Direction du Budget
- All “formalized documents” are stored and managed from a single database.
- Information sharing is enabled.
- The person drafting a “formalized document” can monitor the development of their document.
- The Budget Directorate has an electronic version of each document.
- E-mails relating to each “formalized document” are attached to the document to which they refer.
Background and key issues
The Budget Directorate is a department of the Ministry of the Budget, Public Accounts, and the Civil Service. It is a “Staff” department of State. It defines the State’s budgetary policy, develops Finance Law, controls budget execution, and coordinates the work of financial controllers in each government Ministry. It monitors the budget preparation work performed by State Operators and the way in which their budgets are implemented.
It has always had a central role in State functions, since all public policy depends, in one way or another, on financial intervention by the public authorities. Two major challenges have recently brought about a profound change to the way it operates and how it is organized: the introduction of the new financial constitution, the Organic Law pertaining to Budget Acts (Loi organique sur les lois de finances or “LOLF”), and the need to take steps to aid the recovery of public finances.
Up until 2007, the Budget Directorate used several applications for document storage and management, each one operating independently from the others: an intranet, an e-mail application, and a shared document index.
To increase efficiency, the department decided to combine these applications in a single solution. It also sought to automate its procedures for producing “formalized documents.”
These “formalized documents” include, on the one hand, answers given by the Directorate to questions put to it by its correspondents (ministries, State operators) and, on the other, documents that the Directorate prepares on behalf of the Ministry which feed into its discussions and its decision-making. The department produces between 1000 and 1200 of these documents annually.
The solution implemented
Having analyzed, with the assistance of a consultant, internal processes and solutions currently available on the market, specifications were drawn up by a working group comprising employees responsible for preparing “formalized documents” on a daily basis. A call for tenders was issued in the third quarter of 2007. The aim of the call for tenders was to select an integrator who could propose and implement the solution to best meet the requirements of the Budget Directorate. Given the nature of documents produced by the Directorate, data security and confidentiality are fundamental selection criteria. However, these criteria should not make the implemented solution more cumbersome.
At the beginning of 2008, a solution was selected and the market was notified. The selected integrator proposed a technical architecture based on two integrated application components. On the one hand, Liferay, an Open Source platform that enables the creation of enterprise portals and, on the other, Alfresco, an Open Source document management tool.
The first deployment took place at the end of 2008. The solution was well received by the 275 Directorate employees who account for all the effective users. They were unanimous in their appreciation of the qualities offered by this new integrated tool.
Nevertheless, the Budget Directorate soon felt the need to further develop the application in order to benefit from the latest technical advances offered by the Alfresco solution.
Consequently, in 2009 the Directorate decided to use the Enterprise version of the solution and thereby ensure that its development needs could be met internally. The solution is accompanied by support.
At the present time, the Directorate uses version 3.3.4 of the Alfresco platform. The portal implemented allows speedy access to ministry applications (Congeflow, RIM, Tutelle, Rolls, etc.), to all useful links (Alizé, MINEFE, Budget Ministry, RGPP, etc.), to information flows, to departmental and internal notes, and to news.
Additionally, all formalized documents are stored and managed in a single database, thereby enabling document sharing. The person drafting a “formalized document” can monitor the development of their document (in particular, comments and validation at different hierarchical levels). When the documents have been finalized and validated, they are inserted into the Alfresco solution. Consequently, the Budget Directorate has an electronic version of each document. And it can easily retrieve prior versions of those documents. As the e-mail application is also integrated, e-mails related to each document are attached to the document they refer to.
The project therefore brings together the following functionalities:
- The new portal of the Budget directorate;
- Electronic Management of documents produced by the Directorate;
- E-mail management;
- Shared space management;
- Automation of the “formalized document” preparation process.
Future developments concern automation of documents, such as information notes. With regard to e-mail, the objective is to be able to search documents using new queries. The Budget Directorate also wishes to implement a scoreboard of “formalized documents” in the process of being prepared or validated, so that the Head of the department can have access to an inventory displaying the progress status of these documents, at any time. Finally, initial discussions are now underway regarding paperless recording of inter-Directorate communication exchanges.
- The Budget Directorate’s 275 employees use the Alfresco solution.
- Increased efficiency for all users.
- New developments envisaged to further improve the organization of work.
- Work in a secure environment without entailing added complexity for the user.