The roles and responsibilities of each of these groups are briefly described below.
The first article in Â this series of papers on best practices in informatics in the public sector, Â published in the previous issue of Optimum Online, dealt with the informatics Â planning model. In this issue’s paper, we deal with the problems created Â by the lack of a clear definition of informatics roles and responsibilities Â in the organizational structure, and we describe the key roles and responsibilities Â that must be put in place to effectively support informatics in the public Â sector. The model Â informatics organizational structure is graphically illustrated in Diagram 1. In Â this organizational structure all informatics support functions are divided into Â four sets of responsibilities: help desk, application support, office system Â support, and server support. Each of these support functions is staffed with a Â manager and employees. All four informatics support managers report to an Â engagement manager who in turn reports to the highest management level in the Â branch. Detailed descriptions of these informatics support functions are Â outlined later in this article.
Diagram 1 – Model Public Â Sector Informatics Structure
A number of informatics roles and Â responsibilities must be carried out to effectively support the objectives and Â personal productivity activities of a typical public sector branch. The key Â committee and participants in the model informatics organization, along with Â their roles and responsibilities, are described below.
The IAC includes appropriate Â representation from all stake holders and ensures that branch informatics Â requirements and concerns are well represented. The primary purposes of this Â committee include:
The EM has the following responsibilities:
The SSS has the following responsibilities:
The OSS has the following responsibilities:
The LBS has the following responsibilities:
The HD desk is a distinct organization-wide Â function reporting directly to the engagement manager and is the single Â point of contact (SPOC) for clients reporting a problem or requesting Â information. The HD receives all calls from clients requesting assistance Â and resolves their problems, where possible. Where problems cannot be Â easily corrected, the HD collects information regarding the problem (problem Â categories may include server related problems, OA related problems or Â line of business related problems); determines level of severity; and Â records it in an automated tracking system. The client request is then Â escalated to proper level of support. The HD notifies clients when problems Â are resolved, reassigned, escalated, or simply provides regular status Â updates on scheduled maintenance or shutdowns.
All of the informatics support Â roles and responsibilities inherent in this informatics structure can Â be carried out wholly within the branch, by the departmental informatics Â organization, or it can be completely outsourced. Each option will be Â briefly discussed:
Complete Branch Support Option: This option provides customized, integrated and complete support for Â production applications, office system tools, and servers, as well as Â a Help Desk, by branch staff who are highly familiar with the unique Â business environment and its requirements. It is the preferred informatics Â support option for those providing direct, front-line service to the Â Canadian public.
Complete Departmental Informatics Support Â Option:This option provides complete informatics support for production Â applications, office system tools, and servers, as well as a Help Desk, Â by a centralized departmental informatics organization. In order to Â be most effective, staff should be relatively stable with effective Â transitioning for new support staff, especially related to production Â applications. This informatics support option is most suitable where Â informatics support requirements are less stringent and time sensitive. Â It is a popular and effective support option for public sector branches Â providing services to internal departmental clients.
Out sourcing Option: This Â option provides informatics support as contracted to an external private Â sector service provider. All informatics support services and projects are Â documented in a contract specifying roles/responsibilities, duration, service Â standards, performance measures, hours of support, problem management process, Â severity levels, escalation procedures, costs etc. This is an expensive and Â often difficult to manage option. It should only be used if the Â other options prove unworkable.
In any of these Â implementation options, all the informatics support roles and responsibilities Â must be effectively planned, implemented and monitored under the control of Â the engagement manager reporting to the highest level in the branch. As well, Â cooperation and support from the departmental informatics organization is Â required to ensure conformance to corporate policies, standards and Â architectures. All support requirements for programs and services should be Â described in a service level and/or project agreement(s) or a contract. The Â service level and/or project agreement(s) must be assessed according to Â service standards and project performance measures.
In order to ensure that Â support services are provided effectively, organizations considering Â implementing this informatics structure need to pilot it. Piloting will allow Â development of many of the support processes, provide evidence of the Â effectiveness of support and allow the support functions to be tailored to the Â unique requirements of the organization at the branch level. At the completion Â of the pilot phase, a formal evaluation is conducted. A positive evaluation of Â the pilot will result in a decision to extend the informatics structure across Â the branch.
The effective use of such an Â informatics organizational structure provides the following benefits: