1 ex United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Executive Board Hundred and fifty-first Session 151 EX/29 PARIS, 14 April 1997 Original: English Item 8.5 of the provisional agenda REPORT BY THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL ON THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY MASTER PLAN SUMMARY This report is submitted to the Executive Board in application of 149 EX/Decision 6.3 and 150 EX/Decision 6.5. Section I contains a report on the status of implementation of the Information Resources Development Plan. Section II gives a summary of the Information Technology Master Plan. Decision required: paragraph 42.
2 151 EX/29 I. STATUS OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INFORMATION RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT PLAN 1. The Information Resources Development Plan (IRDP) began in 1990 with the objectives of satisfying the information requirements of the Secretariat itself, of the governing bodies, of Member States and of the Organization s other partners and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of staff by giving them better tools to use in their daily work, in simplifying purely administrative and clerical tasks, and in freeing staff at all levels for work towards programme rather than administrative ends. Originally foreseen for the period , the IRDP was extended through The budget of IRDP for the period was $3.6 million. In 149 EX/Decision 6.3 the Executive Board authorized the Director-General to make allotments of up to $2.1 million for the continued implementation of IRDP until its 151st session. At that session, based on the report of the Director-General on the activities to that time, the Board would authorize further allotments for the remainder of the financial period. 3. The reports of the Director-General on the Implementation of the Information Resources Development Plan (IRDP) (149 EX/18 and 150 EX/21) contained information on the implementation of IRDP for the current biennium, and the following list provides an updated summary of some of these activities: Comprehensive cabling of the Bonvin building (for voice (telephone), data, video and sound) has been completed. Comprehensive cabling of the Miollis building and of Building III (Japanese garden building) have begun and should be finished before summer. Local Area Networks (LANs) are operational in all programme sectors as well as the Executive Office of the Director-General, Bureau for External Relations and the Bureau for Management and Administration. Other bureaux are also served by these LANs. To date there are approximately 1,000 workstations connected to LANs at Headquarters and over 300 connected to 19 LANs in field offices. Seven field offices have been connected since the last Executive Board session, bringing the number to 46 (out of a total of 63 field and liaison offices). A high-capacity fibre optic telecommunications link between the Miollis and Fontenoy sites was installed in 1996 to increase the speed, capacity and reliability of voice, data, video and sound connections. A new telephone switchboard (PABX) was installed in October 1996 which has permitted reductions in telephone charges and increased services (voice mail, direct dialling of long-distance calls, etc.). The number of external inquiries of the UNESCO Internet site databases continues to increase; and the number of electronic messages sent and received continues to grow, thereby facilitating intellectual co-operation and information exchange. New World Wide Web pages dealing with UNESCO programmes or events are added regularly. The telecommunication link between UNESCO s Internet site and the Internet itself has been upgraded to a much faster connection.
3 151 EX/29 - page 2 CD-ROMs have been produced for subjects as diverse as Index Translationum, renewable energy resources, and full texts of documents produced by the Education Sector. A microcomputer-based field office accounting software package has been written and it is being tested prior to deployment. The Information Technology Master Plan, which is described in the next chapter, has been elaborated. The first phase of documentation of the basic administrative systems has been completed by an outside contractor, and the second phase is under way. The database of UNESCO documents and publications (UNESBIB) is now available and may be searched from both the Internet and the Intranet (the internal Internet). Major changes were made to a number of systems in order to accommodate the change in the structure of the budget code which permits better budgetary control. Changes to the computerized system designed for preparing budget data for the Draft Programme and Budget for have been made to support the new procedures and the new presentation of that document. Development of the Windows microcomputer version of CDS/ISIS (WIN-ISIS) has been completed and is in the final test phase prior to distribution to users. Significant improvements have been made in systems for the Bureau of Personnel (Fact Sheets, Post Management), Bureau for External Relations (country profiles, UNESCO in its Member States, MAKEDA), the Bureau of Studies, Programming and Evaluation (Programme Management Information System or PROMIS), and several other units. Training courses have been provided to hundreds of staff in office automation tools and to a smaller number of technical staff involved in LAN administration. 4. Other activities foreseen for the remainder of 1997 include: Production of a CD-ROM containing the full texts of decisions of the General Conference and Executive Board over the past ten years. Development of a supernumerary payroll system to replace the existing manual system and reduce the effort needed to engage and pay a supernumerary. Improvement of the payments portion of the finance system permitting AOs rather than BOC to initiate payments electronically. Further computerization of standard administrative forms. Continued development of the information available on the UNESCO Internet site. Continued development of the UNESCO Intranet. Comprehensive cabling of buildings II (Conferences), IV (Patio), VII (Bonvin annex) and the Temporary building on the Bonvin site.
