Secretariat of Planning and Management of Pernambuco

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
In 2007, when a new team took over executive power in Pernambuco state, the Governor requested that the Department of State Planning and Management - SEPLAG, establish and assemble an integrated management model that would allow for: i) alignment between planning, budgeting and implementation, ii) the imposition of routines of agreed targets and priorities for the entire government, iii) monitoring and intensive systematic tracking of these priorities, targeting course corrections, and iv) to measure the impact and effectiveness of government actions in transforming the socio-economic reality of the state. To implement the model, the Governor and Secretaries agreed on a series of target priorities. From May 2008, SEPLAG, in conjunction with state departments, began the periodic monitoring of said targets through the use of Microsoft Office software (Word, Excel and Power Point). Based on the monitoring of these action plans and the preparation of standardized presentations charting both the physical and financial implementation of these priorities, they began to be presented in monitoring meetings chaired by the Governor himself. The system adopted for these meetings was deliberative in approach and ensured that all participants had prior knowledge of what would be presented. For this reason, booklets containing the entire content of what would be presented were distributed two days before any meeting. Over time, with the solidification of the methodology and the positive results achieved through the management model (increasing the satisfaction of the population), new features were added to the monitoring process, making it ever more detailed and creating a demand for more complex and diverse media information to be available to the Governor and his secretaries in the decision making process – this information might not always be confined to the monitoring cycles. Similarly, the dynamics of producing relevant information about what was being monitored often resulted in printed material, which had been distributed in advance, becoming outdated. This in turn led to losses, re-workings and revisions. Finally, there began to be an increased demand for integration with the corporate financial system in use in the state. For all that, the tools previously used (spreadsheets, graphics software and texts), were gradually proving inefficient. With this momentum, there was an inherent need to develop a customized IT tool that would provide automation, mobility and a real-time view to the process, as well as being linked to the methodology and the current culture. So, in December 2009 SEPLAG approved the setting up of a partnership with a private company for the development of a computerized system which would work with the various stakeholders affected by the monitoring process: the executors of Priority Goals being responsible for the provision of information about them; senior state management with responsibility for decision-making; SEPLAG, responsible for the amalgamation and dissemination of information, and, ultimately, the population of the state, concerned with the monitoring of government actions.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The Control Panel for Strategic Governmental Actions is a computer system specifically developed to support the monitoring process within the scope of the “Todos por Pernambuco” plan. It is an environment for a collaborative web portal format, developed in Content Management Platform by Communis. It is used by the Government of Pernambuco, and focuses on visualization and the monitoring of strategic actions. It consolidates all tools and data involving the government's priorities and tracks Priority Goals. It’s features are divided into modules, allowing for physical and financial monitoring, problem management, corrective actions, procurement management, critical milestones and the geo-referencing of projects. It is also a repository of documents and photos, can produce both on and offline presentations, function as meetings manager and deal with referrals. It can also be used for generating various statistical and management reports accessible from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. SEPLAG identified the need for automation of the monitoring process and proposed the solution of developing a computerized system. Lacking the expertise required to develop one, and ensuring that there was no product on the market that would fully meet the demands of this process, a strategy was outlined to specify and implement an IT tool. This was subdivided into eight objectives. Firstly, to build a creative business model - unheard for the civil service in Pernambuco - capable of attracting a partner company with the technical knowledge necessary to develop the system. The second objective was intended to list the problems affecting the monitoring of the management template to determine the functional demands on the system. This included its configuration, requirements for data collection standardization, registration and availability of data and required interactions with other enterprise systems at play in the state. Thirdly, to ensure that the contracted company would absorb and master the processes and practices of the management model, so as to be able to develop the automation of monitoring without changing it significantly since the practices were fully internalized into the existing culture. The fourth aim was intended to structure teams and work processes involving SEPLAG and the contracted company to ensure that the system was developed in parallel with best practice. The fifth objective was to ensure that the system was built in a modular way, so as to be capable of adapting to new features added over time, especially processes using modern computer technologies related over various mediums. The sixth objective focused on planning and implementing a system of exhaustive offline testing. Real data would be inputted before final approval which would allow for the acclimatization and training of all potential users. It could be used for existing data and for the creation of a database for the historical legacy and memory of Priority Targets for the “Todos por Pernambuco” model. The seventh objective was aimed at ensuring the data could be updated through mobile devices and accessed in real time. This would ensure that strategic information was readily available to decision makers anywhere, at any time and at low cost. This solved the problem of outdated information. Thus, the system should rely on features of web communication. The eighth objective was connected to replication. The system should be developed as a single platform, and be easily used in both the core of government, charged with monitoring the Priority Targets of “Todos por Pernambuco”, as well as in institutions that comprise the state apparatus, so that they could monitor their own targets. Furthermore, a systematic import and export of data between different public bodies where the system would be installed should be envisaged.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
