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Digital Secretariat: Less Paper Office*

CASE STUDY, OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT
ET Cases - GSMC, 16 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Aman Singh, A. M. Parial and Sumeet Gupta

Case Preview

Digital Secretariat: Less Paper Office

 

"A systematic digitization effort is required to store and restore the important documents as and when required.”

In a steep automation and digitization effort, Government of Chhattisgarh (GoCG) had transformed its processes. The massive drive towards e-Governance aimed not only at improving the government delivery processes to its citizens, but also towards improving all internal processes of the Government. The politicians and bureaucrats now talk IT. Moving away from the dilapidated buildings of the 80s, the Government buildings now were being equipped with all possible modernity and give the hope of an improved Government delivery process and a better connect between Government and citizens. As Satya walked-in into the office of a Secretary, the sight of a large number of files piled up on the table made him question the very transformation that GoCG was proud about. Few days ago he had witnessed a presentation on the Digital Secretariat, fairly similar to an email system, which automated the documentation processes in a Government system. Satya mused, “Was the effort on automation and digitization successful or was it a fad?” Satya mulled about the need for a strategic approach to IT-enabled transformation as he walked through the corridors of the Secretariat.

GoCG’s Awareness towards IT

The massive drive towards IT began in the year 2005 when the GoCG began realizing the transformation that IT can bring in an organization. IT was considered another fad and there was tremendous resistance among people towards its implementation. But with the growing usage of IT among many Governments all over the world, GoCG began realizing the power that IT carries towards improving the internal as well as external processes of the Government system.........

Evolution of the Concept

The concept of the paperless office has been around since the embryonic stages of the first computer more than 50 years ago. Perhaps the best-known prediction of the paperless office came in a 1975 Business Week article entitled “The Office of the Future”, which at that time, was highly acclaimed as an accurate foreshadowing of the way business would be conducted in the near future.......

Government Filing System

In Government organizations, data and information plays a vital role (Exhibit I). Thousands of files are handled in Government offices every day and it becomes important to stream line the flow of data inside the organization. Files, DAKs and other documents like letters, notices, invoices, etc., are the integral part of any Government Offices. Any decision taken by any Government department has to be recorded on paper. Starting from big projects like building a bridge to a leave application of a Government employee, everything needs to be documented and stored.............

The Conceptualization of Digital Secretariat

Considering these issues CHiPS along with its implementation partner PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) took charge for the journey of digitization and automation for the Mantralaya in the state of Chhattisgarh along with other government offices so that relevant documents can be stored and retrieved with proper authorization and authentication. As a result Digital Secretariat was conceptualized.........

In the words of the Mr. Aman Singh, the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister:

I am proud to say that the Government of Chhattisgarh has been at the forefront of utilizing technology to improve our governance model and empower the common man. Our awards are testimony to that. We have leveraged best technology solutions in improving on our government departmental productivity and this has had a positive impact in our governance............

Capacity Building

Make the end users ready with the knowledge of computers so that they can use the new system conveniently. Thus, the Digital Secretariat was conceptualized. The objectives of this project was to develop an automated process following the Rules and Regulations of File Management to make the entire process standardized, efficient and fast thus reducing errors and increasing productivity. Also to establish proper tracking and monitoring through the system which helps in better controlling over huge volume of records in a busy schedule (Exhibit III)............

Digital Secretariat: Implementation

Exhibit IV presents the steps in the implementation process of the Office Automation System. The project had mainly two aspects:

• Operational that took care of the digitization of all the existing documents and Files
• System related under which the Office Automation System was designed and developed

Strategies were adopted for both these domain so as to make the project successful............

Operational

Digitization is the first step towards paperless working. To achieve the goal of a paperless office, automation is the next step of the pyramid. To make Digital Secretariat a reality, the historical data/information in the form of files and documents were scanned and uploaded in the system with proper access rights. These documents can be readily used or referred in future from the system itself without any need to actually access the manual file...........

