Digital Collaboration System(DCS)
Ministry of Security and Public Administration

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
- Immigration policy, collaboration between industry and educational institute, and welfare delivery system are now emerging policies in Korean Government in accordance with the swift social changes like globalization, economic downturn, and aging society. These policies have another common factor: They all need hands from various ministries and agencies. For example, Ministry of Law (MOL) cannot solve the problem caused by increasing number of illegal immigrants. Ministry of Gender Equation and Family (MOGEF), Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) and Ministry of Education (MOE) should help MOL to cope with the social problem of this marginalized or unstable social status group. Collaboration becomes an imperative with top priority among governmental bodies. However, concerns are growing that the departmentalism hinders Korean Government from achieving these policies. President of Korea Geunhye Park put collaboration among ministries ahead as a principle of her new government to cope with the departmentalism. -To make matters worse, the environment Korean Government faces now is unfavorable for implementing the collaboration. Since the early 2000s, Korean Government set up a policy of regionally-balanced development which aimed at spreading ministries and agencies from highly concentrated capital Seoul to relatively underdeveloped regions. Six central government ministries moved to Sejong, which is about 200kms distance from Seoul in December 2012. Six more agencies will move to Sejong in Dec. 2013 and finally four more will move in 2014. As a consequence of this separation of government, government officials should take a full two-hour trip even by the bullet-train (KTX) to attend the meeting held by ministries located in the other area. This four-hour round trip makes them impossible to keep pace with the work flow. Consequently, important policy decisions as well as services for citizens are delayed and the cost of business trips increases fast. An analysis report of newspaper in May 2013 revealed that there was a 34% transportation cost increase after the relocation of government agencies. To cope with this increase in costs and inefficiency, Korean Government now takes a whole new approach to promote collaboration among ministries, 200 kilometers apart from each other: the collaboration using digital, online method. . To overcome this adversity and promote collaboration to cope with emerging complicated social problems, Ministry Of Security and Public Administration (MOSPA) decided to promote and upgrade the “Digital Collaboration System” (DCS) which has been launched in April 2012. Among all the functions required for collaboration, the key was the “PC-based videoconferencing” which was unpopular or almost forgotten at the time of early 2013, just a few months from relocation of government agencies.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
As described in the first question, Korean Government set up the policy of balanced national development plan which required relocating sixteen ministries and agencies from Seoul to relatively underdeveloped regions, mainly in new Sejong-city which is 200 kilometers from capital Seoul. Ministry of Security and Public Administration (MOSPA) in charge of the government’s general affair had launched the Digital Collaboration System (DCS) initiative to cope with inefficiency and cost-rise caused by the relocation of ministries and agencies. DCS Initiative suggested two solutions: Providing virtual collaboration tool and PC based videoconferencing system. 1. Provide virtual collaboration tool to deal with policy issues related to plural agencies. - The main feature of DCS is offering a virtual collaboration tool for government works, making it available to collaborate among public officials in various offices. Through DCS, it becomes possible for plural agencies’ officials to gather in the system and prepare a joint report through a virtual meeting for ensuring results. - Especially Park Geunhye administration, starting its term in February 2013, emphasizes collaboration as the major principle of government operation, followed by assigning 155 governmental collaboration projects among agencies. These 155 tasks are now all registered on DCS: departments related to each task can collaborate with each other on real time basis and the Office for Government Policy Coordination (OGPC) can manage all projects and monitor policy progress on real time basis by DCS. 2. Put strong emphasis on the PC-based videoconferencing - Among various functions DCS provides, PC-based videoconferencing is the most useful one because of relocation of government agencies separated into two cities afar. DCS provides the virtual environment where any central government officials can hold a person to person or group videoconferencing with the web-cam and headset plugged into their PC . - Unlike conventional and more common videoconferencing room which requires all participants to gather at the same time and ask for use approval of the controlling bureau, this easy-to-use system only requires a single click for a meeting. Its popularity is also boosted because of its user-friendly environment similar to a video chatting. In addition, it is also possible for participants to not only share but also mark, underline, and take note on agenda papers appear in PC screen as if it is a printed one; which is impossible in the videoconferencing facility of a large scale.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
