As part of the creation of International Trade Canada (ITCan), effective December 12, 2003, IBOC's status was changed from interdepartmental partnership to fully-integrated division within the new International Trade Department. The Centre was originally established in 1995 as a partnership organization between Industry Canada (IC) and the former Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). It continues to form part of Team Canada Inc (TCI), and its unchanged purpose is to match business leads generated by the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) abroad to Canadian company exporters. Its sourcing and related services are well established and managed, and it continues to operate in a self-contained manner, in accordance with its original mandate.
Over the past two years, three factors have combined to draw senior management's attention in both departments to IBOC's role and operations:
IBOC management is seeking to meet these challenges strategically by enhancing service delivery. There is a risk that IBOC could soon be faced with a workload that it is not resourced to handle. In such a case, IBOC's performance would deteriorate, and missions would use other means to respond to foreign buyers.
At present, approximately 90% of IBOC's workload originates at missions (5,540 cases in 2002). Missions source a significant percentage of additional enquiries themselves and tend to refer to IBOC if they are unaware of potential Canadian suppliers. IBOC's intention is to concentrate on high value-added services such as Specific Leads and Partnerships and Alliances (the subject of a current pilot project), which would be more useful to missions and to Canadian companies. IBOC intends to use emerging DFAIT and IC electronic systems (vTC, eCRM, SourceCan) to transmit some General Leads and Tenders currently disseminated through e-Leads®.
IBOC's workload trends have been exhibiting a forced productivity improvement, as increasing workload has been handled by existing resources. IBOC has dealt with this situation by a combination of treating increasing numbers of leads in a lower value-added (electronic) manner, and by system upgrades that have automated formerly manual processes. Since 1995, the high value-added Specific Leads have remained generally constant, whereas the number of lower value-added General Leads and Tenders have been increasing dramatically.
Before its integration within ITCan, IBOC faced two major impediments to its future development: an awkward interdepartmental governance structure and incomplete performance measurement information. With its new situation as an integral part of a single department, the interdepartmental governance problems have largely been removed. Poor governance affected IBOC's ability to obtain funding for improvements, such as system upgrades, and without performance data (produced by system upgrades), it lacks the information necessary to fine-tune services and to mount effective business cases. Even if incremental resources were available, IBOC currently has no office space to accommodate them.
IBOC needs improved performance measures, especially in the areas of productivity and quality of service. IBOC has a stand-alone Case Management System (CMS) that works well and provides management information up to the limits of its design, but this is insufficient to meet IBOC's needs for the future. IBOC management monitors case processing performance and service standard adherence, but the information is gathered manually by random sampling, is time consuming and not comprehensive. CMS needs to be upgraded to produce automatically all processing, productivity and quality of service data necessary for management decision making. Without such data, managerial activities such as monitoring ongoing objectives achievement and resource consumption, and testing alternative service delivery configurations will not be possible.
CMS is a mission-critical system to IBOC, and as such should remain under IBOC control throughout the system upgrading process, and until such time as the service array re-alignment has been completed and tested. After that time, consideration can be given to its incorporation into e-CRM (Electronic Client Relations Management System), but then only if there is evidence that there will be no loss of management control or system functionality.
In re-aligning its services to upgrade and refine its services to missions (and hence to Canadian companies), IBOC needs information on missions' current and evolving sourcing practices. It is also in the process of upgrading its follow up procedures on Specific Leads with Canadian companies. This will provide useful information to both IBOC and missions. Any review of IBOC's role, relevance and sourcing practices should include a corresponding review of missions needs and current practices. Canadian companies' views should also be taken into account. Decisions then can be made on a cost effectiveness basis regarding what type of sourcing IBOC would be better placed to provide.
Of the twelve recommendations in this Report, eight are in progress and scheduled to be completed by the stated target dates, and four have already been completed.
The objective of the audit is to provide management with assurance regarding the soundness of IBOC's management framework, business processes, internal controls, and key operational linkages with partners and clients and to suggest improvements to its operations.
The audit was conducted during the period November 2002 to March 2003. It focussed on IBOC's organization structure (Appendix A), budget and human resources processes, operational activities, and planning and performance measurement systems. The interests of client and partner stakeholders, especially DFAIT and IC, were reflected in the conduct of the audit. Specific lines of enquiry were as follows:
The methodology involved interviews with IBOC, DFAIT and IC staff, review and testing of business processes, analysis of existing workload and control data, review of internal documents and reports, and review of IBOC's automated Case Management System (CMS). A combination of in-house audit and consulting staff was used to conduct this audit.
The integrity of the matching process in Canada, the second part of the third line of enquiry above, was not examined. The actual matching process is a function of the automated tools and systems used, e.g. WIN EXPORTS. The scope did not include an analysis of the design and operation of such systems. From an analysis of IBOC's procedures, however, the Audit Team can conclude that there is very little opportunity for the exercise of individual officer bias in matching Canadian companies to business leads.
Terms of reference for the audit, dated September 4, 2002, were approved by the senior managers responsible for IBOC in both departments, i.e.
DFAIT - Director General, Trade Commissioner Service, Overseas Programs and Services Bureau (TCD), and
IC - Director General, Environmental Affairs Branch (EAB), Industry Sector and Functional Trade Advisor
The planning and conduct of the IBOC audit took place in full consultation with IC auditors and program evaluators, and included similar consultation with DFAIT program evaluators. An IC evaluation planning project for IBOC was also taking place at the time of the audit. Close collaboration was maintained with the IC evaluators regarding examination of documentation, data collection and issues, and interviewing of IBOC staff to minimize the disruption to IBOC and to co-ordinate agreement on findings. The Audit Team's work included support to both studies. The IC report, "Evaluation Plan for the International Business Opportunities Centre" was issued on February 10, 2003. A program evaluation based on this Plan was initiated in June, 2003 by DFAIT's Evaluation Division (SIE), and the final evaluation report was issued on March 29, 2004.
