Efficiency behind the scenes: Management and Operations
In 2005, UNICEF was able to use its strengths in technology and information management to enhance organizational efficiency, contribute to UN reform and work more effectively towards improving children’s lives.
New systems and enhancements have improved information management and simplified management tools. The initial phase of a funds-management tool, for example, was implemented in 2005, resulting in reduced paperwork related to managing grants from donors and less staff time spent on such activities as data entry.
Another improvement was enhancing the programme manager system used by field offices to facilitate work with other UN agencies. Better access to information for staff through a redesigned intranet home page and for the public through enhanced Internet services – including better search capability – has improved the flow of information for programmes and communication.
Supporting UN reform
Given its strengths in information technology, UNICEF is well placed to support the UN reform vision through systems and applications. The organization continues to work towards common standards and systems, and at the same time, it has made concrete contributions towards harmonizing business processes across agencies. UNICEF’s development of the SAP-HR system for administration and management of human resources and payroll includes a unique common solution for the United Nations. Several UN agencies have already adopted this customized system, and others are reviewing the option while planning implementation in 2006.
DevInfo, the statistical database that presents data in tables, charts and maps, has been enhanced with the increased participation of UN agencies, governments and non-governmental organizations. In 2005, UNICEF launched a customized version of the tool – MDG Info 2005 – to host the official database for monitoring the Millennium Development Goals. Plans are under way to develop this tool for expanded use in emergency situations.
UN cluster leader in data communications during emergencies
The organization has continually met its commitment to provide connectivity in the first stages of emergency situations. Demonstrated performance in this area resulted in UNICEF being named the UN cluster leader in data communications during emergencies. In 2005, UNICEF fulfilled this function, first informally in several tsunami-affected countries, and then more formally in areas affected by the South Asia earthquake.
In addition to its ongoing partnerships with other UN agencies and humanitarian organizations, UNICEF maintains close partnerships with key vendors, in order to keep abreast of and make best use of emerging technologies.