| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The GSB is a product resulting from a strategic plan for transforming the Saudi Government to eGovernment. The following is a chronological order of the relevant plans and activities to the GSB development and rollout :
2004 : The National Communication and Information Technology Plan (NCITP) included the establishment of Yesser.
2005 : The Cabinet of ministers in Saudi Arabia issued a royal decree to establish Yesser to enable and empower the Saudi government agencies for e-Transformation. Mandate, authority, and fund were established. The 1st strategy and action plan was developed to be executed 2006-2010 and included the need for the GSB to address the problems mentioned above and deliver additional value through the clearly defined and followed value chain.
2006 : The GSB efforts started and included the following :
• Defined and documented the problem statement.
• Benchmarked the international practice and experience of leading countries .
• Developed one RFP for consulting and another for development of the GSB.
• Evaluated the tenders and awarded the project.
• Created a project charter and scope of work.
• Developed the architecture of the GSB as a canonical model.
• Developed the high level design documents and access layers for providers and consumers.
• Developed the low level design documents.
2007 : The GSB character started to crystallize through the following activities :
• Started the development of the GSB Interoperability framework and branded it as Yesser Enterprise Framework for Interoperability (YEFI).
• Started the development of the GSB.
2008 : The GSB was ready for testing and included e following activities :
• Completed the development of the GSB.
• Started the functional testing and fixed resulting bugs and issues.
• Started the performance testing and fixed resulting issues.
• Updated the documentation of the GSB.
• Started the provider on-boarding process with the Ministry Of Interior Affairs represented by their repository host the National Information Center NIC.
• Started the consumer on-boarding process with the Ministry Of Labor.
2009-2010 : The GSB was operational and included the following activities :
• Revised YEFI.
• Developed the second strategy and action plan to be executed 2012-2016. The plan was developed using the Co-Creation approach. People from government agencies, vendors, private agencies, higher education, and the public. Everybody contributed seriously to the development of the strategy and the plan.
The 2nd National Action Plan includes several initiatives to support the following :
• Measure and improve the GSB capacity.
• Accelerate the on-boarding process for providers and consumers.
• Develop communication plans to increase the understanding of the GSB value and to increase the adoption of the GSB as one of the tools for e-Transformation.
• Develop change management plans and projects to create collective ownership of the concept and the practice.
• Promote and praise success stories.
2010-Now : The GSB Ecosystem was mapped and included the following activities :
• Baseline GSB Capacity Established, Quota enforcement in place for consumers with enhanced response time of 600ms
• GSB Authorization enhanced to fine grained service access, to protect privacy of data.
• A development of Comprehensive GSB Ecosystem and supporting services
• GSB Express and a Set of Tools like Ertibat to accelerate GSB Provisioning and Consumption
• GSB consumers at 43 and 24 Providers at providing 59 business services.
• Initiative to Serve GSB As Service capability to other Government agencies for their internal use.
• Established Service Identification process to identify and prioritize services needed for increasing the coverage of government services to consumers.
• Delivery of location based services, to assist in decision making and planning for government agencies, and also to be utilized by citizens for their needs.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Yesser assembled a business consulting team composed of people from consulting firms, people from Yesser , and advisers from universities. The team documented the business requirement and visited leading countries in various continents and benchmarked their practice against the business requirement. An innovative new hybrid model had to be designed to match the requirement. McKenzie analyzed the requirement. IBM designed the solution. Yesser owned the whole cycle.
IBM was contracted to develop the solution. The solution took much longer than planned to develop for the following reasons :
• Being a new concept solution, there was no model to copy. Surprises were imminent.
• With the lack of local expertise in the subject, people from all over the world had to be brought in. Legislative and social issues played a major role in the delay. The more change in the team members, the longer it takes to implement any thing.
The planned duration was 8 months. The actual time taken was 18 months. However, once developed, it worked well.
The stakeholders of the GSB were represented by the following roles :
• Project Sponsor (Yesser Director General)
• Project Director (Software Engineering Dept Director)
• Project Managers (from the PMO of Yesser, IBM)
• Subject Matter Experts (from Yesser, IBM, and Devoteam)
Once the GBS system was built and put in place the responsibility of running the GSB and making sure the GSB achieved its goals fell on Yesser entirely. Yesser built capabilities and competencies to make sure that the vision was put into action.
The stakeholders at this stage is represented by the following roles
• Project Sponsor (Yesser Director General)
• Project Director (Software Engineering Department)
• GSB Business Owner
• Architecture and Standards Team
• Consumer On Boarding Team
• Service Provisioning Team
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The resources used for the initiative to build and to operate are as follows :
People – The initial design and building of the GSB was performed by team from IBM with one team from Devoteam to supervise and do quality checks on every deliverable. In addition, we had a team from Yesser shadowing everyone to transfer the knowledge to them and to provide the necessary authority. As of now the Yesser team has built sufficient competency to improve on the design and is working on the next architecture version of the GSB.
Yesser has dedicated teams for consumer and provider service integration , roles they perform include integration project management, providing tools, knowhow, and guidance.
The teams also work on R&D to provide enhancement and scaling of the GSB, the initiative is driven by the top management in Yesser, and the need of providers and consumers of GSB.
