EMSD tackles system overhaul

Challenge: Need to improve data flow and service levels by replacing aging legacy systems which had been in use for 12 years

Solution: Core ERP platform from SAP plus additional CRM, computer telephony and IVRS systems

Benefit: More streamlined and integrated processes, better access to information, plus improved service delivery to users internally and external customers

The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) of the HKSAR is responsible for delivering electrical, mechanical, electronic engineering and building services for government departments and public institutions in Hong Kong. This task places an ever-increasing burden on the department that also manages the regulatory framework governing public safety guidelines for the use of gas, electrical appliances and mechanical equipment such as lifts and escalators.

The commitment to service quality and safety has led to the need to consolidate and modernize facilities and resources to cope with future challenges and to improve existing service levels.

A key part of the consolidation was the physical shift of three key sites and facilities to a single brand new headquarters in Kowloon Bay at the beginning of 2005. The building was previously the Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminal 2 (HACTL2) building which was vacated after the move to Chek Lap Kok.

The move is a major milestone for EMSD and bringing all divisions under one roof has enhanced internal communications and efficiencies, noted Michael Leung Tsun Ho, assistant director/business development, Electrical and Mechanical Services Trading Fund of EMSD.

Platform building

Just prior to this move EMSD had also awarded a contract to consulting firm and systems integrator Accenture late in 2004 to develop a new integrated corporate computer system (CCS) to provide customers and internal users with integrated information and better service delivery.

The CCS closely ties together all major engineering services and corporate activities together under a central database. The new system was completed this summer and will leverage shared access of cross-functional data to handle customer service requests services more promptly, and more frequently update customers on services-related data.

EMSD's team of about 5,000 engineers and technicians had previously been reliant on the company's core legacy systems and divisional databases for 12 years which were in need of revamping to help streamline and integrate processes.

Accenture beat out a number of bidders for the contract by obtaining the highest total on the aggregate price and quality-weighted score, according to Leung. "The successful bid was competitive and provided a comprehensive solution to meeting EMSD's needs," he said.

Government first

The CCS was designed and built under an 18-month contract with Accenture and consists of multiple modules of the SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software suites, combined with add-on systems such as PDAs, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Computer Telephony Integration (CTI), and Interactive Voice Response Systems (IVRS).

The CCS also interfaces with a number of external systems as well as with the Hong Kong Treasury. The ERP forms the core software platform for the whole CCS and "through this powerful software, we will be able to deliver more reliable, professional and efficient services," Leung said.

Total investment in the systems and implementation amounted to around HK$45 millions, according to Leung. He added that this large-scale, integrated computer system-the first of its kind for a government department in Hong Kong SAR-is designed to enhance the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of EMSD's service delivery to other government departments and public bodies.

The new system is expected to provide EMSD managers with more timely and relevant information to facilitate decision-making. This will enhance the flexibility of resource planning and result in faster, more accurate responses to service requests. More than 1,000 users located in various offices across Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories will utilize the new CCS.

Resolving complexities

Key challenges during implementation included the raft of complexities as a result of the wide variety of systems involved, broad range of functions and the large numbers of users. The need to have all these components integrated across the various clients, personnel and financial data of the department made the exercise a daunting task to EMSD and Accenture.

By streamlining and integrating various work processes within EMSD, the new system will help enhance EMSD's service delivery by providing its managers with more timely and relevant information to assist the decision-making processes.

"It will also enable more rapid and accurate responses to service requests from other government departments and agencies," said Leung.

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