a proper strategy is in fact developed by a developing country, it may now be possible for that country to find resources for its implementation, rather than largely depending on the 'aid' from industrialized countries. Lastly, if any such strategy is developed, it must consider the learning experience and cost savings the government of the country could have if it initially exploits information technology in public administration. Thus, public administration in both industrialized as well as developing countries is increasingly charged with the responsibility of high performance level as well as cost-effectiveness. At the core of this dilemma is the increasingly felt need for reengineered public administration processes that are highly innovative and cost-effective; and in so doing make appropriate use of IT. 3 The main benefits accruing from IT are not expected from the efficiency of IT only but from re-organizing effectively work and decision processes with its support. Reengineering, or business process reengineering (BPR) as it is more commonly known, is the restructuring of organizational processes through the innovative use of information systems and technology. The aim of BPR is to refit or revamp the organization to survive today's economic downturn and to emerge, refreshed and revitalized, to meet its social obligations and accept its economic challenges into the next century. 4 BPR is common in the private sector, and the public sector cannot insulate itself from new management cultures that evolve from such strategies. BPR provides a way to enhance the efficiency as well as effectiveness while resources are declining. Reengineering is a powerful change approach that can bring about radical improvement in public administration processes. There are five primary concepts that make up reengineering: 5 • A clean slate approach to organizational design and change. • An orientation to broad cross-functional public administration processes, or how administration work is done. • The need for, and possibility of, radical change in process performance. • Information technology (IT) as an enabler of change in how work is done. • Changes in organizational and human arrangements that accompany change in technology.

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"At V, A M M (1994) Information technology support for decision making in the context of public administration in Egypt, unpublished M A in Public Policy and Administration thesis, Institute of Social Studies, T h e Hague; SAXENA, K B C AND ALY, A M M (in preparation) Decision support

technology use in public administration: a survey, working paper, E r a s m u s University, R o t t e r d a m

In addition to using IT as an enabler of reengineered administration processes, it can also be used to improve a country's ability to compete through international trading. Most countries actively encourage international trade, especially exports as a means of stimulating countries' domestic economies, job markets, and earning foreign currency. There is growing evidence that IT makes a significant contribution to the way trading is done in developed countries such as the USA, Canada, Japan and Australia. In the case of developing countries, most of them do not themselves provide sufficient market for their goods and services. The distance between the developing country and its market (in industrialized countries) can present a significant barrier, especially because the trend in industrialized countries is to significantly reduce the length of the procurement~delivery cycle. This reduction is easily facilitated by IT, which makes IT very attractive even to developing countries. Thus, there seems to be enough compelling reasons for the public administration in both industrialized as well as developing countries to enhance its effectiveness, possibly through better IT deployment. Public administration involves planning and implementing various policies in order to solve various complex problems posed by the social and economic environment. Because of the complexity involved in policy decisions, one of the most challenging areas of information systems is that of 'supporting' decisions for policy planning and implementation, especially in government and the public sector. Whereas sophisticated IT has been in use lately for supporting strategic and policy planning decisions in business and industry, its use for policy planning decisions in public administration has been limited. Decision support technologies such as decision support systems (DSS), group DSS (GDSS), executive information systems (EIS), and managerial expert systems, are being used increasingly by organizations in business and industry to cope up with the turbulent environment and remain competitive. However, a survey of decision support technology use in government and public sector (mainly based on published case studies) undertaken recently6 revealed limited use of these systems as compared with that in business and industry. Even the systems that are in use, do not seem to integrate well with the overall policy planning and implementation process and appear to be as 'islands of automation'! One reflection of the enormous increase in interest in management information systems (MIS) and support technology in business is the rapid growth of research, theory, and prescription. Conversely, the seemingly lack of interest in the same area in public administration is reflected in the lack of research and prescriptive theories on MIS in the public sector. Thus, in the absence of prescriptive theories on 'public' management information systems, managers working in the public sector must exercise particular caution as they seek to draw lessons from the conventional MIS and IT literature. This paper focuses mainly on the role of IT as an enabler of change in public administration processes. It proposes a conceptual framework for IT for supporting policy planning and implementation decisions, and gives an integrated information architecture for a technological environment for realizing this framework. It also describes a phased-approach to planning for the integrated architecture and its implementation. Lastly, it describes the issues related to the implementation of this architecture in developing countries.

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Policy making and policy analysis in public administration A policy problem exists when an unrelated value, need, or opportunity for improvement, on being identified, may be attained through public action. 7 Policy problems are complex and characterized as 'fuzzy' or 'wicked'. This is mainly because the policy planning and implementation decisions are often shaped under political influences stemming from ideological features and other cultural characteristics of its environment, even though they also involve at least some rational/formal decision making. Other characteristics of such problems which contribute towards their complexity are: 8 • They are not well defined. • They are seldom purely technical or purely political in nature. • Their solutions cannot usually be proven to be correct before application. • No problem solution is ever guaranteed to achieve the intended result. • Problem solutions are seldom both best and cheapest. • The adequacy of the solution is often difficult to measure against notions of the public good. • The fairness of the solutions is impossible to measure objectively. Public policies, which are made by governmental bodies and officials, are formulated in issue areas which may range from defence, energy, and health to education, welfare, and crime. In any one of these areas there may be many different policy issues, ie actual or potential courses of government action that involve conflicts among different segments of the community. An issue may originate from a unique action or event, or it may emerge slowly from a series of events. A political problem is a public issue that confronts political authorities with difficult and doubtful questions about what objectives to pursue and courses of action to consider, how to act, and when to act. 9 Because of their complexity, contemporary policy problems are often solved by applying a set of systematic procedures called policy analysis methods. Compared with comprehensive planning, these methods have the following characteristics: 10

7DUNN, W N (1994) Public Policy Analysis:

