| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The strategy for Bahrain Data Portal was implemented according to the objectives of the Bahrain 2030 Economic Vision and was implemented according to our Data Portal implementation plan.
The initiative was phase and iterative (rather than sequential) in its implementation:
(1) PLANNING: 2012-2013
Management of CIO identifies the need to embark on an project to make reliable data accessible (as part of CIO Open Data Initiative) to policymakers and the general public.
It was also identified that this project will apply proper project methods to ensure of its success.
A project team was identified and assigned to the project: includes Statistics SMEs, project management, and technical SMEs.
(2) DEVELOPMENT – First Quarter of 2013
A reputable vendor (vendor has prior engagement with the World Bank) was identified. CIO internal team worked cohesively with the vendor to develop the Data Portal. Testing and preparation was done in concurrently while the system is being developed. Data is also gather during this period.
The CIO looked into processes and identify areas of possible improvement.
The focus of this phase is to develop the Data Portal and test it. Simultaneously the CIO prepares the live environment and prepare data to be used by the Data Portal (i.e. preparing on-paper data to digital data)
(3) IMPLEMENTATION Second, third and fourth Quarters of 2013
During this phase the focus is to implement the Data Portal. Before implementation, stakeholders that include government departments/body, University of Bahrain, Bahrain Polytechnic, the private sectors were invited for a one day workshop on how to utilize the Bahrain Data Portal. Also, an administration training for 2 days were provided to selected stakeholders.
The Data Portal went live (available on the web) in October 2013.
(4) MONITORING AND REFINEMENT:
The current phase is monitoring and refinement of the Data Portal.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Policymakers are one of the main consumer of the information provided by the Data Portal (and its mobile implementation, the Data Explorer). The data provided to this group of users have the greatest impact – it provide the policymakers with the needed information to enable planning and decision-making.
The input from the policymakers include the type of information required for planning purposes, and information required by internal organisation that Bahrain will need to provide.
The end users are the general users of the Data Portal, that include the people of Bahrain, researchers and investors.
Their needs were identified and met by:
|We engage an external party to design, develop and implement the Data Portal.
All of the technical requirement to implement the Data Portal is fulfilled by the CIO that includes hardware, software, web hosting, web security and Subject-Matter-Experts (SMEs).
Also source data provided input and data for the project.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The Bahrain Data Portal project was funded by the CIO (CIO project budget), and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) required for the project were sourced from within the CIO. An external entity was engaged to design, create and implement the data portal.
Most of the personnel needed for the Project are resourced from the CIO with the objective of preparing and skilling-up the internal CIO staff to embrace the changes expected with the envisioned improvement of the statistical processes.
The following resources were dedicated to the project:
(1) HUMAN RESOURCES
Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) were used in two main areas:
(i) data collection methods and data dissemination (statistics business processes) – 5
(ii) Other statistical business processes – 3
Project Management Office (PMO)
(iii) Project Management – 3
Technical resources needed for the project comes from two sources: internal and external.
(i) Internal: network (GDN, the Government Data Network), hardware, software, creation of web hosting and security was undertaken by the CIO.
(ii) External: web portal creation was outsourced to a reputable vendor.
The cost for the project includes the following:
(i) Web portal design, development and implementation (Bahrain Data Portal and its mobile implementation) – USD 65,000.
(ii) Other cost is considered internal to CIO – salary of staff involved in the project.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
(1) INFORMATION ACCESSIBILITY (OPEN DATA)
The immediate output from the data portal project that can be seen is the availability and accessibility of reliable and quality information for policymakers (the most noticeable impact), researchers and interested parties. This is in line with the Bahrain's initiative of making public data available. As a measure, comparing it with the previous methods of information dissemination, information is timely and not static; the number of visits and user feedbacks indicates a gradual increase over time (namely from policymakers). (see http://statistics.gov.bh)
(2) STATISTICAL PROCESSES
The upstream statistical processes, like data collection, have been the main challenge for the CIO. When looking at the statistical processes as a whole, there have been a marked change in the way processes are viewed and conducted. Even though some of the processes are still manual (as it needs to be so, like surveys and censuses) introduction of technology as part of the Data Portal project contributed to the overall process improvement for the Statistics Directorate of the CIO. CIO is now using Administrative Database (like population databases) and web-based data collection (tourism sector) as part of its data gathering process that contributes to data quality and timeliness. As a measure, we can refer to the availability of quality data and its timeliness published on the Data Portal site and through its mobile implementation available to stakeholders.
(3) USING PROJECT MANAGEMENT
As an immediate bonus of the Data Portal project, the statistics Directorate of the CIO is now using project management methods as part of the statistical processes, in project reporting and monitoring progress.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
(1) METHODOLOGY AND METRICS
The Project Management Office (PMO) was given the mandate to manage, monitor and deliver the Data Portal project. The project was phased, and at each phase targeted output is defined. This is thought of as 'milestone reached'. Due to the fluid and changing requirements, the system development process in place is iterative to cater for required changes. The milestones used included 'requirement defined', 'testing completed' and 'training completed'.
To monitor and evaluate the Data Portal implementation we used the following: (a) feedback from users for the data portal and its mobile implementation (b) timeliness and quality of provided information
(2) MEASURING PERFORMANCE
(i) Feedback from users
We monitor the usage log of the data portal (http://statistics.gov.bh) and the number of feedback we received from users.
(ii) One of the important aspect data portal is the timeliness and quality of the data published on the site. This is measured against available data versus scheduled availability (monthly, yearly, bi-annually, etc.) Data must be available by the set schedule.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Challenge – change of mindset and work culture on how processes should be carried
Solution – training, both in best practices and processes
Outcome – not completely, but changes can be seen as indicated by the use of project management principles in many of the work undertaken by the staff
(2) DATA AVAILABILITY AND QUALITY
Challenge – to obtain approval and gather data from different data sources and owners
Solution – Provide better and less hassle data gathering tools and processes for data provider. Also, the use of Administrative Database (like population, road transport, etc.) in statistical processes.
Outcome – better cooperation from data owners and timeliness of data.