Techniques Of Administration Improvement
An administrative technique is a technique used in the planning and management of programs, services and resources in any department relating to administration. If we are to discuss the importance of administrative improvement and what are administrative techniques, the concept of change needs to be understood. Here are the notes on e-governance, information technology, and how to improve administrative techniques using sustainable e-governing practices, and different information systems.
I) E-Governance And Information Technology
Reinventing government has been a dominant theme since the 1990s, wherein Bandar world over are attempting to improve the systems of public service delivery. The vision is the articulation to transform the way government functions and the way it relates to its constituents. The concept of electronic governance, popularly called e-governance, is derived from this concern. Democracies in the world share a vision of the day when e-governance will become a way of life.
E-governance is the application of ICT to the processes of government functioning for good governance? In other words, e-governance is the public sectors use of ICTs intending to improve information and service ‘delivery, encourage citizen participation in decision making and make government more accountable, transparent and efficient.
The Ministry of Information and Technology states “that e-governance goes far beyond mere computerization of stand-alone back-office operations. It implies fundamental changes in government operations, and a new set of responsibilities for the legislature, executive, judiciary and citizens”.
According to the Comptroller and Auditor General, U.K. “e-governance means providing public access to information via the internet by government departments and their agencies”.
So in essence, e-governance is the application of ICT in government functioning to bring in SMART governance implying: Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent Governance.
Types Of E-Governance
The e-Governance systems are primarily categorised into three types based on the participating groups in the electronic interaction.
- G2G: Government-to-Government;
- G2B: Government-to-Business and/or its reverse; and
- G2C: Government-to-Citizen and it is reverse (C2G) – Citizen-to Government,
In the context of Public Administration, the G2C model occupies the most important place as it focuses on citizen-centric services.
Pre-requisites For Developing Sustainable E-Governance Programmes
To offer hassle-free access and render, effective services to the public by designing and developing sustainable e-Governance programmes, certain inputs are vital. The prerequisites for structuring the e-Governance programmes by the changing expectations of the citizenry are 3C’s-Connectivity, Community participation, and Content. Of course, the other 3C’s, viz., Capital, both human and financial; Committed leadership; both political and administrative; and Components evaluation to restructure and update the content and services, serve as the nuts and bolts for successful implementation of e-Governance. But, this necessitates ascertaining the prerequisites for an effectual e-Governance.
Connectivity with reliable ‘information infrastructure facilities for rendering timely, uninterrupted access to Public Information Systems and Services (PIS), thereby, ensuring and encouraging usability, is vital for effective e-Governance. Information Infrastructure (II) denotes the processing and communication networks and their associated tools (hardware and software) that support information accessibility and interaction and collaboration among people, institutions and organizations.
Governments need to formulate ‘Information Policies’ to ensure needed Information Infrastructure for incessant and equitable access to PIS. The absence of Information (infrastructure) Policies and apposite implementation strategies would make it unfeasible to deliver the technology-enabled services effectively and efficiently. National Information Infrastructure Policy needs to ensure infrastructure facilities for secure broadband and hosting facilities by allocating appropriate funding for fostering equitable access. In addition to the availability of necessary infrastructure, the involvement of the local population serves the preset purposes.
Designing and developing effective e-Governance systems necessitate community involvement and participation, crucial right from the conceptualisation stage. Community participation, involving the citizens in the “analysis of needs” helps to a greater extent in raising awareness about “the potential technologies and the associated tools and services.” The outcome of the needs analysis serves in deciding on the content, context, language, level of service and manpower needed for designing and developing the modules necessary for meeting the diverse information needs ranging from education, livelihood, employment, communication, and so on.
To make an e-Governance programme effective, a ‘demand-driven approach’ (planning and designing the services that are important and in-demand locally) is most suitable because the needs of the citizens vary with the context and meeting those needs reinforces the utility of e-Governance. Say, for instance, registering for a passport, or a driving licence online might serve the purpose of urban dwellers, whilst, information about agriculture – credit facilities, current market prices, forecasting on marketing trends, post-harvesting techniques, such as storage and transactional methods; health services and education are the priorities of the rural people,
Involving the local community at an early stage optimistically serves the purposes of sensitising, motivating and mobilising the populace to the desired degree and extent. Unless and until communities are sensitised about “how ICTs and ICT-enabled projects such as e-Governance can boost development,” designing and developing such programmes would be futile. Moreover, active participation of stakeholders in community affairs enhances needed transparency and efficiency in Government administration, consequently, minimising corruption and enforcing accountability.
Taking into consideration the varying needs of different target groups, content in the native language, Embedded in a user-friendly interface with well-designed modules, facilitating easy navigation is equally important for enhanced usability. Moreover, developing content relevant to public needs; organising it in an easily utilisable form and format; and its timely provision, and duly updating is necessary to make it appealing and alluring.
