Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) in accommodating Information and Communication Technology ((ICT) in Bangladesh
Sayed Javed Ahmad
It is beyond any doubt that Bangladesh would benefit immensely from the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The importance of ICT in national development was stressed upon by the Care Taker Government (CTG) under the term â€œe-Governanceâ€, which has later termed as â€œDigital Bangladeshâ€ by the present government.
We constantly talk about the importance of ICT in our national activities in seminars, workshops and discussion meeting as well as in media dialogues, but result is still unsatisfactory. We did not really make much progress in this area.
Recently I have attended a workshop on â€œImproving Property Registration Process and IFC Ranking of Bangladeshâ€ organized by the International Business Forum of Bangladesh (www.ibfb.org
). The idea of introduction of information technology in property registration process was discussed and proposed to the respective ministries. A thorough research was conducted by IBFB and a written proposal was submitted to the government formally at the meeting. Overall ranking of Bangladesh with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) was also discussed.
It may have been forgotten that during the past political government there have been a pilot project that was quite successful, but due to political pressure the project was killed. The president of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) also indicated that software to handle such a job is already available for use that is developed by local software engineers.
A participant in the meeting revealed some inside information on why such projects fail. He mentioned that a huge amount of money is being transacted illegally in such institutions or departments where many individuals and groups have their stakes. Therefore, having an IT based system stalls all those transactions depriving these people from some extra earnings. During the past government I have witnessed a similar situation at the Passport Office in Chittagong when I went there to renew my passport. What I saw was that at the end of the day all the employees surrounded an employee who are distributing cash to others as a share dividends for their extra income for the day that mostly comes from bribes, which they call â€˜speed moneyâ€™.
So imagine, if we are to install an IT based passport service system then the process would be so speedy that no extra speed money would be required and all those folks who are dependent on the extra income would have to go home empty handed everyday. It would definitely be a problem for them.
At least principally at the meetings we are all agreeing to the fact that ICT implementation would reduce corruption and speed up system processes. Every government when they come to power uses this as a slogan and kills their time on other priorities. As a result, none of the governments have been able to achieve anything so far totally disappointing the IT people and the concerned citizens of Bangladesh. We are noticing the same thing with our present government as well.
In the name of â€œDigital Bangladeshâ€ what we have today is some static websites that are not regularly updated or still incomplete. It shows that despite the effort of digitization a workable business process has not been re-engineered to incorporate this new activity in the organization.
Ideally, the Ministry of Science, Information and Communication Technology (MoSICT) should take the initiative of business process re-engineering (BPR) and manning the departments with appropriately trained IT personnel. Now that we have a cadre for ICT this should be a difficult task to handle.
What is basically needed is an independent IT department at all the ministries taking care of the IT setup and activities for their respective institutions. The IT department could consist of the following personnel:
1. IT Manager ( a senior position to manage the IT department)
2. Assistant IT Manager (assisting the manager if the department is large and busy)
3. System Administrator (if there is a server to look after and administer)
4. Network Specialists (for organizational network administration)
5. System Support Specialists (for computer software and hardware troubleshooting and support for the organization)
6. Webmaster (to handle daily website maintenance jobs like updating the contents changing the web pages, etc. this job can also be assigned to the System Administrator or any one of the above if the job is light)
7. Data-base Administrator (DBA) (if the organization maintains a large database).
I do not anticipate any software development activities at the government organizations. As the chances are, most of the software will be supplied by a third party private company â€“ either local or foreign. It is advisable that our government organizations deal with local developers or vendors for prompt and low cost services. If however a software development team is required, apart from relying on local software developing companies the MoSICT could maintain a team of software developers to handle all the internal needs of all the ministries under the ICT program. In that case, it is recommended that they also create the following positions to look after and manage the department:
1. Chief Information Officer (CIO)
2. Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
In comparison to the situation discussed above, our Bangladesh Bank is making considerable progress in terms of ICT implementation that would bring comfort and ease in doing business within the banking industry. From the news article â€œBB on digital driveâ€ it becomes clear that the Governor Dr. Atiur Rahman is taking personal interest in ICT implementation at the Central Bank. This indicates that if we could place some more people like the governor at different institutions and ministries where ICT is crucial, we would probably see similar results in those orgs as well. So what we really need is people with ICT vision and mission. We also need to set a deadline to force all the civil servants who are engaged in public communications to be literate with computers capable of at least using their own email accounts so that we could get a quick response to our email inquiries without a miss or waiting indefinitely for an answer.
'Digital Bangladesh' down: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/print_news.php?nid=137790
Minister suggests planned land use: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/print_news.php?nid=137737
BB on digital drive: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/print_news.php?nid=137723
Ministry of Science and Information & Communication Technology: http://www.mosict.gov.bd/