December 14, 2009Doug Hadden
This is section 3.3.3 of a series of blog entries creating a Government IFMIS Technology Evaluation Guide. This includes information to assist in evaluating IFMIS options and the technology requirements for FreeBalance IFMIS implementations. These series will be combined with feedback to produce a comprehensive Technology Evaluation Guide to be published on our web site.
We’ve described the problem of ease of use in Government Resource Planning (GRP) systems and summarized role of help and documentation. It is clear that the traditional model of delivering Commercial-Off-The-Shelf software documentation is not effective for governments. Traditional methods do not promote sustainability. It might be instructive to describe the limitation of traditional documentation in the government context:
- Written documentation is generic and does not relfect the configuration in use by the government
- The GRP configuration will continuously change as government objectives change
- Civil service turn-over tends to be high so there can be many novice users
- Functional capacity in public financial management can differ across the government
- Documentation is rarely provided in national languages such as Kyrgyz, Albanian, Khmer, Dari or Mongolian
- Help, written documentation, courseware and other manuals are in different sources and formats
More Effective Documentation
The approach used in the FreeBalance Accountability Suite is unique. All FreeBalance help, manuals and courseware are developed in the same content management tool. Therefore, all documentation is linked. Users can navigate to find more details. The documentation is extended by FreeBalance and FreeBalance customers to show the specific configurations and standards in use by the government organization. This shows screens and processes as configured by the government. For example, the government rule for requisition approvals might be based on spending method and amount. This can be documented within the system.
The documentation method used in the FreeBalance Accountability Suite supports attachments and embedding files. For example, the rules associated with IT acquisitions can be attached to the documentation. A PowerPoint presentation used to describe processes can be embedded in the documentation. Government IT departments can add clarifications to the documentation over time.
Of course, the documentation can be delivered in multiple languages.
This approach provides for dynamic documentation. It supports the e-learning. It supports the unique documentation needs of any government organization. And, the documentation can be printed at any time.
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