An Introduction 2nd edn, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 8pATTON, C V AND SAWICKI, D S (1993) Basic Methods of Policy Analysis and Planning 2nd edn, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 9CLOUGH, D J (1990) Decisions in Public and Private Sectors: Theories, Practices and Processes Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ l°Op cit, Ref 8

llOp cit, R e f

274

7

• An inventory or search phase directed at a particular issue. • A constrained search for alternatives, which are then evaluated and shown to the client. • A particular client (an individual, an organization or a group of people). • An issue or problem orientation, described alternatively as a reactive posture. • A time horizon often compromised by terms of elected officials and uncertainty. • A rather political approach to getting things accomplished. • The preparation of memoranda, issue papers, policy papers, or draft legislation as documentation of the outcome. The methodology of policy analysis incorporates five general procedures that are common to most efforts at human problem solving: 11

• problem structuring, which yields information about the conditions giving rise to a policy problem;

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IT support for reengineering public administration: K B C Saxena and A M M Aly Policy Making Phase

Policy Analysis Activity

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Figure 2 Policymaking at the top executive level budgets for them out of the existing and allocated resources. In this context, a programme refers to the specific steps that must be taken to achieve or implement a policy, and a project refers to an organized endeavour to accomplish some non-routine or low-volume task. It may also have to propose new regulations or legislation. Thus, the sectorial policy making at the policy department level could be represented as shown in Figure 3. Finally, at the local authority/private institute level, it is the policy administration process rather than the policy making process which takes place. The policy administration process consists of structured procedures developed as part of the programmes/projects initiated by the policy department and the associated resource accounting for budgetary control purposes. Thus, the entire structure of the policy planning and administration process, ie policy management, could be represented as shown in Figure 4.

T e c h n o l o g y f r a m e w o r k s for public a d m i n i s t r a t i o n

21LAUDON, K C AND LAUDON, J P (1991)

Management Information Systems: A Contemporary Perspective, 2 n d e d n , M a x w e l l Macmillan, New York

Most organizations apply IT with computer-based information systems, which may be defined as formal organizational systems that rely on IT for their operations. Because there are different interests, specialities, and levels in an organization, there are different kinds of information systems. As a consequence, a number of technological frameworks have been suggested to categorize these different kinds of information systems. One such common framework conceptualizes an organization into strategic, managerial, knowledge, and operational levels and categorizes information systems into transaction processing systems, office automation systems, knowledge work systems, decision support systems, management information systems and executive support systems. 21 Transaction processing systems keep track of the flow of transactions through the organization and are used at the operational level of the organization. Knowledge level of an organization includes knowledge workers such as engineers, scientists, etc and data workers such as secretaries, clerks, etc. Office automation systems of many kinds primarily serve data workers whereas knowledge work systems serve the professional knowledge workers. Managerial level of an organization involve monitoring, controlling, decision making, and administrative activities of an organization. Management information systems focus on summarizing transaction information and are useful for monitoring and controlling operational level activities. Decision support systems are General policies Plans Allocated resources

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Figure 3 Policy making at the policy department level 278

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IT support for reengineering public administration: K B C Saxena and A M M Aly --~

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customized management systems that support non-routine decision making. They tend to focus on less structured decisions for which information requirements are not always clear. Strategic level systems address strategic issues and long-term trends, both in the firm and in the external environment, that are of interest to senior management. Executive support systems are special systems for senior management that provide information from many sources appropriate for executive decision making. Such comprehensive frameworks for public administration area, which is dominated by policy planning, implementation, and administration, do not exist. This makes the choice of an appropriate system for public administration difficult. Tien and McClure 22 describe a framework in which they identify a number of technological solutions (systems) for various levels of activities in public organizations (Table 1). However, the proposed solutions are very broad-based and general, and do not include contemporary technological tools such as DSS, ESS, etc. Kaul et a123 describe a more comprehensive framework consisting of the following types of systems:

Clerical systems, which handle large volumes of data pertaining to routinized clerical functions. These may be of three types: • statistical compilation systems; • high-volume transaction systems; • office automation systems. (ii) Management systems, which mainly assist managers in their controlling and planning activities. These could be divided into: • monitoring systems; • planning systems (based on computer models). (i)

Z20p cit, Ref 13 23KAUL, M, PATEL, N AND SHAMS, K

(1989)

~New information technology applications for local development in Asian and Pacific countries' Information Technology for Development 4 (1) 1-10

Table 1 Tien and McClure's framework Activity level Transaction processing Tactical (operations)level Strategic level Policy level

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Technological solution Real-time file updating Database management systems (DBMS), real-time systems, operating systems Extended DBMS-based applications Extended DBMS-based applications, including analytic and simulation tools

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(iii) Public participation systems, which provide government data to people outside government. Snellen 24 provides a stage-based framework of IT development in public administration, which identifies the following stages. (a) Systems for back-office registration of transactions of public authorities. (b) On-line systems within a governmental organization. (c) Systems for joint use among different layers of government or between different public authorities at the same level of government. While in the second stage systems are mainly used for the management of operations, the systems in this stage are also used for strategy formulation at the sectorial or regional level. These jointly used 'vertical' or 'horizontal' systems may contain information about developments in the environment of the organization concerned, about changes in their constituencies, etc. (d) Network-type systems, which provide access to diverse sources of information and enable creation of 'profiles' of categories of the population. The accumulation, proliferation, amelioration or deterioration of the problems of peoples livelihood can thus be determined with precision. All these frameworks are based on their broad functionality and application area. They, however, do not provide a congruence with the public management framework. We propose here an information systems framework which has functional characterization for linking specific types of systems with the various levels of public administration. Information systems, according to this framework, could be categorized as follows:

240p cit, Ref 14 250p cit, Ref 23

280

(a) Administrative processing systems (APS), which process large volumes of data pertaining to routine administrative procedures, and may be either statistical compilation systems (SCS) or high-volume transaction processing systems (TPS). 25 The TPS can provide, in addition to transaction processing, both transaction summary information (TPS-TSI) as well as detailed transaction list (TPS-DTL) for management. (b) Management reporting systems (MRS), which provide pre-defined types of information to management for relatively routine, structured and anticipated types of decisions. As opposed to focusing purely on data and the efficient processing of data (which characterize APS), MRS focus on information and, occasionally on effectiveness. These systems are most commonly used to provide management and administrators with control data and decision information. (c) Decision support systems (DSS), which affect or are intended to affect how managers, policy analysts and administrators make decisions. They provide tools that enable their users to develop information in the manner that best suits the decisions they are currently trying to make. Unlike the MRS, which delivers specific types of information in a pre-planned format, the DSS provides the users with the technological capabilities to develop their own decision models, databases, and report formats. DSS often also focus on such areas as flexibility in meeting a variety of continually changing needs, heavy user interaction, and trial-and-error modelling processes. DSS are commonly used in planning to determine the sensitivity and approximate the probable outcomes of decisions. (d) Group decision support systems (GDSS), which provide computer and communication support for decision-making meetings in organiza-

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26jESSUP, L M AND VALACICH, J S

(1993)

Group Support Systems: New Perspectives Macmillan, New York. 27ROCKART, J F AND DELONG, D W

(1988)

Executive Support Systems: The Emergence of Top Management Computer Use DowJones Irwin 28VAN DE

DONK,

W B H J AND SNELLEN~

I rH M (1989) 'Knowledge-based systems in public administration: evolving practices and norms' in SNELLEN, 1, VAN DE DONK~ W AND BAQUIAST, J (EDS) Expert Systems in

Public Administration: Evolving Practices and Norms Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, ~9p 3-22 KLE1N, M AND METHLIE, L B (1990) Expert Systems: A Decision Support Approach

A_ddison Wesley, Reading, MA 30ZUBOFF. S (1988) In the Age of the Smart

Machine: The Future of Work and Power Basic Books 31~EER, S (1975) Platform for Change John Wiley, Chichester ~.OONE, M E (1991) Leadership and the Computer Prima Publishing 33nROOKES, C H P (1985) 'A framework for dss development' in DSS--85 Transactions:

Proc Fifth International Conference on Decision Support Systems 1-4 April, San Francisco, CA, USA, pp 80-97

tions. DSS have conveniently focused on individual decision makers. Thus, DSS is a subset of GDSS, ie GDSS incorporate one or more DSS within them. Systems that support all aspects of group work such as group communication, information sharing, idea generation, building consensus, make decisions, etc, are often called group support systems (GSS) or electronic meeting systems (EMS). 26 These systems facilitate the process by which groups of people reach conclusions and make decisions. (e) Executive support systems (ESS), which are specifically designed to meet the information needs of top executives and eliminate the need for intermediaries (such as secretaries or assistants) between executives and the system. 27 They provide rapid access to timely information and direct access to management reports, and may also be connected to computerized information services (such as public databases) and electronic mail. These systems are used principally to monitor and to provide status access information. (f) Expert systems (ES), which are designed to initiate the reasoning processes of human experts and provide decision makers with the type of advice they would normally receive from such human experts. These systems can help make routine operating decisions that normally require an experienced individual to handle. Thus, they are more likely to be used as an intelligent assistant to a human who needs to make a decision, but who does not have the experience of an expert. Expert systems could be of two types--handling systems and advisory systems. 28 Handling systems can actually place a given case or a situation in a certain category sufficient to arrive at a solution and, therefore, automate decision making. An example may be a system for screening applications for housing loans, which may either approve or disapprove an application based on the information provided to it. Advisory systems basically recommend a decision (due to insufficient available knowledge) which could be further investigated by the decision-maker. Such systems appear more like DSSs and would be included in that category 29 in this paper. Having identified the various types of systems available for use, we shall now propose a framework for characterizing the support these systems could provide in policy-making process. To start with, a useful dichotomy in this respect is to divide systems into those which automate processes and decisions in organizations versus those which informate 3° people and organizations; ie support them with information (which may be provided as a by-product of automated processes). Systems which informate or support processes/decisions could be further divided into those which provide predefined or fixed information versus those which provide customized or flexible information. Further classification is based on Stafford Beer's work on information reporting needs for decision-makers 31 No executive or policy planner can direct in detail every activity in an organization, rather they must filter incoming information to a volume that they are able to handle. 32 Beer, in fact, recognized for the first time that decision-makers need two quite separate classes of information reporting. The first, called attenuation, requires a reduction in the volume of information in order to help the decision-makers scan the environment and identify problems. 33 The second is an amplification mode in which the decision-maker explores potential situations in much greater detail after they have been 'flagged" (highlighted) by attenuation reporting.

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Attenuation supports problem recognition and monitoring tasks of decision-makers. Consequently, an information system supporting attenuation reporting may provide facilities such as provision of summaries outlining current status of performance, exception reports, comparative tables, variance reporting, etc. Amplification supports problem solving task of decision-makers and is the process of providing detailed reporting about situations which have been identified as requiring a response. Problem solving involves diagnosis, generation of alternatives, and their evaluation. Therefore, an information system supporting amplification reporting may provide facilities such as factual or inferential retrieval of information, decision modelling (since it helps in understanding the relationships between the environmental entities), what-if scenarios, pattern matching, and information comparison. Thus, the systems could be further divided into those which attenuate information versus those which amplify it. In addition, some systems may provide information for co-ordination between members of a group in helping them arriving at a consensus. Co-ordination has two aspects to it---control and co-operation. Control reflects the need to impose discipline upon the concurrent actions of multiple decision-makers in the group to achieve a common goal. Co-operation involves peer-topeer view that reflects the ability of each individual to directly influence the action or knowledge of others through information exchange. Thus, the systems which informate through predefined information could be further divided into those which attenuate and those which amplify information. Similarly, systems which informate through customized information could also be further divided into those which attenuate, those which amplify, and those which provide information for

co-ordination. Figure 5 shows the support various types of systems could provide. Thus GSS (or GDSS) provide support in co-ordination, DSS in amplifying information and ESS in attenuating information when flexible/ customized information is required for informating a process or decision. Similarly MRS provide attenuation support when predefined information is adequate for informating the process/decision. APS, in their common form as TPS, are used for automating a process or decision. However, they may be used for attenuating information when they provide statistical compilation as SCS or when they provide transaction summaries as TPS-TSI, and to amplify information when they provide detailed transaction reports as TPS-DTL, in situations where predefined information is adequate for informating a process/ decision. Lastly, ES are required when complex but routine processes/ decisions are required to be automated, which is often the case at the supervisory level.

