The Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) Improves Municipal Affairs and Strengthens Trust in Jalalabad

A USAID’s funded project Strong Hubs for Afghan Hope and Resilience (SHAHAR) is installed in partner municipalities throughout Afghanistan in order to ensure a transparent and efficient delivery of services. Within this project and as a result of the implementation of Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) – developed by Synergy International Systems – an optimistic view is being formed amongst government officials.

“The desire for Jalalabad to have a modern, computerized system for collecting and accounting for taxes, fees and other payments was not Mr. Naqib’s alone. In 2016, The Deputy Ministry of Municipalities (DMM) launched the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) with assistance from USAID’s Strong Hubs for Afghan Hope and Resilience (SHAHAR) project. After consultations between Jalalabad Municipality, DMM and SHAHAR in late 2018, the municipality prioritized the installation of two essential IFMS modules – business licensing and other revenues. Since then, the business licensing module has helped the municipality harmonize processes, and reduced the time to receive a business license from 7 days to 2. Now, municipal officials like Mr. Naqib are based at Citizen Service Centers to work with customers to complete the procedure. They enter data, register payments via municipal banking, and issue printed licenses and receipts. With the installation of the updated system, customers demand for business licenses as well as their trust in fast-moving urban services have increased”, as stated in a project success story by USAID.

Read the USAID newsletter to find more on this project, as well as watch the project video produced by USAID SHAHAR.

Synergy Commits to the Ten Principles of UN Global Compact

Synergy International Systems, Inc. has committed to the UN Global Compact’s ten principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption and has signed as a signatory member in April 2020. With this act, Synergy reinforces its pledge to act as a good member of global society and play a role in transforming the global corporate world into a more sustainable one.

UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate citizenship initiative. At the heart of the Global Compact is a conviction that business practices which are rooted in universal principles help the global marketplace to become more socially and economically inclusive, thus advancing collective goals of international cooperation, peace and development. Hence, the UN Global Compact has developed 10 principles to provide its member companies with a blueprint guiding their actions into shaping a global corporate culture of doing business responsibly, protecting the planet and ensuring that all people are blessed with peace and prosperity.

“Our participation to the UN Global Compact strengthens the business practices that have always been fundamental to the way Synergy has been operating for the past 23 years,” says Dr. Ashot Hovanesian, Synergy’s CEO and Founder. “We remain committed to continuing practicing business – both products and operations – in a mode that advances the broader development goals of the United Nations, including the SDGs. Moreover, we are willing to undertake new practical actions that will contribute to the increase of responsibility of the global business community”, adds Dr. Hovanesian.

Synergy’s mission as a software development and consultancy company is helping governments, donor organizations, international nonprofits and global companies improve their service delivery and organizational effectiveness, as well as achieve informed decision-making.

In signing the UN Global Compact, Synergy joins over 9000 companies and organizations around the world, who have committed to corporate citizenship and responsibility. As a signatory, Synergy complies to complete and submit an annual Communication on Progress, demonstrating its progress working towards the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact.

Implementation of IFMS, A Step Towards Accountability and Transparency in Hirat Municipality

Within USAID’s Strong Hubs for Afghan Hope and Resilience (SHAHAR) Project, the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) is harmonizing budgeting processes and helping Hirat Municipality more effectively forecast and manage revenue and expenditures. IFMS and its modules are developed by Synergy International Systems, Inc.

Prior to the implementation of the IFMS, Hirat Municipality – which had a significant revenue generation potential – had been struggling to tap the available revenue sources due to the absence of a computerized system.  Previously, all financial transactions were carried out manually.

USAID’s SHAHAR project came to offer a comprehensive solution to this problem by launching the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) in Hirat Municipality. SHAHAR prioritized installation of seven essential modules:  Accounting, Budgeting, Payroll, Safayi and Business Licensing, Property Registration, Data Transfer, and Other Revenue.

The municipal staff are now having access to all financial and non-financial modules as well as municipal laws and regulations.

Read the USAID Newsletter to find more on this project, as well as watch the project video produced by USAID SHAHAR.

