Procurement And Contracts Portal
Saudi commission for tourism and antiquities
Saudi Arabia

The Problem

Before this solution was implemented, the bidding process proved to be very ambiguous for bidder and contributors alike and this in turn became an obstacle for proper budget and time management. In addition this process offered a low degree of both transparency and the sharing of related information. The whole process began with placing announcements in the newspaper for a set amount of days. During these days, SCTA received and recorded the application fees and other requirements manually then required the bidder to come to the SCTA offices and submit their bid and application. Bidding was kept confidential. The assigned employees in SCTA then reviewed the applications and seeking compliance with conditions and rules before granting approval with feedback by mail. This process increased the time spent updating and notifying the bidder with the required information and guidance, so in general there were neither real time statutes updates nor proper notification. Bidders had to submit their organizational information every time they applied for bid competitions with SCTA t causing the process to take significant effort and time. The lack of sharing important updates and information with bidders proved to be another major obstacle along with the review process.

Adding to the time-consuming process of verification was the time spent on reviewing the bidder’s actions and actual bids. These reviews were conducted by employees of the Purchasing and Contracting Departments who compared bids and qualifications before deciding on who to reward the contracts based on compliance to the rules and regulations and how well the bidder met the requirements. A meeting was then held attended by all bidders where the bid rewards were announced along with the amounts awarded.

After the bid competitions closed, the information regarding these competitions were stored in physical files and access to these storage files for further review proved to be difficult.. The creation of this weak archiving system for bid competitions information made it harder for management and other contributors to access the information for real-time data when quested. In addition, it was harder t find the winners name in previous competition so users could compare themselves with previous winners and the amount of their bids.

All the use of an antiquated manual processing and storage systems raised the costs in terms of both time and efforts for all parties involved in bid competitions and related processes for this initiative. As well as increased the opportunity for errors and lack of transparency into the whole of bidding procedures.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
Initiating a web based solution through electronic competition and bidding was a big move for procurement and contract department. . Implementation of this initiative greatly reduced the time and effort previously required by competition applicants (or bidders) to a minimum.

The new system now allows organizations to register and record their basic and fixed information. Applicants will now have access to an accurate accounting throughout the system. This new system will also help in reducing time spent when organizations apply for different competitions at various times. Bidders will only have to log in to view news and listings of all new competitions as well as the required information, rules and conditions and any related information and they can then apply for targeted competitions with less effort using clear and easy steps. In such ways, this new web-based solution solves issues raised regarding transparency.

Now bidder can check the status of their application with real time data, and they can become aware of the latest updates. They can even view public information on other bidders, so the bidding process will go smoothly avoiding conflicts caused by hidden information. The new system announces the bid winners so that other bidders can know not only who wins but also the final total amount of the bidding. Organizations that registered in the system can see all the details and results from previous competitions. ; The above –mentioned features make it easier for other contributors like the finance department and other related parties to monitor and view related information.

In addition, the new system provides a secure platform that will reduce the risk of sharing confidential organizational information. Permission and authority to distribute and manage data is restricted to system users. So the system actually achieved its goals of reducing time and effort required, providing accurate real time data, and providing a high degree level of transparency. It allows management to monitor and control the competition process and information at will thereby raising the degree of transparency between bidders and SCTA as an organization. Higher management as it r was given a valuable tool to control and improve the bidding process.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The system was requested by the Procurement and Contract Departments of SCTA, and their involvement was one of the key components in the success in achieving the system’s goals and objectives. They shared necessary information, providing a clear picture requirements based on their expertise. They described all the bidding steps while setting up a road map charting the bidding process from the beginning until the close of bidding and the announcement of the winner. Also, they willingly shared all issues raised from using the old manual system, so that repetition of systemic flaws could be avoided in the new electronic system.

The system was analyzed and planned technically by the IT department in SCTA. They also assigned a senior and professional development team for this project since they recognized both the system’s importance and the positive impact it would have on the organization as a whole. They implement the system in such a way to make user and applicable. In addition, they provided 24/7 supports to ensure that in all the competition processes the system would work properly and with no issues arising.

By default, and as all systems related
By default and as in actual practice relating to all such systems, the PC, IT, and Finance departments are the internal stake holders in this project: all of these parties were actively engaged in each level of its development. In the future if the system requires modification, discovery will occur early on so the system will remain operable and safe.

The External stake holder were and will remain the governmental and commercial agencies and organizations that will be using the system and applying from here on in. there , Their needs were of primary concern from the beginning. Also, one of the main goals was to provide an easy, automated system for them so they could save time and effort in applying for contracts. One important stakeholder was Yesser. They assisted in setting up the system road map and also provided all support in different matters, so they could accomplish their shared goals with SCTA: implementing a secure, easy, and automated system.

