Integrated Workflow Management System (IWMS)
eGovernment Authority/ Ministry of Cabinet Affairs

The Problem

Kingdom of Bahrain is a democratic country that obtains a solid relationship with its legislative authority (Parliament) who proposes, reviews and assesses to better improve and enhance laws and government performance. Maintaining such a relationship requires both the government and the legislative authority to hold an extensive follow-up and co-operation between both parties. To further enhance this bond, eGA has taken the initiative to enrich the co-operation of the entities by providing them with the upmost advanced Information System.
This initiative will be implemented in numerous phases; the first phase covers processes related to law proposition and legislation, assessing government performance and administration procedures that follows up and coordinates on both respectively.
Processes include the following:
1.Proposed suggestions
2.Law preposition
3.Law legislation
4.Investigation/temporary committee report
5.Question by member of council
6.Interrogation initiation request
7.Council committee request
8.Agenda for council meeting
9.Invitation for parliamentary committee meeting
10.Invitation for ministerial committee meeting

IWMS was introduced as an initiative to resolve the following issues:
* Implicit knowledge: within each entity, a limited number of experienced employees executed the procedures that were never shared nor documented in each form of correspondence.
* Lack of consistency: procedures were managed in a case-by-case basis which lacked consistency in following the laws but being unable to handle them appropriately.
* Conflict of interest: a conflict of defining roles and responsibilities exists between the legislative and governmental entities who refuse to handle their duties.
* Tracking difficulties: entities were unable to follow-up and track the sent and received documents as they do not obtain the full control over the workflow of documents and are unable to possess an accurate status of the process at any point of time.
* Challenges in generating reliable reports: entities faced challenges in generating reliable annual reports as they lacked accurate information of the status of documents and this affected the transparency among involved organizations. It requires additional efforts from employees to verify the available information and contact several external persons to remain updated.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
As a solution to the above problem, the Integrated Workflow Management System (IWMS) was introduced to handle the interaction between the Parliament and the government using the Government-to-Government (G2G) principles. Through the correlation of processes and automation of official documents’ flow among key organizations, who play a critical role in decision-making, transparency is put in place.

IWMS was introduced to free coordinators and follow-up specialists from the manual work and enable them to focus on reporting, tracking and improving the pre-defined internal processes. Printing all the required reports based on users’ requests as per the official format accepted by the Supreme Council for Information and Computer Technologies (SCICT) should be made available. Data related to the processes are being stored in a common repository and are used for tracking and reporting purposes. IWMS unifies the tracking process and the reporting style based on accurate and up-to-date records.

It also facilitates making timely decisions based on accurate information and imposes deadlines among tasks with proper reminders and alerts to responsible stakeholders. It further defines the escalation mechanism for overdue tasks with level and types of reminders sent from the system.

It provides a digitized archival repository for all correspondences which can be accessed and used at any time by the authorized users. The IWMS supports search engine that enables users to look for a particular document with the availability of advanced search options. The users can retrieve the documents based on any Metadata related to them or based on their content. The historical documents are also migrated to the IWMS and are available for search and retrieval.

Alerts are activated based on the documents’ flow among the different entities and all involved stakeholders would receive alerts. For each process, the IWMS will maintain contact details for responsible people. Therefore, at any point in time, users can contact the involved person and attain the updates of the process.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The IWMS was proposed by the eGovernment Authority of Bahrain and it has been outsourced to an offshore vendor ‘Netways’ (URL; The stakeholders of the IWMS are Representatives Council, Shura Council, Ministry of Shura and Representatives Council, Ministry of Cabined Affairs, Prime Minister Court, Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission, two Deputies Prime Ministers Courts and the Royal Court.

Points of contact have been established within each entity to coordinate the work related to each phase from the project. Each entity has nominated a representative in the steering committee, two subject matter experts and two representatives from the Information Technology (IT) department to provide information about available infrastructure and its’ readiness.

