Government eMeeting Platform
eGovernment Authority – Kingdom of Bahrain

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The leadership in Kingdom of Bahrain is committed to the formulation of policies and programmes for the well-being of all citizens. In particular, the Kingdom focuses on the inclusion of those social groups who are often the hardest for government to reach including the poor, illiterate, disabled, elderly, immigrants, women, youth and ethnic minorities. Bahrain has sought to include these groups through a consultative and participatory approach based on the available data and information. This approach is preceded by a series of meetings comprising of middle level and senior level executives and bureaucrats along with respective ministers. However, consultation and discussion for policy and programme formulation with in a Government entity used to occur on a random basis (based on the availability of respective officials) with substantial manual efforts dedicated to tracking the previous recommended actions and decisions. This ad-hoc approach led to significant wastage of efforts and a high probability that the discussions would omit pertinent some pertinent issues or concerns. Beside omissions, other major issues confronted the government from delivering an efficient consultative and participatory approach to policy and programme formation. These included the absence of: o Tracking and tracing the Meeting actions, decision and recommendations o Centralized repository for historical meetings information o Collaboration activities within the meetings The issues above had a direct impact on the processes associated with the management of meetings which created an unnecessary burden on the organization to keep track of the meeting outcomes and actions manually at great cost in both money and manpower. The persistence of these issues highlighted the need to institutionalize an efficient solution to support the senior bureaucrats of Government entities in making decisions related to policies and programmes affecting all the sections of the society. The solution was determined to be an effective e-Meeting system that instituted electronic management of all such consultations. The Bahrain eGovernment Authority (eGA) took the initiative of investing in a centralized eMeeting platform to deliver a solution to the challenges outlined above. The initiative also intended to create a centralized secure platform that can be utilized by Government entities to manage and monitor their consultations / meetings in an efficient and effective manner.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The idea of developing the eMeeting platform was driven from the strategic direction of the eGovernment Authority (eGA). The eGA plays a crucial role within the government of Bahrain in improving the delivery of electronic service to all segments of society including the Government. eGA took the opportunity of developing a centralized eMeeting Platform to overcome the challenges outlined above and to take a great step forward in the modernization of the Government’s policy and programme development. The eMeeting Platform is an enterprise-grade mobile/ tablet application for meeting management and collaboration. The platform is designed to address the needs of executive and non-executive government by provide different functionalities regardless of the physical location of participants, delivering the full suite of tools for busy professionals anytime, anywhere. The project has a set of objectives that were identified prior to the implementation and that were mapped with the strategic objectives of the organization. Below is a summary of the project objectives: • Improve the government meeting management and collaboration activities by utilizing mobility. • Developing a centralized solution to streamline the meeting processes • Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Government entities meeting. By implementing the eMeeting Platform, the activities of arranging, managing and tracking a meeting was streamlined and organized using the platform’s advanced capabilities. The eMeeting Platform was initially implemented in four government entities with an intention of extending it (based on need) to all government entities. The feedback received from these entities illustrates that the solution is not only solving most of the problems associated with the process of arranging, managing and tracking meetings but also enhancing the Kingdom’s participative and consultative approach to including hard to reach social groups into these meetings. The solution also shortens the time associated with the process of managing and arranging the meetings especially with the functionality of pushing the notifications and reminders through the mobile apps to the users. The eMeeting platform consist of three different modules that are serving the purpose identified for the solution which are: • User Mobile Application: A user interface that allows them to view meetings information, add meetings to their outlook calendar, view meetings attachments and documents and attached (private/public) comments on those documents. • Admin Mobile Application: An admin interface were the meeting owner can create, view, edit or delete meetings, • Central Server: A server does all the processing and entire logic associated with the eMeeting platform, the two above mentioned applications are merely user interface extensions to the central server. These modules provide users with the full range of functionalities necessary to deliver Bahrain’s vision of truly consultative and participatory meetings. Below are some of the functionalities associated with the eMeeting Platform: • Meeting Management (creating, updating, deleting and tracking) • Actions Management • Meeting Collaboration • Document Management (Document uploading, downloading and commenting on the documents (private/ public))