Above all, financial support, committed leadership, monitoring and evaluation and appointment of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to ensure successful implementation of e-Governance are called for. The CIO’s task essentially is to bridge the gap between the e-Governance administration and technology management and to enable the public to reap the bench training and development of CIOs to upgrade their skills and cope with the incessant technological advances that are essential for improved interactivity between the Government and the public. Furthermore, statutory reforms are mandatory to prioritising and promoting e-governance resume and strategically.
Stages Of E-Governance
The development of e-governance can be delineated into the following five stages:
Stage 1: Emerging
Government online presence is established through a website and/ or an official portal linking the various ministries and departments; archiving information such as messages of the Head of the State, mostly a static presence with some options for citizens. Interaction is unidirectional i.e., from Government to Citizens (629).
Stage 2: Enhanced
Enhanced presence of the government providing access to both archived and current information of public policies, laws and regulations, reports, newsletters and even downloadable databases, thus making the portal and information more dynamic with search options for citizens to retrieve the needed documents. The interaction is unidirectional i.e., from Government to Citizens (G2C).
Stage 3: Interactive
The G2C services are made interactive for enhancing the convenience of the citizens by download forms for either tax payment or licence renewal and the like; facilitating email communication with the officials of the various departments; updating the portal at regular and preset intervals to keep the information current.
Stage 4: Transactional
The C2G interactions aiming at two-way interaction with options for online paying of taxes; applying for ID cards, birth certificates, passports, land records; renewal of driving licence; e-purchase, e-tendering or e-bidding and other C2G interactions that are free of time and space barriers.
Stage 5: Networked
The integration of G2G, G2C and C2G interactions to bring forth the “Networked Governance” for effective implementation of e-services across the various administrative jurisdictions. It implies the integration of the various Government departments for cooperation and coordination and understanding the concept of collective thinking and decision-making with the focus on citizen needs. Then the various systems and subsystems could function to an optimal level and transform the whole network into “Seamless Governance”. With the single input of information, multiple purposes across the different Government departments can be served, thus avoiding duplication of efforts to a larger extent. Moreover, seamless interaction encourages inclusion i.e., encouraging citizen participation through a two-way open dialogue with the aid of Web polls; Web comment form; online consultation mechanisms; citizen views and choice on public policy and law-making; decision-making.
Promoting E-Governance In India
The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances presents National Awards for eGovernance every year. The awards are instituted to:
- Recognise and promote excellence in e-governance initiatives and achievements to the anticipated level by the public.
- Propagate knowledge on innovative and effective methods used in designing, developing and implementing e-governance initiatives in a sustainable manner.
- Promote horizontal transfer of successfully implemented and evaluated e-governance.
- Share views and exchange experiences, negative and positive, negative to resolve issues and problems involved ineffectual implementation and positive experiences to serve as prototypes to other initiatives planned for.
II) Management Information Systems MIS
In recent times.’ a great emphasis is being put on public management systems and efficiency in service delivery. ostensibly under pressure from increasing public and demands. The enforceability of accountability is gaining currency and the stakenouch an increasingly becoming vocal. Consequently, the tasks of public service managers are under greater scrutiny. They have to respond to challenges efficiently and take judicious decisions. Information is a critical factor in decision-making. Sound managerial decisions are not made in a vacuum. They are to be made with an awareness of general conditions, competition, public policies and above all with adequate knowledge of management information. In modern information has become an important resource.
Why do Public Service Managers need Information? Public service managers need the information to:
- Decide the mission and objectives of the organization.
- Determine the plan of action for achieving the objectives of the organization.
- Implement the plans and programmes.
- Evaluate the performance and
- Facilitate feedback, to enable the modification of plans/programmers if required.
Types of Information Systems
There is a need for effective information systems to be put in place. An information system has been described as “a system consisting of the network of all communication channels used within an organization”. Kroenke (1992) puts forth the following fundamental types of information systems:
Transaction Processing System (TPS)
These support day-to-day functions and help organizations to conduct their operations and keep track of their activities. The TPS programme generates two types of output. It sends messages back to the ope terminal and it generates printed documents. On-line transaction processing systems is a type of TPS. On-line interactive systems or simple online systems involve a direct connection between the operator and the programme.
Decision Support Systems (DSS)
These are interactive computer-based facilities for assisting decision-making in less structured environments, DSS differ from TPS or MIS in that they do not always support an ongoing process. Often DSS are created to solve particular problems on an ad hoc processing basis and are not needed regularly,
Office Automation Systems (OAS)
OAS are information systems that create, store, modify, display and communicate information, Computers, the internet, facsimile machines, electronic bulleting boards etc. are part of OAS. There are various models and as such a generic architecture is not possible.
