| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
E-Charity initiative had an implementation plan broken down to four main phases based on the initiative strategy approach, these phases were identified systematically, managed, checked, adapted, optimized and implemented within 45 months through key milestones that can be demonstrated as the following:
Phase I: Planning and Data Gathering (Nov. 2010 – Jan. 2011)
•Assign initiative manager.
•Form a representative team to manage the initiative development.
•Empower the team members, train and utilize their potentials.
•Develop initiative charter, implementation plan and other supportive plans for the project.
•Set performance & results indicators.
•Gathering data and review the results of the previous performance reports and complaints & suggestions system.
•Conduct focus groups, interviews, surveys and mystery shopping research to identify stakeholders’ requirements.
Phase I: Outputs
•Empowered and Trained Team.
•Development Plan and Other Supportive Plans for the project.
•Stakeholders’ Requirements and Expectations Matrix.
Phase II: Business Process Re-engineering (Feb. 2011 – Dec. 2011)
•Envisioning of initiative goals and objectives
•Formulate the series of added-value based on service-oriented-process.
•Defining AS-IS business model through four perspectives: function, organization, data and control based on standards of Architecture of Integrated Information Systems (ARIS) approach.
•Analyze various simulations to ensure optimal design whether process re-engineering or improvement.
•Simulating TO-BE business model through the identification of changes in financial, administrative and charitable services using standards of MS VISIO tools and Galaxy software.
•Determine the fast track and long-term services for automation.
Phase II: Outputs
•AS-IS model with Charts, Templates and Recommendations.
•TO-BE Model with Charts, e-Forms and Implementation Mechanisms.
•E-Charity Information Management Architecture.
Phase III: Implementation (Jan.2012 – Sep. 2013)
•Install Enterprise Data Warehouse and Communication Center infrastructure.
•Design system branding, graphics and prototypes.
•Build script configuration, control panel components, intranet portal, and internet portal.
•Develop payment gateway, Microsoft AX integration, mobile application.
•Develop Performance Management System.
•Prepare integration and acceptance test scenarios.
•Deploy Dynamics AX Installation, setup, configuration, security, master data preparation and upload data for multiple charities.
•Pilot testing and user acceptance testing at staging environment.
•Microsoft Dynamics AX training for IT professionals, E-Charity awareness workshops for different end users.
Phase III: Outputs
•Enterprise Data Warehouse Infrastructure.
•Communication Center Infrastructure.
•IACAD Data Portal.
•Associations Smart Portal.
•Donors Communication Portal.
•Associations Accounting Package.
•Central Individuals Profiling System.
•Performance Management System.
•Smart Messaging System.
•People Search Engine.
•Centralized Reporting Engine.
•IACAD Publications Service.
•Data Import and Export Engine.
Phase IV: GO LIVE (Oct. 2013 – Jun. 2015)
•Prepare production environment on the servers.
•Deploy Dynamics AX with beginning balances upload and reports customization.
•GITEX GO LIVE at Sunday October20, 2013. E-charity launched officially online for public users via (http://www.epc.ae) and smart application in Apple Store named (Emirates Charity).
GITEX: is an annual (Gulf Information Technology Exhibition) takes place in Dubai.
•Setup helpdesk to monitor the operations of E-Charity solution, updating and maintenance.
•Conduct E-Charity marketing plan that involve stakeholders, partners and community.
•Reward 62 Persons from 35 different Entities who contributed in Success of Initiative.
Phase IV: Outputs
•E-Charity System Version no. 1.3.
Note: detailed tasks and outputs for implementation plan demonstrated into uploaded MS Project file.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
E-Charity initiative team ensured the systematic identification of stakeholders involved and segmented into groups to manage the relationships and maximize contributions based on communication, HR and procurement plans as follows:
1.Initiative Team Members: Manage all aspects of the initiative throughout duration of development.
•Head of Charity Work Division in IACAD - Initiative Manager.
•Head of IT Division in IACAD - Initiative Deputy Manager (IACAD PMO).
•Representative of Mohamed bin Rashid Charitable Humanitarian Foundation - Partner.
•Representative of U.A.E Red Crescent – Dubai - Partner.
•Representative of Dubai Foundation for Women & Children - Partner.
•Representative of U.A.E Genomic Society - Partner.
•Representative of Donors – Citizens.
•Representative of Beneficiaries – Citizens.
2.Initiative Sponsors: Supervise, support, motivate and reward the contributions and achievements.
•HH Sheikh Mansour Bin Mohammed AlMaktoum – E-Charity GOLIVE in GITEX.
•Director General of IACAD – Platinum Sponsor.
•Social Affairs Minister – Platinum Sponsor.
•Director General of Dubai e-Government – Golden Sponsor.
•UAE Red Crescent Board Chairman – Golden Sponsor.