The Audit Team included a consultant with expertise in governance issues who was retained to review interdepartmental agreements and relationships, funding arrangements, organisation and management. Interviews were conducted with three other interdepartmental partnerships to compare financial, staffing and organisational arrangements. The partnerships were Investment Partnerships Canada (IPC), Canadian Biotechnology Secretariat (CBS), and the Climate Change Secretariat (CCS). Their comparison with IBOC on a number of factors is included as Appendix B.
Thirteen Missions (Appendix C) were contacted by telephone and informal questions were posed on their sourcing practices and use of IBOC's services. In addition, regular DFAIT Audit Division (SIV) mission audits were used to look in greater depth at mission sourcing practices, as part of the audit of the IBD Program.
There have been no previous audits or evaluations of IBOC by either DFAIT or IC. The 1996 Auditor General's Report on Canada's Export Promotion Activities, DFAIT/IC, commented that "... (IBOC), an organization whose only task is to respond to enquiries about possible Canadian sources of goods and services, stands out as an organization with a clear direction and definition of how it will deliver its service." The Report went on to recommend that DFAIT and IC "... should assess the costs and benefits to the overall Team Canada effort of providing answers at headquarters to sourcing enquiries received at diplomatic missions".
1.1.1 IBOC was established formally and interdepartmentally as one of the initiatives in the 1995 Memorandum to Cabinet on Canada's International Business Development Strategy. Referred to in the Memorandum as "A Trade Opportunities Sourcing Unit", IBOC's objective is "... to enhance the matching of business leads identified by Trade Commissioners abroad with capable Canadian firms, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)". The central theme of the 1995 Memorandum was "Making Team Canada Work: How to strengthen Government's collective efforts to help Canadian business succeed in international markets". Within this general context, "... an interdepartmental Trade Opportunities Sourcing Unit will be created to search out and engage Canadian SMEs on specific trade leads of unusual urgency, complexity, or where supplier databases prove inadequate." Thus IBOC was established to meet a specifically identified need. At that time, there was no centralized service in Canada to which Trade Commissioners could refer business leads.
1.1.2 DFAIT, IC, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) were the original participating departments, and remain so today. Although IBOC's structure has evolved somewhat, it remained essentially as it was initially established until December 12, 2003 when it was integrated into International Trade Canada.
1.1.3 IBOC's current published mandate, as it appears in the IBOC Annual Report 2001, is as follows:
"To identify and match Canadian companies with international business opportunities received from trade officers. As the sourcing centre for Team Canada Inc, the Centre's role is to contribute to increasing Canada's exports by raising awareness and disseminating export opportunities particularly to small and medium-sized enterprises."
The current mandate is in accord with the original intent in the 1995 Memorandum. IBOC's ongoing objectives and operations are similarly in accord with the original intent.
1.2.1 IBOC's objectives, administration and management principles are set out in a Management Agreement between the Director General, Trade Functional Advisor, IC, and the Director General, Trade Planning & Operations Bureau, DFAIT. The Agreement is undated but was signed in 1995. The Agreement sets out IBOC's mandate, identifies its location, how it is to be implemented and provides for both partner departments to assign staff. AAFC is specifically identified as a contributing department. Provision is made for the involvement of other departments.
1.2.2 The Agreement does not specifically address funding ratios for the participating Departments. There is a requirement for each partner to provide and staff eight positions, and available records indicate that senior management was concerned that funding should be provided equally. In the early years, IC provided more funding through both FTEs and operating budgets. Since 1998, the funding balance has shifted to DFAIT, which now provides the greater proportion of resources.
1.2.3 Initially, IBOC was to operate from within DFAIT headquarters for one year and its location reviewed at the end of that time. There is no evidence that this review took place, nor is there any indication why IBOC continues to remain in DFAIT. No reference is made to DFAIT's assumption of IBOC's accommodation and communications support costs in any subsequent budget requests.
1.2.4 The Agreement provides that IBOC be jointly managed by the two Directors General mentioned above in para. 1.2.1. In the first two years of operation, there was a considerable degree of senior management involvement. Subsequently, and as the organisation took form and stabilized, there was less need for senior management intervention. Currently, IBOC's Director reports to the two Directors General mentioned earlier as signatories to the audit Terms of Reference.
1.2.5 IBOC was a bipartite organization consisting of 13 DFAIT funded FTEs, 10 IC funded FTEs, and one FTE funded by AAFC. AAFC funded two positions in 1996 until 2000 when its participation was reduced to one. IBOC is exploring the possibility of having the second FTE reinstated, given that agriculture is one of the top five sectors sourced by IBOC. IBOC is housed in DFAIT in the L. B. Pearson Building, and operated by means of two completely separate budgets, one from DFAIT and one from IC. The Director's EX position was funded by IC.
1.2.6 The objectives set out for IBOC in the Agreement can be divided into those supporting IC goals (i.e. disseminating business leads to Canadian companies, increasing the participation of SMEs in international trade, etc.), and those supporting DFAIT's IBD goals by providing sourcing services in Canada to Trade Commissioners abroad. That equal weight was given to these objectives is evidenced by the resources that each department continued to provide.