Executive Support Systems (ESS)
The information systems that support the information needs of senior executives are called ESS, They summarise and present data at the highest levels of aggregation. Usually, they involve a presentation of reports in standard formats, often involving graphics as shown below :
Management Information System
Conceptually, MIS is a level above TPS. It is not concerned with day-to-day operations, but rather with the management of activities that do support operations. MIS are typically computer-based information systems, that are used within an organization. Peter Keen (1978) defines MIS as “the effective design, delivery and use of information systems in organizations”. MIS has a much larger perspective and is not intended solely for managers. It includes all the people in the organization and the structure and design of the organization as well. The goal of MIS is to enable managers to make better decisions by providing information.
Evolution Of Management Information System
The evolution of the Management Information System can be discussed into two parts.
First Generation Management Information System
The first generation MIS involved the capture of information and experience so that it was easily accessible. An alternate term was “knowledge capture”. Managing this capture allowed the system to grow into a powerful information asset. Technology had primacy in this phase. Accordingly, MIS was an issue of information storage and retrieval. It used ideas derived from systems analysis and management theory. It typically involved developing sophisticated data analysis and retrieval systems with little thought as to how the information they contained would be developed or used. This led to organizations investing heavily in technological fixes that had either little or a negative impact on how knowledge was used.
Under the influence of econometric standards, managers treated information as if it were a commodity, forgetting that information is not a commodity but a process. Learning and doing became a black box that was not subject to management, the best that could be done was to make tacit knowledge explicit. Its failure to provide any theoretical understanding of how organizations learn new things and how they act on this information meant that first-generation MIS was incapable of managing knowledge creation.
Second Generation Management Information System
Faced with the theoretical and practical failure of fist generation techniques to live up to their promise, theorists began to look more closely at how knowledge is created and shared. At the same time, there was a realization that organizations are capable of learning, and so a link grew between learning theory and management. At the same time, hierarchical models or organizational structures were replaced by more organic models, which found effective organizations as capable of bringing structural change in response to their environment.
Second-generation knowledge management gives priority to how people construct and use knowledge. It derives its ideas from complex systems, often making use of organic metaphors to describe knowledge ‘growth. It is closely related to organizational learning. It recognizes that learning and doing is more important to organizational success than dissemination and imitation.
Characteristics of Management Information System
Some of the important characteristics of modern MIS are given below :
- MIS is management-oriented, where the management concerns all the employees of the organization. The system is designed from top to bottom. The development of the system starts from the appraisal of organizational needs and their objectives.
- The management actively directs reviews and participates in the system development efforts to ensure that the implemented information system meets the requirements of the organization.
- An integrated system and MIS are not synonymous. However, the integrated concept is a necessary characteristic of MIS.
- Due to the integrated nature of MIS, it is prudent to capture relevant data close to the source where the event occurs and use it throughout the functional areas.
- The common data flow concept supports several tenets of systems analysis avoiding duplication, combining similar functions and simplifying necessary functions wherever necessary.
- MIS needs to be planned carefully and it evolves in due course of time.
- While the integrated approach makes it appear a single entity, it is broken down into desirable sub-systems.
- MIS should be developed with flexibility so that future changes in the organizational needs may be accommodated in the system. ob MIS includes every type of system that gives information, whether it is a formal or informal system.
Structure Of Management Information System
Management Information System is a system designed by an organisation to collect and report information on a programme, and which allows managers to plan, monitor, and evaluate the operations and the performance of the whole programme. To be successful, an MIS initiative must address both the ‘hard’ knowledge in databases and the ‘soft’ knowledge in people’s minds. MIS addresses their problems by providing a mechanism to capture, retain and distribute knowledge assets within and between organizational agents (e.g., employees and information systems ). Information has several phases namely identification, acquisition, development, dissemination, use and preservation of knowledge.
Components Of Management Information System
There are five components of MIS:
This includes the physical equipment used in computing data.
This comprises the set of instructions that control the hardware. People: In the early days of the introduction of computers, the people directly involved tended to be programmers design analysts and a few external users. Today, everyone in the organization is involved with the information system.
These are instructions that help people use the systems. They include items such a users manuals documentation and procedures to ensure that backups are made regularly.
These are collections of related data that can be retrieved easily and processed by computers. Data is a statement accepted at face value. Raw data are numbers, characters, images or other outputs from devices to convert physical quantities into symbols in a very broad sense. Data Flow Diagrams (DFDs) help in representing information systems. They are designed to show how systems are divided into smaller portions and to highlight the flow of data between those parts. The basic elements of a DFD are : 0 TL 200
External Entities: These are some components in the environment that communicate with the system.
Process: In a DFD, a process is an activity that involves data. There are two important rules involving processes. First, a process cannot invent data, which means every process must have at least one flow of data entering it. Second, a process cannot be a black hole- every process must transfer data somewhere else.
Data Store: A data store or file is simply a place to hold data for a length might be a filing cabinet, a reference book or a computer.
Data flow: The data flows represent the inputs and outputs of each processor subsystem.
An MIS structure may be discussed in terms of three separate but related classifications.
The components of MIS make available all the relevant information on a needs basis. These transactions, maintain master files, produce reports and process, interactive support applications.
II) Programme Evaluation And Review Technique PERT And Critical Path Method CPM
Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) was developed by the special project office of the U.S. Navy in 1958. Almost at the same time, engineers at the Du Pont Company U.S.A. also developed the Critical Path Method (CPM). Though there is some difference between PERT and CPM, both utilize the same principles. The basic difference between the two is that CPM assumes the duration of every activity to be constant, therefore, every activity is either critical or not. In PERT, uncertainty in the duration of activities is allowed and is measured by three parameters. – most optimistic duration, most likely duration, and most pessimistic duration. PERT/CPM is used either to minimize total time, minimize total cost, minimize cost for a given total time, minimize the time for a given cost, or minimize idle resources.
Process of PERT/ CPM
A programme. consists of several activities and sub-activities. To complete the programme, these activities, sub-activities should be completed in a proper sequence and in the allotted time. Since some of the activities can be taken simultaneously, a network is developed to show the sequence, time taken, and the time of the start of particular activities. The whole process involved in the preparation of PERT/CPM is as follows :
Identification Of Activities
Activities represent jobs that should be performed to complete a programme or project. Each activity · takes some specific time under given conditions.
Sequential Arrangement Of Activities
There is always a technological sequence in the various activities of a project. Predecessor events are those which should be completed before a particular event can start. Successor events are those that immediately follow another event.
Time Estimates Of Activities
All events are associated with a definite point of time and as such events provide a basis for measuring the progress of a programme. Hence, there should be a correct estimate of the time taken by each activity. However, the activities are performed in future and it may not be possible to forecast the future happening correctly, consequently the correct time estimate of activities. To overcome this problem, three-time estimates’ are taken; viz, optimistic time showing the least time of activity; pessimistic time showing the maximum time of activity, and most are then probable time which lies in between the two. The expected time of an activity is calculated.
All activities of a programme are connected from a network known as the PERT network.
Determination Of Critical Activities
Based on the analysis, critical activities are determined. These are represented by a critical path which shows that if activities on this path are not completed in time, the entire project will be delayed by the amount the event is delayed. Thus, based on estimates, the earliest or latest start time of an activity can be calculated.
The various steps of PERT can well be understood by the following example: project for manufacturing 5,000 T.V. sets per annum in an organization. The whole project has been divided into the following activities:
- Acquiring land
- Applying for and the receipt of the letter of intent. Lorem
- Applying for an import license, issue of licence and release foreign exchange.
- Call invoice for import equipment, select suppliers and place orders.
- Select suppliers for indigenous equipment and place orders.
- Select suppliers for raw materials and components, place orders.
- The delivery time is taken for imported equipment up to the port.
- Advertising for the dealership and the receipt of applications.
- Customs clearance, etc, and the transportation of imported equipment at the site
- The hiring of technical staff, chief engineer.
- Receipt of indigenous equipment:
- Construction of building.
- Election of dealers.
- Training of dealers.
- Receipt of raw materials and components.
- Hiring of assemblypersons.
- Development of TV circuit and TV design.
- Training of assemblypersons.
- Start commercial production.
- Develop advertising campaign in consultation with dealers and start advertising.
- End activity
Advantages Of PERT
PERT is a useful and convenient tool in the hands of management particularly for the top-level manager who has the overall managerial responsibility of a project. Moreover, it helps solve problems of scheduling the activities of the one-time project, that is, the projects which are not taken on a routine basis. Some fields of application PERT / CPM are the construction industry, planning and launching a new project, Istana and debugging a computer system, scheduling ship construction/repairs, most. countdown procedures, and end of the month closing of accounting records. As a tool for planning and control, its specific contribution is as follows.
- It forces managers to plan because it is impossible to make a time-event analysis without planning and seeing how the pieces fit together.
- It also forces planning at lower levels because each manager has to plan the activities for which he is responsible.
- It focuses attention on critical activities because a delay in their performance will delay the whole project unless managers can make up the time by shortening some future activities.
- It presses for the right action, at the right point, and at right time in the organisation.
Limitations Of PERT
PERT has certain limitations
- The basis difficulty comes in the way of time estimates for the completion of activities because activities are of non-repetitive type.
- It is not useful for routine planning of recurring, events, such as mass production because once a repetitive sequence of events is worked out, no elaborate continuing control is required.