| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The elements of the action plan are described below
1. The key transformation was started in 2003 with a detailed As- IS and To- Be business consulting exercise which identified the need to simplify the cross ministry process and which acted as a catalyst for the establishment of One Stop Shop System.
2. Subsequently the first wave of technology implementation was carried out between 2003 and 2009 with various launches that resulted in the establishment of
a. First version of the National Business Register
b. Establishment of the National Activity code Database based on ISIC Standards.
c. Licensing Approval for the 6 core agencies identified.
d. Establishment of the Back office System for handling the cross ministry approvals
e. Establishment of online portal for the public to interact with the Government for Business related activities.
f. Establishment of the cross ministry data flow and data exchange based on Web Services.
3. In early 2013, based on directions from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos a second wave of whole of business and technology transformation to enhance One Stop Shop further was initiated.
4. In the Second wave there were multiple items attempted and most of the activities are completed currently and some of the remaining items would be achieved by Dec 2015. The main activities were
a. Estonian Government Agency which is responsible for the implementation of Business Register of Estonia was engaged to further refine and simply the business process.
b. Technology Transformation and Establishment of the first cloud project in Oman.
c. Establishment of a full-fledged disaster recovery site for the system with clear business continuity planning.
d. Opening up of the Commercial Register data over the portal to improve the transparency. Currently the entire Commercial Register records are easily accessible in multiple ways such as machine to machine integration or through online portal with payment gateway.
e. Establishment of the Business Intelligence module to the key decision makers based on the data from the first wave of the project.
f. Simplification of the Commercial Registration process and online registration with the support of PKI and Digital signatures.
g. Simplification of the Licensing process and establishment of the National License Database and launching of the licensing simulator. The importance of having the license simulator is to give full picture to business community on what is required, how long it will take and how much it will cost for each business activity.
h. Establishment of Central Help Desk for all types of queries related to Starting a Business in Oman.
i. Establishment of a dedicated eServices Support team to provide support to online channel users and to promote online channel adoption.
j. Establishment of the first Annual reporting Taxonomy for the Nation based on XBRL. The annual reporting mandated by Government is to enforce reporting by the Business to Government to help further enhancing the information and statistics to decisions makers.
k. Dedicated change management consulting to ensure that the changes are accepted and considering the fact that load of changes that touching OSS officials daily work, government entities work flow and investors. The change covers policy such as enhancing the OSS law, changes to people by bringing a new OSS organization structure and also changes in the procedures such as simplifying the licensing and service delivery, commercial registration processes, etc.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Back in 2006, on day one of the launch there were 6 entities that were part of the OSS project. The entities were
• Ministry of Commerce and Industry
• Ministry of Regional Municipalities, Environment and Water Resources
• Ministry of Manpower
• Royal Oman Police
• Muscat Municipality
• Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Multi-ministries participation eased the process of starting a business significantly.
In the second wave of the project there are close to 15 Government Entities currently part of the system and involved in the overall governance of the system. This is helping in improving the overall accountability of the model and also in simplifying further the licensing requirements.
Some of the organisations involved are:
1. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry
2. Royal Oman Police
3. Information Technology Authority
4. Muscat Municipality
5. Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry
6. Capital Markets Authority
7. Central Bank of Oman
8. SANAD offices, Auditors and Lawyers
From the private sector, audit firms (PWC and KPMG) contributed to the implementation of this initiative. Private sector contribution helped to optimise the government process and helped in quickly finalising the Annual Reporting and the first version of the National Taxonomy. Banks helped in optimising the process related to starting business and in simplifying complications related to capital requirements. A number of other entities also contributed to the success of this initiative.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The current project is executed at a cost of 5 Million Omani Rials. The Project has been funded based on the eTransformation Initiative of Government of the Sultanate of Oman under the supervision of the Supreme Council of Planning.
The human resources team comprises of multi skilled professionals in various areas and domains such as Program Management, Business Consultants, Business Analysts, Legal Experts, Marketing Experts, Procurement and Sourcing experts, Government Licensing regulation experts, Technology Professionals, Training Professionals, etc. The team has spent over 5K Man hours in Brainstorming, discussing, meeting with stakeholders, carrying out change management activities, etc. The team travelled length and breadth of the country spreading the benefits and the message of the project and to ensure alignment and participation of all the stakeholders involved.