Office Automation System

The main modules of the office automation system are presented in Exhibit VI. The most important section for this project was designing and developing the Office Automation. The legacy system has its own rules and regulations that have been followed by all the departments. These rules define various aspects of files and DAKs starting from their generation, their nomenclature, their movements and the security aspects associated with the documents...........

The Technology Interface

The latest technology was used in developing the Digital Secretariat (Exhibit VIII).........

Weblogic: The Weblogic Application Server acts as the backbone to the whole Oracle Fusion middleware stack and we have leveraged its scalability through an active-active cluster support for high availability..............

The Road Ahead

The transformation process brought about by digitization is shown in Exhibit IX. However, there are questions to answer. As Satya mused about the presentation on Digital Secretariat (Annexure I) and the current working of the Government, he mused about the next required steps in making digital secretariat a reality. Needless to say, Satya mumbled to himself, we have a long way to go...........

Assignment Questions

The following assignment questions can be posed to the students:
I. What are the issues and challenges in implementing a paperless office?
II. What are the typical problems associated with Government Filing System?
III. What challenges do you envisage in the implementation of the Digital Secretariat?
IV. ................

Exhibits

Exhibit I: The Government Filing System

Exhibit II: E-Readiness Framework

Exhibit III: Objectives of Office Automation Project

Exhibit IV: Steps in the Implementation Process of the Office Automation System

Exhibit V: Overview of the Digitization Span at Chhattisgarh Secretariat

Exhibit VI: Modules in the Office Automation System

Exhibit VII: Pre-Implementation vs Post-Implementation Process

Exhibit VIII: Technical Flow and Components Involved

Exhibit IX: The Transformation through Digital Secretariat

Teaching Note Preview

Digital Secretariat: Less Paper Office

 

Synopsis

The case depicts the Government of Chhattisgarh’s effort to implement Digital Secretariat, which maps the Government filing system. The Digital Secretariat was developed by the State’s IT wing CHiPS along with PWC as the implementation partner. Most Governments have remained unsuccessful in the implementation of paperless office because digitization alone is not sufficient. Digitization is the first step towards the journey. To get an ideal solution, digitization along with automation is necessary, so that further digitization effort can be reduced and the system becomes automated. As Satya walks through the Secretariat, he still finds a heap of files lying on the table of a senior official and he muses on the strategic implementation of the IT enabled projects.

The case will be useful for an undergraduate or graduate class on MIS, Strategic IT, Business Process Improvement and Technology Management.

Pedagogical Objectives

The main learning objectives of this case are as follows:

  • • To understand the issues with Digitization without automation
  • • To understand the implementation of a content management system
  • • To understand the issues typical of a Government or public sector environment
  • • To understand the transformation brought about by IT and the issues and challenges therein

 

Assignment Questions

The following assignment questions can be posed to the students:

  • I. What are the issues and challenges in implementing a paperless office?
  • II. What are the typical problems associated with Government Filing System?
  • III. What challenges do you envisage in the implementation of the Digital Secretariat?

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Abstract

The case depicts the Government of Chhattisgarh’s effort to implement Digital Secretariat, which maps the Government filing system. The Digital Secretariat was  developed by the State’s IT wing CHiPS along with PWC as the implementation partner. Most Governments have remained unsuccessful in the implementation of  paperless office because digitization alone is not sufficient. Digitization is the first step towards the journey. To get an ideal solution, digitization along with automation is necessary, so that further digitization effort can be reduced and the system becomes automated. As Satya walks through the Secretariat, he still finds a heap of files lying on the table of a senior official and he muses on the strategic implementation of the IT enabled projects.


Pedagogical Objectives

The main learning objectives of this case are as follows:

  • To understand the issues with Digitization without automation
  • To understand the implementation of a content management system
  • To understand the issues typical of a Government or public sector environment
  • To understand the transformation brought about by IT and the issues and challenges therein

* GSMC 2014, IIM Raipur

This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Study
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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