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The eMeeting initiative utilizes the advantages of mobile functionality in creating a positive collaborative and participatory environment for meetings by enabling senior executives of Government entities to conduct meeting and manage results anywhere and anytime. This initiative has resulted in timely decisions affecting the different sections of the society and has increased inclusion for hard to reach social groups. The eMeeting initiative has eradicated the traditional functioning of meetings (i.e., the necessity of having senior executives to be physically present in a particular time and venue) and driven efficiency in the process across government.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The project was executed based on the predefined comprehensive plan based on the project development life cycle: • Project Initiation and Strategy Alignment: In this stage, the project was conceptualized based on the strategic direction identified by eGA. Following this process, the project team was mobilized and assigned to the project. Moreover the procurement activities were carried out gradually based on the process of raising a tender. • Planning: In this stage, work focused on the process of developing the project plans that will help in the process of executing the project, the project plans developed for the project are comprehensively developed with a full cooperation between all the project stakeholder to ensure that everybody is aware on how the project will be executed, below a list of plans developed during the project planning: o Project Schedule o Stakeholder and communication plan o Change Management Plan o Risks Management Plan o Issues Management Plan o Requirement Analysis o Change Request Management Plan o Quality Management Plan o Other The planning phase was crucial for the success of the project and for that the eGA spent huge amount and effort to prepare the project plans. • Execution: In this stage, the actual project execution was carried out based on the predefined requirements to ensure the delivery of the eMeeting Platform. The execution stage consisted of a set of activities that were conducted below as below: o Requirement verification and analysis o Application design, development and configuration o Application testing o Application Rollout and hosting on the App store • Monitoring and Controlling: In this stage, the project conducted continuous activities to ensure the quality of the project deliverables and the proper execution of the project planning, this activities is running across all stages. • Closing: In this last stage of the project lifecycle, the project is closed including the process of ensuring that the project objectives were addressed and full documentation of the lesson learned to ensure the knowledge transfer to the users. After this stage the solution “eMeeting Platform” became an asset for the eGA and further investment is now envisaged to enhance the current eMeeting Platform and extending its capabilities to new government entities.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The eMeeting Platform project involved a lot of stakeholder during the implementation stage. Below are the stakeholders with their identified roles and responsibilities: • eGovernment Authority: o eGA Leadership: The leadership team was responsible for providing the required approvals to ensure that the project is delivered within the scope, time, cost and quality conceptualized earlier. o Directorate of Strategy and eBusiness Process Reengineering “Project management”: The directorate was responsible for overseeing the escalation arrangement of the project, evaluating the risk, managing the high level communication with the ministries. o Quality Assurance: QA’s responsibility was to perform the required testing to ensure that the product delivered has to the standard and guidelines o Information Security: Information Security’s responsibilities are associated with the security testing and ensuring the security of the product provided o Project Management Office (PMO): The PMO was responsible for compliance with the PMO standards support the project manager on the process of managing the project, moreover their responsibility is associated with the assurance of executing the project based on the defined plans in the planning stage also the regulation and control of the procurements activities are under the responsibility of the PMO. • Central Informatics Organization: o The CIO’s responsibility was associated with the technical configurations and processes that required over the hardware components to ensure the full availability of the solution • Government Entities: o Bahrain Tender Board: The BTB are the first organization utilizing the eMeeting Platform and for that their responsibilities are associated with the confirmation of the requirements collected. • Vendor: o The Vendor’s responsibility was to develop and deliver the solution based on the time, scope, quality and cost identifies and agreed on.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The skills sets of the resources utilized in the development of eMeeting Platform are provided below which comprises of a detail resourcing list with the roles and responsibilities: • Technical Human Resources o Developers  Number: Two Developers  Roles and Responsibilities: Conduct the actual development of the mobile apps based on the requirements identified by the users o Designers & User Interface Expert  Number: One Designer & One User Interface Expert  Roles and Responsibilities: provide the pages design for the mobile apps as per the user interface best practices to ensure and consistent user experience throughout the system o Testers:  Number: Two Testers  Roles and Responsibilities: conduct the required testing on the applications to capture the issues and ensure the correction of the captured issues and bugs. o Project Manager  Number: One Project Manager  Roles & responsibilities: managing the project to ensuring delivering the project within the expect time, scope, cost and level of quality o Project Coordinator  Number: One Project Coordinator  Roles & responsibilities: coordinate the project related activities with between the project manager and project team and support the project manager in the liaison activities within the project boundaries o System Analyst  Number: One System Analyst  Roles & responsibilities: perform the requirement analysis to overcome the gap between the collected requirements (technical / Business) and the requirement utilized in the process of developing the solution o System Integrator  Number: One System Integrator  Roles & responsibilities: collect the requirements for the integration and perform the actual technical integration required for the solution with the backend o Network Specialist  Number: One Network Specialist  Roles & responsibilities: ensure the availability of the network and the connection to the network o Change Management Coordinator  Number: One Change Management Coordinator  Roles & responsibilities: hand and ensure the execution of the change management plan to ensure the smooth transformation and utilization of the new system o Security Specialist  Number: One Security Specialist  Roles & responsibilities: perform the required security testing to ensure the security of the application developed o Quality Assurance Specialist  Number: One Quality Assurance Specialist  Roles & responsibilities: conduct the QA testing to ensure the compliance with the QA standard and guidelines while developing the solution; also they are testing the usability and user experience. • Financial Resource o The project was funded from the eGA project budget as one of the initiatives under the National eGovernment Strategy 2016