Synergy Helps The Bahamas Launch Online Application System for Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits

In response to the economic devastation in the Bahamas caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Synergy International Systems, Inc. is developing an online system that will enable Bahamians who lose their jobs because of the disaster to apply remotely for emergency unemployment benefits and food vouchers — something that before could only be done in person. The country faces a massive unemployment crisis as its tourist industry has been severely weakened by the pandemic.

This emergency response is part of a broader partnership between Synergy and the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development of the Bahamas to strengthen the management of the country’s social safety net system through information technology. Last month, the two sides signed a contract to revamp and expand the IT system for administering social safety net programs, including ones set up in response to the 2019 Hurricane Dorian.

Synergy has a long track record of helping countries and the international community respond to humanitarian crises. In the aftermath of major natural disasters such as the 2005 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, and the 2013 Philippines Typhoon Yolanda, Synergy enabled disaster-affected governments and their partners to track the flow of aid money and monitor the progress of recovery efforts.

During the COVID-19 Crisis, Case Management Systems Are Helping Justice Sectors to Continue Operations, While Practicing Social Distancing

Amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, both private and governmental law and justice operations are being negatively impacted. Countries and states are forced into quarantine and are adapting their methods of citizen engagement, looking for ways to continue to provide services to the public and not suspend their entire operations.

It is in extreme situations and crisis circumstances such as this, when face to face interactions are limited (or in some cases even prohibited), that the power of technology can be appreciated from a new perspective. While electronic Case Management Systems were originally designed to help governments improve efficiency and combat corruption, in times of crisis the systems display their full value: they support continuity in electronic business processes, enabling social distancing for a subset of their operations that otherwise would have been suspended.

As courts and other justice institutions worldwide are trying to identify new ways to continue their operations, the ones who are already employing electronic Case Management Systems have the option of not shutting down their institutions entirely. Even though some operations are being halted, for instance case hearings and pre-trial meetings, governments that have invested in these systems are now reaping their unforeseen benefits. Those courts and other justice institutions that have moved their services online are able to maintain a base level of functioning and can continue reaching out to their citizens.

Case in Point: E-filing within Rwanda IECMS

Launched in 2016, the Rwanda Integrated Electronic Case Management System (IECMS) integrates all institutions of the country’s justice sector (Rwanda Investigation Bureau, National Public Prosecution Authority, Judiciary, Rwanda Correctional Services, etc.). Since then, all case related business processes of the country’s justice sector have been conducted electronically.

One such business process is the filing of court cases. Since 2016, all cases in Rwanda have been filed electronically, thus eliminating the need for citizens to visit the court in person to file their cases.

In light of the current situation, Rwanda IECMS is helping justice institutions in Rwanda to achieve more than simply increasing their efficiency.

In a “Notice to the General Public” on measures taken to prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19, issued by the Supreme Court of Rwanda on March 15, 2020, the Bureau of the High Council of the Judiciary orders “the suspension of court hearings, pre-trial hearings and scheduled meetings between litigants, court administration and the Department of Inspectorate of Courts” for a period of two weeks, until March 30, 2020. The official statement advises the litigants and the general public to contact courts through online platforms and hotlines, including IECMS.

Rwanda IECMS is helping Rwandan courts not to close down entirely. The system continues to provide an interface between the Rwandan Judiciary and litigants for electronic filing of cases, which allows the registrars to receive new cases from litigants. Moreover, judges continue to have remote access to their cases, making judicial and court services accessible to citizens even in times like these.

“Rwanda IECMS is vital in situations like the one we are facing now, because it enables judges and Court officers to work remotely on their cases from anywhere,” says Justice Harrison Mutabazi, the Official Spokesperson of the Rwanda Judiciary.

The remote access to justice is also helping the Government of Rwanda to prevent the spread of COVID 19 by physical contact.

“In such situations, e-filing is very helpful, since it aids the litigants to file their cases to the Court without necessarily approaching in person. This reduces physical contacts between litigants to litigants and to the Court officers. I think this is one of the means helping to curb the spread of the scourge,” says Justice Harrison Mutabazi.