Money - Cost was US$2 millions for consultation, US$8 million for development, and US$4 million to support it for two years. On-boarding cost is approximated at US$1.5M per provider, and US$200K per consumer for the first service integration, and US$50K for every additional service integration ever after.
However Yesser is now technically capable of supporting agencies to build new integration without any additional cost.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The highlight of the output from GSB is its unique position as single market for all Government Services. This enables to aggregate information in ways that was impossible before, there by becoming a platform for service delivery across broader sections of society.
Jadarah the youth employment program was powered by GSB Services. GSB fetched and provided up to date and accurate information from various organization’s helping to deliver much needed Youth employment program. The program was a big success, supporting various vulnerable groups.
Listed below are some of the high impact services offered via the GSB.
1. Educational Certificate Services
Educational certificate services such as High School Certificate, University Entrance Results, Graduate Record, Vocational Training Certificates etc are provided via the GSB. These services catered to more than 1.5 million students. There by enabling agencies to identify and verify credentials, provide trainings and placement for people.
2. Electronic Medical Record
The high EMR was used by government hospitals to provide health services to for 300,000 people. The high value of the services is made evident in event of accidents, the location of accident places constraints on providing health care. The service provides accurate health information from hospitals, from where the patient’s medical history can be retrieved. This critical information can be the bridge for taking life and death decisions . It was not possible prior to GSB and benefactors also included huge section from vulnerable group.
3. Real Estate Development Fund(REDF)
The GSB Services were used by REDF agency to provide government home loans for Millions of people which was not possible prior to GSB and of those included from vulnerable group. The initiative was executed on first come first serve basis. To apply for the loan, the person does not need to visit any government office and accessed via web, had that been the case the people living in remote locations would have been at disadvantage.
4. Ministry of Commerce and Industry(MCI)
The Services from commerce and industry helped people setup companies easier, here again minimizing visits to government agencies. This was a much needed convenience for people from different cultural background to engage with government agency to earn a decent living.
5. Zakat Certificate
The Zakat Certificate(Tax certificate) service was used by numerous people, to comply with tax regulations. The service facilitated many and specifically from the vulnerable groups a convenient access to government in procuring Zakat certificates.
The GSB has made it easier for government agencies to deliver their programs and E Services to the citizens and expatriates. The GSB and Yesser teams have reduced cost and time to market for the government agencies.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
There are two modes of monitoring the progress and evaluate the activities. Firstly GSB ecosystem is built with an integrated business intelligence system, an audit logging and non-repudiation system. The system monitors, measures and has dashboards that display performance indicators in terms of Service, Consumers and providers. The intelligence generated is used to plan for future services and also to utilize and promote existing services better. The second mode is via the yearly performance measurement system Qiyas that would measure the advancement in eTransformation including but not limited to the effective utilization of GSb in eTransformation.
Using the above two approaches, we are able to ensure that the services that are selected for wider reach to the vulnerable sections of the society are being utilized properly. The comprehensive monitoring system and report generated is utilized by the Yesser Business Development (YBD)in their planning activities so that the purpose behind realizing on the GSB is met.
Yesser has a GSB business owner, who is responsible for monitoring and evaluating the implementation strategy and goals for the GSB Services which includes providing services that cater to vulnerable groups.
YBD is also in touch with the government agencies to communicate to them the benefits of utilizing these services and the end benefits that can be reaped from whole of government point of view as well as the agency point of view.
Yesser consulting group(YCG) is also involved with assisting and guiding the government agencies in their eTransformation journey by providing consultancy services. YCG mandate includes the effective utilization of services provided on the GSB for automation and execution of agency business processes. Hence there are multiple touch points that Yesser uses to monitor and evaluate implementation strategy.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Obstacle : Delivering services to the varied vulnerable groups is done through the government agencies. There were challenges of convincing the agencies to use those GSB services
Counter action : Yesser mobilized Yesser Business Development group , Yesser consulting group and Software Engineering to sell those services and also to help them build solutions and processes to utilize those GSB Services.
Obstacle : Mind-Set – Government agencies were used to own and control all the data they need or might need in delivering their services, and having the choice to interpret the system as they please. Changing this to a service bus model where they only own and control their own data and everything else they get from the GSB was a challenging concept to their authority and level of control.
Counter action :Yesser utilized methods of evangelization, hiring staff from government agencies for better co-operation and coordination, selling value of GSB etc . Yesser also used the annual eReadiness measurement (Qiyas) to report the status of compliance for each government agency compared to the expected level of eTransformation.
Obstacle : Know-How - Since the GSB was designed using a hybrid model hence it was harder to find documentation or experts with direct relative experience to help.
Counter action : Yesser closely worked with all the relevant stakeholders to understand the challenges in the architecture and the design. The team was very aggressive in making decision to keep the wheel turning.
Obstacle : Service Identification & Prioritization – Lack of visibility into value of services provided by various agencies and how to prioritize them
Counter action : Yesser created an innovative process to evaluate the services in E Government context and based on the value service was prioritized into a service pipeline. The services fed from the pipeline were on boarded into the GSB based on the allocated priority
Obstacle : Challenges of Technical Know-How at government agencies.
Counter action : Yesser guided and supported government agencies with integration by providing, technical knowledge, mentoring, hand holding during integration, providing tools like GSB Express and Ertibat etc.