What is OCS?

OCS stands for 'One Corporate System'

The 'One Corporate System' project is an initiative of nine CGIAR Centres (IRRI, World Fish and CIP in the first phase, thus they are already operating live; then in the second phase: Africa Rice, Bioversity, CIAT, ICARDA, ICRAF, ILRI) and the Consortium Office to implement the same business system for managing:
  • Human resources and payroll
  • Finance & logistics (travel authorization and expenditure reporting, procurement and inventory, fixed assets management)
  • Project management
  • Planning (budgeting)
  • Project costing and billing (PCB)

The system is based on a software platform known as Agresso Business World (ABW), supplied by UNIT4.
OCS will replace many of the current systems in place e.g. Sun System, HR4U etc.

In the longer run, OCS may turn into a more complete Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, although at ILRI we will adopt an incremental approach to ensure all current modules at a time are working effectively and everyone is comfortable using the system before launching new modules and exploring new options.

UNIT4 are the Service Provider for the ERP named Agresso. OCS is the project name for the implementation of this product across CG Centres.

Why OCS?

We need OCS:
  • For more efficiency: use of OCS will not only significantly speed up most of our administrative processes, but also provide more transparency in them, so bottlenecks and problems can be identified and analyzed better and sooner.
  • For better and more accessible management information: with all data in one flexible system, all types of reports can be generated and adapted, often directly by the managers and budget holders themselves.
  • For better quality real time data: Having more efficient and transparent processes and one single system (instead of various separate databases), will help increase the quality and timeliness of our data.
  • For donor compliance: donors request increasingly more detailed reports and evidence, for example time reports. Having both a time registration and a cost allocation module in Agresso, helps us to comply with those requirements and optimize our donor income.
  • For project management: Besides many reports to monitor project time and expenditures, Agresso also offers specific Project Management planning and budgeting tools.

At consortium level, the ambition of the OCS project was to streamline the information and resource allocation systems of various CG Centers to perform as the 'one-billion dollar organization' that we hope will have more weight in the international arena. The rationale at that level is also to see CG Centers in a better position to cooperate in CGIAR Research Programs and other projects by increasing the consistency of the information systems in use across partner CG Centers.

At ILRI we see OCS as an opportunity to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of various operations (responding to our critical success factor 'Fit for purpose') in order to deliver better science that influences development outcomes in the livestock sector.

The fact that OCS, in its second phase (see who is involved in the first and second phase in the FAQ page), the six new centers have opted for a common 'base build' means that we are hoping to get better support across the board for OCS training and advisory services, even though no guarantee can be offered on this front.

Read about the introduction of OCS at ILRI in Jimmy's Town Hall from 1 August 2014 (direct access to the Powerpoint file - requires ILRI login & PW)