Moreover, Rwanda IECMS enables electronic transmission of relevant information between various institutions of the justice sector, from the Rwanda Investigation Bureau to the prosecution, then courts and correctional services. Initially designed to increase transparency and efficiency, this functionality of the IECMS is now contributing to the continuity of some segments of the sector, while preventing any sort of physical contact.

“It is a great satisfaction that the technology solutions we provide are helping governments and organizations to keep themselves safe, smoothly carry on with their operations, and at the same time, play their part in containing the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus”, says Dr. Ashot Hovanesian, Synergy’s CEO and Founder.

Over the past 23 years, Synergy has been providing consultancy and software solutions in a number of domains in justice sector, as well as governance and public management and strategy execution to its clients in more than 70 countries worldwide. More specifically, Synergy provides justice sector Case Management Systems to a number of countries covering the needs of various institutions from single courts to anti-corruption bodies to the entire integrated justice sector.

With IFMS, Afghan Municipalities Boost Their Financial Performance

Within USAID’s Strong Hubs for Afghan Hope and Resilience (SHAHAR) Project, the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) is computerizing business licensing and property registration processes in two nahyas of Mazar-e-Sharif Municipality. IFMS and its modules are developed by Synergy International Systems, Inc.

Introduction of the IFMS modules helped Nahyas 1 and 2 resolve many of the issues that they have been facing with manual systems. Nahyas are now able to issue printed versions of business licenses and Safayi notebooks, generate computerized financial reports through the IFMS Business Licensing and Property Registration modules, as well as deliver the services in a timely manner. In addition, citizens are now paying their fees and taxes via municipal banking, which ensures transparency and accountability in the municipal service delivery. This resulted in increased citizens’ trust in the municipal administration.

Read the USAID Newsletter to find more on this project, as well as watch the project video produced by USAID SHAHAR.

Synergy is Developing a Management Information System and a Payment System for the Household Uplifting Program in Nigeria

Synergy International Systems, Inc. is developing and implementing a Management Information System and Payment System for the Household Uplifting Program (HUP MIS & Payment System) of the National Cash Transfer Office of Nigeria. Nigeria Household Uplifting Program is aimed at providing access to targeted cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households under the national safety net system.

The main purpose of the system will be to automate processes of household enrollment and payment of social benefits, tracking of co-responsibility compliance, managing savings and income generation and establishing sustainable livelihood for vulnerable households. This project will help further advance the social protection sector in the country.

As a solution, HUP MIS & Payment System is a customized version of Synergy Social Protection Information System (Synergy SPIS) – one of the few off-the-shelf Social Protection Information System available in the international market today – to implement and track all phases of Nigeria Household Uplifting Program.

“We are happy to leverage our best practice experience to not only successfully develop and deploy the MIS & Payment System for Household Uplifting Program, but also to offer unparalleled, experience-based insight into creating a tool that will help increase the efficiency of the program,” says Dr. Ashot Hovanesian, Synergy’s CEO and Founder.

Similar to other relevant MIS and Payment System solutions created by Synergy, SPIS is enabling governments to employ the tools necessary for effectively managing information on beneficiaries of social protection programs, generating transfer payments and distribution of assistance to the beneficiaries, as well as monitoring processes and outcomes to identify key operational challenges and success factors.

Afghanistan State Budget Planning System: A Tool that Grows Along with the Evolving Needs of the Sector it Serves

In 2008, the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan put into practice the State Budget Planning System (SBPS) developed by Synergy International Systems. Over the past years, SBPS has become an essential tool for the Government of Afghanistan to streamline its budget planning and execution.

SBPS is specifically designed to quickly and easily automate the entire cycle of budget definition and preparation processes, as well as enhance monitoring of the approved budget. Over the past years, it has streamlined Afghanistan’s budget formulation and execution processes from budget preparation to its review, execution and monitoring.

“SBPS has increased the transparency and accountability of our operations and has expedited all our budget formulation processes. The reports generated in the system are being used by the line ministries and top management of our government,” says Mr. Sharif Stanekzai from the General Directorate of the National Budget at the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan.

Mr. Stanekzai at Synergy’s Development and Global Learning Center in Armenia.

