Ministry of Education

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The ministry’s progress towards achieving goals - high levels of student achievement; high levels of modern day educational facilities; high levels of qualified and skilled instructors; high levels of public confidence in public education - was plagued by archaic, non-integrated and semi-automated ways of managing administrative and financial resources. Moreover, the absence of modern information technology and communication systems resulted in poor management of records that eventually caused wastage of funds and other important resources. The challenges faced by the ministry resulting in launching Financial and Administrative Resource Information System (FARIS) are summarized as follows • Lack of regulations for some important business processes in the departments of administrative and financial affairs. Moreover, some existing regulations in some departments did not fully meet requirements of the work tasks. • Existing systems rely on out-dated ways of doing operations. • Separate educational directorates for boys and girls resulting in wastage and inappropriate use of both human and material resources. • All systems, either within any particular entity or across all the entities, were not consistent and not interconnected together, which increased the burden of extracting the consolidated statements. • Existing information systems were not built using robust technical and security architecture. • Existing systems were based on obsolete database systems. Moreover, such database systems were insecure and non-threaded. • Lacks of consolidated database and appropriate controls resulted in data inconsistency, redundancy and non-integrity. Moreover, such situation also posed great threats to database maintenance and change control. • Isolated information systems resulted in non-synchronization of business operations and added enormous burden to coordinate among such operations. • Some of the imperative information systems were only available in the ministry head-quarter. Non-availability of such systems was jeopardizing regular operations in the educational directorates. • Existing systems were developed locally, which increased the risk of technical support availability and required maintenance. Finally, existing business regulations and processes did not support and meet the aspirations and requirements of the ministry’s future endeavors.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Magnitude of FARIS made it strategic project with Kingdom wide geographic coverage (45 educational directorates with several sub sites and a head quarter governing 33000 schools) and far-reaching impact on the Kingdom’s aforementioned educational endeavors. It directly impacts Ministry’s 650,000 employees which represent 50%, approximately, of the total civil government employees. FARIS role becomes more significant due to its involvement in controlling and monitoring 20% of the Kingdom’s overall budget allocated for development and improvement of strategic assets and human resources essential for educational growth in the Kingdom. To address aforementioned and other problems, the Ministry partnered with Oracle, TCS and Hewlett Packard (HP) to create a digital society that would transform its culture into one more in tune with the best business practices in the governmental bodies. This partnership focused on developing the state-of-the-art infrastructure and capabilities to support educational goals and increase the Kingdom’s global competitiveness. This also served as a vital milestone towards Kingdom’s eGovernment initiative. The solutions implemented but not limited to the following are: • Established a single instance ERP platform for all the Ministry directorates—including finance and public sector budgeting, supply chain and project management, as well as human resources and performance management—with Oracle E-Business Suite R12 to standardize services, increase overall efficiency, and benefit from integrated supply chain and performance management. • Deployed state-of-the-art technology solutions comprising 28 functional modules encompassing various areas of business such as supply chain management, finance, asset management, human resources, and project management, enabling more than 2,500 users of these applications to be more productive. • Established guided work-flows for financial transactions and reporting and reduced average times for generating budget reports from months to minutes, while compiling human resources and financial reports in two minutes instead of two days as previously. • Increased visibility and measurement of the performance of employees and managers substantially, directly impacting the Ministry’s 650,000 employees, which represent approximately 50% of the total civil government workforce of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. • Achieved detailed insight into the availability and location of organizational assets required in the advancement, expansion and support of elementary and secondary school education, kingdom-wide. • Automated warehouse processes and optimized the quantity and type of stock ordered, improving warehouse space utilization. • Introduced effective change management on multiple aspects including people, processes, and technologies, preparing the Ministry’s employees for the fundamental change in doing operations and strengthening their buy-in to the best practices embedded in Oracle E-Business Suite.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
FARIS initiative was creative and innovative in the sense that we were eager to use technology at the level that was earlier not utilized in the entire MEA. The ministry processes payroll for 720,000 employees. This makes it the largest ERP project in the entire Middle East and Africa. Globally this is the fourth largest payroll. FARIS give us the capability to provide a background helping the Ministry to take vital decision efficiently and in a cost effective manner. For the implementation, we used a modified Implementation Methodology that was a combination of Oracle AIM and TCS Transform. We utilized best of both in our effort to achieve implementation success with good design and fast deployment

