I read with great interest in Quartz that Ram Sewak Sharma, one of the co-developers of India's biometric identification system, has developed a real-time attendance system for India's central government employees.
The pilot version, attendance.go.in, is online in beta testing based on 50,000 government employees in New Delhi. From Quartz:
The website is a near-complete digital dashboard of employee attendance—it logs the entry and exit time, the exact device used and the average time the system took to authenticate an employee’s identity. The data is then organised by departments and ministries, before all the numbers from all of New Delhi are collated and displayed on the homepage.
The entire system is searchable, down to the names of individual central government employees, and all the data is available for download. And with that single step—making the entire platform publicly accessible—the government has introduced a level of accountability and transparency that India’s sprawling bureaucracy is unaccustomed to.
The system cannot track people leaving in between the check in and check out. But it can track chronic late comers. And the public reporting of data creates pressure on supervisors to ensure compliance.
Big Brother fears aside, this is an excellent application of big data to organisational dynamics. We have been using a similar application at two of our start-ups, to track log-ins and work on our business intelligence and project management platforms. This is a massive step further, and I can see this becoming a standard in the public and private sectors at large organisations.
(c) Philip Ammerman, 2014
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