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
1) Strategic Planning: The eMeeting initiative had a SMART objective along with measures of success and key milestones where progress was reviewed constantly. The benefits of the initiative were clearly articulated at the beginning so that there was a clear link to the success of the initiative and the impact on overall business aims. 2) Solution Development: The development of the eMeeting Platform was closely linked to meeting-defined business objectives and adding value to the stakeholders especially the Government entities. 3) Communication: One of the vital factors for the success of the eMeeting Initiative was the effective communication to those who were affected during the implementation of the initiative and by the initiatives final outcome. Special efforts were made by eGA to ensure that the right message is set so that the end users and potential buyers understand the benefits of the initiative. 4) Resources: The success of the initiative was also due to the presence of adequate resources in terms of right people, appropriate time, right finance and right equipments 5) People: Finally, the success of the initiative owes to the contribution of the people who were involved in the planning, execution and monitoring of the initiative. The key stakeholders who drive the project heavily contributed to the success of the project and they include but not limited to Project sponsor, project manager, and project team members.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The monitoring and control of all aspects of the project is a principle the project team from the outset to ensure the proper execution of the project. Within this monitoring and control principle, the involvement of senior leadership from the eGA was one of the key determinants of success. Weekly meetings were arranged to discuss the project outcomes, issues, risks and deliverables with the mid management level, a comprehensive escalation plan with a specific Service Level Agreement across the different level. To elaborate more below the project meetings structure across different level: • Weekly meeting: o Attendees: project owner, project manager, vendor project manager and project team members (technical team) o Purpose: discuss the project status against the project schedule and highlight any issues or risks associated with the project, identify any escalation required for leadership and discussing any change requests required for the project o Frequency: Weekly • Two-Weekly meeting: o Attendees: Project owner, project manager, leadership team (all directors and asst. directors) o Purpose: discuss the project status against the project schedule and highlight any escalated issues or risks associated with the project, approved/ reject and change requests required for the project o Frequency: every two weeks

