Ministry of Interior- National Information Center

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
During the past 30 years the government of Saudi Arabia seriously and formally adopted methods, technologies and management approaches for the delivery of better public services for all women, men, citizens, visitors, and residents. The increasing need for modernization to resolve public and government efficiency hurdles was addressed at a very early stage by establishing the National Information Center (NIC). There were many areas that needed improvements before establishing NIC that are stated here. Prior to establishing the National Information Center, there were massive citizen’s and resident's data and information that was difficult to manage due to legacy manual procedures used by the Ministry of Interior (MOI). Information for different regions in the country was difficult to consolidate and integrate due to the geographic span of the nation and nonexistence of centralized government databases. Information was difficult to share between The Ministry of Interior Sectors as well as Government Agencies. The difficulties and problems faced were in these areas: 1- Police record centralization, traffic control, prison control, police station information 2- Fire Department record centralization, Fire Department station information 3- Coast Guard Sector, data and information storage and maintenance 4- Boarder and Passport Control, data and information storage and maintenance 5- Pilgrim Control, data and information storage and maintenance 6- Civilian and resident's registry, card issuance, data and information storage and maintenance 7- Narcotics Control, data and information storage and maintenance 8- Biometric Identification, data and information storage and maintenance 9- Secure Government Bill Payment, data and information storage and maintenance 10- Secure and Easy Access to personal (citizen and resident) records 11- Gun Control data and information storage and maintenance 12- Driver's license issuance data and information storage and maintenance 13- Enterprise resource planning The vision of the Minister of Interior was to have the best solutions and technologies applied to modernize the MOI and bring it up to a national level addressing the challenges and difficulties posed by the areas above. For that, there was a decree three decades ago to create the National Information Center (NIC). The NIC, which is an MOI sector today, operates at a national level as it spans all regions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it was expanded to the most remote and undeveloped areas touching the lives and benefiting all social groups (Muslim and non-Muslim of any nationality) without any biasness. The NIC connects with Banks, Government Ministries (Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Labor, Social Affairs, and others) and Agencies (such as Yesser). NIC is the national information technology hub and datacenter that has applied the latest cutting edge technologies and resources benefiting citizens to access their personal information from home, mobile, smart devices, and conduct government related transactions, as well as providing a wide range of IT services and information to many other parties.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
NIC's inception and vision, as stated, were defined by the late Minister of Interior. The Minister's vision was to have the center's mission run by qualified Saudi's in all fields of leadership, technology and service innovation, human resource management, and project management. Local talent was supported by industry leaderships such as Computer Sciences Corporation. NIC's establishment started by contracting (CSC) which lead the work to design and construct the center. Not only was it responsible for the physical establishment of this vital center, but it also furnished it with the best technology available back then which was the UNIVAC. NIC developed some of its own equipment such as MUXes, switch devices, and terminals in its R&D center which had laboratories and a manufacturing line. The R&D hosted many electrical and computer engineers who later became technology leaders at the center. NIC later modernized its computing environment by migrating to the IBM Mainframe, relational databases, and infrastructure solutions. It also adopted Microsoft technology for virtualization, Cisco and Juniper for networks and security. Many other technology giants such as CA and EMC also had a share in building the center's tremendous capabilities.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
In short, there is no other FULLY real-time integrated automated information center that covers the whole country (all regions), integrated with ALL data resources (2300 location) and can provide live data to the consumer 24/7/365.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The initiative was implemented as part of the 50 year development strategy for the Kingdom. Over the past three or so decades, NIC was built, expanded, and modernized through incremental steps. These incremental development steps were continuous improvements through three year strategies which constituted of portfolios of programmes and projects that have not stopped since then. The objectives of these strategies always related to the objectives of the MOI which in turn related to the objectives of the Kingdom. The main objectives were in the domains of: national security, stability, citizen/resident satisfaction and service quality, resource development and retaining, continuous technology and process improvement and quality. The MOI objectives and strategies are set by MOI planners while NIC strategies and objectives are planned and set by NIC planners and reviewed and approved by the NIC Director General and his assistants.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
NIC also collaborated with many public institutions such King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. The contribution was at the research level for security topics, specific technologies, IT security policies, and sharing of consulting resources. Additionally NIC partnered with a number of private organizations and government organizations such as the Saudi eGoverment program.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
NIC's initiative over the past three decades needed plenty of resource for which the country had decided to commit. Not only financial resources were committed to NIC but also the best human resources in the country were convinced to work for NIC. NIC has an operating budget of approximately one billion Saudi Riyals yearly excluding budgets allocated for strategic programmes and projects. In building NIC's campus strong concrete and steel material was chosen to make it literally bullet proof. In building NIC's computing facilities, the best cutting-edge technologies in the world have been chosen. In building NIC's staff, best of the best domestic and international leaders, doctorates, magistrates, engineers, and scientist have been hired by NIC.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
NIC's services have enabled the citizen, the resident, and the government to be well informed and aware, well served, and plan better. However the main success for anyone is saving a human life; the automated traffic ticketing system (SAHER Programme) helped to reduce accidents and traffic violations by over 40% during 2011-2013 which resulted in saving many lives. Hence, Saudi Arabia one of the countries that a very high number of car accidents giving to population and have a very high vitality rate. Before SAHER Saudi Arabia losses 17 person daily, one person each 40 minuet and 68000 are injured annually.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
A number of in house developed monitoring systems were used based on best practices and benchmarks were mad to reach a high level of securities and data sharing without compromising the quality and response time . Due to security issues we cannot share a lot of information in this regards without an NDA.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Many of the obstacles encountered were sourcing or procurement related. The obstacles were overcome by excellent leadership decisions and capability. Some obstacles were due to cultural and language barriers with large multinational companies ,while others were due to a competitive a domestic market of private companies which lured and drained some of the best NIC talents. Technology management used to be an obstacle for NIC until it adopted new technology and best practice frameworks to aid in the monitoring and control of its infrastructure during the 2000s.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
NIC's impact on the Kingdom is positively a great one. Life in the Kingdom without NIC's services is equal to going back to the stone age in a sense. It is like having a smart phone for a long time and now you ask someone to use a basic phone. A countless number of services were created and other services were enhanced and automated.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
NIC is built as a vital government national center to provide service for generations and generations to come. NIC is sustained by planned government funding and budgets at strategic levels. Social: NIC's sustainability socially occurs through the innovative online services which it provides make the citizen and resident dependable in a similar way they depend on online banking services for example. Economic: NIC's technologies enable government sectors to bring in large revenue which recovers and exceeds operating and continuous improvement project costs. Cultural: NIC's online services influence the continued culture transformation to that of an e-culture or technology-smart culture. Everybody wants to have a smart phone and access their information and services online at the tip of their fingers. Transferability: NIC's technologies have been transferred to other government agencies such as the ERP solution to the Ministry of Education. As well, NIC has programmes to transfer its technology to Emirates (provinces) and during 2014 it shall have completed its technology transfer.

 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)
The key lessons learned throughout the years are that the main asset remains to be the employee for NIC and that any initiative taken must be through project management and best practice. Another lesson learned is that the improvement wheel must continue moving otherwise the organization could eventually start a decreasing slope which makes it lose its sustainability.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Interior- National Information Center
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Ali Alzahrani
Title:   Project Manager  
Telephone/ Fax:   +966500559199
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   11241
Postal Code:   1621
City:   Riyadh
State/Province:   Riyadh

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