Framework for linking IT support to public management 34GANON~ V, FARAL, J, GANON~ E AND

LE[FERMAN, V (1990) ' U R U C I B : an executive information system in the presidency of the republic of Uruguay' Information Technology for Development 5 (3) 361-379 35MOHAN, L, HOLSTEIN, W K AND ADAMS,

R B (1990) 'EIS: It can work in the public sector' MIS Quarterly 14 (4) 435--448

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Policy planning level At this level, there is a need to issues and monitoring existing support could be provided by an Presidency, 34 New York State

attenuate information for identifying policies and use of resources. This ESS, as has been the case in Uruguay Government, 35 and Michigan State

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Information Systems

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(1991) 'Developing an ESS for the Michigan State Senate' in DSS-91 Transactions: Proc Eleventh International Conference on Decision Support Systems .3-5 June, Manhattan Beach, CA, pp 45-47 37TIERNEY, D M AND FITCHITT, a A (1984) 'DSS in a legislative environment' in DSS84 Transactions: Proc. Fourth International Conference on Decision Support Systems, 1-4 April, Dallas, TX, pp 84-89 38EL SHERIF AND EL SAWY, op cit, Ref 16

36HOLLAND, C

39SCHUTZELAARS, A, ENGELEN, G, ULJEE, I AND WARGNIES, S (1994) 'Computer s y s -

that enhance the productivity of public-sector planners' International Journal o f Public Administration 17 (1) 119-153 tems

40VARI~ A, ROHRBAUGH, J AND BAAKLINI~

A I (1992) 'Decision conferencing GDSS in the Hungarian parliament: a case of systems planning' in JELASSI, T, KLEIN, M R AND MAYON-WHITE, W M (EDS) Decision

Support Systems: Experience and Expectations Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, pp 7185 41TAYLOR, A D, KNOX, M AND WEAVER, J

(1989) 'Policy argumentation support' in DSS-89 Transactions: Proc Ninth International Conference on Decision Support Systems, 12-15 June, San Diego, CA, pp 159172 42REAGAN-CIRINCIONE ~ P, SCHUMAN~ S, RICHARDSON, G P AND DORF, S A (1991)

'Decision modeling tools for strategic thinking' Interfaces 21 (6) 52-65. 43OECD (1993) Information Systems for Urban Management Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris ~4SALIH, K (1981) 'Project NIDAS: development of an integrated data system in continued on page 284

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Framework for information technology support

Senate. 36 As this ESS would use information available at the policy department level, it should be operated by the individual policy departments, or by an autonomous agency on behalf of all the policy departments. There is also a need for amplifying information by the individual members of the top executive body for evaluating policies, as for instance by generating future scenarios through a DSS, as has been the case with Washington State Legislature 37 as well as the Egyptian cabinet 38 and government of S6n6gal (in Africa). 39 Most important at this level is the need for co-ordination information for identifying issues, develop a common understanding of these issues (problem structuring), evaluating existing policies, formulating new policies, and arriving at a consensus in all these processes. This support could only be provided with a GSS as has been the case at the Hungarian Parliament, 4° Social Security Department of U K , 41 and New York State Insurance Department, USA. 42

Policy implementation level At this level, there is a need to attenuate information for evaluating existing programmes, projects, regulations and budget utilization. This support could be provided by an MRS, which could provide performance evaluation information regarding various projects and programrues, and by the SCS performing statistical compilation. Examples of MRS are systems used for land information and urban management, 43 and that of an SCS is the project NIDAS in Malaysia. 44 There is also a need for amplifying information through a DSS for formulating and evaluating new policies, as has been the case with US Air Force, 45 US Army, 46 US Coast Guard, 47 and Food & Drug Administration, U S A . 48 Also, for some of the routine and complex processes, there is a need for automating them through an ES. Examples of such support are in using an ES by US Coast Guard for ship and aircraft acquisition 49 and French government, s°

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Table 2 Linking IT support to public management Management level

Support needs

Policy planning

Co-ordination

System type

User

Operator

GSS

Top executive body Top executive body Policy department(s) LA+PI LA+PI Policy department

information

MRS SCS

Amplify

DSS

Top executive body group Top executive body members Top executive body group Policy department Policy department and LA+PI Policy department

ES

Policy department

Policy department

SCS

Policy department and LA+PI LA+PI LA+ PI LA+ PI LA+ PI LA+PI

LA+PI

information DSS

Amplify

information ESS

Attenuate

information Policy implementation

Attenuate

information Automate

information Policy administration

Attenuate

information Amplify

information Automate

information

TPS-TSI DSS TPS-DTL TPS ES

LA+PI LA+ PI LA+ PI LA+ PI LA+PI

LA = Local Authority PI = Private Institute continued from page 283 Malaysia' in EADE, D AND

Policy administration level HODGSON, J

(EDS) Information Systems in Public Administration North-Holland, Amsterdam, PsPc43-69 OOK, C R (1989) 'Decision support for the US Air Force: component breakout--a case history' in DSS-89 Transactions: Proc Ninth International Conference on Decision Support Systems, 12-15 June, San Diego, CA, pp 259-264. 46FORGIONNE, ~ A (1991) 'HANS: a decision support system for military housing managers' Interfaces 21 (6) 37-51 47K1MBROUGH, S O, COE, T, PRITCHETI', C, ROEHR1G, S, SMITH, J A AND SPRAGUE, M

