SAS Institute has completed the roll-out of an Enterprise Intelligence
Platform (EIP) at the office of the Premier (OTP) in KwaZulu-Natal, which
forms part of phase 1 of the Provincial Nerve Centre initiative launched
this week.

The provincial Nerve Centre provides an automated and integrated information
management system complete with reporting and analytics, dashboards and
geographic information system (GIS) mapping to monitor and evaluate
government's key performance indicators and to promote transparency and
Delivering the 2008/09 Budget Speech for the Office of the Premier on 15
April 2008, Premier Sibusiso Ndebele stated that the Provincial Nerve
Centre, which includes the development of a Business Intelligence System to
support the Nerve Centre, will be in operation soon. The Nerve Centre is one
of the key initiatives undertaken by Premier Ndebele to strengthen the
machinery of government in the province.
Desan Naidoo, General Manager Public Sector at SAS Institute, says as part
of an integrated platform, all components and services are managed from a
single point at the Nerve Centre, reducing the administrative effort for
maintenance of applications, users and security.
The Nerve Centre allows the Premier or any other stakeholder, such as a
Member of Executive Committee, to view how the entire province is performing
at provincial, district and local government level, according to the mandate
from the National government.
"For example, currently all provinces are mandated to reduce poverty. The
Nerve Centre enables the Premier to view progress of all programs to reduce
poverty and are alerted to any issues that crop up," says Naidoo.
Naidoo says some of these reports may be simple ad-hoc /OLAP-based reports,
for example: how many building projects are underway in a province, grouped
by region, in say the last 6 months?  Other reports may answer more complex
questions such as: 'What are the characteristics of the projects behind the
Other benefits of the Nerve Centre include an enhanced citizen focus in the
delivery of government services, as well as the strengthening of government
to citizen, government to employee, government to business organisations and
government to government relationships.
The need for analytics in government and the establishment of the Nerve
Centre was largely driven by the need for improved service delivery, through
reducing costs, waste and abuse and to ultimately service the citizens of
"The key objectives of the Nerve Centre include bridging the gap between
strategic provincial objectives and the execution thereof. The system will
help to link objectives to tangible outcomes in terms of information on key
performance indicators and programme outputs across departments and local
government institutions   "Additionally, the System will enable the Office
of the Premier to quantify and measure trends in departmental and provincial
performance and thereby ensure thatcurrent service levels are better managed
and achieved," says Premier Ndebele.
For example, In KwaZulu-Natal there is school where every year in a winter,
dozens of pupils drown when crossing a swelled river, an unfortunate
consequence of what happens when schools are built where there is no
With the Nerve Centre in place, government can generate maps, charts and
graphs to show that there is no bridge in the vicinity of a planned
school-building site, a better site could be chosen, alternatively
understanding this will empower municipal engineers to proactively build a
bridge for safe passage.
Naidoo says similar principles can be applied in health, education and all
other spheres of government departments.
"Now it will take municipal engineers and decision making personnel a
fraction of the time to extract the valuable intelligence they need, from a
variety of sources, that will then support fact-based decisions needed to
delivery better, more proactive services to the public," he concludes.