The International Social Security Association (ISSA) has a Technical Commission that focuses on Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The ICT Commission arranged a survey of ISSA member organisations to identify examples of the successful use of ICT to achieve service delivery transformation. The survey was wide-ranging and the respondents provided useful information on a broad array of topics.
The survey material can assist organisations, considering how they might use newer ICT to transform their service delivery strategies. Some core messages are presented in this report and the most important of these are listed below.
Expansion of Internet and multi-channel services requires fundamental changes on a number of fronts. Apparently, there is a slowing down in the provision of Internet and equivalent services. This seems to be linked to lack of progress in the provision of more integrated services, especially services involving collaboration with other agencies. Collaboration may be progressing slowly due to uncertainty about the best methods for tackling identification and transaction authentification in multi-channel and eService environments. Complex new technologies will be needed and this will mean a growing reliance on consultants, at least in a transition phase. The relationships with consultants however need to be put on a new basis and overall of course there remains the need for comprehensive and effective project management.
The findings in this report therefore focus on Internet, Integration, Identification and Consultancy issues.
Integrated services - the challenge of the future
Social Security organisations will have to undertake a more integrated approach, involving partners in other sectors and probably transnationally. PKI is a precondition for Integrated Services. Until concrete solutions to identification of customers interacting with social security organisations are in place it is clear that meaningful, secure and affordable service delivery improvements cannot be delivered. Without integration or collaboration the full potential of Internet services cannot be achieved but integration intensifies the need for very secure identification of all the players, including the claimant, in the processes.
Identification of customers is a precondition for new service paradigms
Political and legal infrastructures to support better Internet services exist in many countries. However, few countries are offering services that exploit the potential permitted by their environments. There may be an implicit acceptance that multi-channel service delivery is still unattainable due to identification, security and privacy issues. Meaningful and affordable service delivery improvements cannot be delivered without concrete identification of customers. Therefore, the identification issue needs to be addressed as a priority; otherwise investments in eService are unlikely to be fully productive.
Consultants - "barbarians at the gate" or advisors and mentors?
The responses frequently refer to the problems in ensuring effective knowledge transfer from consultants. However, the responses also indicate that social security organisations generally are very aware of the technical and policy issues that underpin more effective use of ICT. There is a need to develop more collaborative relationships with key suppliers.
Greater collaboration by the ISSA community is essential
With increasing globalisation and migration, finding solutions appropriate to the concerns of less developed countries may entail greater levels of East-West and North-South collaboration within the ISSA community than has occurred in the past.
ICT and general administrative targets are aligned
The survey found that the priorities driving ICT approaches correspond closely to the general business administration challenges described by senior executives of social security organisations in the course of other research.
ICT Projects still risky
Many large ICT modernisation projects do not deliver all the promised business improvements at the budgeted cost and within the predicted timescale. Few ICT projects result in total and expensive failure. However, it is equally true that few projects perform fully as initially promised. This is particularly the case in social security because those projects typically have concentrations of the riskiest factors.Report:
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