Enabling Access for All: KSA’s National e-Government Strategy & Action Plan (2012-16)
Ministry of CIT, Saudi Arabia's YESSER e-Government Program
Saudi Arabia

The Problem

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) launched the e-government program in 2005 to start the modernization and transformation of government administration, and enhance service delivery to public and commercial stakeholders. Good progress was made during the first five years, and over 780 government services are now available online. However, as the plan began to reach its final stages there were much more sophisticated and complex problems—driven by citizen-centered needs— which required a higher degree of stakeholder input for design, ownership and change.
Availability of government services provides an opportunity for a wide cross-section of the public who currently experience barriers to access – including women, youth, ethnic minorities, and people living in rural areas. These barriers include the time and cost to visit government offices to receive services, and the complex documentation that needs to be collected and presented at the office. This can often require several visits to complete the transaction.
The major benefits from the e-government program are:
• Better services for citizens and businesses
• Increased efficiency and effectiveness
• Support the move to an information society
The National e-government and Second Action Plan provides a comprehensive roadmap for achieving these benefits. The plan includes detailed specifications of the work required across all government agencies, the approach to building the required capabilities and skills, and the measurement of progress.
The plan measures the work that will be done – building Human Capital through a structured approach to Communications and Change Management, and the introduction of streamlined business processes in areas such as standardized business processes and use of single source of data, development of m-government services, service transformation and e-participation.
The plan also measures the result of the work that will be done – to reduce the cost of accessing government e-services, improve quality of e-services (choice, availability and service levels), increase customer awareness of e-services and customer satisfaction, making e-services their first choice and growing usage of e-services. This outside-in measurement of results will be achieved through an annual survey of the public.
A Strategy Map has been developed which illustrates the critical features of the National e-government Strategy and Second Action Plan. This single page graphical overview is proving to be an effective communication tool for all levels of interaction – from senior Ministers to junior staff in government agencies.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The Second National e-government Action Plan consists of a statement of national Vision and Values for e-government with four Strategic Themes:
• Build a sustainable e-government workforce
• Improve the experience of the public in their interactions with government
• Develop a culture of collaboration and innovation
• Improve government efficiency
These will be delivered by 46 initiatives grouped into six workstreams:
• Human Capital, Communications and Change Management (HCCCM) : the most critical workstream, ensuring that the leadership, communications and resources are in place to achieve the Second Action Plan
• e-services (ES) : improving the availability, maturity and usage of e-services
• National Shared Systems (NS) : standardized applications for use across all government agencies
• Infrastructure (IN) : increasing usage and strengthening shared infrastructure
• e-participation (EP) : the use of ICT based tools to support citizen participation in government processes including administration, service delivery, decision making and policy making
• Institutional Framework (IF) : the context within which the e-government program operates - the Leadership Role, the Governance and Funding model, and the regulations covering e-government.
It is widely recognized that e-government progress is more about changing people, culture and public administration, than simply implementing technology solutions. Initiatives in the HCCCM and IF workstreams are the foundation for the success of the other workstreams in this Second Action Plan. These other workstreams – e-services, national shared systems, infrastructure and e-participation – contain the initiatives that will deliver the benefits of e-government to citizens and businesses.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The Second Action Plan was developed using a structured approach of current state analysis, visioning and prioritization. During the current state analysis, it became clear that the fundamental critical success factor was the commitment and involvement of government agencies and an engagement model was developed to ensure inclusive participation from all stakeholders.
An e-government Advisory Group was established to provide advice and support during the development of the Second Action Plan. Membership consisted of chief information officers (CIOs) from major sectors and agencies, together with representation from universities, the private sector and a representative of the NGO sector. The role of the group was to:
• Participate in the identification of priorities and main directions for e-government.
• Participate in identifying requirements for implementation of e-government projects and requirements for the application and usage of e-government.
• Provide suggestions and recommendations on the e-government program.
The group was involved through one-to-one meetings, workshops and feedback on final draft.
Additional involvement in the development of the plan was as follows:
• Minister of Communications and ICT - one-to-one meetings
• e-government Steering Committee (consisting of senior government officials and chaired by the Governor of CITC) - one-to-one meetings, presentations and feedback on final draft
• Government agencies - two workshops with 270 attendees, input from the e-government transformation 3rd measurement, and feedback on final draft
• Public input from Citizen Satisfaction Survey
• IT industry input through a workshop with 50 representatives from 30 companies
A total of 451 comments from 65 respondents were received to the final draft.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The Vision developed for e-government in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is