(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 initiative has been aligned to the 2030 vision for the Kingdome of Bahrain to reach an efficient and effective government (clause 2.2 from the aspiration for government in the vision). As part of the eGA strategy in 2007, this project implemented the interaction of government-to-government principle through the interconnection of processes and automating official documents flow amongst key government organizations that play critical roles in decision making in government.
The project is also aligned to Government Work Plan from the year 2011-2014 which encourages innovative ICT projects and application.

The eGA has defined the objectives for the IWMS and the market was studied for similar initiatives. The IWMS has been introduced to create an integrated workflow management platform between the legislative authority and the government. The processes to be included in the scope of the first phase of the project were defined by the business executives. Following phases of the project will involve more governmental entities and incorporate more processes until the full electronic collaboration between the government and the legislative authorities is maintained.
IWMS has been initiated to achieve the following objectives based on the defined strategy and scope of its first phase:
•Automates the processes of government decisions to avoid delay in receiving and replying operations which in turn would speed up the decision-making process.
•Streamlines the transmission process of official documents between government organisations.
•Provides an efficient mechanism to track the progress of any transmitted documents or processes that require proper action or deadline imposed on a task.
•Provides digital repository that can keep all correspondences, paperwork, and documents digitized, archived, accessible and used at any time by respective governmental organisation.
•Supports search engines that enable users to look for a particular document as part of a document management system.
•Enhances the reputation between government organisations during the exchange of documents.
•Increases the authentication of correspondences and decision-making processes.
•Enables the end-user to check the status of a particular process and becomes alerted of incoming process or correspondence that needs certain action.
•Migrates historical data into electronic and digitized archives for search and retrieval

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
The IWMS has undergone the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) throughout its development and implementation phases. SDLC started by conceptualizing the initiative’s environment, pre-defined processes, involved stakeholders and the Information Technology requirements. The analysis and design phase was then initiated to define the business, functional, non-functional and transition requirements for the solution. The architecture of IWMS was later built to define the technology requirements for the infrastructure. Prototype sessions were also conducted to review screen’s interface with the business users. And was later followed by demonstration sessions arranged to monitor the progress of the development effort and ensure its alignment with the business requirements. Subsequently, business validation sessions were conducted to assess the performance, ensure its alignment with the business requirements and functional specifications and to baseline them. Finally, the User Acceptance Testing then take place to run several real cases from different processes and ensure that the solution is free of bugs and system errors to effectively link all authorities.
The applied project management methodology follows the five project management processes introduced by the Project Management Institute (PMI); project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and controlling and lastly project closing.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
- Users of the system tend to resist to change from the manual processes to the electronic environment for running the flow of correspondences. This challenge has been overcome by having change management activities that targets the business users of the IWMS, design user friendly interface, active user involvement in the design process along with few Public Relation activities.
- No determined terminologies were being used amongst non-homogenous entities as each utilizes their own terms, rules and regulations. Therefore, overcoming such a challenge involved setting unified and meaningful terms to document’s naming and statuses lock fields for the different stages within the processes’ workflow. A representative from each organization was then present in every meeting conducted for that purpose.
- Preparing the metadata for the documents to be shifted to IWMS as well as the actual documents (in both electronic and physical format). This has been overcome by migrating data from four selected entities.
- The project is considered the first initiative in the Middle East; hence lack of experience in managing and developing such a solution is a continuous challenge in the project. Consultation has been taken from experienced entities during the different phases within the project.
- Changing the initiative’s architecture design from physical environment to the virtual environment taking into consideration the lack of vendor experience with such environment and infrastructure. Consultation has also been taken from experienced entities to help in this transition and remain committed to structured laws.

(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
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) secured the cost of the project which was around BD 500,000. The vendor’s project team was formed to include project manager, business analysts, risk managers, solution architects, information architects, technical specialists, trainers, change management specialist, SharePoint lead developers, workflow lead developers, QA specialists, User Experience Specialists and Front End Interface Developers.

