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E-Registries in Public Sector: Getting Them Right
Wednesday, 16 December 2009 00:00

Public-sector organisations in Singapore are taking to e-registries in a big way. A recent survey of 170 personnel from government ministries, statutory boards and institutes of higher learning found that 83% were either implementing information management (IM) systems or already had them in place.

The poll, which involved personnel from 68 organisations, was conducted by Latize, an IM research and consulting firm. Vikram Mengi, Partner, IM Practice at Latize shared the findings with representatives of public-sector organisations at a seminar hosted by Fuji Xerox Singapore.

But while a majority of the respondents have or are implementing e-registries, about half said their organisations did not have clear IM policies. Moreover, almost a third said that they did not understand the IM policy in their organisation.

Enterprise View Vital
To ensure the success of their e-registry projects, organisations need first to have an enterprise view of their IM needs and objectives, Mengi said. They then need to turn this view into a policy, one that provides guiding principles and operating mechanisms.

“Ask yourself why you’re building a common IM platform. Unless it’s going to deliver something additional to your users and the organisation, it doesn’t make any difference whether you have one new platform or twenty disparate systems. The key thing is to think of each and every user as a content creator and a content consumer.”

Agreeing, Sean See, Head (Admin) at Spring Singapore, recounted how while his organisation had an IM policy in place, it was too general and users could not see how it applied to their own operations.

“They didn’t quite know what they should be filing and where they should be putting the information they think should be filed. Two years ago, we formed a taskforce to do a clean-up of the registry. We went down to the individual divisions and helped them identify the various records and documents and advised them on where to deposit them. As a result end-users have achieved greater clarity on what they should be doing.”

Involving Users Early
Getting buy-in from users and getting them committed are also important, Mengi said. While it is impractical to involve everyone, users need to feel they have a say. Ways to do this include having user representatives, constant communication, and managing the change process from the onset.

Inculcating a culture in which users willingly share information is also important, added Lee Song Khuen, Deputy Director – Information Systems, Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore. The authority recently started an e-registry project and has “more or less” succeeded in getting its employees to share information.

All too often, enterprises lose track of what their e-registry is supposed to be doing not long after they go ‘live’, said Mengi. At the end of the day, he added, maintenance is what defines the success of the project – soliciting user feedback and acting on it, discovering how users are using the e-registry, and fine-tuning it such that employees, business functions and the organisation derive value from it.

 

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