1.2.7 At the outset, funding was provided for a case management system to process and monitor the dissemination of leads. Over the years, IBOC's case management system has evolved into a substantial electronic processing system (CMS). It has also become linked with other DFAIT systems, especially WIN EXPORTS. Currently, there is an initiative to have the CMS integrated into the Virtual Trade Commissioner (vTC) system/eCRM (a wide ranging client relations management system). There is a risk that IBOC may lose direct control over CMS.
1.2.8 IBOC never achieved the autonomy that may have been envisaged for it. Support for IC goals, disseminating business leads to Canadian companies, etc., have been done admirably, but from a certain distance. IBOC's main IC interaction is with the International Trade Centres in the IC regions, not with IC Headquarters in Ottawa. By virtue of its housing within DFAIT's IBD Headquarters and its connectivity with DFAIT communications systems, IBOC is well placed to provide direct support to Trade Commissioners abroad. As the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) has evolved into becoming the dominant factor in its operations, IBOC's planning and development have been oriented towards mission needs. As a result, IBOC was viewed by DFAIT as being one of its TCS support divisions. Now it is so in fact.
1.2.9 Since 1995, the sourcing tools available to IBOC have become more sophisticated, comprehensive and widely accessible, which makes them more easily usable by officers in IBD Programs in missions abroad. These changes have had, and continue to have, a significant effect on the way that IBOC conducts its business. The Trade Commissioner Service has also introduced its New Approach @ Work and Management by Results initiatives, which are changing the managerial and operational focus of IBD officers in missions abroad. The impact of these changes in the IBD environment on IBOC's operations has yet to be fully determined. IBOC management has identified a need to examine the impact of these changes on its operations, and to enhance its ability to pursue strategic initiatives.
1.3.1 IBOC has a traditional organizational structure headed by a Director who was an IC Executive Officer in an IC position. DFAIT and IC each provide a Deputy Director at the CO-03 level. All staff members report to the DFAIT Deputy Director who is responsible for operations, while the IC Deputy Director assumes the following responsibilities: Planning, Policies, Strategic Direction, Budget Reporting, Outreach, Marketing & Communications, Surveys and e-Leads. Management is looking into having part of the staff report to the IC Deputy Director. The organization structure is as set out in Appendix A. Administrative and communications support (e.g. SIGNET) is provided by DFAIT. Apart from tender processing and agricultural and fish product enquiries, all sourcing officers perform the same duties.
1.3.2 The positions in IBOC were those of the funding departments, i.e. IC employees are in IC positions. DFAIT and AAFC employees were similarly in their respective department's positions. This arrangement is not unique. Investment Partnerships Canada has a similar staffing arrangement.
1.3.3 Each participating department funded its own positions through its own salary budget, pays its employees through its own payroll system, and administers them through its own Human Resources system. DFAIT and IC also contribute operational funding through separate budgets administered in each department.
1.3.4 When IBOC was established, the intent, certainly on the part of IC and AAFC, was to rotate employees through IBOC as a career enhancement step. Initially the assignment period for sourcing officers was too short given the lengthy learning period needed to bring officers up to operational speed. Currently, all IBOC positions are permanent and are the home positions of the incumbents.
1.3.5 In the departmental business planning process, DFAIT clearly identifies IBOC as a departmental division within TCD. IBOC's projects and activities are set out in the International Business Development Business Plan, and the costs shown relate to DFAIT responsibility. IBOC's profile in IC appears to be less prominent, being listed only as a cost centre within IC's EAB. Similarly, the costs shown are those of IC. IBOC does not have an organizational constituency within EAB that would act as a counterpart to TCD. IBOC's cost centre is included within EAB by virtue of the fact that EAB's Director General is also IC's Trade Functional Advisor, and IBOC falls within the purview of IC's Trade function.
Note: With the integration of IBOC within the new ITCan, one of the recommendations on governance that related to IBOC's status as an interdepartmental partnership was superceded, and the others were adjusted to reflect IBOC's new situation. Recommendations involving AAFC remain basically unchanged.
2.1.1 IBOC needs a governance structure that works. At present budgets are fragmented, there is no comprehensive and fully costed business plan that would generate a consolidated budget, and no functioning interdepartmental reporting arrangement to consider and approve such plans and budgets. Most importantly, there is no agreed interdepartmental funding formula to provide IBOC with full budget funding at the beginning of the financial year.
2.1.2 The present arrangement has been accommodated despite only bits and pieces of a governance structure being in place. Unfortunately, it renders IBOC awkward to manage, thereby placing an excessive demand on managerial time and effort. Although IBOC management has done an excellent job in this regard, creativity suffers, as the time that should go into activities such as long range planning is not always available. Delayed funding and under funding of projects is another result.
2.1.3 Despite these difficulties, IBOC has a good set of strategic and operational planning tools and is particularly innovative in automating processes that were formerly manual. It is engaged in business process renewal, has achieved the National Quality Institute's Progressive Excellence Program Level I Certification and is working on Level II Certification. Given a proper governance structure, IBOC would better be able to continue its development and focus its services in a faster and more integrated manner.
2.1.4 In the following paragraphs the above elements of the governance structure are discussed. Recommendations are raised regarding each element. Ideally, all elements should be implemented together in order to put in place the entire structure. They can also be implemented separately, as time and opportunity permit.
2.1.5 The 1995 Management Agreement between DFAIT and IC did not specifically address cost sharing or funding arrangements. DFAIT and IC have tended to allocate staff to IBOC equally, either with full-time employees or contract personnel.
