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Employment of Information Technology in Citizen Service Delivery and Social Security


ABSTRACT The world is rapidly transforming into information driven society in which information and communication technologies (ICTs) are playing important and indispensable roles. The arrival of new technological trends has significantly enhanced our capabilities to collect process and distribute information. Nigerias ICT journey started in the early 1970s.The continuous growth in the sector can primarily be attributed to the private sectors effort. Recent advances in ICT are providing unprecedented opportunities to sector such as education, health, agriculture, tourism, trade information and various other sectors. This has empowered her with the potential to overcome its geographical and economic challenges. The awareness of ICT especially in urban areas has been growing rapidly. Though, the deployment of ICT in Nigeria remains uneven and is limited to selected urban areas. Connectivity costs are considered high for the majority of the population and other requisite infrastructure are not in place. Introduction Today governments face a plethora of challenges, peculiar amongst which is an abysmal failure in Public service delivery intertwined with transitional failure from non-processing of information gathered due to rapid technological advances, and changing demographics. Citizens expect a convenient access to government services and information through multiple channelsthe phone, the Internet, via email, or by visiting a government office location in person but a dearth of this channels is evidently prevalent . In some many cases this becomes a roundabout journey for the citizenry, leaving many frustrated or feeling marginalized. This situation is further complicated when government employees find themselves negotiating their way through many processes in order to address a problem (internally and externally),as many government Ministries, departments and Agencies are encumbered with processes that are rooted in the past and aimed at demands from yesteryears. Discussed further in the next section, is the challenges that results to service ineffectiveness and a the need for a fundamental re-examination of the

governments priorities, structure, processes, policies, and Programs to effectively address the changing and increasing public expectations, needs, and fiscal pressures.

Background to the Study The challenge of meeting rising public expectations in the context of decreasing public expenditures is significant for many governments. The citizens are expecting better quality and more accessible public services from government. This is primarily due to developments in technology and communications, citizens are better informed and expect quicker services education, as citizens are more discerning secularization, citizens are more individualistic and critical and Wealth accumulation, citizens have the means to exact the level of service they feel they deserve, as well as to pursue alternative service delivery options.

Citizens want to have their say in the way the public administration is run and expect the best services. Because of these higher expectations and the fact that there are simply not enough resources, government is challenged to do more with less by allocating resources more suitably and making better use of them. The changing economic and social scenario after the Introduction of the democratic era and due to various influences of globalization makes it imperative for the government to reorient its structures and processes to suit the raising demands and expectations of the people. Better service delivery can be achieved only if public management can leverage technological advancements and simplify its processes that have become complicated over the years. The simplification cannot be done in isolation but has to be complemented with structural changes. In order to serve the citizens better, government departments will have to redesign their processes and should look at widespread use of Information Technology which is proving to be of great use in facilitating access to information, simplification of procedures and in better delivery of services. Summarily, this paper seeks to explore how technological advancements such as fiber Optics has impacted in removing barriers to Citizens engagement, the challenges of using multiple

medium to engage the citizenry, furthermore a discussion on the role and necessity of Government to adopt technological advancement (Computer Telephony Integration), the extent of adoption and the associated limitations in adopting these technological advancements. Statement of Purpose During the last few years, governments around the world have taken major initiatives towards the use of information technology in the delivery of basic services such as health, education, agriculture, sports, etc. In the past, governments operated like stove pipes, with little information flowing between them, with operations and process geared towards the ministries, departments and Agencies, instead of being organized around the functions and needs of the citizen. Presently, it cannot be assumed that the employment of information technology has surmounted all the challenges faced in citizen service delivery, as there remains a challenge in unifying the disparate technologies used to search, retrieve, extract ,process ,organize and store data. As such the primary focus is on information, so as to engender change in governance and citizen service delivery .The paper argues that a successful adoption of contact centers by governments has the potential to provide better service delivery at reduced costs, increase public sector efficiency, minimize corruption and improve the accountability, transparency and responsiveness of government in service delivery to the citizenry, as well as reduce the barrier to the citizen engagement in participating in processes that directly concerns them. Terms of Reference A VoIP Modeled Interactive Voice Response Contact Centre replicate with a Customer Relationship Management web based management System as an additional feature that is expected to interact with the citizenry, thereby using technology to organize, automate and synchronize processes.

Project Aims and Objectives It is aimed that the System would provide the following features and functionality 1. Have a Modeled representation (Softphone) of an automated Interactive voice response System that would have call queues being mapped (either through Automatic call distribution or predictive dialing)

to serve various ministries and depict how information can be collated via the integration of telephony and computing. 2. Have a relationship management tool that would be used to organize a large and complex group of data, automate and synchronize interaction with the citizenry through a workflow. 3. Show the underlying IP telephony communication protocols that such as SIP Signaling Media channel setup (Session control Protocol) Audio and Stereo Codecs

Limitations The system to be developed must adhere to the following constraints: 1. Java programming language with emphasis on Java Enterprise Edition (Net beans IDE). 2. Query language with emphasis on MySQL. 3. Compatibility: The application should not be biased to any internet browser. 4. Java programming language with emphasis on Java Enterprise Edition and MySQL must be used in the development of the system. 5. The preferred Open Source telephony language (Asterisks) to be used is dependent on the LINUX Operating System (Centos).

6. The Availability of funds to purchase a PCI telephony card to show case a live-Test scenario. 7. All possible limitations cannot be envisaged as the development of this system is a work-in progress.

Significance of the Study The utilization of Information Technologies in the delivery of service to the citizenry has a number of benefits, enumerated in details below Firstly, is the Collateral opportunity to access information both on the part of the: Government: Government gather sensitive information required in Strategic planning And Citizenries: are able to get feedback and engage the government in an interactive manner, thereby breaking the barriers hindering their engagement, and providing greater access to government information. Furthermore, the employment of information Technology especially VoIP in delivering can be viewed as the use of a mediated tool that is geared to change the method of service delivery, thereby provide development opportunities that would benefit rural and traditional undeserved communities, foster transparency whilst eliminating distance and other divides, empowering people to participate in the process that affect their lives. Summarily, the

Scope of the Study The project is limited to developing a miniature replication of an Interactive Voice Response Application, using the underlying protocols existent within the IP telephony framework, Asterisks Gateway Interface and the Java Language.

Definition of terms API OS AGI MySQL IDE VoIP IP Telephony SIP CRM Worflow