The Fifth Essential for Biometrics Success

The previous articles have outlined four main essentials for biometrics success as align with the goals of the organization, considering and address biometrics privacy concerns, surveying the users and sticking to the project plan. The four essentials for biometrics successes can be summarised as follows:

  • Aims and Objectives – It is critical that the aims and objectives of the organisations are aligned with the goals of biometrics within the organisation in such a way that biometrics becomes a vehicle for the organisation to achieve its goals. Biometrics must be an integral part of the organisation’s success story and must not be thought of as a black box. The complexities of biometrics must not be undermined. The lack of understanding with regards to biometrics is the core reason for poor project design.
  • Considering and addressing privacy concerns – It is vital that biometrics is implemented in the best interests of the users and the success of the organisation. Biometrics aims to protect human beings and their interests from imposters. Therefore, the implementation of biometrics must enhance human rights. However, the lack of understanding on biometrics related issues can result in violation of the aims and objectives of biometrics such as protecting human beings. Biometrics must not be forced upon users.
  • User Survey – It is essential that the users of the biometric system are surveyed. User survey is likely to maximise user acceptance and user comfort. User survey will outline both the positives and negatives from the potential users. The outlined limitations must be addressed to ensure maximum user acceptance. The users are likely to accept the implemented biometrics solution if they are an integral part of the biometric project. Implementation of a biometrics system is not about buying a biometric identification device and connecting to your computer. The users’ concerns must never be dismissed due to their limited knowledge.
  • Sticking to the biometrics implementation plan – It is a must that critical time is spent on coming up with a strong implementation plan and that everyone involved with the project understand the implementation plan. Many organisations fail to understand the necessary steps required for a strong biometrics implementation plan and thus are not prepared for the complex risks associated with implementing such a big project. However, having a strong biometrics implementation plan is not a guarantee that the implementation will be successful. Sticking to a strong biometrics implementation plan is key.

This article focuses on the fifth essential for biometrics success on project implementation, flexibility. For most project managers been flexible is thought of as the opposite of sticking to the plan. Flexibility must be thought of the corollary to “sticking to the biometrics implementation plan”. Any biometrics project plan must be flexible enough without deviating from the final goal. Lack of flexibility in the plan can be almost as damaging to the success of a project as a total lack of a plan. In the ideal world, the circumstances of your biometrics project would match the assumptions made during the planning process and every detail of the plan would execute the way it was planned on paper. Of course we don’t live in a perfect world and thus when implementing a technology that is as new as biometrics, the likelihood of everything happening exactly the way we expect are minimal.

The research work conducted by researchers at Biometric Research Laboratory (BRL) within Namibia Biometric Systems (NBS) shows that most organisations pay very little considerations to (i) user privacy concerns, (ii) aligning biometrics with the organisation’s aims and objectives (iii) survey the users (iv) limited time is spent on planning for the implementation of biometrics and (v) planning for flexibility within any biometrics project without deviating from the goals of the project is essential.

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