ICON Develops a Robust Internal Management System for the MTA
The Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) is the tourism industry’s regulator and motivator and main business partner. It is also the country’s key brand promoter (Visit Malta) and its purpose is to maintain and manage meaningful partnerships with all tourism stakeholders. The role of the MTA is to:
- Promote and advance Malta as a tourist destination.
- Advise Government on tourism operations and to issue licenses under the Act.
- Contribute towards the improvement of the level of human resources in the tourism industry.
Design, Development and Implementation of an integrated License Management System.
In fulfilling its role as a regulator, the MTA is entrusted with the responsibility for the licensing of several tourism-related establishments and operations, the collection of license fees and contributions, the monitoring of standards and the enforcement of pertinent legislation.
In order to improve the internal coordination of the above-mentioned functions, and increase efficiency across all aspects of its operation, ICON developed an integrated suite of systems that includes the following:
- Application Management System.
- Licensing and Contributions Collections System.
- Enforcement Management System.
These three systems are all be web based and function independently of each other while at the same time are integrated within a framework which allows them to share a common database and transfer information seamlessly from one system to another.
The main technology utilised within this project includes:
- Framework for the web-based system: Microsoft .Net (Framework v4.x)
- Framework for the tablet application: Android (v5)
- Database: Microsoft SQL (2012)
- Hosting Infrastructure: MITA Hosting Environment (Government).
The MTA were undergoing a digital transformation and required a solution which is reliable, scalable and supports a cost-effective development process. With a deep understanding of the e-Government sector and a highly-qualified team, ICON, a Microsoft and Google Partner was able to offer a cost-effective solution for the MTA.
To meet this requirement, ICON used its own UI platform – ICON. Argent™, which provides a foundation for custom modules to be designed and developed, including authentication, authorization, reporting module and a variety of ready-made UI components, for example, fast AJAX-powered data lists, CSS structures, file management, file upload, and rich-text editors.
An Application Management System
A web-based application which is aimed at empowering local and foreign-based tourism-related establishments to:
- Apply for a new license online – first-time applicants will also need to register to the website – this is supported by both an encrypted username/password method as well as e-ID.
- Settle any fees levied via their account.
- Track the various stages which applications go through, leading to the final phase of the process.
- Upload any supporting documentation that may be required (or requested) throughout the application process – these may include PDF and A Cad (.dwg) files and each applicant will have a maximum upload limit (to be determined by MTA).
- Track any pending matters that require follow-up.
- Post notes (journal entries) in relation to the application.
- Download documentation which is either generated by the system (once specific workflow criteria are met) or supplied by the Authorities. To support this process and reduce the need to follow up on each stage of the application, the system generates alerts to the applicant and the respective authorities, upon key status changes.
A Licensing and Contributions Collections System
A web-based application which is aimed at streamlining various internal processes in relation to:
- The management of account holder details (establishment details, license holder, operator information etc.)
- The calculation and management of the yearly license and contribution charges for each establishment according to their specific attributes (e.g. class, the number of rooms, the number of beds etc.) – such calculation algorithms are outlined in the Legal Notice 409.05 Fees (Tourism) Regulations.
- The management of tourism establishments & service providers’ category data on the visitmalta.com website.
- The creation and management of licenses (temporary license, transfer, renewal etc.) including the entire billing & payment cycle (invoices, credit notes, receipts, statements, discounts, refunds etc.) – this function will be integrated with the current financial application Access Dimensions.
- Retaining separate licenses classes.
- Tracking of payments (online & ‘over-the-counter’ scenarios) and access to the relative financial reports.
- The creation and management of various reports.
- The management of data transfer (from the current system or excel sheets as well as third party sources). Access to this system is based on the specific user role & permission level defined by the MTA.
An Enforcement Management System
A native tablet application which is primarily required to assist the MTA’s personnel to manage the enforcement process in an offline method (e.g. during inspections). However, since the data is synchronised with that on the MTA’s server, it can be updated from both a tablet and/or a PC.
The tablet application allows the MTA’s enforcers to:
- Access the account holder’s information and download it to the tablet (establishment details, license status, substitute responsibility, financial position & history, list of historic visits/inspections and related information etc.)
- Schedule inspections.
- Create/log a visit (assign an inspector, complete a checklist, place the next follow-up date for a visit, post journal entries etc.), (iii) alert the Authorities and/or the establishment of any matters which require follow-up, and (iv) synchronize the information retained in the tablet with that on MTA’s server.
- Alert the Authorities and/or the establishment of any matters which require follow-up.
- Synchronise the information retained in the tablet with that on MTA’s server.
The Enforcement Management System also serves as a platform for the Authorities to:
- Manage licenses (update license status, record revoking of license and reasons why, reactivate licenses, cancel licenses etc.)
- Enable invoices.
- Manage status updates for establishments which are suspended, active and revoked.
- Manage approvals.
- Generate letters through the system (pre-defined templates will be available within the system e.g. Warning letters, Administrative Fine Notice and Enforcement Notices)
- Create and manage various reports.
- Post journal entries.
Access to this system is based on the specific user role and permission level defined by the MTA. Furthermore, the system has:
- An interface with the CDB and CDR government database to support the license register facilities.
- Generates alerts upon key status changes.
- Retains various data including a history of names an establishment could have over a period.
Through this digital transformation, the MTA can spend significantly less time on day-to-day operational tasks and focus on its primary mission of promoting Malta. The e-Government solution developed by ICON for the MTA has also:
- Reduced operational and maintenance costs, shifting funds to value-added initiatives.
- Improved flexibility and scalability to adapt to an uncertain future.
- Managed security and shift risk to ICON as an approved service provider.
- Increased visibility, measurability, accountability and predictability—meeting today’s requirements for transparency. Adhere to the Government’s National Digital Strategy until 2020.
- Addressed difficulties in finding, attracting, developing and retaining premium talent.
- Leveraged ICON’s deep industry expertise to continually innovate and improve operations.
Mr. Ian Castillo
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