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
In a high level, considering the size and geographical spread, FARIS was decided to be first implemented as Pilot i.e., MOE Head Quarter (HQ) and some selected Additional (A) educational directorates (where all the business rules of the Ministry were considered and handled). After successful acceptance of the solution the same was rolled out to the rest of the educational directorates. Moreover, The intended solution was required to achieve uniformity in the business processes across all the MOE educational directorates and the head quarter, therefore the first four phases (of the adopted ORACLES’s AIM methodology coupled with conference room pilot) i.e., definition, analysis, design and build, Figure 1, were planned and executed by considering the requirements and issues from pilot directorates and the head quarter only. This provided the opportunity to learn from experiences of more than one directorate and to find the best possible solution acceptable to all the directorates and the head quarter. After necessary certification from Quality Assurance (QA) and accreditation from the senior management the same solution was rolled out to the remaining educational directorates. This helped to achieve the uniformity of business processes across kingdom wide ministry operations. Figure 1: FARIS Implementation Methodology Lifecycle Moreover, the total FARIS duration was set four years from the start date – first two years for implementation and the remaining two years for maintenance and support of the implemented solution. Finally, due to huge project size the solution modules were divided into two stages and both stages followed pilot based approach. The first stage comprised core modules – Human Resources; Financial; Supply Chain; Budget; Administrative Communication Systems, whereas the second stage consisted of enhancement and maintenance related modules ¬– Competition; Property Management; Project Management; Maintenance; Service Management; Privileges and Privacy Systems. Rollout & Training The rollout and training involved doing the related data migration, training the end users and moving to production. MOE educational directorates were divided into three rollout groups. Number and name of educational directorates in each rollout group were finalized during the production phase of the pilot project. The tasks for the roll out were: • End user training (done just before roll out) • Location specific data migration (done alongside/after the training) • Testing of loaded data • Location specific system administration, configuration and system set up activities (done during rollout) Stabilization Go Live was followed by stabilization phase of 3-4 months for handling incidents arising in the new system. The successful completion of this phase triggered the rollout.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Undoubtedly, implementation of FARIS was a complex undertaking, which had a wide-reaching impact on key stakeholders including employees, vendors and other government organizations. The set governance model comprised members from three different entities: Owner, Implementer and Quality Assurance, see below. The model was further divided into four hierarchical levels – Supervisory; Executive; Project Management; Project Execution. FARIS Team Organization Structure : Owner Implementer QA/IV&V (MOE) Global CMMI Level – 5 Implementer Global Independent CMMI Level – 5 Quality Assurance Services Provider FARIS Governance Model Levels: "Levels" : "Roles and Responsibilities" Supervisory : Setting the project’s vision, objectives and priorities. Providing high-level project supervision and approval of project strategies and PM plans. Executive :Acted as the project stakeholders group, ensuring that the deliverables and functionality of the project were achieved as per plans. Project Management : Responsible for planning, directing and overseeing the project, and ensuring that deliverables and functionality were achieved as per plans. Project Execution : Responsible for implementation and deployment of the project following the directions from the project management and by adhering to the project plan. Moreover, the MOE business users involved in the project were classified as either Super User or Key User. BALANCE BETWEEN BUSINESS AND IT ASPECTS The composition and organization of governance model depict that FARIS kept a balance between business and IT aspects of the project. The project members MOE, provided the necessary business guidance and helped eliciting and validating business requirements, whereas the implementer and the QA teams primarily added IT flavor. The overall goal was to create project champions in the form of super users and key users who provided business requirements to the IT experts and later validated them in the implemented solution. Moreover, these users played a vital role during change management by propagating both business and IT aspects of the implemented solution within the organization.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Financial: Implementation initiative, Oracle Experts hired to interface with the business, hiring QA partner to report on the progress. Technical: Upgrading the data centre and the infrastructure to be able to handle the increase resources needed. Human Resource: Training the employees to be able to be part of the implementation starting from inception till the go live. They were given training on eBusiness Suite so that they can be part of getting most appropriate solution for the Ministry.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The data now resides in a single unified database making it accurate The business process are unified across the various Educational Directorates The time taken by the users to initiate and complete transactions has reduced substantially. Senior management is now able to get the reports and data not only faster but also accurate. As a result management able to take their decisions based on most updated data. Huge reduction in paper work – means more environmentally friendly as well

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Communication plans were established to disseminate the achievement and issues/risks on daily/weekly/monthly basis at appropriate levels. By handling the issues promptly and mitigating the risks in timely manner good progress was achieved. Continuously monitor the go live readiness of the various educational directorates. Various parameters that formed part of this were the users’ identification and their training, network connectivity, data availability etc. For post go live evaluation, dashboards were also created to monitor the transactions being made and trying to estimate the system adoption levels. Where ever scope for improvement was possible, initiatives were taken to achieve those