2.1.6 Costs are also expected to be shared equally, or proportionately, between the participating departments. AAFC separately accounts for its contributions. Comparison of funding levels is made difficult by the absence of a consolidated set of financial statements for IBOC, and by some expenditures being regarded as department-specific. For purposes of analysis, a consolidated statement of costs is shown on Appendix D. The main problem for IBOC management is having to approach each department separately for its share of IBOC's costs. This is done not on a total budget basis once or even thrice a year, but on a continuous basis for each project, initiative or funds shortfall. The usual first question is "How much did (the other side) provide?" Imbalance in budgetary contributions is a concern for each department.
2.1.7 IBOC is described as a partnership. In reality it is more a joint venture with each of the contributing parties maintaining control over its own funding and resources. This situation poses numerous problems for IBOC's management. It has been forced to become adept at cash-managing financial resources and adroit in its approach to staffing and personnel issues. Increasing workload, tight and uncertain budgets and a fixed workforce has forced IBOC management to be innovative in its approach to activities and quick to abandon practices that are not cost effective. A previous Director indicated that seventy percent of his time was taken up on administrative and budgetary matters. As an unfortunate side effect of the foregoing situation, IBOC undertakes only very limited marketing of its services, as it is reluctant to generate a demand that it cannot fulfill. Owing to a critical shortage of office space, IBOC cannot house additional resources, even if they are made available.
2.1.8 Uneven budget funding throughout the year creates problems for IBOC management, and generates an unclear financial picture. For example, IC funds ten positions, but the initial salary budget is set up for eight, no adjustment is made, and the resulting overrun is covered only at the year end. This practice understates the department's commitment and distorts any financial reports produced for IBOC. DFAIT's initial operating and maintenance budget allocation covers only a few months, and further funding is extended on an as-required basis, which produces a similar distorting effect.
2.1.9 Combining budget reports during the year is difficult owing to incompatibility of cutoff dates. IBOC's managers rely on DFAIT and IC financial reports, which vary greatly in format and content. AAFC has not provided any financial statements. There has never been a financial statement or budget report prepared that shows IBOC's consolidated financial situation. There has also never been a demand for such a statement, as the individual department contributions would then become visible.
2.1.10 Other interdepartmental partnerships reviewed have single budgets provided either by separate parliamentary appropriations (Climate Change Secretariat, Canadian Biotechnology Secretariat), or through budget transfers from one partner department to the other (Investment Partnerships Canada).
2.1.11 In conjunction with AAFC, develop a consolidated budget showing all IBOC's costs, costed and non-costed departmental contributions, and costed proposals for improvement projects and systems upgrades.
2.1.11 An IBOC budget is currently being developed for FY 2004/05 as part of the standard budgeting process of ITCan. The budget is based on a consolidation of funds received previously from IC and DFAIT. In recognition of the working agreement which is still in place between IBOC and AAFC, IBOC management will consult with AAFC during the budget process with the view of increasing resource contributions from AAFC.
2.1.12 IBOC needs a formal and comprehensive business plan to support its proposed consolidated budget. Although IBOC has good planning tools, they do not come together in a costed, consolidated manner. Given the fragmented governance structure, there has not been much point in so doing, given that much of IBOC's ongoing planning is tactical, and supports funding requests for budgetary shortfalls and current projects.
2.1.13 IC and AAFC's interests appear to be limited to IBOC's role as a processing unit. DFAIT's role has been stronger with emphasis on IBOC's support provided to International Business Development (IBD) activities at missions.
2.1.14 IBOC has a departmental division's input to DFAIT's IBD annual business planning process, which is clearly documented. In IC, IBOC is treated only as a cost centre and is now inputting in relevant parts of the IC business process.
2.1.15 The lack of co-ordinated planning is a reflection that the participating departments only consider IBOC in terms of their own resource contributions. They do not consider IBOC as a consolidated entity, and do not contribute formally to its overall strategic direction.
2.1.16 Implement a unified and comprehensive business planning process that brings together existing planning elements, and leads to total resource costing for all ongoing and projected activities and projects.
2.1.16 A comprehensive business plan is being developed to support the overall strategic plan of the International Business Development Branch of ITCan for the 2004/05 fiscal year. It will bring together IBOC's existing planning elements and lead to total resource costing for all ongoing and projected activities and projects.
2.1.17 IBOC, by definition, does not belong entirely within any one department. As a result, it cannot avail itself of the same senior management guidance and direction that it would have if it was part of a single department. IBOC must look interdepartmentally for such guidance and direction, which might normally be provided by an interdepartmental steering committee.
2.1.18 While IBOC reports to the two Directors-General, they have not met formally or on a regular basis in the past. Except in the first two years and a meeting in March 2003, there is no record of such meetings or any indication that IBOC is considered as a single entity (as opposed to a number of individual departmental elements). This has also complicated the task of the Director in seeking adequate funding for operations.
2.1.19 The March 2003 interdepartmental management committee meeting was held to review and approve a business plan, and to determine the size of the total budget necessary to deliver the approved plans. The two Directors-General act as such a committee and intend to meet regularly in future.
2.1.20 Lack of a formal interdepartmental management process also means that senior management is denied a unified overview of IBOC operations, its achievements and costs. Each departmental management appears to be separately satisfied with IBOC in relation to department-specific concerns, but there has been no joint, ongoing assessment of overall costs, plans and performance.
2.1.21 Reactivate IBOC's interdepartmental reporting arrangements on a formal basis to meet regularly for the approval of plans and budgets, and the provision of advice and guidance.
