WorldReach Software

WorldReach at the eu-LISA Frontex Annual Conference

October 2 2019

On October 16th, WorldReach will be attending the eu-LISA Frontex Annual Conference in Tallinn, Estonia. This year, the event will be examining “The new information architecture as a driver for efficiency and effectiveness in internal security.” As the first conference since the adoption of an extended mandate to the Agency which includes the new large-scale IT systems (Entry-Exit System (EES), European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETAIS), and the European Criminal Records Information System for Third Country Nationals (ECRIS-TCN).

If you are attending and interested in setting up a meeting with Steven Grant, Director of Business Development, or Carl Gohringer, WorldReach Senior Consultant, at this event please contact us directly.

For more information, please visit: https://www.eulisa.europa.eu/Newsroom/Events/Pages/Annual-Conference-2019.aspx

About WorldReach Software

WorldReach Software helps ensure traveller safety and security worldwide through its systems for government immigration, passport, border management and consular organizations. WorldReach supplies secure eID/Travel Document issuance, remote identity verification services and consular software, including best practices and the Know Your Traveller™ (KYT) innovative platform/processes. Government customers include Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Ireland, British Overseas Territories (Anguilla, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, the Virgin Islands), and UK Crown Dependencies (Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey) & Gibraltar.

Press contact

Shelley Bryen, WorldReach Software, +1 (613) 742-6482

The Flightless Phoenix

Gar Pardy

Hill Times, February 21, 2018

Garbage fed into the creation of the Phoenix system means plenty of garbage to take out for those left to clean up the mess.

Out of the mists of the ancient Mediterranean comes the story of the birthing of a Phoenix from the ashes of a predecessor; a story that lives on to remind us of the unique myths that helped our ancestors cope with the fates and the gods.  The ongoing saga of our modern Phoenix, a seemingly similar mythical bird, brings much angst and no delight to those who toil for the government of Canada.

The modern Phoenix, perhaps with a hubristic Icarus onboard, has two wings. One was to create a new centralize pay system out of a labour-intensive, successful decentralized service based on the knowledge of the experienced.  The other wing was to carry a replacement for the 40-year old cheque issuance system used by 101 governmental departments and agencies.

This bird has yet to fly is as evident as that from the old pictures depicting the attempts to get a heavier than air machine of the ground. As with those early machines, their designers observed the birds.  It was only when da Vinci-like minds examined how birds flew, the first successful heavier than air machines marched us successfully into the technological marvel of flight.

In the haste associated with our new budding and still building technological marvel of the computer, we often forget that the machine cannot and will not do the thinking for us.   The thinking must come first and when that is ignored, the old adage associated with computers rears its ugly head.  Even Charles Babbage, the generally accepted originator of the digital programmable computer, in the early 19th century was asked “if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?”

The answer of course is GIGO, or garbage in, garbage out.  This is largely forgotten when dreams of large financial savings are combined with promised enormous new efficiencies and sold to uninformed and largely ignorant minds on matters technological.

The thinking for the old systems was done by some 2,000 experienced pay advisors across the 101 departments and agencies.  Some 1200 of these pay advisors were eliminated by early 2016 just as the modern Phoenix was to fly and realize dreams of $70 million in annual savings.  Today, no one mentions those savings, instead the emphasis is on the conclusion that the total cost of Phoenix, assuming those involved in its implementation persevere, will come close to a billion dollars

The experienced pay advisors were replaced by 460 newly hired pay advisors in a new Pay Centre in Miramichi, in northeastern New Brunswick.  This cadre of pay advisors along with software adapted out of a commercial 1987-era product, PeopleSoft, owned by Oracle, had to deal with 80,000 pay rules flowing out of more than 105 collective, changeable agreements in addition to individual employment contracts.  To make this work, Phoenix also included more than 200-custom built programs.

The Auditor General in a report to Parliament in November provided many of the above numbers but also noted that as of last June the number of outstanding pay change requests continued to grow to nearly half a million (494,500). Periodic updating of these numbers since gives no confidence that the modern Phoenix will outdistance these problems in any meaningful way and at some point, soar with the eagles.