(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 goals and objectives of this project were quite clear from the beginning: Foremost, provide Transparency, Accountability, Responsiveness and Promote Integrity and Measures to Prevent Abuse or Misuse of Public Power, Promote Innovative Management of Public Finances, Transforms Administration, and to Introduces a New Concept.
In order to introduce the element of functionality to the above points, the need for a new system to automate all procedures related to fair and successful contract competitions was raised. Also raised was the need for clear strategies and goals to implement system in such a way would be organized. “Road maps” were defined from the beginning: All objectives and goals mentioned above were considered from bidder’s point of view. The SCTA main consideration was to establish a perfect environment so competitions and the bidding process would proceed correctly with a high degree of transparency. One of strategies was to increase awareness on the part of bidders so they could engage and use the system and seamlessly replace the old methods of processing the bidding. Also, finding ways to save time and effort for all related parties was an important element in developing a strategy.
In addition, how the implementing such a system would help SCTA ,as represented by PC Dept., to share all information relating to each Competition as well as in announcing the winners and the bidding amount was a major concern in the creation of strategies for the system.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
Development and implementation began with the simple idea of increasing the degree of transparency while providing an easy open environment that would help all related parties to use and share necessary information. Also, early on the idea of providing an easy and fast access for user to read and view latest updates for new competitions or to share information the related to this subject was part of the initial planning and programming process. Outside organizations participating in contract were consulted to provide input as to how the system could best accommodate their needs so they could then apply and contribute documents to any competition with less effort throughout the system. , The idea was presented and planning and set objectives and goals were built. Based on the outlined above. When all the requirements were gathered, the IT team then initiated the developmental and implementation stages using the latest technology available on the market along with security tools that would insure a secure environment. When the development team completed and tested system it went public allowing any organization, as well as management access, accomplishing the procedures with fast, easy steps.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
When the idea was first raised for developing an electronic system for procurements management, concerns over transparency were the main issues to consider as well as to how such a system could be best implemented so as to achieve its goals and objectives. One major issue was how to procure the resources needed for such a system. So it took some time to gather the best resources and to ensure they possess the capacity to develop such a system. Coordination between parties engaged in initiation stages for the system was a major challenge. Another challenge was to make sure that all information would be shared throughout the system to ensure transparency legally and there were no illegal repercussions for sharing such information. In addition, generating adequate public awareness in how the system would work and how it would l automate and announce information regarding the Competition provides some challenging obstacles. Since most bidders or users had never used such an electronic system would require educational efforts.

In order to resolve these issues, required time and concentrated efforts significant professional resources were assigned to implement at the system. From the beginning information collection from different organization and governmental sectors was begun. Also, surveys were conducted measuring the degree to which bidders would be engaged and to define their views and opinions. In addition, guideline r describing the new system were offered to different media channels so the public would be informed as to who will be using the system, the systems features and goals and how they worked.

(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
One important question raised when initiating and planning for developing this system was what resources would be used: outside resources or those tagged for in house development. Following feasibility studies and research, the decision was reached to develop resources in house, thereby reducing the costs while allowing the full and flexible engagement of PC department in all steps. Assigning a large team was the first step in implementing such a system. This team consisted of a project manager, business analysis team, design team, technical team, and assessment team They operated together as one large team. All human resources were provided by SCTA employees from different departments such as finance, PC. , and finally IT who assumed the responsibility of development and design. Thankfully the cost was not an overriding concern since all resources used came from the same organization However maintaining professionalism of team members was the cause of some concern. Since all team members were trained and qualified the final result was an interactive fully functional system, utilizing the latest technology including software and hardware.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
This newly developed system resolved many issues and risks that could occur during public procedures like bidding and the projects associated with it. Therefore one of the goals of developing this system was to ensure a sustainable environment in the long term. The system also follows exactly the same procedures published and agreed upon by government agencies so the chances of illegal activities occurring are virtually nil. In terms of cost, since the system is an in-house IT development, I with SCTA taking the responsibility for the technical support while assuming major risks along with the assistance of the planning and monitoring dept. in this case, there are no actual costs associated with this initiative. Many commercial and governmental agencies are now considering adopting this system to better accomplish their own pressing goals. Since its implementation a no issues and with any impact on society have occurred. This system can be replicated, adapted and shared with any interested agencies. SCTA guarantees that they can share the ideas and features and all their experience while developing and running the system so others can take their own services that one step ahead throughout e-government services.

One of the goals for Saudi Arabia government is to make all governmental procedures automated, so that all sectors and agencies are linked into one integrated system. The PC portal implemented by SCTA is one major step in achieving this goal.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
The new system helps all related parties in such a way that they can share knowledge and cooperates with the provider (SCTA) to speed up the bidding process while providing all transparency and a secure environment. Automation of all processes should be the first thing that an organization needs to consider for any project. The major impact was in making t all information available for system users consisting of the bidders, related departments, and others. In addition the system announces the names of contract winners and the total bidding amounts in addition to all bidding amounts for all competitors. This process helps in achieving a much higher degree of transparency and accountability for public bidding process The involvement of PC department and other related department in the sharing their experience while describing the inadequacy of manual procedures was a major impact. The introduction of a new innovative idea for the public bidding process through an automated and electronic system was the key success. Retrieving and storing Competition information by the Finance and PC departments, introducing a new way of archiving all information in one simple system added to this success. Now within the space of one click all the needed information will be retrieved and viewable by users.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Saudi commission for tourism and antiquities
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Massar Almassar
Title:   IT general director  
Telephone/ Fax:   00996618808801/0096618808844
Institution's / Project's Website:
Address:   Diplomatic quarter , SCTA
Postal Code:   66680
City:   Riyadh
State/Province:   Riyadh
Country:   Saudi Arabia

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