•Director General of Dubai Health Authority – Silver Sponsor.
3.Initiative Partners: Cooperate in analysis, design, implementation and testing of the initiative.
•Dar AlBer Society.
•Dubai Charity Association.
•Beit Al-khair Society.
•AlBaraka Charitable Society.
•Essa Saleh Al-Gurg Foundation Establishment.
•Sultan Khalifa Alhabtoor Charity.
•AlShifa Charity Establishment.
•Mohammad Omar Bin Haider Charity Establishment.
•Emirates Airline Foundation.
4.Initiative Suppliers: Handle the technical sides during Initiative development.
•Management Consulting Firm – BPM Phase - Private Sector.
•IT Company - Implementation Phase - Private Sector.
5.Community Contribution: Participate and disseminate ideas and best practices in charitable works.
•The First Charities Best Practices Forum 2013 organized by IACAD.
•The Second Best Philanthropic Practices Forum 2014 organized by IACAD.
•AlDar and Sama Dubai TVs – Media.
•Emirates News Agency, AlBayan, Gulf News and Khaleej Times – Journalism.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
E-Charity initiative required various resources that systematically managed the stages spanning years during initiative development based on cost, procurement, human resources and risk management plans. The mobilization of these resources directed towards having healthy working environment to facilitate a smooth workflow and integration. Initiative team met all the financial, technical and human resources requirements in each phase as follows:
•Finance was always the main concern for E-Charity requirement for proper funding. This was to ensure successful implementation and sustainable progress.
•IACAD invested initially about US$3.2 million with an annual maintenance of US$300K and annual Microsoft license renewal of US$100K. Considering that all E-Charity services are free from fees.
•IACAD fixed a budget yearly for E-Charity, this budget had remained stable for 4 years and as demonstrated by initiative sponsors and team ensured its proper utilization.
•Sponsors and relative charitable associations co-operated IACAD to support E-Charity initiative with about US$6.3 million fund provided accordingly.
•Employment of good financial practices such as using exact figures and financial parameters to handle the costs of expenditure on implementation and human resource; calculating return on investment; assessing alternatives to ensure that financial risk management is upheld and; reducing consumption of supplied resources and working materials.
•Based on initiative needs, E-Charity solution ensured capability, experience and competency to deliver on a tight timeline, the desired demonstrable results.
•Technically, the client-server architecture deployed 8 Blade Servers, 2 for application servers and 4 for database, 1 for testing and 1 for development
•Initiative team decided to outsource and develop the back end IT solution using Microsoft environment in a full cycle engagement that included pre-project consulting, on project business process reengineering, implementation and customizations, training and knowledge transfer, data migration and integration of applications, support and maintenance services.
•Data availability, data security and data quality was given due consideration. In addition, validity, integrity and protection of information was improved and guaranteed.
•The initiative ensured the utilization of good technical practices such as implementation of green technologies; cloud-computing systems; protecting intellectual property of E-Charity solution, and paying special attention to web accessibility for disabled people and non-renewable technical resources.
•Human resources had been a critical factor during initiative development.
•The technical organizational structure had internal and external teams that met changing needs largely focused on ensuring continuous improvement and achieving a unique and high-performing solution.
•IACAD formed an internal technical team dedicated to the E-Charity solution that includes: 2 Database Administrators, 3 Developers, and a team for the Helpdesk services which provide technical support for all end users.
•More than 60 end users as external teams in all charities that connected directly with IACAD Helpdesk. These teams demonstrated diligent productive efforts as they cope with any updates provided.
•The initiative ensured good practices such as using regular polls; communication organized in all directions; team members authorized to take independent scope of actions; change management, knowledge transfer and continuous learning were supported; team building, and; teams were shown appreciation.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
In huge and non-profit initiative like E-charity, many successful outputs listed and presented in implementation plan. However, the focus here will be on the five concrete outputs as follows:
1.Hard or tangible outputs:
•Unified, streamlined and automated processes: rethinking, breaking down and reengineering 137 financial, administrative, and charity processes to become 65 unified, streamlined, automated and more efficient processes in all charities to reduce time, costs, bureaucratic red tape, improve quality, and increase productivity. Furthermore, 22 out of 65 processes launched online as e-services and smart applications through intranet and internet portals.
•Centralized database: currently, all charities’ data are stored in one central powerful server. Donors and beneficiaries data can be easily accessed, organized, updated and backed-up without duplication in a timely and secure way by authorized users in various charities around IACAD. This significantly increased integrity, availability of data, efficiency of financial auditing and reporting. For example, if donor or beneficiary status has changed, this change will reflected across whole database and sent notice to all connected charities with new status details. Previously this was changed separately in charities without feedback for others.