2.1.21 As interdepartmental reporting is no longer required, IBOC will now participate in ITCan's planning and budgeting process. In this regard IBOC will consult regularly with AAFC.
2.1.22 From the discussion on budgeting, the accepted basis for sharing costs between DFAIT and IC has been equity. Unfortunately for IBOC, the equity principle has been applied at the micro-managerial level, for each project and funding shortfall, a situation that has been unnecessarily time consuming for IBOC to administer. The equity principle (or another agreed cost-sharing arrangement) should be applied to IBOC's total approved budget, so that complete funding could be made available by the partner departments at the beginning of the fiscal year.
2.1.23 In para. 1.4.2, IBOC's partnership arrangement was described as 'task share'. This proposal would change the arrangement to 'cost share'. IBOC acts as a single entity providing services to its clients, and the total cost of those services should be shared among the participating departments according to an agreed formula.
2.1.24 A completely new management agreement could be negotiated between the participating departments that would not only include a funding formula but also cover IBOC's reporting relationships, budget structure and planning framework. This would put in place a basic governance structure for IBOC. The timing is appropriate for such an agreement, given the changes that are taking place in the IBD environment with respect to operating conditions and electronic tools.
2.1.25 Adopt an agreed funding formula for sharing IBOC's total budget costs among participating departments, and ensure that funding is available at the beginning of the fiscal year.
2.1.25 Although an agreed funding formula with IC is no longer required on an ongoing basis, discussions are taking place with AAFC for the development of a funding formula for AAFC's participation, and to ensure that the funding is made available at the beginning of the fiscal year. The objective is to have the AAFC formula in place for the 2004/05 fiscal year.
2.2.1 Each partner department provides its own personnel to IBOC. Initially, it was intended to rotate employees through IBOC as a career enhancement step. This practice was phased out as the assignment period for sourcing officers was too short given the lengthy learning period needed to bring sourcing officers up to operational speed. All IBOC positions are permanent and are the home positions of the incumbents. All positions are classified alike for the same duties.
2.2.2 IBOC management interacts with three departmental human resource groups and has successfully negotiated an agreement between IC and DFAIT to conduct common competitions and create a common eligibility list. Possibly because of the single FTE provided, AAFC is not included in this arrangement. The drive behind this initiative was to create a common IBOC approach with respect to staffing.
2.2.3 Despite the best efforts of management, there remains a perception of separateness and inequality of treatment on the part of non-DFAIT personnel. To a large degree this can be ascribed to a sense of distance from home department developments and possibly a feeling of being out of the promotion loop. Management has tried to counter the sense of isolation by providing lap-top computers to enable contact with the home department's intranet sites and organizing team building sessions. The sense of inequality arises from a perceived difference in departmental styles when it comes to staffing. DFAIT is seen to have one style, IC another. The DFAIT style appears to make things easier for DFAIT staff to move around, whereas the IC style is not seen to provide the same scope for IC staff.
2.2.4 There is a perception that IBOC does not enjoy the same profile within IC as it does within DFAIT. IBOC is a cost centre that migrates with the Trade Functional Advisor (initially in the Automotive Branch, and now in the Environmental Affairs Branch). Contact between IBOC staff (whether DFAIT or IC) and IC is mainly at the regional operations level, not at Headquarters. The perceived lack of recognition persists with IC employees despite the fact that the Director is an IC Executive Officer.
2.2.5 IBOC's working level positions are for Research and Liaison Officers at the SI-O2 level. These are based on competencies required for the work as it is currently performed. Required competencies will have to be monitored and reviewed for continued relevance, given the possibility of changes to IBOC's services in the future. Changed competency requirements will have a definite bearing on classification levels.
2.2.6 Engage the HR Branch of each department to assist in the development of employees' professional career plans.
2.2.6 All IBOC IC and DFAIT employees are now employees of ITCan. An IBOC training plan was developed which identifies core training requirements for all staff. IBOC management has the material it needs to assist employees with the training aspects of their individual long term career plans. IBOC management with input from the HR Branch will explore the possibility of organizing information sessions for IBOC staff on such career issues as mobility, public/private career development training options, training during office hours/training after office hours, career advancement strategies, etc.
2.3.1 Although IBOC has an impressive array of data on numbers of enquiries received, as well as on service standards, there is no system-generated data on productivity (e.g. cases per officer per day) or quality of service (e.g. processing response times). CMS could be upgraded to generate much of this data.
2.3.2 Given IBOC's role in processing enquiry cases, such information is useful in substantiating business cases for incremental resources, system upgrades and quality of service initiatives, and to alert management to a possible need to take corrective action. Reliable data showing historical trends in factors such as the above can provide convincing demonstration of causes and effects in IBOC's performance. It should be able to estimate convincingly the impact of a forecasted change on resource requirements.
2.3.3 Changes in the IBD environment in missions have already had an effect on IBOC's workload. The emergence of new electronic sourcing tools and databases, and changes to traditional ones have made processing either easier or more difficult, as the case may be (see below in para. 2.3.6). Such changes would lead missions, for example, to decide either to process an enquiry themselves or to seek IBOC's assistance. The effects of DFAIT IBD's New Approach @ Work and Results Based Management initiative have not been immediately discernable as yet, but they could lead to either more work for IBOC or less, or to a change in the demand for one type of service as opposed to another. In any case, IBOC has a need to expand its range of performance measurement information. That it has not already done so can be attributed to lack of resources, and lack of opportunity for management to focus on the question owing to the preoccupations described earlier.