The work within the project has been initiated having officially assigned representatives from each entity. The team assignment from each entity includes senior person to be a member of the steering committee, two subject matter experts as business representatives and two technical people from the IT department to provide information about the entity’ infrastructure and its readiness.

The eGA premise was used to conduct meetings engaging all involved stakeholders. The project was awarded to an offshore vendor; however, on-site activities were involved for all interactions with business and technical users. The eGA was also managing the project execution through online meeting workspaces, conference calls, and email communications as well as on-site demonstrations.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
IWMS is a sustainable solution that enables the stakeholders to modify the workflow of the implemented processes according to any updates in their procedures. It plays the post office role in its first phase and ready to be migrated with the organizations’ internal systems. Additional processes can be automated utilizing the available infrastructure with ability to include new organizations to the scope. It encourages employees to be proactive as they see the progress of a specific process instance; hence productivity should be improved.

Following elaborate points on the scalability feature of the IWMS:
-The IWMS is flexible in terms of adding applications and organizations.
-All servers in the IWMS can scale-up by adding more CPUs, HD Space and RAM.
-Scaling out is available for the SQL, K2 and SPS WFE from IWMS.
-The files are saved on the file system (SAN) instead of the database (SQL Server) which dramatically decrease the size of the SPS content databases and therefore make IWMS much more scalable from a data storage perspective.
-The “Medium Size – Three Tiers” farm architecture has been chosen for the SharePoint part of IWMS.
-The “Large-Scale with Maximum Redundancy Using the Fewest Servers” architecture has been chosen for the K2 Blackpearl part of the solution.

IWMS was implemented to be a model for any Integrated Workflow Management Systems in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The following highlights the main points that make it a model that can be transferable:
-The IWMS is built on SharePoint 2010 platform; therefore it can be easily replicated.
-The IWMS is highly configurable to allow future modifications on the solution with minimum effort.
-Availability of the K2 workflow management environment makes it easy to replicate the processes workflow.
-The system requirements are very minimal and can be easily adapted by any new entity.
-The IWMS is built based on the Infrastructure of the Central Informatics Organization(CIO) in the Kingdom in line with the Enterprise Architecture Standards. These infrastructures unify the context that governmental solutions are built for reusability to become more possible.
IWMS is accessible only through an Intranet hosted in CIO. The available intranet is called the Government Data Network (GDN). It is a highly secured network with high bandwidth connecting all governmental entities in Bahrain. CIO is responsible of managing the GDN operation to secure the government’s data and ensure its high availability.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
The solution impact is distinguished in various aspects; phase one of IWMS reduced the cycle time by 30% of the processes while it is expected to be reduced to 50% once being fully adopted. This has improved the country commitment to the rules and regulations.

Due to systematic follow-up emails, alerts on tasks duration and escalation mechanism – the effectiveness of the councils and ministerial committee meetings has been dramatically improved.
Furthermore, going green by providing a digital repository for all the documents with an option to download, annotate or version documents benefited in protecting the environment.

One of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been achieved by IWMS through supplying a system for transparency, open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system.

A number of lessons has been learnt from the project, to name a few; forming a steering committee that consists of participants from business and information technology executives
is vital as it will provide the required support for introducing progressive changes in all concerned governmental and non-governmental sectors.
IWMS deals with different sensitive processes within the Kingdom; by forming a specialized team for change management, the ‘resistance-to-change’ concept was carefully managed. The entities’ feedback throughout the entire project’s execution was taken and all the raised risks were managed to closure. The emphasis was on getting the entities buy-in to successfully launch the solution and attain a high-service uptake.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   eGovernment Authority/ Ministry of Cabinet Affairs
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Fatima Barhoom
Title:   Specialist  
Telephone/ Fax:  
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   P.O. Box 75533
Postal Code:  
City:   Jufair
Country:   Bahrain

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