This initiative is innovative because DCS was probably the first case of introducing PC videoconferencing application in the government once and for all, i.e. for central government officials simultaneously. Ministry of Security and Public Administration (MOSPA) developed this system as a nation-wide one that can be run in every governmental branch universally from its initial stage. Conventionally, this kind of cutting-edge application is introduced to a small group as a pilot-run for a few periods before its nation-wide launching. MOSPA did not follow this rule because it had long experience in developing e-government and had confidence that it would work as useful communicating and collaborating tool among all the government branches. In terms of innovation, DCS is a great leap from the conventional PC videoconferencing program used in many private corporations and domestically. They are used mostly for chatting and simple communication. DCS gained its uniqueness by adding a few innovative features: the online report co-making, the document sharing, and the on-line project management. As a result, users rate this system highly and its good reputation as a handy tool for cooperation brings in the word of mouth among Korean government and private sectors also.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
To achieve the goal successfully, MOSPA made an initial move of revising the law and rules that promote the usage of DCS. Secondly, MOPSA settled a strategy of analyzing current situation and desired future to fill in the gap. By this analysis of as-is and to-be, MOSPA could implement the right development strategy. After launching the system, MOSPA ceaselessly started its upgrade plan to guarantee it to work as the collaboration tool for every government officials. Below are the summary of the action plan MOSPA implemented. 1st step: Revising the law and rule to put the cornerstone for DCS MOSPA first revised the “Rule of Public Administration Efficiency Management” so that it contained the ground for introducing DCS. Additionally, the revised rule also contained the recommendation for ministers to use the videoconference system primarily when conference participants are located remotely from each other. By recommending ministers to use DCS, the Rule asks them to show an example for lower level co-workers. The revision acted as a cornerstone for establishing and promoting DCS. 2nd Step: Business Process Reengineering & Information Strategy Planning MOSPA then conducted a business process reengineering (BPR) & information strategy plan (ISP) which analyzed the problem of status quo, which mainly indicates the inefficiency of off-line meetings, and how-to deal with those problems to reach the goal of smooth transition to the advanced collaboration system. 3rd step: Establishing the Digital Collaboration System With a reference from the second step of BPR & ISP, MOSPA built DCS through the contract with top-notch private enterprise with cutting edge technology. The key function was the on-line virtual collaboration interface providing almost-equal familiarity to the off-line collaboration tools. Various functions like co-reporting and document sharing were the main features which enabled this familiarity. The other main function was the Unified Communicator (UC) which provided PC based videoconferencing, messaging, and chatting for governmental workers in a distance with each other. 4th step: Upgrading DCS toward the Integrated Governmental Communication System Through the development process in 2011, the current DCS was launched in early 2012 and has been used in almost all government ministries and agencies for two years. It obviously gained a notion from the officials as a new tool for communication. However, many of its functions other than PC videoconferencing are still new for most officials and were not used frequently. To solve this problem and improve the user friendliness of popular PC videoconferencing function, MOSPA has launched the upgrading project of DCS in September 2013 toward its next version: Integrated Governmental Communication System (IGCS). The IGCS will make a debut in January 2014. The key of this upgrade to the IGCS is seamlessly integrating DCS to the On-nara, the groupware every official uses for work. By integrating those two systems, civil services can easily collaborate in the process of executing their tasks. For example, while making a report or a correspondence, officials will be able to consult it with officials in other ministries by sharing it through IGCS. The other key function of IGCS would be ensuring mobility in the work flow by providing mobile services through smart-phones and tablets.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The main stakeholders are President Park’s office, Office for Government Policy Coordination (OGPC), MOSPA, and all other governmental branches. President Park, Geunhye who started her term in Feb 2013 declared the Government 3.0 initiative as a vision for government innovation. Through active information disclosure with frequent communication and cooperation with private sector, Government 3.0 aims at strengthening the competency of the government. To implement Government 3.0, President Park continuously asks all the ministers to remove barriers between offices through DCS. OGPC is the office under the direct management of the Prime Minister and controls all 155 collaboration projects among government offices. OGPC uses DCS to monitor and manage the progress of each project on a real time basis. MOSPA is the ministry in charge of Korean e-government establishment. MOSPA initiated DCS initiative in 2010 and launched the system in April 2012. Currently MOSPA manages and monitors the system, and recently started to upgrade DCS to the next stage of IGCS. All other government branches are the primary users of DCS. They use this system in two ways: DCS is mostly used as a communication and collaboration tool between two different ministries. As an auxiliary usage, it also works as a communication tool within the same ministry: departments and branches use it as a communication system for other department and branches apart. The best example of the second case would be the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW). MOHW holds a head meeting on every Monday which requires the attendance of all nine national hospital presidents. Several national hospitals are about 500km away from the MOHW headquarter and presidents of those hospitals usually spent a whole day for attending just an hour meeting. Now presidents attend the PC videoconferencing and saving their valuable time for hospital management and patients caring.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