•Embedded performance management system: in the past, no performance management system existed. Now, a set of structured criteria and key indicators embedded in the financial, administrative, and charity operational activities to evaluate the quality level of charitable services provided to targeted groups, monitor organizational performance and business results of charities to guarantee alignment with IACAD charity strategy and achievement of its objectives. This promotes accountability and effectiveness in charity works.
2.Soft or intangible outputs:
•Improved communication mapping: initiative stakeholders spend about 60% of their time engaging in some form of communication. For this reason, several techniques developed to improve architecture of direct and indirect communication mapping horizontally and vertically such as using new and multiple channels; training individuals on active communication skills; undertake a communications audit; timely handling of communication problems. This had a crucial impact resulting to increase donors’ responsiveness, daily coordination between charities-IACAD, and improved participation in decision-making.
•Knowledge transfer and shared experience: three practical approaches used in this initiative were: Experts pushing knowledge towards audience through 66 workshops, 9 training courses and 2 forums; Different users pooling their hands-on experience from professionals through team working for about 4 years during initiative development, and; Building relationships across stakeholders to enable information exchange, ideas and experience even after completion of the initiative.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Initiative team planned and designed a monitoring and evaluation system to take place at different points of the initiative including inputs, process, outputs, outcomes and impacts based on the quality assurance plan. This is to provide stakeholders with continuous and timely intervention during the early stages of initiative implementation, track achievements, determine suitability, achievement of objectives, development efficiency, effectiveness, impact, and sustainability as follows:
1.Assess the existing readiness and capacity of the initiative’s stakeholders involved in the design, implementation, reporting, monitoring and evaluation.
2.Establish clear initiative scope, timelines, budget, required quality levels and the different audiences.
3.Identify and agree with main stakeholders the outcomes, strategic goals and operational objectives.
4.Select key performance indicators (KPIs) and key results indicators (KRIs) to assess the performance implementation activities, measure the achievements, outcomes and impacts of the initiative.
5.Set baselines and targets framework, and determining the data collection methods.
6.Monitor, communicate, analyze, synthesize and report for the information obtained.
7.Plan and conduct the form and timing of critical reflection and interim evaluations.
8.Interpret the findings, provide feedback, provide recommendations and conduct regular reviews.
9.Communicate the findings and insights to all relevant stakeholders.
10.Facilitate the necessary conditions and capacities to sustain the monitoring and evaluation system.
Levels of leading and lagging Indicators used in E-Charity initiative:
1.Input indicators: number of workshops & training courses, number of empowered authorities, number of suggestions, number of benchmarks, surveys, and appreciations.
2.Process indicators: balance in time, cost and quality triangle, number of meetings, number of new communication channels, number of suppliers, working material consumption, and costs of processes.
3.Output indicators: operational objectives achievement, failure rates, response time, number of errors, reengineered processes, automated services, and frequency of complaints.
4.Outcome indicators: strategic goals achievement, Return of Investment (ROI), productivity, service life cycle.
5.Impact indicators: reputation, image impression, stakeholders’ satisfaction, influence on the targeted groups, long-term value.
Techniques and tools used to monitor and evaluate the initiative indicators above:
1.Earned value analysis.
2.Most significant change technique.
3.Systematic screening and assessment methods.
4.Experts panel reviews.
5.Formal satisfaction surveys for donors, targeted groups and community.
8.Stakeholders’ regular meetings.
9.Best practices forums.
10.Mystery shopper research.
12.Written documents and records analysis.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
All expected risks with its preventive and corrective actions were defined through risk management plan. Nevertheless, there were some unpredicted obstacles encountered during the implementation, which were handled professionally by the initiative team as follows:
1.Changing the Culture: initiative was a new concept in charity works, so it is normal for people to resist changes in their traditional work environments. Initiative team reduced this resistance with effective change management plan based on conducting a series of awareness workshops and technical training focused on enhancing the conceptual and technological capabilities for stakeholders involved, communicate the benefits and advantages of the new concept and acquire required skills and knowledge to do work efficiently.
2.Unifying the Processes: multiple processes in different charities with complicated relations among them, which required the proper unification, based on E-Charity strategy and IACAD policies. Initiative team overcame these difficulties by using a clear process re-engineering approach and conducting numerous meetings and workshops with persons in charge in all charities to analyze stakeholders’ requirements, streamline processes and standardize procedure of financial, administrative and charity services.
3.Integration with External E-Systems: initiative team tackled this technical obstacles by developing Associations Smart Portal (ASP) Module as an interface used to integrate E-Charity with the compatible financial and administrative systems existing in some charitable associations. In addition to coherent cooperation, participation, team work and information sharing across concerned charities.
4.Financial Funding: It is costly to implement initiatives like E-Charity and dedicate an annual budget to cover the costs of constant maintenance and software licensing while keeping the e-services free. The Initiative team made sufficient efforts to ensure that initiative sponsors, partners and other government entities funded the initiative in a consistent manner to cover the part of the required costs.