Ashish Gupta, Director, Government, education applications, Oracle India

Oracle India is one of the vendors which has done a number of projects at the center and state government levels. The company has developed a framework called iGovernance which allows the various government departments to utilize their existing legacy infrastructure with new applications. To discuss on the sidelines, Dataquest caught up with Ashish Gupta, director, government, education applications, Oracle India. Gupta shed light on how a framework was prepared to modernize the legacy applications at various government departments. Excerpts

How do you weigh the government spending on IT? And what plans do you have to address the challenges that normally arise in government IT projects?

We see the government spending taking off in a big way. In the last few years, we have seen an upward trend in the government projects at the state and center level. However it is not something new that the government has adopted technology now, but there has been a shift in the governments behavior to act as an enterprise and it has now started looking at business applications. But many government projects hang in the middle or do not see the light of day because of government issues. So there are 3 major hurdles: Decision making, project delays, and lack of scalability.

In order to address these issues, we have an iGovernment framework which has 3 pillars. The first is to modernize the existing IT infrastructure so that the investment on IT is not squandered. Oracle helps the government to modernize the legacy applications, make them web-enabled, integrate them with the middleware solutions, and consolidate these applications.

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The second, when the existing investment is leveraged, we help them to extend automation to the additional business areas. So there are lot of common business functions that a government department does. Whether it is human resource management, financial management, procurement, asset management, and land management or payroll. These are common service functions across government departments and the process is similar, whether PWD department calculates the payroll or the urban department or rural development calculates the payroll. Then comes the role of transparency and efficiency in back-office operations.

The third part of iGovernment framework is about transforming service delivery. The government organizations offer services either to citizens, different businesses or to different constituents.

One of our customers, which is live through our iGovernment framework, is the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). All the schools, universities, and colleges affiliated to AICTE can track the status of their applications for different purposes. Similarly, CBSE has been able to expedite the process of keeping schools updated on new policies with regard to syllabus and exams.

There are some 700 odd municipal corporations in the country that are going through their own procurement cycle, appointing a consultant, coming out with an RFP, evaluating a solution, implementing, and things like that. Thats what is taking sometime, so probably one of the recommendations of ours to the government is why they dont centralize this kind of decision making.

The government has best-of-the-breed technology. But in many departments, the technology is lying redundant and unused. Is it the training that lacks?

Change management is a big issue that needs to be taken care of. It is significant to impart training to employees and make it easier for them to use. Industry needs to make a conscious effort to address this. Change management is about actually enabling employees, training them, and motivating them.

How big is the government as a segment for Oracle India?

With Oracle iGovernment, Oracle has emerged as a key partner for various e-governance initiatives in India. More than 20 states already use Oracle to offer citizen services.

In the last one year, Oracle has been awarded multiple contracts from various government departments and agencies to modernize their IT infrastructure, increase efficiency and transparency and transform service delivery. These include tax, treasury, defense, utilities/ smart cities, municipalities, road transport and railways, police among others.

Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC), Commercial Tax Dept (Govt of Rajasthan), Chennai Metro Water, Center for eGovernance (Govt of Karnataka), Delhi State Spatial Infrastructure (DSSDI), Assam PWD, West Bengal Central School Service Commission, RajComp Information Services, Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd (MIDHANI), Haryana Treasury, Kalyan Dombivili Municipal Corporation, Indian Railways, Dept of IT & Communication (Govt of Rajasthan) have all selected Oracle iGovernment to better serve citizens and businesses in India.

Most of the government projects have reached a stage where citizens have started using some of the services in chunks. But still a lot of work is pending, data is being updated or transmitted into new systems. Are there still bottlenecks in offering services?

We have solutions implemented in more than 20 states in the country and for large, small, and medium mission critical projects. With new infrastructure and technology, I think the challenge is reducing day by day. And I will not say it is not a challenge anymore. But its an addressable challenge and we see that most of these states are able to address that quite comfortably from an infrastructure perspective.

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