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SA’s Office of the Public Protector automates with SAP

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South Africa’s Office of the Public Protector, which is tasked with overseeing various organs of state, has selected SAP Case Management powered by SAP CRM and NetWeaver to streamline its essential business processes.

The Office of the Public Protector’s mandate is to conduct investigations into alleged improper conduct by organs of state, facilitating resolution of disputes, reporting, recommending remedial action and enhancing awareness about the role and function of the Office. It is also required that the Office reports on activities and the performance of its functions to the National Assembly at least once a year.
“This is an important contract win for SAP South Africa as it provides us with the opportunity to demonstrate the functionality of SAP Case Management and its ability to improve public sector efficiency,” said Lucky M Mondlani, Business Development Manager, Public Sector at SAP South Africa.
“My experience in working with SAP is from a governance point of view in terms of auditing the different applications from an ERP and new development following the ABAP methodology and upgrades on the SAP system. This has proven that from an integration point of view, SAP is the best end-to-end solution for any business. It re-engineers the business process and with the right training it becomes business as usual,” says Charles Motau, head: IT in the Office of the Public Protector (OPP).
With this experience, Motau says the organisation selected SAP Case Management, powered by SAP CRM and NetWeaver ®, with confidence. With SAP CRM as the central system, NetWeaver provides for the integration of the OPP’s various systems to deliver complete information related to the organisation’s investigations activities.
A case is a collection of related business information of various types, which needs to be processed by several people within a given time-frame. For the OPP, cases are routinely of a highly sensitive nature, requiring absolute integrity of the systems and processes which are used by investigators tasked with collecting and assimilating evidence in a complex process with numerous touch points.
Each case which is investigated requires inputs from at least five parties. It starts with a complainant lodging a case; within the OPP, managers, investigators and administrative teams will execute their duties which will include the gathering of information and evidence and recording their activities by attaching them to the case.
Explaining the necessity of automating its processes, Motau said the current method of initiating and conducting an investigation is manually driven.
“As a result, investigations, reviews, analysis and reporting of the cases we handle are cumbersome and time-consuming. Given the limitations of paper-based, manual exchanges of information, difficulty is experienced in the integration of the various functions and for the Office to report on case statistics. It is thus imperative that these processes are automated to allow for efficiencies and for the Office to fulfil its mandate by integrating the different functions and levels of operations while providing accurate information to the relevant constituencies.   
Mondlani  adds that the challenges experienced by law enforcement agencies include difficulty in finding information, dealing with the legal admissibility of evidence and the fractious nature of paper-based cases.
“Organisations like the Office of the Public Protector are well aware that manual systems result in difficulty in searching for and finding information. Furthermore, since this is also time consuming, it leads to long case processing times and inaccurate data. With the unreliability of systems and paper logs, evidence may also not withstand the tests of the court due to insufficient audit tracking,” he explained.
With SAP Case Management, the OPP will have a central repository for all case documentation; all information related to any one case can be instantly accessed.
The highest levels of security will ensure that only those with authorisation can access and view case information.
“With this system, workflow is enforced and the issues associated with paper-based information and documents are removed. It allows cases to be processed faster, provides an up to date picture of affairs and every person who accesses the case has a single view without different interpretations,” says Mondlani.
“Continuity is also introduced; investigators can pick up on a case where another left off without any interruption, given the ready availability of all information.”
Mondlani adds that the system will support improved productivity, while fully integrated business intelligence will provide accurate metrics which will detail organisational performance. For the first time, too, the OPP will be in a position to accurately track and report the cost of each investigation, providing essential data for budgeting and planning.