It is innovative as by automating processes and monitoring practices characteristic of the “Todos por Pernambuco” plan, it stands out as unique. It shows no similarities with other monitoring systems available on the market for government agencies. From conception, it was decided that there would not be proposed changes to work processes already in place, thus preserving the organizational culture. Also, the system is adaptable. With a little customization, priority monitoring processes could be carried out by other state entities (national or sub-national) since the automating process of public management has been fully tested in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. The approach taken in building the partnership with the company that developed the system was also innovative: specific methodology used by the Pernambuco State Government was required, with the view that they could build a commercial product, marketable to any client. In July 2012, after 36 months of development, in which project costs were absorbed by the partner company, the use of the product and its final customization were commercially contracted by SEPLAG. In addition to reducing costs for the Government, this measure allowed full integration between both parties, resulting in greater commitment to deadlines and quality of product delivered.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
In accordance with SEPLAG’s previously outlined strategy, in December 2009, the selection process for the forming of a partnership to develop the IT program began. In March 2010, a local company called FACILIT TECHNOLOGY was chosen. The partnership took the form of a "joint venture". It was informal, which allowed the company to develop a system that would self-automate the monitoring process already underway in the state at no cost to SEPLAG. Between 2010 and 2012, SEPLAG and FACILIT met fortnightly to discuss issues of specification, conceptual development, production and the validation of different system modules. FACILIT were granted permission to monitor all activities on the ground undertaken by SEPLAG in the monitoring process. In July 2012, on completion of the first basic version of the system – a commercial contract was signed for use of the control panel between FACILIT and SEPLAG. It would take the form of ongoing maintenance, aiming to customize the basic version of the management model in use in the state. Under the terms the contract, several specific components of the monitoring process were added to the system as features. They included specific modules for monitoring relevant goals, bidding management, producing the minutes of monitoring meetings and of follow up meeting for special projects, management of referral meetings and for updating financial information concerning the priority goals, among others. After signing the contract, a series of basic functionality tests were performed using tracking data from the priority goals between 2011 to 2012. This was conducted in a dedicated test environment. These tests also served to correct minor inconsistencies in the system and made it possible to build a database detailing the historical background of Government's achievements. In this phase, the system was tested for ease of communication in a web environment. SEPLAG analysts, realizing that Secretaries were still using Microsoft Office applications in regular meetings, replicated the information on the online test version installed on their notebooks and performed data transmissions to servers on the ATI System – the Agency for Information Technology for the Government of Pernambuco. These opportunities have also been used to get technicians and department secretaries involved with the priority goals used to the new tool. The beginning of 2013 was set aside for testing the offline version, which was developed specifically for mobile devices (tablets and smartphones). This version, called "Target App", allowed registered State managers, through a key and password, remote access to the most current version of the system and the database with the most recently updated information on the control panel. This made the decision making process more agile and capable of being run from anywhere. Participating in this round of tests were senior managers of state (the Governor, State secretaries and senior SEPLAG management). The system came into official use in March 2013, having been fully approved by SEPLAG. It definitively replaced the Microsoft Office package. After its official approval by SEPLAG, other versions of the Control panel were customized on demand for use in other State Departments. These were adapted to be used as control and monitoring tools for the organizational priorities of each institution. These versions, accessible only to registered users from each Department and using the same methodological tools used by SEPLAG for monitoring activity, provided unity and integration across the Government and enabled the Secretaries to build their own strategy maps and rank, register and monitor their priorities. Versions approved by the secretaries also allowed for electronic communication with State Government versions, thus avoiding rework and divergence of information.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
