Automation and modernization

>> Tuesday, June 21, 2016

By Ike Señeres

Hands down, it could be said that automation will always result in modernization, but modernization will not happen without automation. Similarly, computerization is the first step towards automation, but what is computerized will not necessarily be automated. Strictly speaking, automation is not an end in itself, because it is only a means to an end, the end goal being modernization.
It goes without saying that what is modern should be new, but it does not necessarily follow that it is good for the common good. An extreme example of that would be weapons of mass destruction that could certainly be modern and new, but is definitely not good for world peace. Add to that any machine that could be modern, new and intended for the common good, but are instead used by not so good people for not so good purposes. An example of that could be medicines that may be intended to restore good health, but are abused by users for not so good purposes.
Just to put our discussion in the right perspective, all technologies are merely tools that could give us better ways of doing what we used to do. What I mean by better is that it should be cheaper, faster and easier, among other advantages. Putting hubris aside, mankind should first recognize that we could survive even without technology as we have done so for millions of years, except that our old ways would be costlier, slower and harder. In the final analysis, the ultimate barometer for measuring the advantages of technology would be economics.
In an earlier article, I wrote that growth can happen without development, and that development could only happen with advanced planning. What that means is that growth could happen even by chance, but planned development should happen without leaving anything to chance. As of now, the Philippines is still considered to be an undeveloped country, and we could extend that reality to mean that there are still many municipalities and provinces here that are still underdeveloped also. That said, we should now make it a goal to make our country develop in the overall, and the best place to start is to develop our municipalities and provinces.
It goes without saying that the best and fastest way for our municipalities and provinces to develop is to automate and modernize their information and communications technology (ICT), starting with their municipal halls and capitol buildings, and eventually to go towards the automation and modernization of their local justice, education, wellness, employment, livelihood and shelter services. Since it has been a long time since ICT arrived in this country, it is about time that by now, most if not all of the local public services should already be computerized. As a matter of fact, ICT is now used for customer relations management (CRM), and that is the right direction to take.
In theory, the government should be able to automate and modernize in the same way that the private sector does. In reality however, the private sector has gone ahead in this regard, but it does not mean that the government could not catch up. As it is now, it is easier for the government to catch up more than ever, because it is cheaper now to automate and modernize more than before. I am saying that because nowadays, municipalities and provinces could already computerize without putting up their own data centers and without buying expensive software licenses and that could mean a lot of savings for them.
In the old days (not too long ago), the prevalent computer infrastructure was client-server, and that is why it was necessary to put up servers and to house them in data centers. In the present times, the computer infrastructure is now web based, and that is why it is no longer necessary to put up local servers and data centers. What is now known as the app based infrastructure in mobile phones is similar to the web based infrastructure, albeit with a different approach. In web based, a browser is needed to access the information in the websites. In app based, an app that is native to the device is used.
          Regardless of whether it is web based or app based, what is important is that the citizens (who are also the customers, voters and taxpayers) could transact with both the national government agencies (NGAs) and the local government units (LGUs) via electronic means, using any device that is available to them, such as desktops, laptops, tablets, phablets and phones. Since the private sector has already led in using CRM, it is now up to the NGAs and LGUs to also use CRM, and by doing that, they will also be able to improve their services.
In reality, CRM is only the frontend, because a strong backend is still needed in order to support the frontend. To cut a long story short, the NGAs and LGUs should now have their computerized accounting systems (CAS) and human resource information systems (HRIS) in place, preferably bundled together in one enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that should already include electronic commerce and electronic payment systems. At the LGU level, many services are already computerized internally, but these systems are not yet available online, either as web based or app based.
Email or text +639956441780


  © Blogger templates Palm by 2008

Back to TOP  

Web Statistics