Which came first: The ICT chicken or the joint operations egg?

BY Ognjen Krstulovic | April 26, 2016|Comments 0

It’s the eternal question: form before function or the other way around? It is hard to tell which came first – joint operational processes in UN in Bosnia and Herzegovina, or the ICT tools that support them.
As early as our move to a One UN House, it was an important question: Can we have an ICT system that will help us all to manage conference rooms in the new building in a transparent and efficient way? If not, we might not be able to share space, each agency would end up having its own conference room, and the whole point of coming together under one roof would be lost.

Fortunately, we were able to set up a system to meet this one simple business need. But, as we spend more time together, more and more operational processes would obviously be more efficient if done jointly, or at least in the same way by everyone. So we ask ourselves: Which other processes could benefit from new technologies?

A few examples came to our minds, but we asked around for everyone’s feedback… the response was overwhelming.

Colleagues immediately came out with processes that could benefit from a 21st century approach and we were thrilled! Here are some (the list is long): vehicle and driver booking system, translator roster, intern roster, ICT support request and consultancies management.


After the great response from our colleagues across all UN agencies, we got on task to see which processes could be made more efficient, which processes matter for the whole UN community, and which everyone is doing in the same way but separately from each other.

It was a challenging activity, because there is no single process that matters equally to all of the UN community.  For example, a smaller organization may not need an application to book a vehicle whereas a larger one might do.

I am reading your mind… getting colleagues who report to different bosses to agree on something? Good luck with that… Well I guess we were lucky or we just followed the right path.

  1. We identified those processes that could be turn into applications,
  2. We gave everyone an equal shot at expressing their needs,
  3. And prepared specifications for every application we wanted.

It worked!

After a tedious and complex procurement process, I am proud to say that the UN in Bosnia and Herzegovina will shortly have a few new great applications in our One UN intranet available to make everyone’s life easier.

We have about 10 “design” teams composed of stakeholders in different roles from various agencies working together – analysing business processes openly, learning from each other and laying the groundwork for innovation.

And it doesn’t end there! We only have sketches of the future processes but one can already see possible improvements – steps we will be able to skip, papers we will be able to omit, information that will flow easier.

All in all, as we move through our packed meeting schedule we are getting closer to our first look at the new system. Will keep you posted. Looks like the chicken and the egg are equal partners…


Ognjen Krstulovic Ognjen is part the Bosnia and Herzegovina UN Operations Management Team and Head of ICT at UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina. You can find Ognjen in Linkedin.

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