SEPLAG’s Executive Secretariat of Strategic Management issued an order for the development of an IT solution that would solve problems arising due to the inadequacy of using Microsoft Office and the increasingly complex dynamics of monitoring the activities of the “Todos por Pernambuco” plan. The initiative came from the testimonies of SEPLAG analysts and state managers who reported the limitations of previously used tools. They highlighted the difficulties of remote data collection, the need to retype and rework already printed reports, synchronization problems and difficulties with decision making. FACILIT TECHNOLOGY, with the active participation of SEPLAG analysts and managers involved in monitoring activity, developed the quality of users, all modules and features of the control panel. Executive management of the project was the responsibility of SEPLAG’s Executive Secretariat of Strategic Management, which officially attested to the appropriateness of the modules supplied, oversaw testing and approved the final product. ATI – the Agency for Information Technology of Pernambuco, advised SEPLAG in the drawing up of the contract with FACILIT and in the definition of technical specifications and requirements for the anchoring system in the computing environment of the State Government. Other SEPLAG managers involved with the state management model (formulation of strategy maps, budget management and result assessment) also contributed to a greater or lesser extent with the development of the system. They provided explanations on the methodologies of public administration adopted for the “Todos por Pernambuco” plan. They also provided guidance on desirable interfaces between the system and the other activities of the management model and other helpful suggestions. Technicians and managers of the various state bodies using the system contributed to the development of the product, especially during system testing. Senior state management were also involved, especially in the validation period of the off-line version and specifically for mobile devices.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Selected in March 2010, the partner company and SEPLAG began the process of envisioning the system by setting up a permanent working group for the development and monitoring of the project. It was initially composed of 44 FACLIT software development specialists, five SEPLAG analysts - who worked directly with monitoring, and two ATI functionality specialists to adjust and regulate the system to state specifications. This working group conducted fortnightly meetings in order to plan the various modules, system features, tests and validation of partial deliveries carried out. At the end of 2011, with an increase in the pace of work on the basis of first deliveries of modules to the system, two more SEPLAG analysts were brought in. The first complete version of the system was finished. The signing of the commercial agreement between FACILIT and SEPLAG in July 2012 saw the permanent development working group dissolved. Work began on customization and testing with the creation of a quality assessment computing environment, where the tracking of priority targets had been in place since 2011. For this phase, which lasted until March 2013, a new specialized team was set up by SEPLAG of 14 planning, budget and management analysts, while the contracted company brought in two systems analysts. The team was responsible for planning and monitoring of real case simulations using the system and allowing for the debugging of errors and inconsistencies. During this step, about 60 professionals from involved government agencies followed the monitoring cycles. These professionals were important for the suitability of use of the final product, to the extent that they added to the vision of the monitored system and provided suggestions. This phase also involved senior state management (the Governor, secretaries and senior SEPLAG management). They contributed to the validation of the offline version, evaluating its usability and layout on various platforms (PC, tablet and smartphones). Over three years, about 120 people of different specialties were involved in the development and deployment of the control panel. With regard to technical and material resources, the contractor provided all the equipment and laboratories necessary to develop the system. The content management platform used was Communis, which facilitated integration with other systems in use in the state and provided the panel with its own portal system. It was then possible to develop a customizable solution using the Java Portlet E-specification, accessing a PostgreSQL database. In terms of financial resources made available for the development of the control panel, the total amount of funds allocated by the state for the project was R$ 510,000.00 ($221,700.00).

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
An important result obtained through the implementation of the control panel has been progressive improvement in the dynamics of monitoring meetings involving principal state leaders. When Microsoft Office was still being used, meetings lasted on average four hours. Much time was lost due to the high demands of managers and decision makers for further information on the implementation of the priority goals, which were contained in the various subsystems of SEPLAG and monitoring departments. When the control panel was introduced, meetings became quicker (on average two hours and 34 minutes – data up to November 2013) and to the point, optimizing the time of the State Governor and his secretaries. On implementation of priority goals, the guarantee of unity and a correction in the flow of information was another gain brought by the adoption of the control panel. Prior to this, there were frequent cases of discrepancies between the information provided by SEPLAG to the Governor on priorities that were being monitored and that provided by agencies during meetings. By concentrating on one system for all stakeholders (be it SEPLAG or other departments), discrepancies and inconsistencies in the recording of information about the priority goals, its stages and referrals were eliminated as was the asynchrony between information provided and available to managers. Another measurable gain occurred with the elimination of monitoring printouts. Under the old system, the entire content of what would be presented at each meeting had to be printed, and hard copies distributed to participants, two days before meetings. For each meeting 16-20 copies of about 40 pages each had to be distributed, amounting to an average annual print total of 28,000 pages. Before being officially distributed, draft material underwent a process of validation, which in turn produced another 15,000 printed copies. Also, significant changes in the status of priority goals often occurred after printing the final version, which required annual reprints of about 11,500 pages of material already produced. In summary, considering only the cost of the printouts, about R$98,000 (or $42,000) no longer needs to be spent.