(1986) 'A decision support system for evaluation of advanced marine vehicles' in DSS-86 Transactions: Proc Sixth International Conference on Decision Support Systems 21-24 April, Washington, DC, pp 218-227 48KLIMBERG, R, REVELLE, C AND COHON, J

(1990) 'A decision support system for the regulatory surveillance of the pharmaceutical industry' in DSS-90 Transactions: Proc Tenth International Conference on Decision Support Systems 21-23 May, Cambridge, MA, pp 101-116 49KIMBROUGH, S O, PRITCHE'VF, C W, BIEBER, M P AND BHARGAVA, H K (1990) ' T h e

coast guard's KSS project' Interfaces 20 (6) 5-16 50BOUROER, O (1989) 'The expert system BRUITLOG and the MAIRILOG project' in

SNELLEN,

I,

VAN DE

DONK,

W AND

continued on page 285

284

At this level, there is a need for both attenuating information for performance evaluation as well as for amplified information for diagnosing performance problems. The attenuation need could be supported by SCS which provides statistical compilation (for attenuation) of past transactions, and the transaction summaries provided by TPS-TSI. Similarly the amplification need could be supported by detailed transaction reports provided by the TPS-DTL and planning forecasts provided by DSS. Examples of this type of DSS applications are planning of houses, school education, etc by local authorities. 51 Most important at this level is the need for very efficient and effective execution of administrative processes and decisions and resource accounting, which support may be provided by the TPS. This type of automated support has been historically the most common support provided by IT-based systems. 5z Until recently there has been hardly any support for automating very complex administrative processes and decisions. However, such support can now be provided by ES, as has been the case for Income Tax Department in India. 53 The relationship of IT support needs at various levels of public management and various types of IT-based systems is shown in Table 2.

PMSS: an architecture for IT support in public administration A n a r c h i t e c t u r e b a s e d o n the s u p p o r t n e e d s (as i d e n t i f i e d a b o v e ) of v a r i o u s levels of policy m a n a g e m e n t process is s h o w n below. I n this a r c h i t e c t u r e the total s u p p o r t is p r o v i d e d by a P o l i c y M a n a g e m e n t

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IT support for reengineering public administration: K B C Saxena and A M M Aly

Support System (PMSS). Similar to the concept of an organizational

continued from page 284 BAOUIAST, J (EDS) Expert Systems in Public Administration: Evolving Practices and Norms Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, I~P 7%84 -I[!N(;LAND, J R, HUDSON, K 1, MASTERS, R J, POWELL, K S AND SHORTRIDGE~ J D

(EDS) (1985) Information Systems for Policy Planning in Local Government Longman 52KRAEMER, K L, DANZIGER, J N~ DUNKLE,

D E AND KING, J L (1993) 'The usefulness of computer-based information to public managers' MIS Quarterly 17 (2) 12%148; op cit, Ref 13 53SINt}H, A (1990) 'Computerisation of the Indian income tax department" Information Technology for Development 5 (3) 235-251 54S1"OHR, E A AND KONSYNSKI, B R (1992) Information Systems and Decision Processes IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos, CA

support system, the PMSS is conceptualized as a purposeful, designed network of heterogeneous information processing and communication system units that support the public administration organization's needs for co-ordination and decision making. 54 Its purpose is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of information in distributed decision situations, as well as to support knowledge acquisition, representation, and use in these decentralized and distributed environments. PMSS may be described along two dimensions: a technology hierarchy dimension and a functional dimension. The technology hierarchy dimension is composed of three layers---communications, information, and process--representing a continuum ranging from essentially enabling technology (eg communications) to direct value-added technology (eg process). The communications layer is an enabling technology that permits physical connectivity among individuals within organizations and often even outside formal organization boundaries. This layer forms the foundation for a PMSS, providing the mechanism for individuals to form networks of interacting work teams. The information management layer of the PMSS model enables the access, storage, and retrieval of information in a manner that safeguards its semantic integrity. The process layer reflects the combination of communications and information management technology with analytic problem-solving technologies to create value-added policy management applications. The functional dimension of the PMSS model reflects the range of functionality provided by the PMSS environment. There may be three categories of functionality: production, co-ordination, and standardization. Production technologies increase the efficiency and effectiveness of specific task execution by a single individual in the organization. From an economic productivity perspective, these technologies enable a higher degree of output for a given level of resource input or, alternatively, the same level of output with less input. Co-ordination technologies increase the efficiency and effectiveness of interdependent task execution among two or more decision-makers. These may be used by a single work-team or extend to multiple interacting work-teams. Standardization perspective reflects the procedures, standards, and guidelines that enable an organization to achieve portability of processes, data, and communications across organizational boundaries. A comprehensive PMSS integrates process, information, and communication technologies across all three functional levels--production, co-ordination and standardization. It should contain the following three sub-systems (Figure 6):

• Policy Planning Support System (PPSS), • Policy Implementation Support System (PISS), and • Policy Administration Support System (PASS). The PPSS is used by the top executive body such as a cabinet or parliament. It contains a GSS for supporting coordination among various executives for reaching consensus in issue analysis, policy evaluation and formulation. It also includes an ESS for evaluation of various policies, and various decision support systems for use by the individual executives in analysing various policies and resource allocation. The PISS is used by the policy departments such as ministries or autonomous government bodies. It contains an MRS for monitoring and

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I T support for reengineering public administration: K B C Saxena and A M M Aly PISS

G S S

I I I I I t I I

PISS

E S S f I

I t DSSa I I I DSS.

Body

I

M R

Top Executive

DSS 2

Policy Department(s)

ES !

S

DSS I DSS 2

ES 2

C

DSS I

ES m

S

t I I I PASS

s

: TPS

DSS 1

:-TSI l __

DSS2

: :

ES 1 ES 2

DSSp

:

ESq

--).

