This business report is compiled to study the Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and its application at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in Australia, also called DIAC. It is the third largest revenue generating Commonwealth department in Australia. This department is now succeeded by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
This report will cover the challenges of earlier used system for various processes within the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, and further study of the requirements and objective to fulfil from the new ERP software. The analysis would further give details of the benefits of the new ERP software and how it can get success for the department.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection works for immigration, stay and movement of non-Australian residents, manages the border entry control, makes arrangements for settlement of migrants and humanitarian entrants, and handles the citizenship process, ethnic and multicultural affairs.
The department has a well-managed migration program that enables them in risk identification, thus they are able to eliminate potential risks and ensures protection to the Australian community (Australian Government, 2017).
The department had a new access control system in place which was being used by the end users, hence post all analysis and requirement gathering for a new ERP system, it is very important to understand the linkage between the department and SAP to ensure a smooth implementation of new software.
The significant increase in the use of technology in various aspects of business dealing and interactions, it has also reduced the geographical distance, hence increasing the complex issue of external threats to the country’s borders. This is a challenge that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in Australia also faces, as they are responsible to manage and restrict the movement of illegal goods, weapons, drugs and other toxic materials across the borders.
The most difficult task is monitoring the Australia’s Air cargo movements. The data show that more than 170 million air cargo consignments move across the border in a year. All the processes under the responsibility of this department were manually handled by the team. Considering the kind of role, the agency plays in securing the borders, it is very important to improve the system and make it more robust, such that, there exist no room for risks and frauds (SAP Team, 2015).
The Australian border forces, consider the checking of these air cargos as high risk for the borders as the process requires visits to the mail depots on a daily basis by the Australian border forces officer. This process involved almost 40 printed forms to be filled manually with each detail of inspection in a descriptive manner. Post inspection, the officer has to log the inspection data into multiple systems in the office. This particular process if very tedious and time consuming, especially for the officers. The department needs to get an automated system to reduce the tedious, time consuming administrative tasks of the officers.
This particular process is not just tedious for the officers but for the people at the other side as well, because they were not allowed to move further before the inspection details gets logged into all the systems by the officer at the border office. System integrity is something that cannot be compromised, hence a new system is required that fastens the process, ensuring all checks and integrity of the system and compliances (Turbet, 2012).
An automated solution implementation could save a lot of time of the officers, which they are putting in the manual form filling and data upload presently. Improving the software system used for this activity, the officers can utilize their time in strategic work to ensure protection at the borders. The officers will not be required to take manual notes of inspection, which could save almost two hours of their daily working. Time would be saved even for the end users, as they will not have to wait for hours to get clearance from the border officers for movement of their air cargo.
System’s Requirements for new ERP Software
The decision of shifting to a new ERP SAP system was considered keeping in mind the work areas handled by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. It becomes very important for the department to ensure that the new software or system should comply with the norms and rules, it should also take care of the integrity part, the data of this department are very crucial and confidential, and thus a secure implementation of new system is the priority with cannot be compromised with. There are certain factors that are considered for seeking improved and better ERP software within the department.
- Protect, Enforce and Ensure Security
The intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies and other agencies partner with the Australian Border forces to protect the Australian borders and manage people and goods movement across the border. Together, they work to protect the community, enforce Australian laws, security of the resources, maritime jurisdiction. They also work with the agencies to deliver policies related to customs, trade and industries. All these teams are enabled with latest technologies to help the intelligence led resources utilize their efforts to the maximum towards offshore, domestic and maritime zones. A streamlined process driven ERP is required to facilitate their work and which also secures the data (Giachetti & Truex, 2015).
- Get rid of Paper
The human capital management system, on which the team works are a mixture of paper based processes, which lead to tedious process flow, is time consuming and has a lot of gaps. To increase the efficiency, a decision needs to be taken to reduce the amount of paper used and to streamline the process towards a single solution.
Another reason is the transformation of the innovation division to help them automate their systems and enable them implement their ideas faster without use of papers.
- One Cloud based solution
The department realizes is that their goal of making the processes paperless is through cloud technology. It can lead to updating of the visa application process, improved communications.
SAP Software Solutions
There has been a huge increase in the number of people visiting Australia for temporary or permanent reasons. This increase in the number of people entering the country causes an overload of work on the desk of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection people, to issue visas, control cargo, patrol the borders and monitor immigration and citizenship of non-residents of Australia. It is therefore required to implement SAP as an ERP to make the processes and system better, as the new application would help to streamline the processes, eliminate waste, for the creation of collaborative environments and to define a unified vision and to completely remove paperwork from the system and processes.
A new automated software would reduce the costs incurred under various processes by the department, would also increase the efficiency of people involved and fasten the work and responses to the upcoming requirements (Protection, 2017).