Sadly, the Phoenix debacle is not unique.  Since the introduction of the Internet some twenty-five years ago and development of a variety of associated speciality applications meant to speed and create efficiencies – sold largely on the basis of large financial savings they represented – governments everywhere, and the private sector as well, is littered with failures.  Every area of human activity is included ranging from space to hospitals to passports to social services to financial management and even the management of weapon systems and the avoidance of war.

In foreign operations alone, COSICS (an early several hundreds of millions of dollars failure for secure communications at Foreign Affairs), passport issuance and immigration processing all had significant failures. Even a government-wide financial system (FINEX) ran into problem when it was introduced at Foreign Affairs and it was discovered that it did not have provision for dealing with currency exchange.

It does not have to be this way.  The most fundamental of errors is the distance between those who have done the work and know its intricacies and those who seek to replicate it in a digital format.  More often than not the latter dominate within this process and those who should provide an overview are blinded by possibilities that some magical system will be produced leading to great success.

Some twenty-five years ago I was directly involved in the development of a complex system designed to support the delivery of services to Canadians overseas.  The first contract for the system was signed in February 1993 and within a few years the system – now called COSMOS – was implemented and deployed to over two hundred diplomatic offices overseas.    

Today the COSMOS system continues in full operation and, giving value to its effectiveness, the technology has been purchased by seven other countries to assist in the delivery of their consular services.  The cost of the system over the last quarter of a century is less than fifty million dollars. (Details on the system can be found at WorldReach Software, the Ottawa based developer.)

The debate still rages as to whether the government should walk away from Phoenix or persevere in the hope that the bird will eventually fly.  There is no answer to the question except that if those involved does not include those with expertise of the work that has to be done by the system, then there is no hope for a fix.  Garbage in will always result in garbage out in the world of computers.

Gar Pardy is retired from the Canadian foreign service and throughout his career was involved in the application of computers to support the work of the Department.

Published with the permission of the author

Global Consular Forum Adopts 1st Statement on Global Consular Cooperation

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SEOUL, Oct. 27 (Yonhap) — The Global Consular Forum (GCF) adopted a statement on Thursday, documenting countries’ resolve for closer cooperation on consular issues, the first statement adopted by the high-level government body since it was launched in 2013.

The GCF, which aims to better protect tourists and residents in foreign countries, adopted the Seoul Consensus Statement on Consular Cooperation at the closing of its three-day gathering in the city of Songdo, west of Seoul. It was the third meeting of the GCF since its inaugural gathering in London.

Senior consular officials from 33 countries including the U.S., China, Japan, France and Britain joined the global forum. Also, 19 international organizations and private companies such as South Korean mobile telephone operators and airlines joined to discuss their contribution to improving consular services.

The participating countries shared their understanding for international collaboration in providing better consular services to their nationals traveling or residing in foreign countries, especially amid an increasing number of cross-border threats by terrorists and natural disasters.

The countries committed to enhancing multilateral cooperation in key areas like promoting safe travel culture, responding to crises and disasters, and providing consular services to migrant workers, according to the statement,

They also agreed to focus on the GCF format in further strengthening consular cooperation.

“We note that 2017 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations coming into force in 1967. The convention enables and facilitates the delivery of consular services,” a copy of the statement read. “Meetings of the (Global Consular) forum provide an opportunity to discuss the past and future benefits and challenges in the practical implementation of the convention.”

The Vienna Convention, an international treaty ratified by 179 countries, allows consuls to operate in host countries to protect the interests of their countrymen and deepen bilateral relations between host and sending countries.

On the sidelines of the latest forum, South Korea held bilateral talks with senior consular officials from Britain, Mongolia, the Philippines and Mexico.

“The forum has provided an opportunity to share experiences and opinions of many countries on the consular field and its development,” said South Korea’s Ambassador for Overseas Koreans and Consular Affairs Han Dong-man, who also co-chaired the forum.

