The Digital Transformation of the CDEMA Coordinating Unit has been an ongoing process over many years which has strengthened the ability of the agency to execute its mandate to its Participating States and the people of the Caribbean region whom it serves. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many organisations worldwide to reimagine their business processes and to modernize their operations to avoid becoming obsolete in a quickly changing global landscape.
The pandemic also provided an opportunity for the CDEMA CU to accelerate its pace of digital transformation and to reimagine the way it undertook several of its processes. The CU’s digital transformation efforts have been led by its ICT Manager Mr. Oronde Lambert. At the start of the pandemic, recognising the need to quickly accelerate the digital transformation programme, the CU requested support through The Targeted Support to CDEMA Project funded by Global Affairs Canada. The organisation was granted a request to reallocate approximately CAD$95,000 of project funding to better ready itself to operate virtually during and after the height of the pandemic. This funding allowed the CU to fund Remote Working arrangements which included the purchasing of critical hardware and software to enable the agency to operate virtually, the funding also allowed the agency to be more responsive especially during times of restricted movement and it also strengthened its cybersecurity and communications capabilities.
However Global Affairs Canada recognising the critical importance of these digital transformation efforts has also graciously supported other digital transformation requests, these include the establishing of an E-learning platform, a Records Information Management System and most notably approving the contracting of a Management Information System/ICT specialist to support the digital transformation efforts in the person of Dr Seon Levius. Dr. Levius is an Assistant Professor of Technology at the SUNY Postdam Department of Business Administration, he is also a former ICT Manager at CDEMA and a proud citizen of Guyana.
As part of his duties Dr. Levius recently visited the CDEMA CU to conduct a comprehensive Business Process Analysis of the Caribbean Risk Information System (CRIS), specifically re-conceptualization of the strategic positioning of the CRIS within CDEMA CU Business operations. Dr. Levius believes that a paradigm shift in thinking, intense collaboration and cooperation with partners is the way forward, and rather than thinking outside the box, agencies must move forward as if the box no longer exists.
Having taken time out of his packed scheduled for an interview, he gave greater insight to what digital transformation means for CDEMA.
Assistant Professor of Technology at the SUNY Postdam Department of Business Administration, Dr Seon Levius
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new or modify existing business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements.
What does Digital Transformation look like now for CDEMA?
CARICOM agencies need to frame their approaches to solutions within the appropriate context to tackle the short, medium, and long-term imperatives to achieve the vision.
Implementation of solutions to enhance CDEMA CU’s internal operations, regional response mechanism (RRM), and its ability to use ICT to support CDM in this COVID-19 pandemic is necessary and requires a paradigm shift in our thinking, intense collaboration, and cooperation with traditional and non-traditional partners. Rather than think outside the box, we have to imagine no box exists.
What role does IT Governance play in Digital Transformation?
IT governance provides a structure for aligning your IT strategy with your organizational strategy. By following a formal framework, organizations can produce measurable results toward achieving their strategies and goals. A formal program also takes stakeholders' interests into account, as well as the needs of staff and the processes they follow.
Why was it important for you to conduct the Business Process Analysis at CDEMA?
Business processes should drive management information systems (MIS) or information technology (IT) choices and should be based on MIS/IT strategies and goals. Only after determining the most efficient and effective business process should agencies choose the MIS/IT that supports the business process.
CDEMA continues to work on advancing the CRIS across the region. What is the significance of having a platform such as this?
The CRIS platform is a one-stop shop for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation data and information of the CDEMA PSs. As an open portal, it provides access to stakeholders to support research, projects and disaster preparedness and response initiatives in the PSs