ICT as an instrument of transformation
The introduction of new information and communication technology (ICT)-related management tools is expanding rapidly in social security schemes in most countries.
The use of ICT is already sufficiently widespread to reveal trends and to illustrate the issues that institutions should consider when planning for their own administrative settings. The public sector, and more particularly the social security sector, is often a pioneer in client-oriented approaches and the use of new technologies, particularly when applied to large-scale and complex systems.
These new technologies and management tools include:
- Electronic services, e-government/e-administration
- Re-engineering of the organization and of the processes
- Multi-channel processes and delivery
- Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)
- Change management and risk management approaches
- Customers relationship management software
- Smart cards and call centres technologies
A more effective and collaborative client-oriented approach
CEOs and administrators of social security institutions need to take account of the factors and constraints linked to their environment: legislative reforms and decisions of the public authorities, the development of telecommunications, reductions in social security expenditure, possibilities for using new technology, increased customer demands, the wish to get closer to customers by opening decentralized offices or one-stop-shops, etc. Efficient management methods as well as new technologies are introduced to improve the performance and rigour of these systems. They illustrate the extent to which management and innovation constitute a critical concern in today's world.
The organization of tasks and the administrative processes are often fundamentally modified given the impact of information technology on systems architecture. The former functions of processing information, frequently segmented, are re-examined and staff are trained for their new missions. Innovations centred on change management and risk management tools, as well as a strong leadership, become essential to achieve performance.
Social security organizations are expected to be able to respond quickly to economic changes and political requirements. They must increase their administrative capacities to be ready to adapt themselves to forthcoming innovations. Social security CEOs and managers must look to a future which is often unpredictable. Key questions are the following: How do we use ICT for the expected and unexpected? What does that imply for ICT strategies? How to be flexible and dynamic to adapt to new situations? What value does ICT bring to social security organizations in a changing and globalizing world?