4 151 EX/29 - page 3 The first phase of a system for managing the maintenance of the Headquarters buildings and for computerizing purchasing and inventory is being implemented. 5. The Executive Board may wish to authorize the Director-General to allocate the remainder of the funds foreseen for IRDP for the current biennium. II. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY MASTER PLAN Introduction 6. In An evaluation of the impact of activities related to the information resources development plan (28 C/INF.9), the external evaluator recommended that an outside consulting firm be retained to provide advice on technical issues and assist in the development of an Information Technology Master Plan which would be a blueprint for Information Technology (IT) activities at UNESCO over the next few years. In 149 EX/Decision 6.3 the Executive Board recommended the elaboration of a single master plan with binding standards and methodology for all envisaged IRDP activities. The consulting firm Cap Gemini was retained to aid in the development of this plan as well as to provide advice to management on related matters, and a joint UNESCO-Cap Gemini team was established to prepare the IT Master Plan. 7. It should be underlined that at this stage the output of the IT Master Plan was not intended to be a series of detailed solutions ready for implementation. Rather, the Plan provides an overall development framework, a target systems architecture, performance objectives, and the description of a series of projects to achieve the desired objectives. Each project begins with its own design phase during which the most appropriate technical solutions will be chosen, the implementation tasks will be fully elaborated, and the final resource requirements and schedule will be established. The IT Master Plan will be updated annually, to take into account the progress made in implementing the projects, new information requirements and technological advances. The existing systems 8. Preliminary study showed the following characteristics of the existing computerized information systems: The provision of information services to UNESCO s partners is improving, but there remain areas where more work is needed. Although administrative regulations and rules must be followed, there is room for considerable simplification of procedures. Many of the existing systems were designed over 20 years ago and are oriented to support paper-based systems. Newer systems have been developed independently, frequently with overlapping functions. There are many instances where the same information is entered more than once into different systems. In addition to the extra effort needed, there is a chance that different databases will have inconsistent information.
5 151 EX/29 - page 4 There are a number of areas such as strategic planning where there is little or no computer support. Objectives 9. The IT Master Plan is designed to build on the accomplishments of the Information Resources Development Plan. The following objectives for the IT Master Plan were established: To improve administrative productivity by - simplifying procedures, and - increasing the efficiency of users. To improve the management of the Organization by - further developing management techniques (planning, monitoring, reporting, evaluation), and - making better use of human, financial and material resources. To improve the use of information - for programme activities and projects, and - in communicating with Member States, the general public and other partners. 10. The goal of the IT Master Plan is not simply to replace the existing computerized information systems with something newer and more efficient. Rather, the Master Plan is part of the larger effort to reform the Organization and aims to change the way staff work. All staff will have microcomputer workstations connected to LANs. Working together on projects, whether users are in different buildings or different countries, will be further facilitated through LANs and telecommunications networks. Information will be available immediately at the user s workstation, data analysis will be possible from the workstation, and administrative actions will be initiated, approved and registered, again at the workstation. These facilities will allow administrative staff to work more efficiently and administrative actions will be done faster. Programme staff will also spend less time on administrative processes and more time on substantive activities. Improved availability of information will facilitate better management at all levels, thereby increasing the effectiveness and reactivity of the Organization. Design approach 11. In light of the problems and objectives enumerated above, the following principles were adopted: A series of projects should be defined to implement the target system architecture, each project containing several phases, and each phase giving visible operational gains. Regulations, rules and procedures, as well as how they are implemented, must be reexamined and rationalized before any redesign of computer systems is undertaken.