The technical costs related to the project is primarily related to the customisation of software to meet Oman’s local needs, building awareness to change the mindset of public in using online channels and new innovative solutions such as Digital signatures and PKI, the software license renewal and the managed operations of the system which is outsourced to a vendor for the day to day operations and maintenance. Adopting Cloud computing significantly brought down the technology cost. In addition, the technology rationalisation that was carried out in the project helped the team to bring a savings of over 260K US $ (100K Omani Rials) every year from 2012.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
a. One Single Portal and Place to deal with company registration and licenses. As of now over 200 K companies got registered through the system and from the statistics it is obvious that once the system was in place the amount of company registration improved by 66% on an average compared with the earlier years when the process was handled manually. Previously, less than 4500 companies where created in Oman in a year whereas after the system more than 22 K companies are formed. The system also processed over 2 Million transactions and over 1 million licenses.
b. Whole of Government Model setting initiative – this initiative was able to bring together various government entities and to establish the culture of working together. The initiative lead to interconnected government systems thus ensuring improved process. The initiative which started with 6 agencies have grown to a large initiative where 15 agencies are part of the initiative currently and over 29 more agencies are planning to join in an years’ time
c. The first project to embrace the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and Digital Signed Certificates and Digital Signatures in Sultanate of Oman and even in whole of GCC for the Business Community. Today from a user perspective the process to start a company that used to take 17 interactions reduced to one. Now with the online portal, an investor can start the company in 15 minutes for certain type of business activities. This is a role model project for the entire GCC region.
d. With the assistance of Business Intelligence it is easier to analyse the underlying data and see the trends. Government is able to regulate few sectors based on the information availability on finger tips and also to offer support to the needed sectors. The Data cleansing carried out by integrating helped in cleaning 93% of the incomplete investor data and Establishment of National Business Register completely eradicated the duplicate CR numbers and streamlined the licensing records of the Nation.
e. Decentralisations of OSS services to other regions through 700 SANAD offices provide employment and business opportunities to all citizens especially those in the rural regions. This is essential to ensure the growth of enterprises in the rural regions.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
OSS being a National Initiative with multi ministries, private sector and other entities and is regularly monitored in the following manner.
Governance – The Steering Committee Meetings
Regular review meetings from the multi ministry members represented by H.E Undersecretaries and the Minister of Commerce and Industry.
In addition, the following specific sets of tools were created for innovative tracking of the project.
a. Decision Control Dashboard: This is a dynamic dashboard which is used to track the progress of the key decisions.
b. Decision Templates: The key highlights of the OSS Decision Templates includes an English and Arabic version to ensure correct understanding and acceptability and some key aspects of the required decision such as Current Situation, Recommendations mapping, Best Practices, Impact Analysis (Financial, Legal etc) and Benefits
c. Decision Formalization Tracker: Track and formalize the decision in the correct and timely manner.
The project team are organised as working groups. Working group’s leaders are defined and they take the ownership of their respective working groups. The entire project task management is carried out using Mobile App namely Producteev. Also to facilitate faster communication the team established multiple whatsapp groups. In addition to record all the documentation and the project details the team has established a wiki for the project.
a. Project Barometer: The values for which are derived based on opinion poll of the key project members.
b. Newsletter: A monthly project bulleting highlighting the key tasks achieved, the progress made and to share transparently the progress of the project to all the stakeholders across whole of government.
c. Meetings Tracker: Due to larger number of meetings, brainstorming sessions, the ministries that is visited and various other organisations and collective effort of multiple people who attend these meetings a customised meeting tracker is established to capture the effort and involvement of the various entities. For each of the meeting minute is also prepared.
d. Deliverables Mind Map: The Project involves over 1000 deliverables related to the implementation of the projects plus more than 5000 documents. To understand the cross linkages between the documents and to establish the traceability between the documents a document mind map is prepared.
e. Weekly Task Dashboard: A graphical dashboard is prepared and reported to give PMO members a holistic view of the tasks for the week and to measure the status of the tasks.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
1. Mindset change - it was quite a challenge to change their mindset to think from Investor view point, rather than from an individual ministry perspective. This was addressed using a dedicated and specialized set of change management consultants who carried out communication, work shop, knowledge sharing workshops, team outings, team building activities, international site study and best practices study visits etc.
2. Commitment and availability of resources from different entities - as the members who are in the project team had their primary job function; it was quite challenging to ensure their commitment to the project. It was addressed by issuing a ministerial decree stating their expected roles and responsibilities and a clear governance structure was defined.
3. Identification of the complex licensing procedures across different government entities and weak regulation - different government entities had different rules, document requirements and in some cases even leading to circular approvals. This was addressed by having a national workforce comprising of 16 members and by addressing the requirements in stages.
4. Decision Making Process - as the project involved various important decisions at various levels and affects many government entities; it was quite challenging to get timely decisions. The same was addressed by having regular steering committee, the assistance of eTransformation Committee, weekly meeting with senior stakeholders.
5. Lack of awareness of the OSS Services – Users awareness of OSS was difficult initially. This was addressed through intensive and extensive marketing campaigns over multiple channels such as social media, TV, Radio and Press. These actions helped in bringing a huge shift in the way the services are used, and currently over 50,000 transactions happen over online channels.
6. The Skill level and capability of resources - getting addressed as a comprehensive training calendar is prepared, people are nominated and trainings are tracked as part of the projects.