By Johannesburg, 08 Jun 2010 Read time 3min 40sec
One of the largest municipalities in the Free State identified challenges that needed urgent attention: its ICT plan of action did not follow an overarching technical architecture that delivers benefits such as common standards, improved resilience and cost-effectiveness across the organisation, and it was not aligned to the municipality’s strategy; lack of proper policies and procedures and IT standards and guidelines; third-party services were being managed without proper SLAs; lack of disaster recovery and business continuity planning and the information architecture at municipality was not defined.
The municipality identified a need to undertake the development of an ICT strategy to increase efficiency in its business operations and took the opportunity to implement an ICT strategy. The municipality approached TIS Holdings, which analysed, planned, developed and implemented a three-year ICT strategy that included the implementation of an enterprise resource planning system.
According to the Chief Executive of TIS Holdings, Terry Ramabulana, it first conducted an analysis of the entire enterprise architecture (business, applications, organisation and technology). This covered all IT services of the municipality. Recommendations were made to address the gaps identified during the analysis phase and the ICT strategy was designed to address these gaps.
Ramabulana says the project, delivered in three phases, came with various constraints. “First, in order for the municipality to meet with its strategic goals, they had to identify initiatives that would adequately support the municipality’s strategy. A three-year roadmap was outlined.” These initiatives were then divided into three phases to be spread over the succeeding three years.
Sithabile Zungu, TIS Holdings Project Manager, points out that a comprehensive analysis of the IT infrastructure positioned the municipality well in terms of enabling the infrastructure that allows the municipality to meet its service delivery goals and objectives.
“The successful implementation of the ICT strategy was aided by the application of the shared services concept, which brings together IT functions that are duplicated and inconsistent with the municipality and its entities,” explains Terry, adding that the model allowed the municipality to exploit the benefits of the ICT strategy implementation at a lower cost and more efficiently, through a central point. The focus is on delivering customer satisfaction using the benefits of shared services, such as economies of scale, centralising available skills, standardisation of processes based on best practice and the provision of a single technology based on maintenance and improvement. The incorporation of the entities’ services into municipality has been successful.
According to the Municipal Manager, the ICT rollout strategy was cost-effective, money saving and expected to accelerate revenue. Functions within the municipality, which were duplicated and inconsistent, were made consistent and centralised. Efficiency was another key benefit derived resulting in processes and services becoming clear, concise and virtually error-free. The functions are now effective and working as intended to support the municipality, and standardised processes were developed and implemented.
The project was managed according to internationally recognised project management principles, “PRINCE 2”. Implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system aimed at addressing part of the strategy recommendations that were made for the applications architecture was key to providing the municipality with overall greater functionality.
Other initiatives that play a crucial role in optimising service delivery were implemented; these include performance management system, document management system and geographical information system.
TIS Holdings managed the entire implementation of the ICT strategy. Its value added expertise in the ICT fraternity made the ICT rollout a success. TIS’s focus is ensuring an organisation has the appropriate ICT strategy to support its business strategy. The ICT strategy must be robust enough to meet day-to-day requirements of the business and enable the business to deliver more efficiently using the latest technological advancements. This means there is a need to continually review the ICT strategy in an organisation to ensure the organisation keeps pace with technological advancements and that appropriate technological initiatives are introduced to meet changes within the organisation.