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The project execution is usually associated with the a set of obstacles, in our case the obstacles are divided into the below: • Technical Obstacles: o Integration requirements: the requirements for the integration with the back end solution was not very clear and the idea of developing mobile apps was fresh during the period of implementing the eMeeting Platform, the technical integration faced a set of constraint the add more delay on the delivery of the project, the team has overcomes such constraints by expediting the activities and providing an expert resource in mobile apps integration to support the team in the process of finalizing the integration activities and at the same time the team was building the internal capabilities by obtaining the required knowledge. o Secure app host on private app store (where it is only visible for the authenticated users): due to the fact that the eMeeting platform required a fully secure environment the project team faced an issues of having private app store within the official app stores, but our team discovered a solution to utilized some functionalities offered by the official mobile apps store to have a restricted access for the developed mobile apps. • Business Obstacles: o Change management was one of the main obstacles associated with the project implementation because the change that is associated with the project implementation is impacting the actual business for that the team faced a lot of resistance during the roll out period which was overcome by creating change agents with the organizations to adopt the change and support the project team and users in the process of adopting the proposed solution.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The eMeeting Platform has been used by the different Government entities in order to facilitate their consultative and participatory approach towards decision making. The eMeeting Platform transformed the traditional way of conducting a meeting in the Government entity thereby facilitating the decision making process affecting the various sections of the society. For example, the eMeeting Platform institutionalized in the Bahrain Tender Board has facilitated the meetings of various stakeholders resulting in speedy award of tenders. This has resulted in executing projects affecting various sections of the society in a timely and planned manner without any major deviations resulting in the delay in finalizing the tenders. Similarly, the eMeeting Platform installed in the Supreme Council for Information & Communication Technology supports the key ministers of Government of Bahrain in conducting meetings at a regular interval and focus on planning, formulating and follow up of decisions related to ICT. The eMeeting platform is expected to reduce the cost associated with the use of papers within meetings include the printing document which usually have an environmental impact society. Moreover, eMeeting platform implementation is associated with a huge amount of time saving in the process of managing and monitoring the meetings which will have a direct impact on the business activities also support the accuracy and speed of getting the right decisions. The major impacts of the eMeeting Platform can be summarized as below: • Establishing a collaborative Meeting management solution that will help in the process of expediting the decision making process within the government entities • Establishing a centralized repository for all meeting outcomes, actions and decision within each government entity which will provide an easy access to information • Establishing tracking and collaboration mechanism for government entities before, during and after the meetings to ensure the value of the meetings outcomes • Establishing a secure collaborative environment for government entities meetings

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Sustainability and transferability were at the core of the design of the eMeeting Platform. From conceptualization to delivery, eMeeting Platform has been considered a key product the self-sustainability program of eGA. The eMeeting Platform is currently a paid service which eGA licenses to any interested government entities. Currently, 4 government entities are using the eMeeting Platform and is in the process of extending to additional 5 entities that shows their interest on utilizing the eMeeting platform functionality. The revenue delivered by these entities, alongside the current scaling-up process, illustrate that the eMeeting platform is both a sustainable tool and scalable to function across Bahrain’s many government departments and beyond.

 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 most important lessons learned from the conceptualization, design and implementation of this successful initiative are listed below: • The importance of the change management during the implementation of any high impact project that has a direct influence to the actual business functions • The involvement of the leadership team is usually the key for success (before, during and after) the implementation of the solution • Spending time and effort in the planning phase will shorten the time of executing the project by ensuring the compliance with the proposed plans • Monitoring the progress of the project and creating an expedite path for escalation is considered to be one of key drivers for success to ensure the adherence to the scope, time, quality and cost • Having a clear stakeholder management plan will help in the process of identifying clear roles and responsibility before, during and after the solution implementation, but the key driver to success is to monitor the stakeholders activities and ensure that no overlap is occurring in all stages • Combining both the technical and business under one umbrella with a clear segregation of roles and responsibilities is key driver for success

Contact Information

Institution Name:   eGovernment Authority – Kingdom of Bahrain
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Nezar Maroof
Title:   Director of Strategy and eBusiness Process Reengin  
Telephone/ Fax:   +97339411140
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   nmaroof@ega.gov.bh  
Address:  
Postal Code:  
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