Lagos - Each time any country across the world goes for crucial elections, issues pertaining to service delivery always take centre stage.
On a local context, the issue is even more relevant with the continent's two economic powerhouses-Nigeria and South Africa-going for watershed general elections in 2015 and 2014 respectively.
Not only the fact the incumbents are running for re-election for second terms is most common thing between the two countries.
Both economic super-powers for Africa have turned to technological solutions and applications to address matters centering on service delivery.
Systems Application Products (SAP), the Germany-headquartered business and enterprise software firm will play a major role in the regard.
Both Nigeria and South Africa have over the years implemented solutions and applications from the global technology giant, SAP in order to improve the service delivery and welfare of its citizens.
In Nigeria, cities and municipalities of Abuja, Kano and Lagos while oil and gas producing cities of Port Harcourt and Warri are running the SAP solutions and applications.
In South Africa, major cities of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban among others, run the SAP solutions in their water billing and accounts for improved service delivery.
Apart from the two countries, Zimbabwe will earlier be holding its crucial harmonised elections where the issue of service delivery will be central in the manifestos of all political parties involved.
In an exclusive interview with CAJ News, SAP Chief Executive for Africa, Pfungwa Serima, explained how his company's technology makes the difference in improving service delivery in Africa and the entire world.
Serima said SAP provides all of the business processes for planning, execution, management, measurement and improvement of all business processes in the Public Sector (PS).
“This is all delivered from a single enterprise-wide business software application – thereby ensuring data and process consistency. The SAP Urban Matters programme, in particular, helps businesses, governments, and communities improve the lives of residents and develop best-run cities; a topic that is key for Africa,” he said.
"A key component in the enabling of service delivery is the ability to efficiently manage the actual delivery of services – such as electricity, water, refuse, roads, etc. SAP provides world-class solutions in this space that manage all processes such as meter reading and the associated scheduling, billing, maintenance, customer/citizen care.
"Effective financial management is critical. The SAP solutions for Public Sector manage all aspects of funds management and budgeting, thereby ensuring consistency, transparency and appropriate accounting standards governance – that is," Serima said.
The SAP executive said having a single view of all these complex financial processes within a governmental department enabled organisations to have a single set of effective processes for budgeting, planning and execution.
He said in having this in government or an organisation could be sure that budgets were adhered to, projects ran according to schedule, correct procurement processes were adhered to and that all financial information was entirely accurate and reliable.
"What this then means to citizens they can simply measure service delivery based on how they experience the public services that impact their day-to-day lives. Having a complete end-to-end citizen facing SAP Citizen Relationship Management tool enables governmental organisations to manage and process all aspects of a citizens’ lifecycle.
"This goes from critical processes such as birth registrations, ID applications to the more frequent processes like bill-related queries, new phone connection requests and other issues such as telephone fault and complaint logging.
"Effectively managing all of these activities to closure – and communicating the status of them with the citizen is a critical part of efficient citizen service delivery. These processes are provided within the SAP for Public Sector solution portfolio," said Serima.
He said transparency of all processes across the board could also ensure that government officials could make informed decisions based upon accurate real-time data and could thus quickly determine where funds needed to be allocated and applied.
Commenting on the solutions SAP had in its portfolios that could ensure successful service delivery, Serima said SAP enabled Public Sector organisations worldwide to provide the best services, security, and infrastructure to the public – and make the most of their budget and resources – with software from SAP for the Public Sector.
He said the SAP technology solutions were designed for all levels of government helping fulfil service mandates and improving the quality of life for citizens.
Other potential benefits of optimal public services comprised balanced budgets, better laws, improved community services, dynamic interaction with citizens, unmatched social services, improved community services, dynamic interaction with citizens, unmatched social services, optimal public services and a balanced budget.
According to Serima, these range from solutions for Central to Provincial and Federal Governments as well as their entities.
He said operations areas within such government comprised healthcare, Public Safety and Security, Defence, Utility Management, Education, Finance (Central Banks), transportation, oil and gas as well as mining.
“These SAP solutions have been implemented in many governmental organisations and governments around the world – including in many countries in Africa. A big focus for all citizens is Utility Services. SAP can provide the services for water, electricity, refuse and sewerage management.
"Managing all aspects of this lifecycle, from a new service request (for example, provision of electricity and a meter) to managing the billing, rebate and cash collection processes,” Serima said, before adding that through its single platform, SAP was able to provide and present relevant information to the citizens.
"Equally citizens will be able to connect to the government through online applications, forms via a web portal. These portals/pages can be presented on any computer linked to the Internet, or on smart devices or smart phones. SAP even has the ability to provide and gather information via text message services.” – CAJ News