"تمكين الجميع من استخدام خدمات حكومية فعالة بطريقة متكاملة وسهلة وآمنة عبر قنوات إلكترونية متعددة"
“Enabling everyone to use effective government services, in a secure integrated and easy way, through multiple electronic channels”
The key messages captured by this vision are:
Enabling everyone…
Everyone should be able to take advantage of e-government - citizens, businesses, residents, visitors, community groups, women, ethnic minorities, students, researchers and people in rural areas - whether they are based in KSA or overseas.
e-government is not just about making e-services available; it is the widespread use of e-services by the public that will deliver benefits of convenience, reduced effort to interact with government, and lower cost.
… effective government services…
The services are designed to meet the needs of the customers (citizens, businesses, residents, visitors, students and researchers), and are seen as being effective in meeting those needs.
… secure…
Online services need to protect the security of government systems and the privacy of individual information.
… integrated…
Services that require the involvement of more than one government agency should not require the customer to know the details of particular government agencies involved – the information should be put together within government and presented to the customer.
… easy…
The citizen should be able to use the system without significant training or support. This means that commonly used practices by the private sector for online service delivery should be adopted by government.
… multiple electronic channels.
The scope of e-government is focused on electronic service delivery and customer interaction, available through popular channels including SMS and advanced mobile handsets.
This national vision will be taken and used by each government agency to develop an individual Vision and strategic action plan for agencies and sectors. Objectives and measures are discussed in question 5.
The Vision was developed as described in sections 4 and 6. The final plan was approved by the e-government Supreme Supervisory Committee chaired by the Minister of Finance.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
The project adopted a structured approach to the development of the Second e-government Strategy and Second Action Plan. The project team worked in a collaborative fashion with leaders from government agencies and other stakeholders.
The development of was done in eight phases:
1. Mobilization and establish an Office of Strategy Management
2. Current State Analysis – Internal
3. Current State Analysis – External
4. Human Capital Communications and Change Readiness Analysis
5. E-Government visioning
6. Define Strategy Options and Prioritize
7. Human Capital Communications and Change Management Plan
8. E-Government Strategy and Second Action Plan

During the first two months of the project, the team conducted a detailed current state analysis – an internal analysis of the current state of e-government in key government agencies and an external analysis of how the current state compares with international best practice and the expectations of external parties such as citizens, businesses and non-government organizations (NGOs). The internal and external analysis was applied to each of the six workstreams – Infrastructure, e-Services, National Applications, Human Capital, Communications and Change Management, e-Participation, and e-Government Institutional Framework.
The resulting current state analysis report was used as the basis for a series of executive workshops and focus groups. The results from the workshops were used to define the e-Government strategy and prioritize initiatives over the five year period. At the same time a Change management plan was developed, drawing on the results of the Human Capital and Communications findings.
The final deliverable, the National e-Government Strategy Action Plan integrated the results of e-Government Strategy options and Change Management Plan; it contains the Vision, Values, Themes and Strategic Objectives, a roadmap of Initiatives with activities, resources, general timing, prerequisites and dependencies, as well as the performance management measures for monitoring the delivery of the plan.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
During the current state analysis, it became clear that the fundamental critical success factor for the Second Action Plan was the commitment and involvement of government agencies and the engagement model was developed to ensure inclusive participation from all stakeholders as discussed in question 4.
At the National e-government Conference in 2010, six ministers delivered individual presentations which emphasized the political commitment to e-government. The event was attended by more than 2,500 government officials from Ministries, Departments, Commissions, Municipalities, Governorates and other government institutions. This provided a significant boost to the support for e-government within government agencies.
Externally, the major barrier is the level of maturity and uptake of on-line services in the Kingdom, and the availability of internet connectivity. Internet penetration in the Kingdom is less than 50% (43.6% in December 2010), and mobile phone subscription rates are 175% (the ninth highest in the world). For this reason, priority is being given to developing e-services for the mobile phone (both SMS and smartphone), thus increasing reach to all members of Saudi society.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
Each of the objectives in the Strategy Map has associated measures and targets; there are 33 measures (too many to list here individually), and the following are provided as an indication:
• Increase the focus on the cost of accessing government e-services, so that by 2016, 70% of agencies measure the time to e-service completion and the customer cost to interact with e-government
• Improve quality of e-services - choice, availability and service levels – so that by 2016, 85% of respondents to the annual survey (G2B and G2C) give a positive rating to e-services quality
• Increase customer awareness of e-services so that by 2016, 95% of respondents are aware of e-government services
• Increase customer satisfaction with e-services so that by 2016, 80% of respondents give a positive assessment ("excellent" and "very good") on e-services and use e-services for on-line transactions with government agencies
• Drive out duplication of government ICT investment so that by 2016, 200 agencies are using government shared infrastructure – the Government Secure Network, Government Services Bus and National Shares Systems
• Develop e-services through different channels so that by 2016, 80% of services are available through more than one channel
• Improve collaboration and increase knowledge exchange so that in 2016, 15 active communities of practice are operating across government.
• Create a performance based culture across e-government workforce so that by 2016, 80% of e-government employees report a favourable view on working culture
• Increase e-participation between government agencies and citizens so that by 2016, 80% of agencies have implemented e-participation
• Build capacity for e-government research and innovation so that in 2016, KSA publishes 20 examples of e-government research and innovation.
Targets have been set for each of these measures on an annual basis, and performance will be tracked and reported by the Office of Strategy Management.
In previous sections, we have described the multi-stakeholder approach that was used with participation from government, the ICT sector, academia, and NGOs, as well as gathering input from the public through surveys. The core project team was made up of government officials from Yesser, supplemented with local and international consultants.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
Implementation of the Second Action Plan is a collective responsibility for government as a whole. Each government agency is expected to develop a Vision and strategic action plan for their e-government transformation, with all programs and projects aligned with their Ministry of Planning operating plans, and assign resources to implement these.
Leadership by individual government agencies is also crucial to the success of e-government – leadership in the implementation of e-services, the use of shared infrastructure, and communication with employees and the public. The e-government committee established within each government agency is responsible for:
• developing a Vision and strategic action plan in support of the Second Action Plan
• publishing a roadmap of e-services, and advising progress on the roadmap on a quarterly basis
• developing plans for communication to employees, learning and capability building, and leadership development in their agency
• ensuring e-government development is in accordance with Council of Ministers Resolution no. (40) Dated (27/2/1427H) and standards published by Yesser
• creating a risk management plan for e-government within the agency
• participating in collaborative and joint initiatives with other agencies within the sector or with Yesser when involved in National Shared Systems
• providing leadership within the agency and within a sector when required