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The development of the system was begun by the company FACILIT, which established a working group of their own technicians and SEPLAG analysts. Beginning in March 2010, they monitored the progress and development of the tool fortnightly. The contract between SEPLAG and FACILIT was signed in July 2012 and defined the scope of services required to customize, test and document, in a period of 10 months, the control panel for use in the state management model. These services consisted of six developmental phases specified by the government (definition, elicitation, analysis, architecture, software testing and documentation). Each stage was well-defined and to be delivered at specific times of the stipulated schedule. Monitoring was carried out by 14 SEPLAG analysts. Tests conducted by this team using real data occurred in 2011 and 2012. These tests were used not only to assess the adequacy of the system to its requirements, but also the ease of remote communication, compatibility with other operating systems and its usability on different platforms. They were used mainly to approve the products delivered and release scheduled payments to FACILIT, in accordance with contractual clauses. Also evaluated were; the usability of the system in real situations monitored by responsible departments, replication of data still being produced by SEPLAG on Microsoft Office on the online version of the test, managers and technicians of other government organs, future users of the control panel and data security. With the permanent entry into operation of the control panel in March 2013, the system began to be monitored and evaluated daily by SEPLAG analysts, senior government officers and other users in real situations. Their aim was to correct inconsistencies and add improvements. From March to July 2013, within the scope of the contract, new tools were added to the panel by FACILIT on SEPLAG’s request, by the particular form of management reports, such as the "Analysis Report SEPLAG by TAG" and the "Report on Priority Works Implementation by Strategic Objective".

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
One of the obstacles encountered was the need to balance, over time, the development of the system and the agendas of the SEPLAG analysts that made up the permanent work group. Their time was divided between effective participation with the project and other daily analyst duties. For the team to develop their work and carry out their regular fortnightly meetings, it was necessary to strengthen this team with two more SEPLAG analysts. Another issue which needed to be addressed were the substantial changes in the FACILIT project during the development stage. This was due to the dynamism of the monitoring process for “Todos por Pernambuco”. The frequent introduction of improvements in the mechanical tracking of priority goals by SEPLAG, in parallel to the development of the tool, demanded that FACILIT have their staff constantly monitoring activity. They aimed to absorb methodological changes, define new cases and adjust the functionality of the system. Even so, reworked cases were recorded by FACILIT showing the need for fresh programming routines. From signing the ongoing maintenance contract with FACILIT in July 2012, SEPLAG struggled early in the testing phase of the control panel: the entire SEPLAG team had to perform their daily monitoring duties as well as entering targets monitored from 2011 and 2012. There were some complaints from analysts as a result and these were noted by SEPLAG management. SEPLAG responded successfully towards pacifying staff through specific meetings relaying the importance of the tests not only for debugging errors in tool development, but for training analysts in the system.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The main benefit granted by the Government of Pernambuco through the adoption of the control panel has been improvement in the implementation of the priority goals. This result can be measured by reports obtained from the system regarding the priority initiatives that have been implemented in Pernambuco since 2012. Before the use of control panel, important decisions concerning the implementation of the goals were made every six weeks and only in monitoring meetings. These decisions were based on information that was not synchronized between what was happening in real time situations and what was being presented by SEPLAG on Power Point and through previously distributed hard copies to meeting participants. These differences often generated demands from managers for further information and the postponement of referrals, which compromised the implementation of these priorities. The budgetary resources allocated to these goals were withheld and undermined the financial flow of investments in the state. In such cases, the deliveries demanded by the state for the population were delayed. Data from the control panel reports that 717 priority goals were being carried out in 2012. Of these, 606 (or 84.5%) were flagged as delayed on the final day of the year. As for 2013, 429 priority goals were registered and system reports generated on 18 November indicated that only 252 of these targets (or 58.7%) were delayed. These figures are the result of the classification of decision-making in the “Todos por Pernambuco” model, obtained from the implementation of the system. This improvement was reported by senior state managers, who said that, through use of the panel, users now had reliable information directly available to them both in real time and from any location. This gave managers the power to decide on referrals relevant to the priority goals, correct the course in implementing the priorities at any time and communicate these resolutions and decisions to those involved in real time. With greater flexibility in decision making, the presence of problems affecting the implementation of the priorities was minimized. The allocation of resources, whether technical or material, necessary for the implementation of priority goals became faster