4--

: TPS :-DTL

Local Authorities + Private Institutes

Figure 6 Architecture of policy management support system (PMSS)

controlling ongoing programmes, projects, regulations and budget. It also includes an SCS, which is also shared by the PASS, and provides various statistics which may support monitoring and control process. The MRS and SCS together provide input to the ESS component of the PPSS. In addition, it contains a number of DSSs for programme and project evaluation as well as budget allocation, and a number of ESs for complex routine decisions. The PASS is used by local authorities such as municipalities and other private institutes such as housing societies. It contains TPS for highvolume transaction processing, TPS-TSI for providing transaction summaries and TPS-DTL for providing detailed transaction lists. The PASS shares the SCS with PISS. The TPS-TSI also provides input to both SCS and the MRS. The PASS, in addition, may also include a few ESs for automating processing of complex but routine activities within the jurisdiction of local authorities and/or private institutes. These ESs also provide input to the SCS, and if necessary, to MRS as well.

Applying the PMSS framework

55NORTON, D P (1982) 'The applications portfolio' in NOLAN, R (ED) Managing the Data Resource Function 2nd edn, West, 77-92 6PTALERO, E (1994) ' A demand-driven approach to national informatics policy' in

Proc 13th IFIP World Computer Congress 94 Vol 3, Elsevier Science, A m s t e r d a m , pp 17-25

286

Having described the PMSS framework and its architecture, the next question is how the framework can be applied in practice. Organizations need a map or blueprint through which they can plan development and anticipate the requirements of information systems; the PMSS framework can be used as a vehicle to develop such a blueprint, or an information systems portfolio as it is more commonly called. 55 Talero 56 suggests formulating demand-oriented national IT policies for promoting IT production and use. The demand side of IT industry refers to production, service, household and government sectors of the economy in their role as users of IT and the supply side consists of the IT producers (hardware and software), the telecommunications service providers, the consulting service providers, and the education sector (producing skilled labour). National IT policies are very important for International Journal o f Information Management 1995 Volume 15 Number 4

I T support for reengineering public administration: K B C Saxena and A M M Aly

most developing countries, but have been used less frequently, sometimes with great success as in Singapore. Such an approach has two main components: (a) An I T policy objective, namely the implementation of a National Strategic Systems Portfolio (NSSP), which is a set of major national information systems the country needs to move to the next stage of development. (b) An ITpolicy formulation process, namely the National Information Systems Assessment (NISA), which is a participative process where demand-side representatives, assisted by government and supply-side experts and change agents, define the National Strategic Systems Portfolio, devise an implementation plan for this portfolio, and obtain the commitment of major stakeholders--government and development finance institutions among them--to this plan. The PMSS framework could be effectively used to generate the public sector component of the NSSP. It could be considered as a basis for defining a normative public administration information systems portfolio. It would be normative in the sense that it would provide a model of all the public administration functions which could be either automated or supported by IT. Obviously, it would not be possible to have sufficient resources to implement the entire normative portfolio. Therefore, it would be necessary to identify those PMSS applications which would be implemented and would therefore be part of NSSP.We shall call this subset of NSSP the PMSS portfolio. To perform this process, we need to execute the following steps.

(i) Formulate the government's or national strategy. The national strategy will describe the strategic direction in which the country wants to move, and would help in identifying key sectors and related public administration departments for whom PMSS applications should be developed. For example, Singapore's strategy has been to improve its international trading because trade has been Singapore's main source of survival and prosperity. 57 Similarly, Egypt's strategy is: economic stability through the continuation of structural reform which was started by the First Five Year Plan as well as through production which is further elaborated by its investment policy of distributing investments among economic sectors in the light of what has been accomplished during the first plan in terms of a structural reform through giving greater support to commodity production and introducing the balance between related production services and basic social services. This has entailed that more than half the fixed investments of the Second Five Year Plan be allocated to commodity sector. 5s 57NEO, a s (1994) 'Managing new information technologies: lessons from Singapore's experience with EDI' Information & Management 26 (6) 317-326 58MINISTRY OF PLANNING AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION (1987) Summary o f the Second Five Year Plan (1987/88 - 1991/ 92) July, Cairo, Egypt

(ii) Based on this strategy, identify: (a) major issues to be addressed by the government, (b) key industry sectors to be developed, (c) key policy departments related to the above issues and/or sectors. The goal of providing IT support to public administration is to be able to implement national strategy efficiently and effectively. Therefore, the

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IT support for reengineeringpublic administration: K B C Saxena and A M M Aly strategy statement should be used to underpin the key sectors which would be critical to the successful implementation of strategy. For example, in the case of Egypt, the key sectors for implementing the strategy would be the agricultural sector; industry and mining sector; commerce, finance and insurance sector; and personal and social services sector. These sectors are identified on the basis of strategy statement and the GDP contributions of various sectors. Identification of the key sectors would also help in identifying the key policy departments or ministeries related to the key sectors as well as the local authorities and private institutes interfacing with the key policy departments. Further, the strategy statement should also be used for identifying the major issues 59 which need to be effectively addressed by the key policy departments with the support of PMSS portfolio. (iii) Use P M S S framework as a basis for defining the P M S S portfolio, ie identifying key information systems which would support the top executive body, key policy departments as well as relevant local authorities and private institutes, and would also address key issues. (iv) Formulate I T infrastructure needs for implementing the P M S S portfolio. The PMSS has a distributed architecture and, therefore, needs not only adequate computing power but also adequate communication networking structure to support this distribution. This step, therefore, identifies the major computing power 'hubs' and the communication network nodes interconnecting these hubs with each other. Ideally, the top executive body and each key policy department should be a 'hub' and should be connected to each other as well as to the related local authorities and private institutes. The key attributes for determining this infrastructure are connectivity--the inter-connection between computing 'hubs' and 'spokes', accessibility--the databases which could be accessed through PMSS, and interoperability of the linking nodes (ie the capability to operationalize a PMSS function at various nodes irrespective of the variety of hardware/software available at these nodes). (v) Evaluate the existing I T infrastructure and perform a 'gap analysis'. In most cases it would be very unlikely that the existing IT infrastructure will match the required one for the PMSS portfolio. In fact, the IT infrastructure in public administration is often found suffering from poor computing power, with fragmented and decentralized architecture with little (if any) connectivity among various computing nodes, and lack of available machine-readable databases; not to say of other equally important attributes of the infrastructure--skilled personnel and maintenance support. Thus, a 'gap analysis' for the desired and available IT infrastructure would be necessary so that planning could be done for making up the gap. (vi) Develop an I T infrastructure plan for completing the gap. This is a logical next step, as a plan would be required to upgrade the existing IT infrastructure in order to make PMSS portfolio implementation feasible.

59EL SHERIF AND EL SAWY, op

288

cit, Ref 16

(vii) Develop a P M S S portfolio development plan which should match with the I T infrastructure plan. International Journal of lnformation Management 1995 Volume 15 Number 4

I T support for reengineering public administration: K B C Saxena and A M M Aly

Strategy Infrastructure Education Discovery

i

"ITS

I I I I ]

I

scs

I

I [ I

TPS SCS MRS DSS(PASS) DSS(PPSS)

I Initiation

I r ] ] Expansion

I

I

Assessment ]

Assessment 2

TPS SCS MRS DSS(PASS) DSS(PPSS) DSS(PISS) ES(PASS) ESS

I I I I I I 1 I { I I

SCS MRS DSS(PASS) DSS(PPSS) DSS(PISS) ES(PASS) ES(PISS) ESS GSS

{ Control

I Maturity

{ Assessment 3

Assessment 4

Figure 7 Stage model for PMSS implementation

Once the planning for the IT infrastructure has been done, a matching plan for PMSS portfolio development can be made so that the portfolio development and infrastructure development could be overlapped in a controlled manner.

Planning for PMSS implementation The successful implementation of PMSS portfolio depends to a large extent on a recognition of the level of technological maturity within the public administration organizations. Thus, the PMSS implementation should be conceptualized as a 'staged' approach to the growth of IT facilities and support. According to Nolan and Gibson, 6° many organizations go through four stages in the introduction and assimilation of new technology. However, as public administration in most countries has not proved to be a leader in assimilating IT, we suggest adding an additional fifth stage which is the praparatory stage for IT diffusion. The five proposed stages are the following (Figure 7). Stage 1. Discovery. In this stage an organization becomes aware of IT potential and begins planning and educating its people, and developing the necessary infrastructure. This stage is required to ensure that each stakeholder group---the top executive body, key policy departments, and the PMSS management team (consisting of planners and technologists responsible for PMSS implementation) become ready for PMSS implementation. This stage involves the following basic activities:

60NOLAN, R L AND GIBSON, C F (1974) 'Managing the four stages of E D P growth' Harvard Business Review 52 (1) 72-78

• education about IT support to decision making and task execution to users; • education about public administration processes and issues to PMSS developers; • explicit statement of national strategy; • identification of key sectors and policy departments; • determining technology champion key policy departments (KPDs) and local authorities/private institutes (LA+PIs); • planning for PMSS portfolio and required IT infrastructure; • implementing IT infrastructure required for the next stage. Assessment 1. At the end of Stage 1, there is an assessment for the

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IT support for reengineeringpublic administration: K B C Saxena and A M M Aly

readiness of champion L A + P I s and KPDs to move into the next stage--initiation. The discovery stage would be extended or the entire PMSS plan may be aborted if no champions are found during this assessment. Stage 2. Initiation. This stage is the beginning of use of IT support, and is therefore limited to IT use in routine tasks. Further, in order to ensure early successes, it is further limited to those L A +PIs which were identified as I T champions in the Discovery stage. These LA+PIs are provided with the TPS and a basic SCS is implemented which compiles statistics for the transactions processed at these LA+PIs. While some stumbling would definitely occur, some early successes should lead to increased interest and implementation with IT. Assessment 2. At the end of Stage 2, there is another assessment to , review the success achieved in TPS and SCS implementations, and depending on the assessment results, the implementation may switch over to next stage, or the initiation stage may be extended, or in the worst case, the entire PMSS plan may be aborted. Stage 3. Expansion. The expansion in this stage is both horizontal and vertical. The champion LA+PIs, who successfully used TPS and SCS in Stage 2, are provided with DSSs to have nearly full implementation of PASS. Also, there would be some other L A +PIs who may not be champions but may become interested in IT support after witnessing the successes of champions. We call such groups as leaders, and those who still do not come forward as laggards. Thus, as part of the horizontal expansion, the leader L A + P I s will have TPS and SCS in this stage. As part of vertical expansion, the champion KPDs are provided implementation of their MRS and the basic version of SCS is upgraded to a full-fledged SCS in order to provide support to champion KPDs as well. Lastly, the top executive body (TEB) is also provided with some DSS implementations in order to prepare them for more sophisticated IT support. Assessment 3. Similar to Assessment 2, there is another assessment at the end of this stage to review the success achieved and to decide whether to move on to next stage, or to extend the expansion stage, or even to abort the PMSS implementation plan. Stage 4. Control. The principle of both horizontal and vertical expansion continues in this stage but the pace is somewhat slowed down. The champion L A +PIs are provided with ES implementations to have full implementation of PASS. The leader L A +PIs are provided with DSS, and even the laggards are motivated (or forced tactfully) to have TPS implementations with SCS interfaces. The champion KPDs are provided with DSS implementations and the leader KPDs are encouraged to have MRS and SCS. Lastly, the TEB is introduced to the ESS tool. Assessment 4. Similar to Assessments 2 and 3, there is another assessment at the end of control stage to review the progress and decide moving to the last stage, or extending the current stage, or to abort the entire PMSS plan.

