Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC)
Customer Snapshot: Overview
India's 1st municipal corporation to automate citizen services
Newly married couples in Bhopal, India, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, have a long-standing tradition of spending their precious post-nuptial hours in a municipal office waiting around for a marriage registration. Not a very romantic way for a new couple to enjoy wedded bliss. But it’s a necessary step nevertheless, because India has some complex customs and regulations.
Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC)
Number of Employees
Line of Business
SAP Enterprise Portal, SAP ERP, SAP for Public Sector, SAP NetWeaver
The Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) regulates most civic functions in Bhopal. In addition to marriage certificates, the organization issues birth and death registrations, oversees road, park, and open space management, and approves infrastructure development including roads, parking, traffic signals, community halls, and schools. BMC issues permits for health services, water supply, lake conservation, and tax collection, among other functions.
Customer Snapshot: History
Customer Snapshot: Business Model
Traditions Clash with Progress
Even everyday transactions — like paying water bills — were complicated ordeals for the 1.8 million citizens of Bhopal, India. But for a population steeped in tradition, change is difficult. Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials recognized the benefits of simplifying municipal services, but they needed a team with a deep understanding of the public sector and Indian culture, as well as the technical know-how to help them integrate diverse, manual processes across the city’s more than 100 offices (including zones, wards, and other offices).
Customer Snapshot: Success Strategy
Because BMC has a complex organizational structure, the organization had to carefully and thoughtfully explore the idea of updating their software and hardware landscape. A third tier of government, BMC is governed by the elected Mayor and Council of Corporators. The administrative head — the Commissioner who is a civil service officer — is appointed by the state. BMC has delegated ward officers — each individually governing a particular area of the 285-square kilometer city limits, which is divided into several zones with each containing a number of ward offices where citizens go for services.
The goal is for each zone to work in conjunction with one another and maintain efficient communication throughout the jurisdiction.
Layers of Complication
For many of the city’s residents, obtaining a marriage registration was an arduous and frustrating task. Strict regulations stipulate that couples — and their parents or guardians — must appear before the registrar within 30 days of the wedding ceremony, and and they have to publicly post intention of vows no less than 30 days before the ceremony. With all these stipulations, it’s a safe guess that for many couples, registration stress — which included showing up at a BMC office for multiple appointments — was responsible for their first argument as husband and wife.
Because BMC has a complex organizational structure, the organization had to carefully and thoughtfully explore the idea of updating their software and hardware landscape. Each of their 70 wards collected and stored data for citizens. Sharing this data with other wards was often a challenge, mostly because there was very limited automation and records were paper-based.
A citizen with properties in multiple wards would have multiple accounts, and his situation was complicated further because utility services are tied to the property. That citizen might have multiple sanitation, water, and other service accounts. With no integration for all their services, BMC could potentially have several paper trails for one citizen, and no true visibility into that citizen’s account history.
The pressure to integrate, automate, and improve transparency led BMC to partner with SAP, with its unmatched public service offerings. SAP could also help break down huge mental barriers towards old processes, both at BMC and among the public.
Enter SAP: The SAP Experience
But We’ve Always Done it This Way!
Once the decision was made to undertake an automation project, BMC’s first step was to map all of its manual services to a standard process within each SAP for Public Sector solution. This meant discarding many time-honored processes. Deloitte was instrumental in helping BMC complete this arduous task, as well as helping to combat one of BMC’s main challenges — achieving buy-in from ward officers. It was at this point of the project that ward officers realized that their old ways of doing things were going away.
Buy-in was also a key challenge from a citizenry that was familiar with in-person interactions with BMC, however cumbersome those processes may have been at times. Months of intensive training helped allay the concerns of BMC personnel, but it was still difficult to convince accountants, for example, that phasing out manual general ledger posts in favor of automation would make their jobs easier and more efficient.
Seeing the Savings Helps Gain Trust
From the citizen perspective, acceptance came about when Bhopal residents understood how much time they could save by transitioning to online interactions, such as payments, downloading and submitting forms, and accessing account history. To facilitate customer ease of use, BMC opened several Citizen Facilitation Centers (CFCs) throughout the city.
Citizens could go to these facilities to apply for any of the services or to access BMC computer terminals to conduct business. Prior to the automation, the only option was to go to a ward office, which often involved a lot of waiting and long queues for the various interactions — for example, one queue for birth certificates, one for commercial licenses, one for water tax, and so forth.
Better Business: Benefits
The SAP for Public Sector solutions have provided BMC with a host of benefits, essentially changing every way in which the organization interacts with the citizens it serves. In addition to the benefits explored in this article, BMC has used SAP for Public Sector to:
BMC’s innovative project in partnership with Deloitte culminated in the 2013 SAP Ace Award for Public Services, which recognizes BMC’s groundbreaking steps to make Bhopal the first municipality in India to automate and centralize end-to-end public service offerings through SAP software.
Better Business: Run Simple
Now, every user, every customer, can access all of these services in Hindi, the official language, and this has never been done before. New capabilities also include text and email alerts, so customers can elect to be notified when a bill is due. The positive response has been overwhelming.
And how has the marriage registration process improved and become less of a chore for happily engaged or newlywed couples? All the forms are available online, and everything can be done through the CFC. An appointment system has improved the wait time. The bride and groom still need to physically come in to give their fingerprints, but that process only takes five minutes today.
Mobilizing Municipal Management
BMC is exploring taking the step of extending all of their services to a mobile platform for even greater access. When this project started, the goal was to design a system so that everyone would be able to work on a computer. Now, the aim is to enable everyone to interact with BMC on a smartphone.