2.3.4 Some quality of service information, such as client satisfaction, has to be obtained by direct contact with the client in one form or another. IBOC has already carried out a client survey of missions in early 2002. Other forms of contact could be achieved through focus groups, an IBOC "Users Committee", and direct outreach visits to selected missions.
2.3.5 IBOC, therefore, needs a range of performance indicators that reflect its mandated activities. The main indicators recommended are set out in the following paragraphs.
2.3.6 IBOC's existing performance measurement activities focus on the throughput of business leads enquiries, and how much export business has been generated by Canadian companies from the leads disseminated. Detailed data are gathered on the number of enquiries received by type of service, region, sector, and DFAIT mission. IBOC also follows up with Canadian companies that have been sent Specific Leads, to determine what action took place as a result of the lead. The results are published in IBOC's Annual Report 2001, and on the IBOC part of DFAIT's IBD intranet web site, HORIZONS.
2.3.7 The total number of enquiries processed by IBOC has been increasing steadily over the years. In 2002, there was a significant increase early in the year that has held steady ever since. It has been suggested that this workload surge coincided with a change to the classification codes in WINEXPORT, a major sourcing tool. The change in codes rendered the system much more difficult to use, so missions sent more leads to IBOC rather than handling them at the mission.
2.3.8 There was no corresponding increase in the number of sourcing officers, which indicates a significant productivity gain in terms of the total number of enquiries processed. The high value added Specific Leads, however, remained relatively constant over this period. The increase in enquiries was, therefore, an increase in general leads and tenders which, on average, take slightly less time to process. There are no indications of any reduction of quality of service over this period. IBOC responded by automating some of its manual processes, and by processing potential specific leads as "as-received general leads" in order to manage workload and maintain service standards. IBOC's Case Management System (CMS) generates a reliable set of data on enquiry volume that management monitors closely.
2.3.9 CMS is a good processing system that serves IBOC well. It performs admirably up to its design limitations, but it will require system upgrades to generate additional data to fill some gaps in IBOC's performance measurement spectrum.
2.3.10 IBOC's enquiries data are not related to formal workload projections, and they are not related to the human resources that went into processing them. IBOC's ability to substantiate requests for incremental resources is, therefore, hampered by the absence of reliable data that demonstrate actual trends in workload vs. resources. Such data would also be useful to management for allocating resources, fine tuning services, and indicating the effect of processing innovations. With respect to workload projections, it should be noted that, at the beginning of 2002, IBOC forecasted that it would surpass processing 6,000 leads by year end, which is what happened (an increase of approximately 1,000 leads over 2001).
2.3.11 Expand the range of performance indicators to include case processing productivity data.
2.3.11 CMS is being revised to include a Report on Cases by Officers by Month by Type, a Report on Case Processing Productivity Data, a Report on Average Processing Response Times of various leads, and a Report on Case Status. Completion is scheduled for May 31, 2004.
2.3.12 Without clearly defined performance measures, it is difficult to judge whether IBOC's partner departments are receiving value for the funding provided. Senior DFAIT IBD management has indicated that the true measure of performance is client satisfaction with the quality of the business intelligence associated with the lead, and the quality of the service provided to the client.
2.3.13 IBOC forwards business intelligence to Canadian companies by virtue of its role as value-added intermediary between a mission and a company. IBOC then follows up with Canadian companies on Specific Leads. The feedback requested relates to the outcome of any communication that took place between the Canadian company and the foreign buyer as a result of the lead, e.g. was there contact? Was there a sale? This feedback is used by both IBOC and DFAIT as success stories. As a performance measure, its significance is largely anecdotal, as it relates only to a specific case. It is also dependant on the intensity of IBOC's follow up activities (which are affected by resource availability), the willingness of the Canadian company to respond in the first place, and to provide actual sales data in the second place. IBOC does not follow up with the foreign buyer, as that is the role of missions. In fact, the mission "owns" the lead. IBOC's role is to assist the mission in sourcing it, at the option of the mission.
2.3.14 Recipients of leads disseminated electronically (e-Leads, re: General Leads and Tenders) are canvassed quarterly. These questionnaires ask only if any business was stimulated by any lead received.
2.3.15 In general, Canadian companies are not asked to place a value on the business intelligence received (i.e. the lead, was it useful information, whether or not any action was taken as a result?). They are also not asked about the quality of the service in providing the lead (e.g. was it timely, complete and in a useful format?). Missions are contacted regarding their views on quality of service through the TCS questionnaire in which IBOC includes five questions. IBOC also administered a mission client survey in 2002.
2.3.16 A major impediment to producing performance data is the inability of CMS to roll-up data. Follow-up data received from client companies contacted must be entered manually into the system. Analysing stored data is equally time-consuming as this can only be done by accessing the data on a case-by-case basis and manually extracting the data. IBOC has recognised this problem and is working to have the follow-up and company responses handled automatically through a web-based system. The information thus produced would be very useful to both IBOC and the missions.
2.3.17 IBOC should engage a cross-section of missions in an ongoing dialogue regarding their usage of IBOC as a sourcing tool, and to gather information on trends and evolving mission priorities. Such information can be used to fine-tune services and re-focus priorities. For example, IBOC could focus its services on small missions that can be separated from Canada by many time zones. In these cases, there are typically only a few Commercial Officers, and their operations may be generalized over a broad range of industrial sectors. They may also be relatively inexperienced. In this case, they may have a greater need for IBOC's services than would a specialized counterpart in a large mission who has wide experience of Canadian companies and capabilities. This realization emerged from audits of missions' IBD Programs, and confirmed information that was already known at Headquarters.
