ACES : Automation of Central Excise and Service Tax work flow in Central_Board_of_Customs_&_Excise:
Challenges in implementation of automation:
New Projects' success can be marred by technical issues in the guise of teething problems., to start with. Normally major causes for failure of projects are: poor planning / organisation, change of guard in the hierarchy and orientation shift during the project. Analysed in depth, following aspects may emanate as the root of the trouble:
- Bugs in the Software: Owing to poor understanding of the domain, there may be problems interfacing with existing systems and hardware difficulties. This may skid the goals of automation. If there is a lack of resolution of solving technical problems and its proper management, automation process may lead to a doom.
- Treating the automation process as if it is a narrow IT section's facilitation: Treating the implementation as no more than an IT Section's project will defeat the purpose of automation. As told by an expert, "...technology deployment will take place in a vacuum, re-engineering and alignment of work-flow with software requirements will not take place, and staff will resist using it".
- Poor leadership in top hierarchy : If senior officers do not evince interest in actually using the workflow in real times, and if they are not committed to the changed environment, they can not project the success of the plan as a result of the profound changes necessitated by process; in another department, senior officers used to hand over the user id and password to the lower level officers and ask them to post their knowledge contribution into the workflow. The big brass must view the project as a means of transforming the administration.
- Inaccurate data: Data entered into a digital workflow often finds organization-wide usage. Because of the integrated nature of workflow, if inaccurate data is entered into the common database, the erroneous data may have a negative domino effect throughout the department. Inaccurate data can lead to errors in revenue planning, administrative planning and infrastructure procurement. If the Dept. with inaccurate data just forges ahead under the assumption that someone will correct the data errors when they are spotted, then the automation will lose credibility. This encourages people to ignore the new system and continue to run the Dept., under the old system.
- Unrealistic expectations: Departments grossly underestimate the amount of resources, time, and outside assistance required to implement and run the new system. Moreover, administrators and the staff frequently assume that performance will begin to improve immediately. Since the new system is complex and difficult to master, organizations must be prepared for an initial decline in output after the new software comes into operation. As familiarity with the new system increases, the expected improvements will come. However, administration must be prepared for initial waves of frustration.
- Lacklustre Management of Project: If the administrators do not initiate the necessary level of detailed project management planning and control, the scope, size and complexity of automation process implementation can end up surprising the administrators who are supposed to use it. The project has to be thought of in a scaled up environment so that any changes in the software due to technical or administrtive changes immediately on the launching does not cost one more fortune to the Government.
- Inadequate education and training: Top System Managers and all system users must be fully educated so they understand how to integrate the workflow system into the overall department operation. Users must be trained to take full advantage of the system’s capabilities. Failure to educate and train all relevant personnel will guarantee implementation problems.
- Trying to maintain the status quo: People have a natural tendency to be comfortable with the status quo and may be fearful of changes brought about by any new system, where performance of each individual measured frequently unlike manual way of annual confidential reporting. They may fear that the new system will make their jobs more difficult, reduce their importance, or even cost them their jobs. People are also afraid to fail.
- A bad match: If the project turns into a fiasco, the major cause could be the new software’s capabilities; it does not match the organization’s existing administrative processes and procedures. Again, to quote an expert, "A significant mismatch between the technological imperatives of the system and the existing structure, processes, or business needs of the organization will generate widespread chaos".