An Information Technology Audit on the
Philippine Retirement Authority
Special Retiree Service Syste
The previous paper illustrated the present state of the Philippine Retirement Authority, its processes, and finally concluded with an assessment of its the SWOT elements. This report follows up by asking: Given its vision of developing the Philippines into a retirement
haven, will investing in information technology bring the PRA closer to its vision?
We believe that there is enough impetus to pursue investments in information technology for reasons that many tourist entries are enjoyed by the country, while the number of retirees is expected to dramatically increase as worldwide populations, particularly baby boomers
, age. Given the PRA’s current membership level of 3,600+ members, there exists a potential for at least 15,000 members by the end of 2010. In the face of peace and order, austerity measures, and foreign competition
, the benefits seem to far outweigh the risks.
It is with this conclusion that a 2-pronged approach is recommended in order to move the PRA closer to its vision. These are:
(1) Enhancing marketing capability which will lead to higher sales, and
(2) Building operational capacity through the creation of efficient processes, and introducing new and radical means of doing things.
2.0 A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE: THE PRA IN 2034
3.0 WITHIN REACH: THE PRA IN 2007
4.0 NEW BUSINESS PROCESS PROJECTED
With the new capabilities that can be developed, the business process of PRA can be enhanced to shift from a procedure-based perspective into a more qualitative marketing and servicing oriented thrust. A projected business process may be designed as follows:
4.1 Build/Maintain Strong Market Presence
From the current “hunting” approach that involves looking, approaching and convincing clients to know about PRA and the SRRV Program, a more dynamic thrust can be established. The activities that will be covered by this step will include the expansion of accreditation of resorts, hotels, travel agencies, service/medical/care-giving facilities as well as networking with local and international marketers. The interactive website can serve as the web portal of the retirees for their special and various needs. The site may be able to generate interest among foreigners and former Filipinos. From a low-profile government agency, it is important for PRA to make itself felt and to push itself into the attention of the retirees market. The prospecting and invitation steps in the current business process will also be included in this step. All marketing communications in every media channel will also fall in this process.
4.2 Develop Client Relations
This step begins when a prospective retiree client initiates contact with PRA in whatever communication channel he or she may use (phone, postal mail, courier mail, fax, personal or walk-in, text or email). This second step is essentially geared on creating and establishing positive relationship with the prospective retirees, the clients. This step will cover the activities from entertaining of inquiries, briefing clients about what the program is all about, up to entertaining applications. Moreover, this step will emphasize the gradual earning of the trust and confidence of clients on the SRRV Program, on the PRA and on the country as a whole. Aside from the activities that must be performed, the qualitative dimension of the client’s experience of the PRA Brand should be considered as a very critical factor.
4.3 Formalize Program Membership
This part of the process will involve the processing of applications, issuance of the SRRV and up to the ceremonial activity of Oath Taking by the new retiree member. Again, the relationship aspect of this step includes the conditioning of the new retiree member as having been taken under the protection and community of the organization. This is vital in strengthening the “Portal” concept role of PRA in their stay in the country.
4.4 Sustain Client Relations
The activities of this process shall cover all the servicing activities currently being performed as well as providing of new services that will be introduced. The new services will include.
4.5 Membership Termination and Post-Membership Relations
IV. DESIRED STATE
Since the main objective of PRA is to encourage foreign investment into the Philippines through retirees (including former Filipino) from different countries and foreign nationals with business interest / functions in our country, we take the initial steps by significantly changing the way PRA are doing things.
Let us first put ourselves ten to twenty years from now. A retiree from Japan is scouting for a country to spend his retirement years. He surfs in the internet and find Philippines as the most attractive retirement program. By calling thru a toll-free phone provided in the PRA’s website, a customer service representative attends to all his queries and do the marketing of the company’s product / program. He also has the option to e-mail directly to PRA or even chat depending on his preference.
After getting all the important information about this Japanese retiree, he is now referred to a GSA (general sales agents) on his home country who will do the actual visit and get all the required data (hard facts) with the use of a wireless equipment (e.g. PDA). Application form, signatures, pictures and other related documentation will be uploaded by the GSA to PRA’s system. He can also do the bank remittance for the required amount all within a day.
Upon receipt of all the required documentation, PRA processed internally the generation of SRR Visa in close coordination with Bureau of Immigration and other related government agencies. This Japanese retiree can come to the Philippines anytime to claim his SRR Visa and immediately avail all the benefits of the program. He can make hotel bookings, blah blah…..
The above scenario is the future state of the company. It’s state-of-the art, paperless, and real-time processes will be on account on changes that we will implement within the 3-year time frame thrust by new management as part of their mandate. Going back to current state of the organization which is basically manual, we visualized PRA in a computerized environment at least within the 3-year time frame.
A. PRA as a “PORTAL”
The old static type of website will be transformed into an interactive one. This will be developed as a portal to include:
• Accreditation of different type of business establishment (hotels, resorts, golf clubs, travel agencies et.) and government agencies
• On-line application / ID renewal
• On-line inquiry / account update
• On-line bookings (hotels et.)
