Smartphone Apps for Petrol Stations, Medical Insurance, HR services and Employee Index in Kuwait
kuwait national petrolum company

The Problem

Smartphone applications is a hot subject in the world today and the penetration of smartphone usage is very high in Kuwait also. To be in line with technology and behavioral changes we had to adapt this change via building smartphone development teams and gain the required competencies in order to provide and upgrade the existing web-services to mobile applications that make the life easier for the residents of Kuwait. This change was a big challenge to implement. We identified four issues that need to be resolved by using smartphone applications, which are medical insurance, petrol stations, Employee HR services and employees index.
Public healthcare is provided in Kuwait through a number of government clinics and hospitals located throughout the country. Private healthcare insurance provided to residents by insurance agencies allows the use of private hospitals and clinics. Getting the details of the nearest medical facility to which the mobile user (resident) is entitled and reaching the selected facility on time are some of the prime concerns of residents.
Kuwait is having more than 120 petrol stations scattered around the country serviced by three different companies, KNPC, Oula and Al-Soor. Finding the route to the nearest fuel station and the services provided such as ATM and fuel types by them becomes difficult when one is situated in an unfamiliar area in a country with advanced road network. Moreover it was difficult for the residents and employees to monitor their petrol card balances and transaction details.
On the other hand obtaining employee HR related information was limited to office hours. The employees had to contact respective HR divisions, for getting the required information which resulted in interruptions, wasted time and lost productivity. Similarly getting the employee contact details after the office hours were impossible.

The targeted people were residents and oil sector employees in Kuwait,

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The solution comprised of a location based personalized smartphone service, for providing location and details of the nearest medical facilities and fuel stations with available services. The smartphone application interacts with other location technology components and determines the user's location. The application shows all medical centers included in the insurance and all fuel stations in Kuwait (120 stations)within close proximity to the smartphone user on the smartphone’s map with details. This application is downloaded by more than thirty thousand users in Kuwait during the first five months from Appstore.
To securely access Petro Card details and Employee Service Information, a mobile application allowing access to employee/petro card databases was developed. On successful authentication the application provides the employee with a searchable Company Telephone Directory and facility to enquire about Leave Balance, Merit Increase, Pay Slip, Overtime Details, Scheduled Trainings and Attendance. The same application allows KNPC Petro Card holders to enquire about their petro card balance and transactions after proper user validation.
The benefitted people were residents of Kuwait and employees of oil sector.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The initiative was originally proposed by the IT department of Kuwait National Petroleum Company in the oil sector of Kuwait. The initiative evolved over time and was shaped by changing technological developments. IT department’s officials provided expertise and project management services for the project as it progressed through various developmental stages. A major role was played by specialists in database and information security management. The main stakeholders of the project are Top Management, Oil sector employees and residents of Kuwait.

(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.
This project is in line with the oil sector vision and mission to provide the best service to the country. The following are the main objectives:
To improve the IT Services provided to the public of Kuwait.
To make the information/knowledge available to the residents round the clock.
To utilize the IT for the development projects in Kuwait.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
The key stages in the product development were Requirements, Analysis& design, Construction, Testing and deployment. The technologies used were HTML-5 and SDK tools to support all type of mobile platforms such as Blackberry, iPhone and Android. The required mobility infrastructure was built on Webservices technologies connected to the backend database (Oracle).

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
Training the development team on new technology, getting the hardware and software to support the technology, the bottlenecks the developers face when using new technologies were the major obstacles faced during the project. Moreover marketing the smartphone apps to reach the public was a big challenge.
Pulling out best developers from across divisions and forming a new team specific to the project, by convincing the top management about the value of the services plans to provide to the public and employees. Using electronic media such as social networks (Twitter) was the mechanism used to market the mobile apps in Kuwait.

(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
KNPC IT software development team and infrastructure teams were the major resources. Moreover business divisions such as Local Marketing and HR of KNPC contributed to the various stages of the project. By using the in-house resources we were able to cut on expenditure drastically.
The costs associated were mainly on training the employees.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The project was executed and implemented using existing infrastructure with minimal acquisition of software and hardware. Based on the success of the initiative more government agencies are approaching KNPC to implement similar types of services to empower the public.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
The project added value to the public and oil sector employees by serving them the required information at the right time. By providing these services we achieved the project goal within the timeframe and budget. Moreover this project encouraged all government agencies to start extending their services on smartphone. Introducing new services on smartphone has become easy since the basic platform for the smartphone development is set.
Management’s will and leadership proved to be an essential aspect of implementing this particular initiative. Commitment, dedication and team spirit were the major ingredients for the successful innovative initiative.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   kuwait national petrolum company
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Mr. Khalid Al-Asousi
Title:   IT Manager  
Telephone/ Fax:   +965 99639713
Institution's / Project's Website:
Address:   KNPC HO
Postal Code:   13001
City:   Ahmadi
State/Province:   Ahmadi
Country:   Kuwait

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