290

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IT support for reengineering public administration: K B C Saxena and A M M Aly

Table 3 P M S S diffusion in the s t a g e m o d e l o f i m p l e m e n t a t i o n Management level

IT motivation level

PMSS implementation state Initiation Expansion

Control

LA+PIs

Champions TPS, SCS TPS, SCS, TPS, SCS, DSS DSS, ES Leaders TPS, SCS TPS, SCS, DSS Laggards TPS, SCS

KPDs

Champions Leaders Laggards

TEB

Maturity

TPS, SCS, DSS,ES TPS, SCS, DSS, ES TPS, SCS, DSS MRS, SCS MRS, SCS, MRS, SCS, DSS DSS, ES MRS, SCS MRS, SCS, DSS, (ES?) MRS, SCS, DSS DSS DSS DSS ESS ESS GSS

Stage 5. Maturity. In this stage, all the LA+PIs start using at least the TPS, SCS and DSS; and the champions and leaders also start using ESs. Similarly all the KPDs start using at least the MRS, SCS and DSSs; and the champions and some of the leader KPDs also start using ESs. The TEB starts using GSS as well, thus having full use of PPSS.

A summary of this implementation plan is shown in Table 3. The Discovery stage is not shown in the table as no system implementation takes place in this stage.

PMSS implementation for developing countries Public administration in developing countries has been claimed to be highly bureaucratized and extremely centralized, based on an authoritarian legal system and staffed almost entirely from the metropolitan countries. 61 The most common patterns attributed to the public administration of developing countries are: • Shortage of trained administrators. • Orientations other than production-directed (corruption, surplus public sector employment etc). • Formalism, meaning widespread discrepancy between form and reality. • Imbalance between policy-making institutions and policyimplementing structures. As for IT use in developing countries, the problem list is even bigger and perhaps much more complex: 62 6'Op cit, Ref 1

(1990) 'Computers in developing countries' in BHATNAGAR,S C AND BJORN-ANDERSEN, S (EDS) Information Technology in Developing Countries Elsevier Science, Amsterdam,pp 3-11 62BHATNAGAR, S C

• Perceptual and knowledge problems - - L o w IT literacy - - P e r c e i v e d utility in transaction-processing alone, not in management support --Problem of communicating in English language alone

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• Infrastructure problems --Poor telecommunication infrastructure --Poor facilities (power, air-conditioning, housing space, etc) and maintenance support --High equipment and software cost --High processing cost • Utilization problems - - F e a r of unemployment --Barriers to petty corruption --Implementation success limited to simpler applications --Implementation often limited to TPS and SCS Consequently the very idea of 'reengineering' (or effectively using sophisticated IT) in public administration of developing countries might raise strong feelings of disbelief in the minds of many researchers. However, we would argue that such an effort may be essential for sustained development in the changed global economic environment; and that only a few newly developed and developing countries (such as Singapore, Egypt, Uruguay, Malaysia, Hungary) have attempted it and have been successful. There are other developing countries such as China, India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, etc with limited success in IT use. 63 It seems that in spite of the problems mentioned above, some developing countries have been more successful in effectively utilizing IT than others, and we must look for the common patterns of success factors for useful generalizations. Neo 64 gives a good description of reasons for success in the case of Singapore: • Problem-directed search process for IT-based systems • Strategic vision • Cooperation of multiple government agencies and an integration of their efforts • Choice of conceptual solution to problem without commitment on any particular technology.

630p cit, R e f 23 640p cit, R e f 57 65For instance, a recent (1994) newspaper report in India stated that the M e m b e r s of the Parliament would be given laptop computers to support their decision making. If this report is really true then it is clearly a case of technological solution in search of a problem, as the problems these tools would solve has not been identified first! 66BHATNAGAR, S C (1994) ' A network of institutions in information technology: proposal for a resource centre at IIM A h m e d a b a d ' Information Technology in Developing Countries 4 (2) 2-4

292

In fact, from the successful cases of developing countries, it seems that vision and national strategy play a major role in successful deployment of IT support tools. Often, IT in developing countries is pushed as a 'solution' in search of a 'problem', when the problem is hard to identify in the absence of any visible goals or strategic objectives. 65 The PMSS framework and implementation plan could be effectively used to identify IT support opportunities in public administration in a top-down fashion, as it forces formulation of a national strategy, and perhaps a vision as well. Thus it may ensure successful adoption of technology in a cost-effective manner. As for other problems in adopting IT in developing countries, most of them could be solved through effective IT education programmes and appropriate IT infrastructure. However, it may be difficult for every developing country to organize for its own IT education programmes and develop IT infrastructure. As some of the newly developed and developing countries are more successful and experienced, such countries may cooperate with others and establish regional resource centres in order to cater for the educational and knowledge needs of other developing countries in the region and at the same time enriching their own experience and expertise. 66 For instance, one such regional centre may be established in India for covering the educational needs of the Asian region; another in Egypt for covering needs of the African region; International Journal of lnformation Management 1995 Volume 15 Number 4

IT support for reengineering public administration: K B C Saxena and A M M Aly

and so forth. As for the IT infrastructure, the main problems are in terms of IT equipment acquisition and maintenance, and telecommunication facilities. In view of the relatively small size of business in an individual developing country, IT vendors may not be very keen to set up local warehouses and maintenance facilities in every country. However, attempts could be made to have cooperative ventures with IT vendors and the governments of developing countries in the region to set up joint regional facilities for telecommunications and IT equipment maintenance. After all, one reason for Singapore's fast development of TradeNet network was creation of Singapore Network Systems, a profit-making joint venture of several agencies. 67

Conclusion

"70p cit, Ref 57

Public administration is under increasing pressure to improve its effectiveness by providing more and better services to the people. This could be possible through administration process reengineering facilitated by state-of-the-art information technology. However, both in developing as well as industrialized countries, use of IT in public administration has been limited and largely based on conventional technology. Use of contemporary information technology has been scarce and almost always fragmented, perhaps due to lack of architectural frameworks of IT use in public management. This paper provides a conceptual framework for linking state-of-theart IT for supporting various management levels in public administration. The framework proposes an integrated information architecture for supporting public management functions and processes as well as a staged process for its implementation. It is hoped that the architecture would provide an effective infrastructure for planning public sector reengineering. Further, the staged implementation approach described here would be economically viable as well as desirable even for developing countries.

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