• Post / make announcements
• E-mail facilities
• Retirees account using their assigned numbers as log-in ID
• Other services of PRA
Whenever a retiree needs help or seek advise regarding his investment, peace & order advisory, leisure activities, and other services, all he had to do is go to the PRA’s portal and his request will be attended with the least possible time. The new image of the company will be a “portal” or an organization as a whole expanding its network to cater all the needs of the retirees.
B. CREATION OF CUSTOMER RELATION MGT GROUP (CRMG) AS “FRONTLINERS”
Interactive communications will be handled by CRMG as newly transformed business unit (formerly Client Relations Division) under the marketing department. Their main function is to handle first hand information received through e-mail, chat, phone call and actual visit of retirees. They are equipped with technical and relevant information about the company’s programs and services to be able to perform its marketing functions that is primarily directed towards meeting retirees / clients needs.
C. CONNECTIVITY OF ALL DEPARTMENT
Considering the uniqueness of PRA’s operation, its marketing division has the paramount needs for information crucial to revenue generation. The system /software that must be chosen should be able to generate statistical data or customized reports based primarily on marketing related information needed in the operation.
D. CREATION OF A BUSINESS CENTER
Pursuant to E.O. No. 1037, PRA is encouraged to create business center to provide premium services to the retirees. This could be a subsidiary or a separate business unit under the umbrella of PRA. The main function of this department is to provide technical knowledge should the retiree opt to indulge in an investment activities or the like. They will act as a business consultants for the a fee.
E. WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY
To improve marketing capabilities of the organization, all field personnel and business partners will be provided with wireless equipment that will facilitate on-line applications and real-time data capture.
F. EXCLUSION FROM SALARY STANDARDIZATION LAW
PRA will be excluded from the salary standardization of the government in order to boost the morale of employees. The proposal will be supported by a system that will generate a measurable, performance-based financial data as a basis for employees’ monetary rewards for above-par performance. The integrity of the financial data is the primary consideration of the system that must be chosen or develop.
V. MEANS TO ACHIEVE DESIRED RESULTS
In the previous section, we have laid down the groundwork for the desired changes in the processes in PRA that we deemed are critical in enabling the company to realize its objectives and mission. We have created scenarios for a 3-year and a 30-year horizon, which basically give a snapshot of the company over the medium and long-term. These desired states ultimately lead to an end-to-end improvement in the company’s processes, covering its marketing, operational, HR, as well as other areas of operations.
To wit, the desired changes in the processes entail the following: a) setting up an internet portal, b) development of internal connectivity within the organization, c) creation of a business center, d) development of wireless technology especially for marketing people, e) exclusion from the salary standardization law of employees, among other initiatives.
While we do not undermine the importance of the other initiatives, we will be focusing on the two process changes that we deem would be most crucial to the overall process re-engineering of PRA. These are : the portal development and the internal connectivity within the organization.
PRA will develop a portal that would basically have two (2) components, namely internal database and external linkages. To ramp up the company’s marketing efforts, the setting up of external linkages is seen to be more important and should be prioritized.
This would necessitate accreditation with hotels, relevant government agencies, and other institutions.
Specific measures for the establishment of external linkages are:
• Expand existing network.
• Strengthen relationship with merchant partners, facilities service providers, among others
• Establish a model for the linkages
Meanwhile, the setting up of the database that will support the internal info system will be implemented after the establishment of the external linkages.
The transitioning from the existing website (static) of PRA to the portal concept (interactive) is seen to take one year.
The portal development is recommended to be outsourced due to lack of internal capabilities.
Internal Connectivity within the Organization
PRA will purchase a software that will result in internal connectivity of all departments. This will lead to a centralized system that will capture all marketing, administrative, and financial data.
There would be modules for each division. For security purposes, the access of information would be user specific. Likewise, there would be a back-up office in the same building that would store backup files.
Specific procedures for setting up the internal connectivity are:
The internal connectivity will translate to an automated, real-time database which will be fed to the internet portal.
The time line for this project is three years. Its relatively delayed implementation vis-à-vis the development of the portal is due to the
Effect on CIS
PRA’s existing hardware is relatively adequate and comparable with those of private corporations. The company currently has a ratio of 2.3 persons to a computer, has a working server, and a ready cabling system using fiber optic technology.
With the implementation of internal connectivity within the organization, the company would be able to use unutilized server capacity, thereby resulting in increased operating efficiencies.
The database of PRA currently runs on MS Access 2000, which for the meantime is sufficient to service requirements in terms of data volume. This is not seen to be as effective as the retiree base grows, however, and does not provide for integrated applications that could generate real-time information.
In the new system, PRA would be able to internally connect the database within the organization which translates to up-to-date and reliable information.
Fundamentally, the people at PRA are computer literate and are able to easily adapt to a new technological environment. Primarily because of the salary standardization program, however, there is a relatively high turnover especially among IT employees.
The new system would positively impact on the capacity of PRA to retain good employees due to the concretization of data collation which could improve performance measures and provide PRA sufficient grounds to be excluded in the Salary Standardization Law.
In the current system, information sources are variable and there is no clear ownership and accountability of information. The manual process is likewise prone to abuse.
With the new system, there is a centralized source of information resulting to accountability of information. There would likewise be