‘IFMS catching up to the 4th Industrial Revolution…
There’s a concept that has made its way to leaders in the international and local public and private sector agenda, and it is called “the 4th Industrial Revolution” (4th ID). This phenomenon is changing how we live, work and communicate. Most profoundly, it is reshaping governments around the world and affecting how they make decisions. New technologies, if used correctly, can be powerful agents for good. The application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in running the public service and delivering service to citizens has evolved from elementary uses of ICT to support mere administrative work to incorporating the ICT throughout the public service operations. The Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) is one of the tech savvy innovations adopted by the South African Public Service. There is no doubt that education, skills transfer and access to information can improve the lives of many people and new technologies bring with them, exactly that .
The IFMS is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system meaning that it integrates the management of all core business process necessary to run an organisation using a shared database in real-time. The system encompasses and integrates Finance Management, Human Capital Management, Payroll and Supply Chain Management, enabling the Public Service to improve control of its operations across departments as well as improve the quality of reporting across the functions. The IFMS will contribute to the modernisation and professionalisation of the Public Service by introducing best practices in the management of public resources while providing the opportunity to up-skill public servants for the 4th ID. This will enable them to learn and use new tools and capabilities which in turn will improve the way jobs are performed in the public service. Manual processes that took considerable time and effort to complete will be performed faster and with greater accuracy, leading to increased efficiency, productivity and reduced costs. Improved synchronisation within and between national and provincial departments will result in a Public Service that is more accountable, transparent, professional and proficient in making decisions on how both its human and financial resources are managed.
The commencement of the IFMS implementation will require concerted effort and must be afforded necessary time to standardise public service business processes and adapt the software to ensure the business needs are addressed by the system. While business disruption is inevitable it is important to keep in mind the bigger picture and remember that when computers and mobile phones were introduced, no-one imagined how most people would rely and become adept at using the technology. Considering how most people are able to use various technologies including applications (apps), there should be no reason why public servants can't adapt to the user friendly IFMS system once implemented.