6 151 EX/29 - page 5 The benefits of electronic means to replace the flow of paper forms is essential. It will reduce the time required for administrative actions and the amount of staff movement (office to office or on official missions). There should be a single entry of data and it should be done at the source. Users at Headquarters and in the field should have the same facilities. 12. The target system architecture of the Information System was designed with the following criteria: Projects A modular approach was chosen to permit development and implementation by stages and so that subsequent changes in one module would be less likely to affect other modules. It was decided to standardize on a small number of products to reduce costs and maintenance requirements. Generally available, off-the-shelf software packages from major software suppliers will be used whenever possible. Internet/Intranet-based solutions will be used as much as possible. The following databases will form the backbone of the Information System: - A set of reference databases, with data needed by different applications, to provide such information as rates of exchange, country codes, etc. - A budget/finance/expenditure database containing financial information. - A facts/events/information database containing non-financial information. 13. A series of projects was defined in the IT Master Plan for the phased implementation of the Information System. The descriptions of the projects and estimated costs are regrouped functionally in paragraphs 14 to 35 below. These cost estimates do not include the cost of UNESCO staff who would be devoted to developing and installing the new systems. Organization 14. A major organizational project was designed to establish the mechanisms needed to coordinate and support the implementation of the other information technology projects. One aspect of this project is the restructuring of the services concerned with IT in order to ensure the necessary user support. A second aspect is the establishment of a co-ordination mechanism to ensure that the applications implemented are coherent with the target architecture. The methodological aspects of design and implementation for all projects will be covered in this project which will rely heavily on external expertise. The third aspect concerns the implementation of change in the user services to ensure the acceptance of the new working methods by users. End users must be involved from the beginning, they must have an interest in the success of the project in order for the project to succeed, and they must be given adequate support and training at all stages. The development cost of this project is estimated at $1,755,000.
7 151 EX/29 - page 6 Information for external and internal users 15. In 147 EX/Decision 7.8 the Executive Board emphasized that UNESCO should ensure easier access by all Member States to the information resources placed at their disposal by the Organization and the decision has been taken into account in the development of the IT Master Plan. The project Exchange and Distribution of Data foresees the growing importance of the Internet and provides the programme sectors and other services the possibility of using this medium as a vehicle for making available its information and databases, by permitting timely announcements of UNESCO activities, and by establishing networks of individuals and institutions. Not all Member States, however, have the necessary infrastructure to benefit from these facilities. UNESCO will therefore continue to provide information services through more classical methods, such as books, documents and CD-ROMs. Given the new tools available for producing CD-ROMs less expensively and the experience already acquired by staff, CD-ROMs will be used more and more to supply UNESCO databases in its fields of competence. 16. The many tools developed for the Internet are being used by many large organizations to create internal information networks, called Intranets. This approach to application development permits efficient development of user-friendly applications which can work on heterogeneous combinations of equipment. Many of the applications described in the paragraphs below will be developed for the UNESCO Intranet using these tools. An Intranet can also be used to make available for instant access information necessary for day-to-day functioning. Examples of this kind of information include the UNESCO administrative and correspondence manuals, administrative circulars, telephone and electronic mail directories, and frequently used information such as official rates of currency exchange. In addition, the Intranet can be used to ensure improved communication and access to documents and texts as they are being prepared, thereby aiding in interdisciplinary programme implementation. 17. It should be borne in mind that for this project the costs foreseen are only those costs needed to maintain and improve the basic Internet and Intranet facilities. Costs for developing databases and for providing information will be borne by the sectors or units responsible for the content. In addition, the central services will provide technical and user support as part of their normal functions. It is estimated that the development costs of this project borne by the central services will be $440,000 for the period This project is central to the development of new information resources on the Internet and to providing similar services for the Secretariat and permanent delegations. Planning and management systems 18. The past few years have seen the development of information systems designed to provide country-oriented information (such as UNESCO in its Member States, or UMS, and MAKEDA) or on activity monitoring (such as the Programme Monitoring Information System, or PROMIS). While progress has been made in each area, there are overlaps while some functions are not provided at all. Therefore, one project of the IT Master Plan is the development of a system to support strategic management and another is the integration and further development of existing project and activity management systems. 19. The IT Master Plan project on Strategic Management will look at strategic planning, an area where there is currently very little IT support, and at the functions of overall coordination, monitoring, follow-up and evaluation. The second project, Management of activities and projects, will examine the information needs of various categories of users,
8 151 EX/29 - page 7 including Member States and the governing bodies, regarding the implementation of both regular programme activities and extrabudgetary projects. Based on the user needs, existing systems will be extended, rationalized and integrated. 20. Essential to the functioning of the planning and management systems, as well as to the accounting and finance system described below, are two databases. The first is the facts/events/information database which will contain information on the implementation of UNESCO programmes, activities and events, and which will be updated whenever an administrative event occurs. The second database is the budget/expenditure database which will contain all budget and finance information from the initial budget estimations through allocation, allotments, obligations and payments. The two databases will be closely linked so that both financial and non-financial information can be combined for data retrieval and reporting. 21. The estimated development cost for the Strategic Management project is $342,000 of which the largest part is for the development of the facts/events/information database. The estimated development cost for the project Management of activities and programmes is $770,000, which includes the development of the budget/expenditure database. When complete, the system will permit closer monitoring and evaluation of programme activities and projects not only in terms of outputs foreseen and costs but also in relation to programme objectives. The two databases which will be created are required for the implementation of the new budget and finance systems. Core administrative systems 22. The core administrative systems are those for budget, finance, personnel management and payroll. The IT Master Plan foresees two projects, one for Budget and finance and the other for Personnel and payroll. The existing core administrative systems, which are central computer based, were designed more than 20 years ago and have evolved in the intervening years. They have not, however, kept pace with the technology and today are difficult and expensive to modify, and they do not easily provide the kind of information which management requires. Perhaps more importantly, they act as a restraint in rationalizing the administrative procedures of the Organization. Extensions to the core administrative systems have been made using microcomputer and Local Area Network (LAN) techniques, but even in those cases the interfaces between the systems are not efficient, often requiring manual re-entry of information. 23. A number of replacement alternatives were examined and two were retained. One alternative is adapting the Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) developed by the United Nations which will have modules for personnel (human resources), payroll, budget and finance. The personnel and finance portions are operational in New York, and a payroll module is being developed. The mechanisms of maintaining IMIS within the United Nations system, and hence the costs of maintenance, are still being discussed by IMIS user organizations. The other alternative would be adapting one or more commercially available software packages. The estimated costs of the two alternatives are roughly the same. 24. The estimated cost to replace the personnel and payroll systems is approximately $1.65 million and would require an estimated 20 to 25 staff years for implementation over a two-year period. (For full cost estimates, the standard cost of a staff year would be approximately $80,000.) The costs of the budget and finance system should be approximately $1.1 million with a similar investment in staff. This amount presupposes that the Planning and Management Systems projects above have been implemented ($1.1 million) and that certain
9 151 EX/29 - page 8 other facilities (networks, workstations, databases, etc.) are already in place. The new systems will permit faster processing of administrative transactions, easier retrieval of information on staff and expenditures, and linking administrative information to programme execution information. The new systems will be easier and less expensive to maintain. 25. In the event that the funds should not be available to replace the core administrative systems during the period , it is proposed that the replacement be delayed until the period During the groundwork can be laid for the replacement. In the meantime, extensions to the older systems can be made on LANs rather than on the central computer so that these extensions can be integrated afterwards into the new Information System. If this approach is chosen, implementation work will not begin immediately and it will not be necessary to choose between the alternatives at this time. Thus UNESCO can continue to monitor the progress of other United Nations organizations in their use of IMIS. Support of units of the Secretariat 26. A number of relatively independent operations or processes were examined to see how they could be improved using information technology. The project Support of units of the Secretariat includes the following subprojects: 27. Buildings management. Maintaining buildings is complex and labour intensive. On the market today are computer-assisted building management software packages which aid in this function, providing a tool for preparing and monitoring building maintenance schedules, helping in the repair in case of malfunction, and in providing systems for ordering and inventory control. The result of installing such a package will be better control over building maintenance leading to reduced maintenance costs, better inventory control with fewer stock outages, and the possibility of greater savings through bulk purchases. The cost of purchasing and installing such a package is estimated to be approximately $400,000. Part of this amount will be financed from initial savings in maintenance. Work has begun in 1997 to select the package and to implement the modules for purchasing and inventory. 28. Document production and distribution. Many improvements in the quality of documents and the efficiency of their production have been achieved through the use of IT in the areas of text processing, document transmission, terminology reference and management of the document production process. This subproject will target continued improvements in producing paper documents as well as reorienting the process to creating electronic documents which can be transmitted over networks, including the Internet. The project will also address the subject of distribution lists and how they can be used more effectively and more economically. 29. Filing and archiving. This subproject, which is closely linked to the previous one, concerns the electronic management of documents and other texts once they are produced, including indexing, the management of a thesaurus, and the possibility of research in a documents database. For texts coming from outside the Secretariat, it will be useful in some cases to convert them to digital form for more efficient manipulation. The archiving of the original texts (which can be either paper or electronic) will also be studied. The result of the subproject will be increased productivity through the reduction of photocopies, reduced time to transmit documents from one user to another, reduced filing space requirements, reduced time to find and manipulate documents and improvements in the processes of archiving historical and official documents and information.
