Thursday, February 02, 2012

Online processes leads to inefficiency

I have written two letters to the newspapers to point out that the online processes of government agencies can have the unintended consequence of creating more inefficiency. The public has to gather the information that is needed and have to do the data entry on the website.

Due to the complexity of the website, the public has to spend a lot of time to navigate the website and to learn about the data entry process. If the data entry is done by the specialised person employed by the agency, the work can be done quickly. If it is done by the public, the time taken could be many times of the time saved.

My administration staff have spent a few hours on simple data entry of requests on online websites, due to the complexity. Time has to be spent to learn the process and to call the helpline for guidance. Sometimes, the delay is due to the use of the wrong browser, or the slow internet connection or a busy server. The same work can be done in a few minutes by a data entry staff who is familiar with the process.

If the online process has to be done monthly, it may be all right to get the public to learn how to handle it. But if it is done infrequently, it does not make sense to teach the public how to handle the data entry as much time has to be spent on the teaching and learning.


Anonymous said...

From HuongHW,
One example is the payment of GST to IRAS. After filing returns online, a "Payment Reference Number" is issued which according to the web-page, can be used for cheque payment.(however, nothing was mentioned about on-line payment).
Later, when I click on "Payment" in the list of things I need to do, a "Payment Voucher Number" is given for online payment.
At the DBS web-site's payment page, the number to be entered is a "Consumer Reference Number".
Do I enter the first or second number, or any of these two or none of the above.
Even explaining the situation is so difficult!

Anonymous said...

You should consider hi-lighting all these time wasting websites.

Just imagine the time wasted on a national scale.

Tan Kin Lian said...

The time wasting websites are those that make it compulsory for the public to use their services, such as

a) ACRA - filing of annual returns
b) Ministry of Manpower - processing of work pass
c) Inland Revenue - GST returns and business tax returns and personal tax returns (if rental and other income have to be included.

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