2.3.18 Revise follow-up questionnaires to Canadian companies to include an assessment of the service provided and the value placed on the intelligence received.
2.3.19 Provide for the roll-up of responses on the proposed electronic Canadian company follow-up system for Specific Leads.
2.3.20 Forward the companies' views on the value of business intelligence they received to the originating mission.
2.3.21 Contact missions regularly to establish the level of satisfaction with services provided by IBOC, and to gather information on missions' evolving sourcing needs.
2.3.18 Follow-up questionnaires will be revised to include quality of service information such as client satisfaction with the business intelligence associated with the lead, the quality of the service provided to the client, outcomes (business connections, representation established, ongoing negotiations, sales or other types of business agreements generated), and overall assessment of the quality and value of the service provided. Estimated completion date is May 31, 2004. IBOC will also compare best practices with Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Canada Business Services Centres (CBSCs).
2.3.19 An electronic follow-up module will be fully integrated into CMS to capture automatically the responses from Canadian companies on the newly designed follow-up form. A section called Follow-up Reports will be included in the redesigned Reports Page of CMS. Estimated completion date is June 30, 2004.
2.3.20 Canadian companies' views on the value of the business intelligence they received will be shared with the originating mission via the automated follow-up system, when it has been fully implemented.
2.3.21 Missions with high IBOC usage statistics will be contacted via teleconference in FY 2004/05 to establish their level of satisfaction and to gather information on their evolving sourcing needs. Missions with lower IBOC usage statistics will be similarly contacted, and training will be provided on IBOC services. An outreach and marketing strategy is being prepared to identify opportunities for IBOC to meet in person with trade officers. Finally, an advisory committee will be formed with trade officer representation from various missions which will meet quarterly, via teleconference, to discuss and share information which may impact on sourcing activities.
2.3.22 IBOC has adopted a five-day response time for enquiries regardless of category, and CMS generates a report of number of cases exceeding the five-day due date. CMS does not provide an automatic analysis of the time in excess of the standard. The case-closed date is not system generated in CMS, and concern has been expressed that it is not always accurately entered manually by officers. There is a perceived incentive for efficient officers to delay entering the case-closed date to avoid being loaded with new cases. The allocation of incoming cases to officers is automatically done by the system, based on the current size of the officers' weighted case load. The lower the weighted case load, the faster the system will allocate new cases.
2.3.23 Weighted workload is workload that has been adjusted in CMS to compensate for the different complexities of cases processed. The weights are based on relative differences in procedural complexity of the various case types, and not necessarily on relative differences in actual resource consumption.
2.3.24 IBOC should track actual performance against the five-day response time standard, i.e. percentage of cases processed within the standard. At the same time, the standard should include an acceptable range for achieving the target, e.g. in 97% of cases. Aging of overdue cases should also be monitored, e.g. number of cases ten days overdue. Processing standards should not be set in isolation. Clients should be consulted to ascertain performance levels acceptable to them. For example, clients may prefer to have longer processing times for some services, and a higher quality of information. Changes in processing time trends could provide useful information to management, either to signal the need for management intervention, or as an indication of a change in the IBD environment.
2.3.25 Adjust the entering of case start, pending and closing dates in CMS, so that disincentives to the recording actual closing dates are removed.
2.3.26 Develop and monitor processing standards, including case status inventory aging.
2.3.27 Review the current system of weighting workload to confirm that it realistically reflects relative differences in case processing resources.
2.3.25 The start clock on the receipt date of cases in CMS was adjusted effective September 2003.
2.3.26 A Report on Case Status, i.e. percentage of cases processed within the standard five-day response standard, number of cases ten days overdue, and number of cases pending will be developed in CMS, effective May 31, 2004.
2.3.27 The point system for partnering leads was changed from six points to twelve, effective November 7, 2003. The distribution method used for urgent cases was changed to ensure that all urgent requests were distributed equitably amongst Research and Liaison Officers, effective September 29, 2003.
2.3.28 The Audit Team selected 14 Missions (see Appendix C) informally to pursue with the IBD Program Manager questions that arose during the audit. The purpose of this consultation was to gather information on the missions' sourcing practices and to seek their views on IBOCs services.
2.3.29 Generally, missions are very pleased and appreciative of the work carried out by IBOC. Our survey reinforced the importance of IBOC for these Missions. For the most part, respondents are aware of the full range of services offered by IBOC and feel these services meet their needs. When asked if they would prefer IBOC services arranged on a geographical basis or by sector, approximately three-quarters of the missions indicated a preference for sector-specific teams.
2.3.30 The proportion of total program effort spent on sourcing in these missions averages at about 20%. Missions send approximately half of their total leads to IBOC. Seventy-three percent of respondents do an initial search in WIN and, if unsuccessful, go to IBOC as opposed to sending a lead to IBOC directly. Generally, missions do not track leads in WIN as they assume IBOC keeps the statistics.
2.3.31 Fifty-five percent of Missions surveyed rank IBOC as their main sourcing tool. The other 45% use WINEXPORT as well as direct contact with Canadian suppliers as their main tools. Reasons for not using IBOC as their main tool include:
2.3.32 IBOC's five-day turnaround time is considered reasonable by missions, but missions did propose a shorter time frame for certain types of request. As for the sourcing request form, respondents feel it is adequate.
2.3.33 Overall, the survey shows that missions are informed of IBOC services and are increasingly using IBOC as a sourcing tool. Implementing the New Approach may have had an impact on sourcing practices; however, missions are unable to measure the impact at this time.