This DCS initiative got its financial resource from the “e-government project budget” of MOSPA which financially supports e-government initiatives of each ministry and agency. Once an initiative is selected as the e-government project, the whole budget will be reimbursed by MOSPA. To be selected as the e-government project, each initiative should meet at least one of three requirements below. First, a project should maximize its effectiveness by connecting systems each office established or connecting information each office stores. Second, a project should provoke the innovation in public sector by maximizing the efficiency or significantly improving the public service. Third, a project should have great importance to the ministry or office but cannot be financed by itself because it requires a large amount of development budget. Fortunately, DCS falls in the first and second category simultaneously and thus selected as the e-government project in 2011. As a result, the cost was fully paid by the MOSPA e-government project account. To be fortunate enough, DCS initiative was executed by tech-expert officials who had been working in e-government business more than a decade. The leader and main supervisor was then vice minister of MOSPA Kim, Namsuk who had more than twenty years of experience in e-government and national information infrastructure construction. Vice minister Kim and all the staffs used their profound knowledge and experience to make DCS a user-friendly and useful system. Also, the private development staffs from top-notch IT companies were involved in the initiative by contract. With these best staffs, DCS was built and upgraded in three phases. In the first phase from Nov 2010 to Feb 2011, half a billion KRW (approximately USD 500,000) was spent in business process reengineering and information strategy planning as a preliminary stage. In the second phase, from Nov. 2011 to Mar. 2012, 0.8 billion KRW (approximately USD 800,000) of the e-government budget were spent to build DCS. Now, in the third phase, it is undergoing upgrade from DCS to IGCS and the budget is about 1.8 billion KRW (approximately USD 1,800,000). The upgrade will be finished by the end of year 2013.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The foremost and most visible output of DCS is valuable time otherwise was spent on the street between Seoul and Sejong. Simultaneously, it also saves the taxpayers’ money spent for transportation of officials significantly. MOSPA in 2010 made an estimation of time and cost that would be spent within the government annually for business travels after its division into Seoul and Sejong in 2013. The result was astonishingly serious: 42 billion KRW (approximately USD 42 million) will be spent and 1.85 million hours will be abused on the street annually. Every year, about 110,000 government employees travel between offices average 7 times for business meetings. When the government complexes are mostly located in and near Seoul, the time and cost for these short trips was almost ignorable. However, after relocation of more than half of ministries and offices to Sejong, the average hours for round-trip among agencies would go up to 2.4 hours and average cost would reach 26,000 KRW (USD 26). Moreover, average hourly pay of 12,000 KRW (USD 12) for employees which would be wasted during the trip should be considered as the opportunity cost. Therefore, if no means to substitute these travels existed, 20 billion KRW (110,000 officials * 26,000 KRW* 7 times a year) would be spent annually on business trips itself. Another 22 billion KRW (110,000 * 12,000 KRW* 2.4hours * 7 times) would be the yearly opportunity cost. Finally, the total hours all the employees would waste on the trip would reach up to 1.85 million hours (110,000 officials * 2.4 hours * 7 times) Let us assume that only a quarter of these travels can be substituted by PC videoconferencing. It means DCS, which costs only 1.3 billion KRW so far, would save more than 10 billion KRW every year. It is just a small visible part of its greater outcome. The products from 460,000 hours (1.85 million hours * 1/4) saved by DCS would be beyond imagination: Many services for citizens would be greatly improved. Higher rank officials would use these valuable times for policy design. Employees who should have worked overtime to cover up wasted hours on the street could spend their valuable evening time with friends and families. Local economy of new Sejong city would be boosted because government officials would not spend money in Seoul for their after-hour activities any longer.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Since the initiative was selected as the “e-government project” and thus obtained the whole budget support, careful management and evaluation was followed by the rule and regulation applied for e-government project monitoring. However, that was only a part of deliberative management for DCS development initiative. As DCS initiative was initiated as the important project coping with forecasted government division in 2012, top level managers were involved in monitoring the project on a regular basis. Then first vice minister of MOSPA (MOSPA has two ministers) Kim, Namsuk took supervisory role voluntarily and periodically monitored the progress of the initiative thoroughly. For example, weekly and monthly progress reports including risks and obstacles were discussed in periodical meetings held by the vice minister. The director-general and directors of e-government participated the meeting and shared the results. Also, in order to resolve the various issues occurring during the project, consulting group consisting of senior civil services and private sector experts were also organized. Monitoring and evaluating the progress was implemented by focusing on three factors. First, meeting the users’ needs had the top priority. During the development, supervisors continually asked software developing staffs to check the users’ needs and reflect them to the system. Second, keeping the schedule was valued. The supervisors monitored the interim reports on every process weekly and monthly to ensure system to be established on time. It was because the system should be in use prior to the planned government division at the end of 2012. Lastly, the stability and performance of the system should have been secured. DCS had a large number of projected users, up to 100,000 central government employees. Also, it had to work smoothly under the condition of transmitting large amount of video data. Therefore, it had to be examined carefully to ensure stability and frequent performance tunings were done with careful inspections on each component. After its launching in April 2012, MOSPA frequently asked government users to send feedbacks. As a result, MOSPA made a minor upgrade in June 2013 to make users log-in more comfortably and use the functions easily.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main obstacles Korean government faced during the implementation period of DCS initiative were the “psychological objection of users to a new system”. It is a common phenomenon in every time and place that the cutting-edge system is not welcomed by the majority of the people for a certain period of time because it is unfamiliar. DCS, a unique and up-to-date system, could not be the exception. When its initial development plan was discussed in 2006-the year the government division was decided- the Planning and Budget Office (PBO) officially objected the DCS initiative. PBO thought it was too early for government officials to accept this state-of-the-art virtual collaboration concept. Even after its final launching in 2012, it gained only a small number of early adopters who prefer accepting new technology and fresh ideas. MOSPA decided to overcome this “psychological objection of the majority” by improving DCS toward more user-friendly one. The original DCS was a stand-alone application which required time-consuming application launching and the burdensome log-in process. MOSPA made a modification for DCS in Jun 2013 to integrate it to the On-nara BPS, the groupware every public official in Korea uses for their daily work. After modification, civil servants simply log in to the On-nara to start their work and they can use DCS simultaneously without any additional process. Moreover, DCS menu is seamlessly blended into the On-nara menu. As a result for this minor but significant make-up, the usage rate of DCS increases very swiftly. In January 2013, only 325 people used this system out of 100,000 potential users. In November, the user number went up to 7,884; a 24 times increase in less than a year.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The key benefits from this initiative can be summarized into two. First, it helped retaining the efficiency of the government to some degree during at crucial period of government relocation. Second, it provided a valuable tool for the collaboration, one of the main principles of new Park administration started in 2013. Soon after the launching of DCS in April 2012, six government ministries moved to Sejong, about 200 kilometers away from capital Seoul in Dec. 2012. In Dec 2013, six other ministries now move to Sejong. Now that central government is divided into two parts, governmental spending on travel rises fast. The separation of the government not only raises the cost. Once civil servants travel to other ministries, it is not easy for them to come back to their offices and continue their tasks, which undermines the efficiency of the government. Furthermore, important policy decisions as well as services for the citizens provided in Sejong-located ministries are suffering from serious delay because senior executives of those ministries had to attend many conferences held in Seoul. National media expressed strong concern for this administrative inefficiency. The PC-based videoconferencing function provided by DCS now works as one of the useful tools to reducer high cost and inefficiency caused by business trips. In November 2013, 2,892 PC based virtual meetings participated by 7,884 persons were held in entire government. This means DCS reduced 2,892 meetings and 7,884 civil servants saved up-to-six hours of their working time otherwise used for travel to and from Sejong. A total of 155 collaboration projects are now managed in real-time through DCS. All the users who are participating in the projects are enrolled in DCS and can communicate with each other whenever they want through utilizing videoconferencing function of DCS. The report for each project can be made through on-line by the contribution from each participant. Those 155 collaboration projects are managed directly by Office for Government Policy Coordination (OGPC) by the directive of President Park, who emphasizes the collaboration among ministries continuously. Collaboration within the ministry is also enhanced through DCS. For example, MOSPA, the developer and most-frequent user of DCS uses PC videoconferencing on the meetings with its branches spread all over the country- Government Building Management Office, National Archive, and Government Integrated Data Centers. would be its impact on the private sector as a leading trend. As the central government proactively uses the videoconferencing system, a trend of utilizing this new collaboration tool rises in the private sector also. Unlike most countries where private sector set up a trend or an agenda and the government catches them up, Korean Government has frequently been proposing or introducing a new idea and devices ahead of private sector. This PC videoconferencing initiative was another good example of the public sector leading the private. In the long run, MOSPA expects this new initiative would contribute to nursing related industries and raising overall efficiency of whole nation.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
MOSPA believes DCS will not only be sustainable but can also gain more users and become a standard system of communication in the government over time. Here are three evidences. First, the megatrend of “convergence” and “increasing complexity” in the public sector becomes obvious in every country. It means the collaboration among various government agencies will be a necessity not a choice. DCS and its upgraded next model IGCS will work as a useful tool for this age of collaboration within and across governments at all levels. Secondly, the very unique situation of government dispersion in Korea requires DCS as a multi-tool for eliminating the low productivity caused by frequent business trips in the government. Lastly, as explained before, MOPAS now endow DCS a major upgrade toward advanced IGCS for more functions and next generation user-friendliness. This upgrade will surely contribute to gaining additional users currently refusing to use DCS. MOSPA also believes that DCS can be transferred to other states with ease. Especially, the PC based videoconferencing system- a key function of DCS- can be applied to other state regardless of the context or situation of each country. To be more specific, PC based videoconferencing can be a cost-effective alternative for expensive videoconferencing facility which requires a great amount of budget and large space not affordable for most developing countries. DCS simply requires a combination of webcam and headset costs less than USD 30 per individual while the e-government office simply installs the PC videoconferencing solution into government server. The other requirement would be a broadband intranet infrastructure among government agencies which is already set up in most developing countries now. DCS would fit best for some countries with a big landscape or many islands, where the government branches should be divided and spread in various areas. In this situation, DCS would help reducing cost and increasing the efficiency of the government.

 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 lessons learned from this DCS initiative can be summarized into three findings. First, there should be a strong will power of the executive level officials to eradicate the deeply-rooted custom and routine causing inefficiency in the government. It is clear the most civil servants stick to the custom and routine if they are not told to change it. Facing the very unique situational change of ‘government relocation’, Korean government executives should find a way to make their employees abandon the old custom of frequent off-line meeting. President Park demands all the cabinet members to encourage their subordinates to use new videoconferencing system. Prime Minister Jung, Heungwon also shows the example of using PC videoconferencing frequently. This strong will power of the executives was delivered to each civil servant and changed the custom. Second, there should be the flexibility as the situation changes. When DCS was first introduced in April 2012, the main feature of DCS was virtual collaboration function (the name Digital Collaboration System came from) with the PC videoconferencing as an add-on feature. However, soon after its launching, MOSPA found out that auxiliary PC videoconferencing function could work as a powerful solution for reducing the inefficiency caused by the governmental division. At that moment, MOSPA decided that resources should be focused on strengthening the PC videoconferencing function rather than enhancing the whole DCS functions. This strategic change resulted in an early upgrade of the videoconferencing feature in June 2013, only 14 months later from its launching. The decision was right. Since that upgrade in June, there was a sharp rise in the usage of PC videoconferencing function. If MOSPA stuck to its original plan, DCS would have been unsuccessful and it could not have contributed to reducing inefficiency problem Korean Government faces now. Third, the system should always be user-friendly. The initial PC videoconferencing initiative in 2006 failed because it was too ahead of its time. MOSPA studied failure factors carefully and designed an upgraded system focusing on user-friendly interface. In other words, the success in the second try was possible because MOSPA made a long and careful preparation to design the system friendly to users and easy to use.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Security and Public Administration
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Sungyeol Shin
Title:   Collaboration Planning Team  
Telephone/ Fax:   82-10-9962-5458
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   209 Sejong-daero
Postal Code:   110-760
City:   Jongno-gu
State/Province:   Seoul

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