Browsing Faculty of Military Sciences by Author "Bester, Christoffel"
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- ItemThe management of information inside the general support base concept of the South African National Defence Force(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2003-12) Bester, Christoffel; La Grange, J. F.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Military Sciences. School for Defence Organisation and Resource Management.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Managing any government institution has become increasingly complicated as the requirements for accountability; streamlined operations and greater flexibility have multiplied. As effective and efficient management becomes more complex and the demands of constant change are more insistent, consequently the role of information as an organisational resource assumes greater importance for management on all levels inside the organisation. Management relies heavily on information to thrive. The value of information is derived from the actions that managers take as a result of using information. Information management consumes a large portion of any organisations finite resources and it would be to the benefit of the South African National Defence Force to achieve goal congruence between the information management objectives and the organisational objectives. If information is to be viewed as a resource of comparable importance to staff assets, and finance it must be procured and managed as purposefully as any other resource. Information can be seen as a strategic resource for any organisation and must be managed accordingly. The Public Service Act, Act 103 of 1994, which classifies information as a strategic resource for the public sector, confirms this. The formal information management strategy of the Department of Defence must therefore enable the information systems of the South African National Defence Force to support the military and business objectives of the Department of Defence. This strategy specifies how an organisation matches its scares resources and capabilities with the opportunities in the environment to accomplish its objectives. The structure of the South African National Defence Force, before transformation, was centralised and structured into vertical silos. The current information systems in use are therefore functionally orientated supporting the centralised structure (vertical silos). Transformation restructured the South African National Defence Force into a more integrated forces concept (general support base concept), suggesting emphasis on co-operation, joint planning and joint operations. The management of information must move away from the islands and silos towards an integrated and shared environment that enables the integration of information amongst the integrated forces of the organisation. This joint engagement strategy places certain requirements on the resource information to enable it to support the military and business strategy of the Department of Defence. The South African National Defence Force is moving unavoidably closer to an accountability framework based on transparency and compliance with legislation and regulations. An integral part of this framework is the requirements to provide clear and unambiguous evidence of how and why decisions are made. If managers and commanders are going to be more accountable, information must be available to assist them in decision-making and control. With the introduction of the Public Finance Management Act and the Promotion of Access to Information Act, the ability to adhere to the requirements of accountability and responsibility has become a necessity. Relevant and timely information for decision-making and control purposes therefore must be provided to managers and commanders to assist them in decision-making and control. In its present state the available architecture of the information systems of the South African National Defence Force is inadequate to provide the required information for decision-making and control purposes. The information management practices including the information systems therefore must be improved to ensure adherence to the requirements of accountability and responsibility. This study is directed towards the improvement of the quality of information provided by the information systems of the Department of Defence to assist commanders and managers in decision-making and the provision of information for control purposes inside the general support base concept of the SANDF. This improvement can only be achieved by changing budget priorities to ensure a higher priority on information technology across the organisation. Failure to improve the information management practices will result in the ineffective execution of the defence strategies.