In the past, IFI officers in TBF searched the UN Development Business data base and passed on tender leads and notices from the UNDB to IBOC to action as Tenders. This practice has ceased due to turnover of officers in TBF. and pressure of other work. The suggestion was that IBOC should purchase an account with the UN data base and do the searching.
IBOC officers are now part of TCM's training program. IBOC received funding for 2002/03 to participate in all Trade Commissioner Sector Shows in Canada and overseas. This enabled officers to receive sector training at shows, meet incoming TC's, do networking and meet with Canadian companies. Sometimes there was time for an on-site sourcing demonstration.
TCM produces many reports which are made available to IBOC through Horizons. These include Info Export Reports, Info Export Briefs, Export Capability Reports and Brochures. The majority of these documents are also available on Info Export and Horizons.
Through the e-CRM project, TCE is responsible for requirements definition and procurement of automated solutions that will meet IBOC's needs. The e-CRM solution will integrate IBOC's sourcing request form, the e-leads publishing module and CMS. TCE and IBOC are currently working in close collaboration to define and flowchart IBOC's business processes. TCE maintains solutions and provides training. Future links with TCE involve the implementation of CMS solutions. IBOC has raised concerns regarding the future maintenance of CMS outside of IBOC. TCE is the division responsible for vTC and e-CRM.
TCE is also IBOC's contact in case of difficulties with WIN EXPORT.
TCS maintains the HORIZONS web site. IBOC liaises with TCS to ensure that IBOC's information on the site is current and accurate. IBOC deals with the Post Support Unit within TCS in cases of suspicious companies, and possible scams. TCS organize training sessions for trade officers in from posts and IBOC participates in these sessions by delivering training on IBOC services.
An IBOC officer is on the marketing coordination committee to coordinate marketing of branch priorities.
IBOC works with TBX on Branch-wide issues, and on IBOC's part of the annual Branch Business Plan, the DPR etc.
Divisional budgets in the Branch are administered centrally. IBOC is treated the same as other Branch divisions. IBOC interacts with TAM on all DFAIT administrative and financial matters.
IBOC contacts, as required, officers located in the Centres across Canada to identify Canadian companies and/or to find out specific information about a particular company. In addition, IBOC officers copy the respective ITC office(s) on responses to Posts for Specific Leads based on the locations of the Canadian company.
IBOC officers refer directly to the CBSCs' Export Contacts those Canadian companies that they have identified as requiring export assistance or guidance. Through the CBSC National Secretariat, IBOC provides updated information about the Centre and its services for use as reference by CBSC staff.
TTCS officers serve as sector contacts for IBOC staff and IBOC, when requested, responds to sourcing requests that TTCS officers receive directly from abroad.
IBOC's budget is administered centrally through EAB's Administrative and Financial unit. IBOC interacts with EAB on all IC administrative and financial matters.
IBOC works with EAB on the annual Branch Business Plan, the DPR, etc.
The Regional Officers serve as sector contacts for IBOC staff and IBOC, when requested, responds to sourcing requests that the Regional Officers receive directly from abroad. In addition, each regional office is copied on all Specific Lead responses to posts.
IBOC works with the Programs and Multilateral Affairs Division on administrative and human resource issues.
EDC is copied on all Specific Lead responses to posts. EDC proactively contacts identified companies to offer their services. EDC has incorporated hot links within their web site to IBOC's web site, in particular to the foreign buyer sourcing request form. IBOC, when requested, responds to sourcing requests that EDC officers receive directly from abroad.
CCC and IBOC have had a strong linkage in the past wherein a CCC officer worked at IBOC on assignment for a period of three months. This officer continues to be a strong sector contact for IBOC staff.
IBOC has had preliminary discussions with CMHC on developing a partnership based on sharing of leads.
IBOC trained the five Heritage Canada Officers who were posted abroad on the Centre's services. A stronger partnership needs to be developed to nurture this linkage.
IBOC has had preliminary discussions with NRCan on developing a mutually beneficial partnership.
SCI has contacted IBOC requesting sourcing services. Based on that request there is potential for developing a partnership with this organization to identify Canadian companies interested in participating in the missions abroad to identified cities.
|IBOC||Investment Partnerships Canada (IPC)||Canadian Biotechnology Secretariat (CBS)||Climate Change Secretariat (CCS)|
|Rationale for entity||Need to enhance Canada's capacity to search out and directly contact Canadian firms, particularly SMEs, on business leads identified by Trade Commissioners abroad and engage them in the pursuit of these opportunities.||Need for an agency to act as facilitator for foreign entities interested in making investments through partnership arrangements with Canadian firms.||Need for an agency to position Canada as a responsible world leader in biotechnology to enhance the quality of life of Canadians.||Need for an agency to co-ordinate federal approach to climate change issues.|
|Administrative budget||$1.5 million||$6.0 million||$3.0 million||$3.0 million|
|Budget source||Partner departments. Annual contributions decided independently. No formal agreement. Indication that O&M should be: IC 50%; DFAIT 50%.||Partner departments. Annual contribution agreed between partners. Agreement: IC 60%; DFAIT 40%.||Parliamentary Appropriation.||Parliamentary Appropriation.|
|Reporting relationships||Director reports to: ||Executive Director reports to: ||Executive Director Reports to: ||Chief Executive Officer reports to: |
|International Business Opportunities Centre|
Consolidated Statement of Costs
for the Fiscal Years 1998/99 to 2002/03
|Actual ($)||Actual ($)||Actual ($)||Actual ($)||Budget ($)|
|Total Budgetary Expenditures|
|Accommodation & Other Services|
|Total Incurred Costs|