An SAP ERP software would allow the department to customize the software as per their specific requirements, it has a user-friendly application system which enables a new user adapt with ease after training. This software can be used across the world and can be integrated with multiple processes, it also gives reliable and accurate information without causing and data mismatch or data breach.
Development of an ERP for Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection
The processes were more tedious, full of paperwork and time consuming, involving a lot of interpersonal communication. Post implementation of ERP, everything gets available at a single location on a cloud, making it easier and simpler for the teams to access any data and information from anywhere.
Certain broad areas to look for in the ERP software are to check for process integrity, security of applications and data, integrity management in terms of infrastructure, and integrity while implementing the software (Microsoft, 2017).
Benefits of ERP
Better Connectivity and access to data and information: The teams in the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection can get more connected with each other with access to all information at all time from anywhere.
The implementation of SAP access control manages the access to all the users in the SAP production ERP environment. Implementation of this software could help to get away with the delays in decision making due to incorrect user data. It can bring in a fast and an effective access to various systems within the department.
More time for Innovation: With the self-driven automated process in place, the manual work gets reduced to a minimum level and hence saving time with the teams to think and work on new strategic improvements.
Better Communication: The cloud technology has a quality of location-agnostic, which enables everyone across the levels to input, contribute, give feedback and opinions from anywhere at any time.
Segregation of Duties: The implementation of SAP software in various departments will further segregate the responsibilities of each individual within the department and hence help in reducing the number of issues arising due to overlap of responsibilities. The software also helps in preventing the segregation of duties to further avoid any risk profiles.
The Success factors of implementing SAP in Cloud Technology
The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection can overcome its system and process challenges along with bringing a boost in the innovations with the SAP software platform. With that it could save a lot of money and time of its resources. The success factors that the department can imagine or analyses are as below
- Business Transformation
For the objectives like cost cutting, for improving productivity, providing better support to the human resource department for recruitment, training and development processes, encouraging transparency in a collaborative manner; the department can implement solutions for the human resource function to achieve success in their work through proper process automation, they could adopt the new SAP software bringing in innovations, and could also streamline the visa application management leading-edge technology.
The difference in the management of personal performance, the speed of work, processes and efficiency of people will be visible clearly through the software as it will be increased drastically at all the levels, the culture of communication will also get improved for the entire business.
The new software brings with it better inbuilt reports to enable efficient working conditions and completion of tasks. It would also increase the success in audits.
- Management of Border control challenges
The department of Immigration and Border Protection handles the activities of immigrations, citizenship, Australian border control and its protection, its activities also include issuing visas and controlling the movement of cargo across the borders.
With more and more people seeking citizenship, visas for entry in Australia, the department is facing a big challenge in managing a huge number of applications for these reasons. It has to manage the incoming of people and goods in huge numbers on a regular basis, with the availability of limited resources that they have. The new staff needs time to get trained and learn the processes and way of working. To manage the staffing, training and development issues, the existing system in the human resource department is using a mixture of paper and software solutions. Hence, to improve the efficiency and to cater to these growing challenges, the department needs to eliminate the use of paper and streamline the human capital management process in terms of making it more efficient, effective and consistent.
Another factor is the innovations that the department always focused on, and formed a new division for the same to encourage new ideas and suggestions. This particular division faces challenges in terms of communication which are inadequate and does not reach the right people at the right time. To resolve these challenges, the department requires new software solutions, but the department management wants to do certain capital expenses. But, with that they also want to improve a person's efficiency, increase flexibility in the business, and cut the costs. It wants to achieve these objectives with implementation of cloud computing software (Deloitte, 2016).
- A World class system for Visa Applications
In order to have the best system in place, the department can form a Cloud first initiative as a default approach for problem resolving. An analysis can be done to understand what could give required features that can solve the human capital management problems and also could meet the innovative platform requirements. The software has certain inbuilt processes that will simplify their day to day tasks.
The service support team from SAP can help the department of immigration and border protection, in the process of implementing the software. With this SAP software, the department can also build a new tool for the Australian Visa. This particular tool will enable people across the world connect with the department (Latvanen & Ruusunen, 2013).
- Benefits for Stakeholders
The software implementation will help eliminate all paper work from the recruitment process. It also has the ease of doing the work from home, hence resulting in no delays. The Success factors various solutions in HCM, like its learning solution, performance and goals solution, workforce analytics solution, will benefit the department to a great extent, these benefits will enable the management to continue the work on cloud technology in the long run.
All employees will be able to access data as and when required. They can manage their learning and performance assessments much easily. Managers are enabled to take more informed decisions. The IT people will be able to focus on the strategic work as daily management will be taken care by the software itself. Even the new joiners will have pleasant experience with the use of this software.
