86,000 people in 18 months

Oman’s Ministry of Civil Services has kicked off the third largest rollout of Oracle’s Human Resource Management System in the world, installing just the human resources model of Oracle’s HRMS, across 45 government units, automating the HR procedures of 86,000 personnel over the next 18 months.

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By  Greg Wilson Published  February 27, 2001

Page 1|~||~||~|Oman’s Ministry of Civil Services has kicked off the third largest rollout of Oracle’s Human Resource Management System in the world. The deal, worth approximately 3 million OR, will install just the human resources model of Oracle’s HRMS, across 45 government units, automating the HR procedures of 86,000 personnel over the next 18 months. “We’re trying to get rid of the paper, to speed up the HR processes, make it more efficient and share information with other government departments that are linked with us,” says Ali Omar Saleh Al Zadjali, director general, administration & finance, Ministry of Civil Services, the Sultanate of Oman.

“Nowadays all these processes are done by paper and are handed to this ministry. We’re looking to automate these processes through the [HRMS] application… there are around 45 government units and we’re linking with them to automate the HR process,” he adds.

The HR application will replace an old legacy IBM application running on a mainframe within the Ministry of Finance. The previous HR application had evolved in an ad hoc manner over the years, and hadn’t kept pace with the changing needs of the other government departments or the civil service, which is responsible for all government employment. “Initially the system had been implemented to cover the needs of the Ministry of Finance… and it had space to add more functionality for the other ministries,” says Al Zadjali. “But later on there were problems, [such as] ministries couldn’t get reports on the data they entered into the system.”

The rollout of Oracle’s HR application across the government will enable all departments to compile reports on the manpower situation, says Al Zadjali.

The application should also simplify the paper intensive process of recruitment for ministry positions. Currently, to employ anybody, a ministry approaches civil services to see what candidates are available from the ministry’s list of graduates. After a series of applications are reviewed and a number of interviews conducted, the Ministry of Civil Services and the employer ministry select a candidate. In the past this process has been dominated totally by paper, but the HR application will automate the flow of information between ministries and introduce an element of self service to ministries and employees alike. “Using the Web we’re going to introduce self service,” says Dhiyab Salim Al Abri, director of the Computer Department, Ministry of Civil Service. “Using the self service aspect, [ministries and candidates] will be able to submit applications over the Internet. Self service enables us to make our services available to the public [sector], allowing them to have whatever service they want that relates to their ministry through the Web,” he adds.

||**||Page 2|~||~||~|Prior to commencing the rollout of Oracle’s HR application, the Omani ministry has been working since late 1997 to migrate the HR information away from the mainframe to an Oracle database. The computer department has been transferring the data to text files, where it has been cleaned before being loaded into the relational database. “This has been an ongoing process,” says Al Abri.
The HR application will now run in a NT based client/server environment on Compaq hardware. However, the payroll portion of HR will remain on the mainframe, and will be interfaced with the Oracle HR application.

The massive HR project has demanded significant reengineering of all the human resources processes across the government. The World Bank and management consultants Booz Allen have aided the Ministry of Civil Services in its technical assessment and the restructuring of its business processes. “The World Bank came here and conducted a survey and then they helped us put together a tender,” says Al Zadjali.

“The approach to the project has been based on a study by Booz Allen, detailing the [current] system. We’ll then map the application from Oracle on to the top of that,” adds Al Abri. “This is the initial stage, [and then we’re going to] make it applicable to a Web environment, enabling access through the Internet.”

With the best business practices in place, the Ministry of Civil Services has been running numerous training seminars for key users from across the government. The training seminars are likely to be an ongoing process to build support within the user population scattered across the government. “Most of the personnel staff from the different ministries are now very familiar with the system,” says Al Zadjali. “But we realise the need to carry on training users if they are to get the most out of the system.”

Although Oman is without a stated e-government policy at this time, the HR project is seen as a basis for providing further projects to automate other governmental procedures, says Al Zadjali. The project will also introduce the Internet as a vital aspect of government procedures for the first time. “This will provide a basis for electronic government,” he adds.
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