and more efficient. This also enabled an increase in the annual completion rate of the priority goals. In 2012, data also taken from the control panel reported the completion of 90 goals, or 12.5% of the total priorities for the year. Figures taken from the system for the first half of November report that 83 goals have been completed in 2013, representing 19.3% of government priorities for the whole year. This fact demonstrates clear positive impacts for society in the form of more public works and services delivered to the population and more investment by the state. In fact, through the use of panel, it was possible to improve the allocation of budgetary resources. Parts of the budget allocated to the goals with unresolved problems were retained and redirected by SEPLAG. These decisions were taken at monitoring meetings held with the support of the control panel. Budget resources were reallocated to priority goals for problems not experiencing difficulties. This enabled a better cash flow and allowed for a more focused and intense realization of priorities. Data available for the Budgetary and Financial Systems of the State up to October 2013 enable us to project that by utilizing such practices, the level of investment by the Government will increase; by 17.5%, from R$ 2.97 billion recorded in 2012 to R$ 3.40 billion in 2013, at the time when state revenues increased by only 9.3% in the same period.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The strategic partnership developed between SEPLAG and FACILIT for a joint development of the control panel made it possible for SEPLAG to acquire, at low cost, a system that automates one of the main processes of the “Todos por Pernambuco” model. It allowed the partner company to commercialize the final product in the form of a delivery system called Target. It was geared to meeting the stakeholders requirements through a computer system - and a methodology - to monitor priority goals. Commercialization of this product, which would be virtually impossible for a governmental entity, has greatly facilitated its spread to other state bodies, the Executive Branch of Pernambuco itself and further afield. For the purposes of the Executive Branch of Pernambuco, FACILIT developed a specific version of the Target system, called Sector control panel. It focused not only on monitoring of the Government priority goals that are performed by each agency, but also on specific projects within each entity. It is capable of remotely switching with the enterprise system and using data and information in real time. This version has been purchased and is being used in fifteen public agencies in the state of Pernambuco: CONDEPE Agency / FIDEM, the State Agency for Information Technology, the Regulatory Agency of the State of Pernambuco, the Pernambuco Sanitation Company, the General Secretary of the State Comptroller, the Bureau of the Treasury, the Secretary of Cities, the Department of Administration, the Department of Social Development and Human rights, the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Government. The Target System has been marketed and is operating successfully in other sub-national public entities, such as the municipality Jaboatão Guararapes in Pernambuco, and other states such as Rondonia, Alagoas and Sergipe. In the realm of the Federal Government, the system is in operation at the Ministry of National Integration. The sustainability and applicability of the control panel has been ensured mainly by three factors: Firstly, the use of the system requires the adoption by other public service, of a methodology for monitoring goals and priorities that is internationally recognized as successful. It has been developed and applied by the Government of Pernambuco since 2008 and has improved public management within these bodies. Secondly, the cost of acquiring the system makes it quite competitive when compared to other solutions for monitoring processes available on the market. Finally, the control panel was developed to be easily customized to the various organizations of the state civil service (local and federal level) and their requirements for control over process management and the monitoring of priorities and goals.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The process of implementing a software tool to automate a process in an organization is not new. Yet, in every instance, there are new experiences and lessons to be learned by organizations. In our case, the experience of deploying the control panel allowed us some opportunities for learning, namely: Firstly, we see that it is be possible to use a ‘joint venture’ business model while forging a commercial partnership between a government entity and a private company in which the gains are positive for both parties. Secondly, we reaffirm the view that it is better to computerize a work process and that it is always better to build an IT solution that automates everyday practices in an organization than to purchase a ready-made solution on the market. The decision to develop the panel primarily as a tool to support decision making proved to be correct. With this vision, more than merely automating a process, we prioritized the use of IT tools to create a Collaboration Portal Web. We were primarily focused on the dissemination, in real time, of constantly updated information between users and managers while also seeking to remove any eventual obstacles in the implementation of the priority goals. But the main lesson learned from the success of the control panel is that the tool is only effective because it automates a good working process. The recommendation that we hold for the future and which we share with the other public service entities is that we should continue working as we have always have: the continued development of the processes and practices of the management model for “Todos por Pernambuco” and the consolidation of its culture should be reflected upon before we decide on new automation routines.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Secretariat of Planning and Management of Pernambuco
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   MAURÍCIO CRUZ
Telephone/ Fax:   +55(81)31823907
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   RUA DA AURORA, 1377, SANTO AMARO.
Postal Code:   50.040-090
City:   Recife
State/Province:   PERNAMBUCO

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