- Streamlining of Compliance
An automated system helps completing the compliances and checks in a better manner than a manual compliance management. The improvements that SAP will bring to various processes and systems would substantially bring improvement in compliances as the risk factors and risk of frauds gets drastically reduced or even gets eliminated completely.
The implementation of SAP within the department would automate all the processes for department users. The access risks would reduce to almost nil from what it is in lakhs through manual system, as a manual system is more prone to errors than an automated one. The elimination of paperwork reduces costs as well as eliminates risk of frauds as the authorities to approve and monitor goes to different individuals bringing in multiple levels check for any process to complete and ensuring data and information.
Control Problems and Risks
Implementation of a new system within an organization brings a few risks as well with the benefits, there are controls also for these risks considering the risks and controls are known. The multiple risks associated with implementation of a new software could be the application complexity, lack of clarity of roles to the individuals involved in the project, the user experience of new technology. It is very important to decide the scope of the new system, as to which processes or functions the new system has to be integrated with. This can be taken care by doing an analysis of the complexity of the process and accordingly the priority processes should be taken care of in phases. The new ERP system should be used in a well-designed and measurable manner and should be a business initiative.
A disconnect between the organizational strategy, structure and processes while selection of a new ERP software is another risk factor. The control for it is to fix the operational processes before implementing a new ERP system (Grabski, et al., 2013).
Lack of required skills brings a risk while implementation of an ERP. This can get resolved by hiring consultants for a said duration who possess those skills and their experience can help achieve the goals of brining a new ERP system.
The employee relationships also get affected while implementation of a new system within the organization. This happens as the roles and responsibilities gets changed, for some employees it may even get increased, information flow increase among the functions leading to rumours and insecurities. Such employee related issues need to be handled tactfully by regular proper communication with all employees, with information sharing to all employees involved in the implementation process (Wan & Hou, 2012).
Guidelines to mitigate the risks
Risks of project complexity, loss of control and employee resistance can be handled by forming a steering committee that comprises of senior managers, project team, consultants, and all others involved in the project implementation. This committee should regularly monitor the planning of the new ERP process implementation, meetings should be scheduled regularly to keep a check on a planned schedule, understand the gaps and restrictions occurring while implementation process. And finally, the committee should keep working until the new system works smoothly and there occurs no issues post implementation (Seo, 2013).
There is no doubt that the implementation of SAP software can improve the department's efficiency drastically, there still existed a scope in certain areas where the software implementation cannot be done initially. Seeing the success of this software in various functions and areas in the first phase of implementation can lead to the department plan to implement it in remaining areas as well in the near future to have end-to-end SAP process supported software in place.
This project can deliver a solution that can significantly improve the overall control over the department's systems. The access will get completely become automated from manual processes. All business processes get perfectly streamlined
Australian Government, 2017. Role of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Available at: https://www.border.gov.au/about/immigration-detention-in-australia/department-role
Deloitte, 2016. Unlocking the Benefits of Cloud-based ERP, Available at: https://deloitte.wsj.com/cio/2016/05/25/unlocking-the-benefits-of-cloud-based-erp/
Giachetti, R. & Truex, D., 2015. ERP Requirements Management, Available at: https://www3.cis.gsu.edu/dtruex/courses/cis8670/lectures-pdf/erprequrementsmngt.pdf
Grabski, S., Leech, S. & Lu, B., 2013. Risks and Controls in the Implementation of ERP Systems. The International Journal of Digital Accounting Research, 1(1), pp. 47-68.
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Microsoft, 2017. Pushing boundaries: technology streamlines crime-fighting for Australia’s Border Force, Available at: https://news.microsoft.com/en-au/features/pushing-boundaries-technology-streamlines-crime-fighting-australias-border-force/
Protection, A. D. o. I. a. B., 2017. Australia’s New Frontier: The Cloud, Available at: https://www.sap.com/about/customer-testimonials/public-sector/australian-department-of-immigration-and-border-protection.html#
SAP Team, 2015. Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection: Bolstering HCM and Innovation from the Cloud, Available at: https://www.sap.com/documents/2015/11/08fc47ed-4e7c-0010-82c7-eda71af511fa.html
Seo, G., 2013. Challenges in Implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system in Large Organizations: Similarities and Differences Between Corporate and University Environment, Available at: https://ic3.mit.edu/sites/default/files/documents/2013-07.pdf
Turbet, N., 2012. Your guide to a successful ERP journey: Top 10 change management challenges for Enterprise Resource Planning implementations: Deloitte, Available at: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/mx/Documents/human-capital/01_ERP_Top10_Challenges.pdf
Wan, J. & Hou, J., 2012. Research on SAP Business One Implementation Risk Factors with Interpretive Structural Model. Journal of Software Engineering and Applications, Volume 5, pp. 147-155.