There are three main aspects to corporate use of ICT) in social security institutions:
- The governance and management of ICT-related activities, which address the overall organization, implementation and operation of ICT systems, including a wide spectrum of related tasks, notably: defining principles, approaches and roles to governing ICT-related activities overall; elaborating ICT strategies and management processes; managing ICT investments; managing data and information infrastructure; and managing the continuity of the business, especially on citizen services.
- The implementation of social security functions and required resources, notably: benefit administration, contribution collection, financial management and compliance control, on the one hand; internal services such as human resources and internal audit on the other hand; and corporate information systems and ICT platforms as corporate resources to be used by the former.
- The application of key technologies for social security systems, which enables the implementation of integrated, safe and accessible ICT-based services. The application of these technologies, notably interoperability, data security and privacy, analytics and mobile, plays a key role in the effective and efficient implementation of high-performance social security systems.
In addition, cutting across these aspects, the comprehension of international standards and practices on ICT (e.g. ISO, COBIT®, ITIL®, DAMA, CMMI, W3C, OASIS, Dublin Core, OMG, etc.) would enable social security institutions to apply comprehensive and rigorous approaches to managing the complexities of ICT application in large-scale and critical mission organizations.
The ISSA Guidelines on Information and Communication Technology address these issues and provide guidance to support social security institutions in carrying out ICT-related activities. Its main goals are to promote the effectiveness and reliability of social security services, as well as their efficiency and standardization. It also aims to facilitate the adoption of international standards and practices on ICT in the context of the overall application of ISSA Guidelines for Social Security Administration.
These Guidelines develop the aspects of ICT governance and management, key technologies and the implementation of social security functions. They address the implementation of main social security functions and related resources as well as business processes, taking into account the range of social security scheme implementations as well as their dependence on institutions’ mandates and organizational contexts. Given this diversity, the guidelines, which aim to be generically applicable to all institutions, are complemented by technical documentation, good practice and case studies. These will be further developed, taking into account the diversity of social security schemes and related administrative processes, among other factors. The relationship between social security functions and ICT-based implementation will be also considered in the corresponding guidelines.
It is important to highlight that carrying out the tasks related to these aspects involves not only ICT professionals and technical staff, but also units managing social security functions, contracts administration, staff, internal audit and the institutions’ authorities (the board, chief executive, general manager, etc.).
As ICT is an indispensable enabler in the administration of social security systems, it is important for the board to work hand in hand with the management in ensuring that the institution has an adequate and efficient ICT platform. While the fundamentals of social security administration may remain the same – delivering the right benefits and services to the right person at the right time – the ways in which these benefits and services are delivered are evolving rapidly and dynamically. An institution that has a board and management who are attuned to and well informed about ICT trends and developments is in a much better position to appreciate not just what can be delivered but also the potential than can be achieved through ICT, all with a view to providing social security benefits and services in the most efficient, effective and equitable manner.