The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) government currently comprises 23 ministries and 470 autonomous agencies having their own independent budgets serving a population of about 28 million people. By its very nature, government must be present everywhere throughout the Kingdom. For example, an agency such as the Ministerial Agency of Civil Affairs (CA) which is responsible for keeping population records and other legal documents such as the National ID needs to have offices dispersed throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. CA has branches in the 13 regions of the Kingdom and each branch as many offices. In total CA operates 92 offices serving the whole Kingdom of 28 million people.
In common with other agencies, many of CA’s services today are delivered using traditional, manual procedures and processes whereby service consumers (men, women, children, and the disabled); need to be physically present at a CA office to transact their business with government. Addressing issues like ensuring compliance with standard operating procedures, standardized information systems, monitoring and management of service levels is difficult in a manual process environment and becomes critical as population grows and service level expectations rise. Duplication of effort, assets and resources are also highly evident.
The Communications and Information Technology Commission of Saudi Arabia (CITC) reported in its 2010 Annual Report that Internet users in the Kingdom grew from 1 million in 2001 to 11.4 million at the end of 2010; a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 31%. Internet penetration grew from 5% in 2001 to 41% in 2010. At the same time mobile phone subscribers grew from 2.5 million in 2001 to 51.6 million at the end of 2010, a mobile penetration of 186%.
This ready adoption of technology and its advances, particularly the Internet and mobile technologies, coupled with good experience from online services provided by the private sector result in well-informed citizens wanting more competitive and efficient services from government. The outcome is increasing pressure to optimize and align ICT strategies and resources to support the business of government.
To meet this demand the government of Saudi Arabia established a National eGovernment Program (Yesser) that is responsible for providing the environment and services essential for the development of eGovernment projects that are executed by individual government agencies.
The National eGovernment Program aims to serve the nation by providing better government services to individuals, business and government users; thus raising the satisfaction with government services and enhancing the quality of life for all. The Program also aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the public sector, thus decreasing costs, increasing productivity, creating a more business-friendly government and leading to economic growth and high GDP. On a broader front the Program aims to spread information and knowledge, thereby contributing to the establishment of the Saudi information society and supporting society’s advancement.