Hope you would agree with me that Corona-virus (COVID-19) is doing wonders all over the world! No virus has ever held most countries in the world hostage as this, at least in our century. Kudos to its manufacturers, whether intentionally to sell their vaccines, agent of mass destruction or by a honest mistake. Some even said, it's from animals. Wherever it comes from, it has opened our imagination to a lot of hidden ideas about our coexistence with other humans and animals altogether.
Can one imagine the lessons COVID-19 has thought the whole world? Some of us anyway:
- Equality of humankind.
- Connection to one another.
- Family care and protection.
- Needlessness of plenty luxury.
- Personal care and shortness of life.
- Importance of understanding things.
- Every good or bad is transient.
- End is just another beginning.
- Need for adoption of technology for economic growth.
If your office, shop, church/mosque, market, airport, hotel, etc. has not been closed, you’re lucky to have had just a day or two to shut down and telework (working from home or remotely using modern technology and telecommunications to remain in touch with your employer or business). Government complexes are under locks and keys and private businesses are taking risks to make more profit. If we escape this, we should beg God not to allow another!
Hmm… Now, to where I am going! Undeniably, not all business processes could start and be completed from home. But in a digital era, 80% of the work could be achieved digitally/virtually, including meetings.
Unfortunately, a lot of factors impedes the reality of Digitization in our clime despite the huge allocation of funds to computerize government proceedings.
Political Will is the lead influence on this. Most leaders of organizations do not see a need for Digitization because of its ability to expose the shady deals but they engage in procurement of ICT infrastructure to help themselves. As this is not the focus of this write-up, let me not err in expatiating it.
Next is the Square-Peg-In-The-Round-Hole leadership appointments and postings which give the former a facelift. Just few government establishments have the right professionals heading their teams. Imagine IT professional team led by an economist, a chemist or a lawyer; everyone in the team would be frustrated! That’s the true picture of our government work environment, without mincing words. Some permanent secretaries that could help the development of ICT industry are not allowed to serve in the related ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
Digitization is the conversion of text, pictures, or sound into a digital form that can be processed by a computer. Simply, converting your physical papers into electronic documents that computer can transform to your desired result. Doesn’t that sound well? One aspect is document management system.
A document management system (DMS) is a computer application used to store and track electronic documents and images of paper documents. It is capable of keeping track of different versions modified by different users. The term has some overlap with the concepts of content management systems (CMS). It is often viewed as a component of enterprise content management (ECM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and related to digital asset management, document imaging, workflow systems and records management systems.
DMS has been in existence for ages and it has been promoted in Nigeria on several platforms, including the indigenous versions that could be customized for small businesses. It is surprising that the three tiers of government (federal, state & local) seem to turn deaf hears to its sounding bell. If DMS has been fully adopted and implemented, most government businesses would just be normal business processes during this world-wide COVID-19 lockdown.
The only known impediment to effective running of Digitization is the connectivity widely referred to as the internet, which must be available with good quality to telework from anywhere. Advantages of DMS span through but not limited to the following:
- Instant access to documents, information and data even when away from the office.
- Instant comparisons between documents.
- Easy and improved communication, both internal and external.
- Speedy and effective communication.
- Considerable savings in stationery, time spent copying, filing and printing.
- Reduced document distribution costs.
- Convenience of keeping all data on a server, allowing remote access.
- A secure filing system reducing the possibility of losing files and documents.
- Easier backup in multiple versions and retrieval.
- A marked reduction in the need for storage space.
This is a wakeup call for full adoption and implementation of Digitization by the Nigerian Governments to promote transparency and accountability as parts of the efforts to reducing the corrupt practices in the public sector.
OLUSEGUN ALABI mncs mcpn
Chairman, NCS Abuja Chapter