“Officials from international organizations and private companies joined the forum for the first time to discuss ways they could contribute to consular services. Their participation has been very meaningful,” he said

Also see: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2016/10/27/0200000000AEN20161027009400315.html?input=rss

WorldReach at Global Consular Forum in the Republic of Korea

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October 24, 2016

WorldReach Software is honoured to be participating in the Stakeholders Day of the Third Meeting of the Global Consular Forum (GCFIII) to be held at the Incheon Oakwood Premier in Songdo, Republic of Korea October 25, 2016.

The Global Consular Forum is an informal, broadly based grouping of countries interested in achieving excellence in the delivery of consular and emergency services through dialogue, practitioners’ cooperation and multi-stakeholders partnerships. 60+ senior consular participants from 40 countries are expected to attend this 2016 event.  This year’s focus revolves around unresolved challenges and emerging trends in the industry from the perspective of consular prevention and intervention. WorldReach has been invited to share their expertise and insights on the world of consular protection services (defined as the assistance provided to citizens travelling, living or working abroad. These services range broadly from the provision of travel advice and advisories, to providing direct service to citizens abroad, such as delivering urgent assistance during consular and emergency crises). 

Both Gordon Wilson, President, and Steven Grant, Director of Business Development will be representing WorldReach at this by-invitation-only, prestigious consular event. WorldReach is also a proud sponsor of the Global Consular Forum.

Global Consular Forum discussions – Yonhap News

About WorldReach Software

WorldReach Software helps ensure traveller safety and security worldwide through its systems for both government organizations as well as individual travellers. WorldReach supplies consular, passport/ePassport and eVisa/Electronic Travel Authorization software and fosters best practices used by more than 3000 daily users in over 950 sites, making it the leading company providing global consular software solutions for Foreign Affairs.  Customers include government ministries and departments from Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Ireland, Denmark, Anguilla, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin Islands. For more information contact: www.worldreach.com

Press contact:

Shelley Bryen, WorldReach Software,   (613) 742-6482

The International Consular Officers Forum Reaches 3000 Members

icof-3000

September 13, 2016

(Ottawa, ON  Canada) The International Consular Officers Forum on LinkedIn continues to grow at an incredible rate, now reaching 3000 members!

This industry forum, created by WorldReach as a neutral but active advocate for the consular community, is the first of its kind focused solely on the topics that concern consular officers.  Forums exist elsewhere for passports and visas, for honourary consuls and ambassadors, for crisis management and emergency preparedness. But this LinkedIn Forum is the only place for consular officers, who may be responsible for some or all of these tasks, to come together and share news, consular trends and best practices, problems and successes.

While our members are mainly consular officers, we also have consuls and ambassadors, as well as trade commissioners, development professionals, aid workers, migration managers, accountants, HR managers, and students. Members also encompass virtually every country in the world, making this open dialog venue a truly global affair.

For more information on this forum, or if you would like to join, please visit: International Consular Officers Forum

International Consular Officers Forum Passes the 2500 Members Mark

ICOF Banner

July 13, 2016

(Ottawa, ON  Canada) One day shy of the International Consular Officers Forum’s first anniversary, membership has reached more than 2,500 members – a number that WorldReach Software organizers never expected to reach so quickly.

This industry forum, created by WorldReach as a neutral but active advocate for the consular community, is the first of its kind focused solely on the topics that concern consular officers.  Forums exist elsewhere for passports and visas, for honourary consuls and ambassadors, for crisis management and emergency preparedness. But this LinkedIn Forum is the only place for consular officers, who may be responsible for some or all of these tasks, to come together and share news, consular trends and best practices, problems and successes.

While our members are mainly consular officers, we also have consuls and ambassadors, as well as trade commissioners, development professionals, aid workers, migration managers, accountants, HR managers, and students. Members also encompass virtually every country in the world, making this open dialog venue a truly global affair.

For more information on this forum, or if you would like to join, please visit: International Consular Officers Forum