The Office of Strategy Management (OSM) has been established to track and report progress against the Second Action Plan. The OSM will emphasize the importance of working across agencies, and sharing experiences. The roles of the OSM include the following:
• maintain oversight of progress of each project and aggregate the results into a dashboard report
• develop techniques to tracking progress measures against strategic objectives
• track alignment of sectoral strategies with the national e-government strategy
• assess the alignment of e-government strategies prepared by agencies with the National Vision and Second Action Plan
• develop risk mitigation approaches and maintain the risk register

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
e-government success is fundamental to the transformation of government in KSA, and achievement of the national goal of developing KSA as an information society and digital economy.
The public already experience effective on-line services in their personal lives and in their interactions with private sector organizations. They expect similar levels of service from government, and the National e-government Strategy and Second Action Plan will bring about the change to improved customer service, as well as increasing access to government services on-line and policy making through e-participation.
Role clarity is important. Every government agency has a responsibility to contribute to the delivery of the e-government vision and strategic objectives, making e-services available in accordance with their published roadmap. Yesser will provide central leadership, coordination, funding, shared infrastructure, and support through technical advice and resources.
Government employees will need better tools to undertake their jobs, and thereby gain the opportunity to provide better service as a result. Traditional work methods, based upon ingrained social and cultural values, will change to enable the public and businesses to exercise their preferences. Manual, time-consuming paper-based, service delivery will be replaced by e-services that are convenient, always available, and electronic. This will provide equality of access to all who wish to access government, irrespective of their gender, location or social status.
Continuing with the same behaviors will yield the same results. The Second Action Plan signals significant and controlled change which will deliver benefits to all who interact with government. They will:
• have choice and personalization in their interactions with government agencies
• benefit from better regulation, reduced paperwork and lower costs
• avoid the need to spend many hours visiting government offices to undertake tasks that can be completed instantly on-line
• have access to information and services on devices and channels of their choice, when they want
• develop increased trust and confidence in government

The Second Action Plan has built on the lesson learned in the first five years of e-government in the Kingdom and outlines how these changes can be achieved

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of CIT, Saudi Arabia's YESSER e-Government Program
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Suhail AlAmaee
Title:   Eng.  
Telephone/ Fax:   + 96614522263 /+ 96614522353
Institution's / Project's Website:   www.yesser.gov.sa
E-mail:   samaee@yesser.gov.sa  
Address:   Riyadh KSA
Postal Code:   11112
City:   Riyadh
State/Province:   Central Province
Country:   Saudi Arabia

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