A web-based, user friendly tool, SBPS has evolved over the past years along with the progressing needs of the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan. Now undergoing its regular upgrading, SBPS’s rich features continues to enable the Ministry of Finance to collect, analyze, and report key data for its projects, create top-down and bottom-up budget planning and execution, and create multi-year budgets and forecasts.

“SBPS has grown in line with the development of our budget formulation processes. We are regularly update our system so that it evolves around business processes and answers all our needs that are evolving with time” says Mr. Stanekzai. “Initially, it was developed as a desktop system, then we transformed it into a web-based system so that it would be available on the internet. This, in its turn, increased the accountability and transparency of our operations, because an increased number of stakeholders had access to the system,” he adds.

SBPS is providing the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan a central platform for budget planning which remains essential to budget preparation and execution reforms of the country. Currently, is being employed not just by the Ministry of Finance, but other line ministries of the Government of Afghanistan for budget planning, monitoring, and reporting.

Moreover, SBPS is playing a significant role in shaping the image of Afghanistan as a country willing to do business in advanced ways. “I am happy to tell that the reports from our system are very much accountable, which has helped in coordinating projects with international donor agencies. Our auditors from international financial institutions are impressed by the functionality of SBPS,” states Mr. Stanekzai.

“The accuracy that the system has brought us has no comparison to any other system in Afghanistan. The data in this system is way more reliable than in any other system used in our country. All line ministries, even contractors, depend on the data generated by SBPS,” explains Mr. Stanekzai.

Over the past decade, the relationship between the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan and Synergy has evolved along SBPS to grow from being a client-technology provider relationship into becoming technology partners. “Our relationship with Synergy is such that I consider us both part of the same department. The responses are prompt, the fixes are prompt, and they know which way we are heading. They know the problems even before we find out about them and are there to fix them in time,” says Mr. Stanekzai.

Education Above All in Qatar will be Using Synergy Indicata

Synergy is excited to announce the start of a new partnership with Education Above All (EAA), a not-for-profit founded in Qatar in 2012. Over the next months, Synergy will be designing, developing, and implementing a customized version of Synergy Indicata, the company’s flagship Monitoring and Evaluation Information System, to cater for EAA’s organization-level monitoring and evaluation needs.

As a centralized, automated strategy execution and monitoring and evaluation Information System, Synergy Indicata is favored by dozens of international non-profits from around the globe.

Customized to the specific needs of Education Above All, Synergy Indicata will help the organization to effectively capture, analyze and use program monitoring and evaluation information, as well as monitor EAA’s progress towards reaching the organizational goal and measure the impact of its programmes.

Moreover, the client-branded M&E Information System will support the organization’s commitment to ensure quality education for marginalized and vulnerable people. With its multi-dimensional features, Synergy Indicata will provide EAA a growing knowledge and understanding of both the impact of its programmes and successful models that inform them over time.

“We are proud to become the technology partner of Education Above All Foundation, an organization whose mission is close to our heart as a tech company,” says Dr. Ashot Hovanesian, Synergy’s CEO and Founder. “At Synergy, we remain committed to cultivating opportunities that would support the life-long education of not only our employees and community members, but also that of our clients and partners.”

It is worth mentioning that since 2016 Synergy Indicata has been regularly recognized by Gartner as a representative vendor in the prestigious annual Market Guides for Strategy Execution Management, Monitoring & Evaluation software.

Improved Transparency and Access to Information Achieved in Afghan Municipalities

Within USAID’s Strong Hubs for Afghan Hope and Resilience (SHAHAR) Project, two modules – that of Complaints Management System and Legal and Policy – were installed and configured in the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), addressing a lack of transparency and data accuracy. IFMS and its modules are developed by Synergy International Systems, Inc.

Through the Complaints Management System, citizens’ complaints are recorded and processed, and monitored and tracked for resolution. This system will help Deputy Ministry of Municipalities of Afghanistan (DMM) have oversight and awareness of general issues being faced at municipalities across the country and allow them to monitor their resolution and make sure the complaints are addressed. It also generates computerized reports to municipal authorities and DMM.

Read the USAID Newsletter to find more on this project, as well as watch the project video produced by USAID SHAHAR.