Allowing social security members to rest in peace

  • Same day cheques to help allay funeral expenses
  • Mimos involvement expected to save it more than RM10 million

Allowing social security members to rest in peaceA SPEAKER at the Smidex 2012 small and medium enterprise trade exhibition, Nagendran Perumal (pic), got an interesting question from the audience.
This came after he had gone through an impressive presentation complete with network topology graphs, cloud chart, a graphic depicting enterprise software architecture challenges – all this in an effort to share his thoughts on “Enhancing government delivery network using the Gov2.0 Framework.”
The senior director of software development at Mimos Bhd was asked, “All this is very impressive but what impact and value will this have for us ordinary rakyat (citizens)?”
The question gets to the heart of all technology implementations. What value can the end user expect from technology?
In Nagendran’s case, because Mimos – Malaysia’s national research and development center for ICT – is currently working on rolling out the next version of social security organization Perkeso’s technology upgrade, he was able to share one interesting example of what Perkeso wants to do when the new system goes live in January, 2013.
“One of the things Perkeso wants to offer its members is the ability to cut a cheque to their next-of-kin, the very same day that the person passes away, to help with the funeral expenses,” he said.
The best part of this future service is that it need not be a family member who calls to inform them that a member has passed away.
“Anyone can call or email to inform Perkeso of a member’s passing away and it will immediately act to verify this, with the goal of being able to hand over a cheque to the deceased member’s next-of-kin the same day, where possible,” he said.
Technology, a streamlining of processes and a form of open data sharing via cloud computing will enable this.
The various government departments are wary of sharing the data that they have, Nagendran said. Mimos is proposing that a government enterprise cloud service be set up.
This cloud service would come with an additional “broker bridge” for the various agencies, which will share information with each other as a service to be pulled when needed, instead of all their data sitting in a common shared infrastructure.
What this means is that in the Perkeso example, when it wants to check if a member has passed on, it will be able to request the information from the police department via the government cloud service, which in turn will verify the request actually came from Perkeso and will then extract only the details of the particular request made from the police database and then revert to Perkeso.
This addresses the key issue all agencies have, that the data they have of Malaysian citizens is not sitting in a common shared platform but residing within their own secure networks.
Mimos is presently in the process of presenting this idea of shared data service to the Cabinet for approval.
Public outcry
Perkeso was in the news last year for all the wrong reasons when it found itself in a hardware and software lockdown situation with the sole hardware database vendor it had been using for over 15 years. With the cost estimated to be exorbitant, there was a predictable public outcry with the result that the experts at Mimos were called in.
According to Nagendran, Mimos has broken the technology component into hardware and software and it has been busy managing the various vendors to ensure all the systems can talk to each other.
“We are likely going to save Perkeso about 20% of their technology budget by breaking the development of their platform to multiple vendors, with us acting as the project manager and coming up with the initial requirements documentation for the software Perkeso wants built for its needs,” Nagendran claimed.
While declining to reveal how much saving this translates into, Digital News Asia has reliably learnt that it will be in excess of RM10 million (US$3.2 million).
The deployment and implementation cycle too has been cut by an impressive 12 months. The system goes live in January with a further six months for fine tuning.
Hopefully, members can then go in peace knowing their loved ones at least have immediate relief with funeral expenses.

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