We faced several challenges in the GSB life cycle. In the following we will elaborate on each type of challenge and how we overcame it.
Obstacle: Mind-Set – Government agencies were used to own and control all the data they need or might need in delivering their services, and having the choice to interpret the system as they please. Changing this to a service bus model where they only own and control their own data and everything else they get from the GSB was a challenging concept to their authority and level of control.
Counter action: We used both the carrot and the stick approach. We communicated and explained the value of the GSB in improving the accuracy, integrity, security, and availability of the necessary data to service provisioning in the "e" world. We recruited internal staff from the challenging agencies and hired external resources and seconded them inside to regulate and accelerate change. We also used the annual eReadiness measurement (Qiyas) to report the status of compliance for each government agency compared to the expected level of eTransformation. The carrot worked with some, the stick worked with some. But, in general everyone moved.
Obstacle: Know-How - Since the GSB was designed using a hybrid model not following any existing experiences, it was harder to find documentation or experts with direct relative experience to help.
Counter action: Yesser closely worked with all the relevant stakeholders to understand the challenges in the architecture and the design. The team was very aggressive in making decision to keep the wheel turning. They also implemented very creative ideas to address issues raised. Delegation and motivation for creativity were the key drivers to overcome this obstacle.
Obstacle : Time - The project took much longer to build and operate than planned primarily because of the above point, plus the challenge of keeping people on the ground long enough to finish their tasks. Team turnover was too high.
Counter action: Yesser used the intranet portal (SharePoint) to build a document library. The document library hosted all types of documents and electronic material related to the GSB project. The documents included requirement, methodology, architecture, design, development, quality control, test cases, meeting notes, task lists, and so on. When people changed, the documents remained and the knowledge continued from team to team until project completion. Then, the document library was migrated to the central repository as a member of the knowledge base.
Obstacle: Readiness – All government agencies had a good level of automation. But, they were not ready for the GSB.
Counter action: We helped by establishing a strategy, an enterprise architecture reference model, a PMO, a portal designed to deliver eServices, and so on. We also helped in developing RFPs and financed projects to improve the service provider infrastructure availability, data integrity, and IT security. We helped the service consumers to unify their applications access to the GSB through an internal service bus, and re-develop the touch points based on SOA.