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
There were challenges that we faced while trying to unify the business processes across the organization. This was overcome through extensive workshops involving the users. The availability of accurate legacy data posed another challenge. Meticulously planned data collection and cleansing strategy was deployed. Fortunately, the users’ availability to the project throughout its lifecycle was not a major challenge. Their effective identification, training and evaluating their readiness to work on the new system was tracked. The psychological resistance to accept change was also encountered. This was handled through progressive communication along with relevant milestones in the project. For example awareness sessions were conducted for events/milestones like the CRP, Hands On, Training, UAT explaining them the purpose of these events, their role and responsibilities therein and how they will be able to fulfill the same. During the entire course also managed their concerns.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The rollout of the solution has resulted in significant benefits across a broad swath of functions and stakeholders – including: 1 - Employees The Ministry is now able to analyze and manage all HR processes automatically. It has immediate access to accurate, timely, comprehensive data from HRMS applications that help the Ministry make better, more strategic decisions. The benefits included but not limited to: • Gain Daily Business Intelligence - Leverage predefined KPIs to set management goals. Consolidate all key information on automated dashboards, with one-click access to automated out-of-tolerance notifications, KPIs, reports, and more. • Manage Utilization and Productivity - Perform comprehensive employee analysis and budget reports. Readily availability of employee development and performance reports. • Manage Workforce Development and Learning - Analyzing competence gaps by person and job. Analyzing skills gaps for groups and individuals. Managing training attendance, resource use, costs, and success rates. • Optimize Compensation - Analyze salary trends. Comparing average salaries by group. Looking at salary distributions and skews by grade, performance, and service. Evaluating benefits plans for maximum value. • Manage Recruitment - Analyze time and costs by recruitment method. Reviewing recruitment success rates. Analyze applicant statistics and dropout reasons. Analyzing salary, vacancy and termination trends. 2 - Business operations There are many quantifiable benefits in business operations ensuing from the solution, including improved cost-effectiveness, faster asset deployment, and higher stock availability. 3 - Management and control Under the legacy systems, the Ministry had difficulties in defining any key performance indicators (KPIs). After deploying the solution, the Ministry derived tangible benefits in the form of improved productivity and order management and reduced procurement costs. 4 - Analytics Today, the integrated applications give the Ministry control over every aspect of its business. Its finance and supply chain management departments were first to experience efficiency improvements, as the automated system replaced paper-based and semi-automated processes and introduced a single point of data entry. This ensured that information was more accurate and presented in a consistent format. Moreover, electronic accounting procedures mean it is easier for staff to authorize and issue payments; follow up on outstanding invoices; reconcile budgets against actual spending; and produce daily, monthly, and quarterly reports. The Ministry also observes the improvements in managing procurement, supplier and warehousing processes at its kingdom-wide network of educational directorates and warehouses. 5 - Finance The Ministry’s educational goals and business operations are highly dependent on the funding it receives from the Ministry of Finance (MOF) through annual budget allocation. Therefore offering objective views of the financial needs of operations to the MOF, analysts, regulators, and auditors, and ensuring that the facts, figures, and opinions fairly represent the Ministry’s performance are vital to the success of the Ministry’s endeavors. 6 - Corporate governance The solution also enabled the Ministry to comply with governmental legal requirements. Because the solution supports external as well as internal business, operations and audits, it helps the Ministry control managers perform tasks more efficiently, and enables its risk managers to elucidate the consequences of potential risks to the Ministry targets. 7 - Technology Within its IT operations, the Ministry derived tremendous benefits from the solutions. For example, the Ministry was able to: • Eliminate costly and inflexible legacy systems - Prior to the initiation of FARIS, the Ministry possessed multiple, aging, legacy databases. Replacing these difficult-to-maintain systems with a single integrated and updated application was not only cost effective, but will allow the Ministry to be more competitive in the future. • Affect payroll - Through Payroll solution with greater integration and visibility into its employee and accounting systems, the Ministry was able to save millions of Saudi Riyals. • Improve work processes - The solution incorporates new and improved government business processes that ensure stakeholders get swift and effective service. • Upgrade IT infrastructure – The Ministry was able to eliminate the aging hardware and software configurations that required support by multiple vendors. • Increase control of work processes by staff - Because the solutions are easy to learn and use, employees require less support from IT staff, resulting in higher productivity. Reduce paper work to become environment friendly - By automating data collection, processing, and retrieval, the Ministry was able to cut back on use of paper, which reduces costs and increases employee productivity.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The Ministry continues to have sharp focus on the benefits that it is receiving from FARIS. The possibilities of further benefits and savings are continuously being planned and executed. For example, the next level is to achieve integration with other systems within the Ministry as well as with other organizations. The experience gained can be replicated in other Government Organizations within the Kingdom and possibly also in the Region with minor modifications

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
It is a good idea to unify and standardize the business processes across the organization before embarking on ERP implementation. Make sure that availability of timely and accurate legacy data so that the go live is not delayed The users’ availability to the project throughout its lifecycle must be ensured. The planning should consider the reduced users’ availability during the month of Ramadan by avoiding tasks that require intensive user interaction. It is important to devise a good organizational change management plan. The overall readiness prior to go live needs to be meticulously tracked along with contingency planning clearly communicated to the management and the users

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Education
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Esaam Rokon
Title:   Project Manager  
Telephone/ Fax:   +966555211156
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   erokon@moe.gov.sa  
Address:   11192
Postal Code:   1142
City:   Riyadh
State/Province:   Riyadh

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