Hernán Ríos, CIO, SENA, tells us about the technological evolution of a company that has become a fundamental part of the training of Colombians for the professional market.
To what extent is SENA a digital entity?
For the National Training Service (Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje – SENA, in Spanish), Digital Transformation has always been a process of organizational change with new ways of training and working by adopting, using and exploiting information technologies, social media, mobile and emerging technologies.
However, the changing new reality caused by the global pandemic has further encouraged the creation of new initiatives that rely on innovative technologies, work methods and groups.
It happens through modernizing the technological infrastructure and ICT services provided to citizens, improving the Colombian user experience with solutions based on disruptive technologies, and enabling various digital channels to make interactions more efficient.
What were the main changes faced by IT to overcome the pandemic and the consequent digital acceleration?
The pandemic was a significant accelerator of Digital Transformation. Fortunately, and regardless of the difficulties, with our adjustments and improvements, the IT sector designed and implemented a strategy to support work at home, ensuring the operation and the commitment to meet its strategic goals in training, employability, entrepreneurship and certification of labor competencies.
It is worth mentioning significant advances such as the mass activation of Office 365 for all users in the country and the activation of IP extensions that allowed employees to communicate from their homes via the Microsoft Teams app.
There is, in addition, a remote connection via VPN for instructors and platform administrators, and an adaptation of the service desk model for remote and telephone support purposes.
At SENA, we adapt, secure and publish information systems through VPN. Along the same lines, we implemented the electronic signature for document flow approval with the Adobe Sign tool and delivered equipment for home work.
We have also integrated the Territorium LMS e-learning platform with Microsoft Teams, enabling learners and teachers to take classes remotely.
Furthermore, we have supported the dissemination of training courses to employees on the LinkedIn Learning platform and implemented a sponsored data project to enable learners to access teaching platforms without using their mobile data plans.
We also made data plans available to support the teaching process and progress in knowledge transfer sessions for SENA cross-functional teams at the national level.
What benefits has this acceleration brought to both the IT process and users?
The main benefit achieved by SENA through the Digital Transformation strategy was the improvement of the interaction experience of citizens by identifying users and their needs, analyzing, designing, developing and implementing new service channels.
It involves Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies that have strengthened training processes between instructors and learners and gained the attention of entrepreneurs, generating proximity to citizens simply and digitally.
In addition, it has been possible to reduce the need for users to personally be at the office to carry out administrative or internal procedures, such as training, employability activities, entrepreneurship and certification of labor competencies, as well as to facilitate access to the entity services for the Colombian population with disabilities.
How has the relationship with suppliers changed?
Through the change in the operational model, SENA has realized the evolution of suppliers into strategic allies that, from the implementation of projects prioritized by the entity’s senior management, aimed at a digital management focused on the use and adoption of Information Technology to fulfill the Digital Transformation strategy.
How are you dealing with cybersecurity and information protection issues?
SENA implemented and complied with information security and personal data protection regulations through strategic allies such as the IT service operators Telefónica and Microsoft.
We have adopted strategies and deployed guidelines, policies and operational guides for security management to strengthen the cybersecurity architecture to mitigate the risks of everyday in cyberspace.
Besides information protection, what other issues do you see in the IT sector as critical for the coming years?
Without a doubt it is to continue the implementation of exponential technologies in the IT operating model. It means the capacity of provisioning models in the hybrid cloud, as well as continuing to mature the data governance architecture model, generating data lakes to apply analytics and, with AI, obtain information for decision making that will enable senior management to achieve the goals.
How does SENA interact with other entities to improve its IT strategy? How do other government entities, multilateral organizations, and private entities influence and leverage the IT strategy?
Based on the general guidelines described in Decree 620 of 2020 of the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications of Colombia for the use and operation of digital citizen services, SENA has created an initiative called SENA Digital Citizen.
Through it, improvements are made based on integration with the public platform Gov.co and considers aspects related to accessibility, usability, online procedures and services for the population.
On what fronts should SENA invest to enhance its national coverage, especially in sectors with fewer opportunities and low connectivity?
SENA must continue with the Digital Transformation strategy it has been implementing to maintain a technological evolution, leveraging the business architecture model.
Thus, it is possible to witness comprehensive progress in technological solutions that fall under technological modernization, digital and operational efficiency and productivity, information management for decision making, user experience, innovation and cultural renewal.
How do SENA’s investments in technology impact the education sector?
Digital Transformation has been incorporated into training management through updating information systems, connectivity services, mediation of digital content, simulators in the cloud, virtual catalog, support for trainees in vulnerable conditions, Artificial Intelligence (AI) services, Blockchain and data analysis applied to academic management.
Thus, professional training has been improved to keep learners in the training process and prevent them from dropping out.Click below to share this article