eCertificate
General Organization for Social Insurance

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Certificates of wage and length of employment are something that a lot of our customers require, for various reasons such as: when applying for a job, applying for a loan, applying for workers, to prove eligibility for certain benefits among other reasons. The number of monthly requested certificates is more than (75,000) and the number of contributors and beneficiaries who are eligible for the certificate is (9,800,000). Visiting one of our branch offices to obtain such a certificate has its problems, among them: 1) the nearest branch might not be that near, or the person might not have a car or is not able to reach a branch office, though GOSI has more than 24 field offices distributed across the kingdom2) overcrowding in our field offices due to too many customers, which would delay issuing the certificate. 3) The possibility of the certificate being forged.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
GOSI’s strategy aims on continual improvement of the eServices offering and provide services proactively whenever possible. The details of the solution are as follows: Customers would be able to issue a certificate from their account page on our website, and the certificate number would then be passed to the party requesting the certificate (company, government agency, embassy, etc.) which they would enter on our website (without the need to have an account) together with the ID number of the certificate owner, to view the details of the certificate. The solution solves the problem in the following ways: 1) The customer is able to issue the certificate through our website, eliminating the need to visit one of our field offices. 2) The issuing of the certificate is instantaneous, eliminating any delays. 3) Since only the unique number of the certificate and the ID number of the owner are used to verify the certificate, forgery of the certificate is eliminated, as the data resides on our servers.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
1) Forgery-proof, as the recipient doesn't rely on a printed certificate, but rather views it through our website by entering the certificate's unique authorization code. 2) The recipient doesn't need an account on our portal to view the certificate, so it's open to anyone the user provides the authorization code to. 3) Each authorization code for an e-certificate has an expiration date so that the certificate is only available for the duration of its need. 4) Use of QR code (smartphone-readable barcode-like symbol) on the e-certificate for use by smartphones to reach the certificate verification page quicker. 5) Design of the e-Certificate was based on usability studies and user testing so that it's in the most usable format possible. 6) When a user requests a certificate to be issued, in addition to showing the certificate on-screen and having the option to print it, the code of the certificate is sent to their phone as an SMS, as well as the code and a copy of the certificate is sent to them via e-mail. 7) E-Certificate code is unique and non-serial, to protect the user's privacy. 8) E-Certificate is available in different formats, either printed as hardcopy or as electronic file.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
- The concept and process outline were agreed upon by all stakeholders. - The system design and architecture of the solution were detailed to ensure o A certificate that could be either viewed on screen or printed was designed with usability in mind. o The certificate is secured and cannot be forged. - A screen for issuing the certificate as well as authenticating it were designed. - Coding started, and all systems involved were connected. - Testing the solution from different aspects including functional and non-functional requirement User testing was done internally, followed by beta testing by launching the service before it was advertised, so that only a small number of users would initially use it, providing valuable usage behavior data to us.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
- Quality Assurance: to design the certificate and the certificate issuing and certificate verify/display screens in a usable format, as well as to test the service. - Application development: to code the process. - Information security department: to make sure users' privacy is protected. - Media department: to design manual, video tutorials, and help screens as well to advertise the new feature.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Human resources from business domain, quality assurance, development, media, subject matter experts and help desk were mobilized for the requirement detailing, design, implementation, testing and maintenance of the initiative. In total there were 20 people as part of the project team and support team. Technical and financial costs include upgrading our backend servers to handle the added demand. Funding was through our IT budget.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
1) Reduction in people needing to visit our field offices to issue a certificate. 2) Steady increase in people issuing a certificate through our website, which is now faster than getting a similar certificate from their employer. 3) Elimination of forgery, as the certificate is viewed on our website via the authorization code. 4) Certificate issuing is now available to everyone, while in the past those living very far from a field office and not able to travel to one could not have a certificate issued. 5) Better management and control of certificates as we can keep track of both who issued a certificate and who requested and verified it.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
We use various systems to monitor the implementation of the strategy, such as business intelligence to monitor the usage and usage patterns of the service, analytics to monitor visit to the related pages on our website, surveys and reports from our help desk department to determine what issues, if any, people are having with the service. KPIs we use to monitor progress are: # e-certificates issued online versus those issued in the field office, and the # of authentications of e-certificates performed on our website, both as a whole and as a percentage of e-certificates issued.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
1. Requirements were not clear and more would emerge during development. A team was formed to study all requirements and document all possible scenarios for use by developers. 2. The risk of development not finishing on time. This was overcome by offering rewards and incentives. 3. The need to educate customers and the private and public sector about the service. A 3-week marketing campaign was implemented through traditional media such as newspapers and street billboards, and social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as by educating our help desk personnel so that they can assist and answer any related inquiries. 4. The load the new service would have on our infrastructure. This was overcome by strengthening our infrastructure. 5. The need to increase security to prevent misuse of the service. A unique code for each certificate plus the expiration of the certificate and the need to also enter the ID of the owners were implemented to prevent misuse.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
1) Less people having to go to a field office. Less crowded offices and less crowded streets. Investment in virtual offices over real offices. 2) Quicker issuing of a certificate (instantaneous). Employees now use our certificate rather than requesting a wage letter from their company's own HR department. 3) Elimination of forgery, as the certificate is viewed on our website via the authorization code. 4) Certificate issuing is now available to everyone, while in the past those living very far from a field office and not able to travel to one could not have a certificate issued. 5) Less paper used, as there are more than (75,000) certificates issued every month and such can be printed but does not need to be, as the unique code is enough for the recipient to view it and verify it.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The e-Certificate is adaptable to any document requiring authenticity, as the use of an authorization code (along with the user's ID) can be used on any document issued from GOSI that needs to be authenticated. As for sustainability, previously, higher demand for certificates required hiring more staff and opening more offices or kiosks for handling the demand, while now with the e-certificate e-service, the service can easily and effortlessly scale with the rise in demand, as we have built the infrastructure to handle it, and are upgrading it based on demand forecasting.

 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)
Lessons learned include the following: - The need to advertise and announce a new service so that it can be fully utilized. - The difficulty for people to accept a new concept such as that the certificate is the code and not the piece of paper it's printed on, which can be easily forged Recommendations for the future include the following: - Allowing the user to fully customize the information appearing in the certificate, rather than just choosing from a set of templates. - Establishing a system-to-system link via web-services, so that banks, for example, do not need to manually enter each authorization code and user ID, but rather have this data populate their system automatically.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   General Organization for Social Insurance
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Issam Alshahwan
Title:   Performance Manager  
Telephone/ Fax:   8087173
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   ialshahwan@gosi.gov.sa  
Address:  
Postal Code:   11461
City:   Riyadh
State/Province:   Riyadh
Country:  

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