10 151 EX/29 - page Official travel. The administrative steps involved in official travel are based on paper forms and are supported by several central computer-based systems. These systems require redundant data entry for some items, while some other essential information needed for better management oversight is not available at all. This subproject will examine the entire process and will provide a more efficient system which will produce better information for management. Infrastructure, workstations and reference databases 31. Any modern information system must be based on a network of microcomputer workstations. The goal of this project is to ensure that the networks and workstations are well designed, well managed and function properly, and that problems are resolved as quickly as possible. 32. Activities foreseen in the area of infrastructure, workstations and reference databases include: consolidation and improvements of the existing LANs and other networks, continued development of the LANs at Headquarters and in the field, selection, acquisition and installation of software used for developing applications, standardization of microcomputer workstation configurations (hardware and software) and development of common software products for use throughout the Organization as well as training users in their use, short-term actions to improve transmission speeds, network security and network reliability, development of reference databases used by several applications or by users directly, including rates of exchange, tables of country codes, mailing lists, directories of staff (names, office address, electronic mail addresses, telephone and fax numbers, etc.). 33. The costs for each item are shown below. However, the cost of the remaining cabling is not shown since it is foreseen that it will be financed from other sources. The remaining, onetime expenditure for 1998 is estimated at $1 million for cabling the Fontenoy building. Similarly, the purchase and replacement of microcomputer workstations is not included since these will be financed by the budgets of user sectors, offices and services. This recurring cost for equipment renewal is estimated at $2 million per biennium. Network hardware and software (per biennium) 407,000 Software for application development ( middleware ) 280,000 Short-term actions (security, backup, etc.) 137,000 Workstation standardization and design of common software 250,000 Development of reference databases 300,000 Total 1,374,000 $
11 151 EX/29 - page The advantages of most of these activities arise not from these activities themselves but from the infrastructure, workstations and reference databases made available for other projects and activities. Year One of the most critical issues facing many computer installations today is the problem of how computer programs will perform in the year Many computer programs were written decades ago and they store and process dates using only six characters, two each for month, day and year. Thus the year 1997 is stored as 97. Some computer programs will mistakenly treat the year 2000, for example, as if it were 1900, with unpredictable results. There are hundreds of programs in UNESCO which must be examined and, if necessary, corrected. In fact, problems have already been found and corrected in some programs running at UNESCO since some dates beyond 1999 are already in use, but the problem will become more critical as time and the year 2000 approaches. The estimated cost of this project is $360,000. Cost summary 36. The cost of the projects described above is summarized below: Organization 1,755,000 Information 440,000 Planning and management systems $ Strategic planning 100,000 Management of activities and 580,000 projects Database of facts, events, etc. 242,000 Database of budget and expenditure 190,000 1,112,000 Core administrative systems (two databases above also required) Budget and finance 1,098,000 Human resources 1,650,000 2,748,000 Support Buildings management 400,000 Documents and distribution 65,000 Filing and archiving 180,000 Official travel system 35, ,000 Infrastructure 1,374,000 Year ,000 Total 8,469,000 Note: This total does not include approximately $2 million for microcomputer workstations to be financed by the user sectors and services and approximately $1 million for cabling the Fontenoy building. $
12 151 EX/29 - page 11 Implementation 37. Cap Gemini strongly recommends that all activities be implemented by the end of However, in the Draft Programme and Budget for a total of $2.4 million is earmarked for activities over and above the normal functioning of the central IT services. 38. Option 1. If no additional funds are made available, it is proposed that the $2.4 million be spent on the following: Organization* 300,000 Information 440,000 Planning and management systems* 600,000 Support* $ Documentation and distribution 65,000 Official travel system 35, ,000 Infrastructure* 600,000 Year ,000 Total 2,400,000 * Partial implementation in These activities are, first, those which must be done to continue the existing services (e.g. Information and Year 2000); second, those where relatively small investments can bring savings (Support); and third, those which lay the foundation for major activities in the following biennium. There would be more time to examine the advantages and disadvantages of the IMIS system before deciding whether or not to use it. A better estimate of the human resources necessary for the chosen solution could be made and an implementation plan could be developed. On the other hand, few major improvements would be visible, resources would be used on maintaining the existing central computer systems, and the momentum of the Plan process would be reduced. There is the risk that unsatisfied users would create their own local systems which might not be coherent with the Plan architecture. 40. Option 2. If additional funding can be obtained, during the period additional activities can be undertaken. These activities could be chosen from the following, with Planning and management and Buildings maintenance as priorities: Organization 300,000 Planning and management 512,000 (completion) Support Buildings maintenance 400,000 Filing and archiving 180,000 Infrastructure 274,000 Total 1,666,000 $ $