Bahrain Information Communication Technology Governance (ICTG)
eGovernment Authority, Kingdom of Bahrain

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The Kingdom of Bahrain’s Government ministries and agencies have been delivering services to the citizen through Information Technology in an ad-hoc way. This piecemeal approach means ministries and agencies do not have proper alignment between their business goals and their IT delivery, resulting in obsolete technologies being used that are unable to cope with the complex demands of growing eGovernment services. Further, obsolete IT means citizen data is widely distributed between ministries, making it time-consuming and costly to collect for service delivery. This situation of ad-hoc delivery meant management did not have any clear way to track investment and performance across government departments and agencies. From the information and data sharing perspective, the government was also working using very traditional approach. This approach meant there was no proper control or transparency across the government to enable vendors and solution provider to deliver effective IT to support the policy and business goals of departments and agencies. Service delivery also lacked proper service level agreements across them, leaving the government without the proper framework for control and management. Standards and guidelines existed, but only at the level of individual ministries. No standards were imposed at the government level. Bahrain identified the key barrier causing these issues as the lack of a proper framework to understand, evaluate and optimize the IT deployment of departments and agencies. Due to the improper architecture view eGovernment unable to visualize the major impact on Business, IT alignment and investment on technology, resources. There were multiple sources of data about citizen-related data and fragmented pieces of citizen data residing in different data sources without clear identification of data ownership and privacy attributes. This situation caused poor data quality and conflicts between government entities, leading to poor service delivery to citizen. Finally, all of these challenges and issues indirectly affect Bahrain citizens and residents who are the core consumers of the government services. There is no governance mechanism to govern the business, IT alignment across the ministry /agencies to guide on Enterprise Information management, data sharing, and standard information life cycle to be followed on.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The solution to the lack of a proper framework for eGovernment IT solutions was proposed by Bahrain eGovernment Authority (eGA) as Bahrain Information Communication Technology (ICT) Governance framework to Deputy Prime Minister office and formal decision was taken to form Bahrain ICT Governance Committee by Deputy Prime Minister, H.H. Sheik Mohammed Bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa in 2011; to govern and manage the cross government ICT Investment, standardize ICT policies, technical standards, guideline and best practices across government entities in the Kingdom of Bahrain to solve key issues highlighted above in ICT arena in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Bahrain’s ICT Governance framework is primarily driven by enterprise architecture. The framework is a set of mechanisms through which architecture is enacted in the enterprise. Governance is essentially about ensuring that business is conducted properly. The framework is less about control and strict adherence to rules, and more about guidance and effective and equitable usage of resources to ensure sustainability of an organization’s strategic objectives. The governance structure for Bahrain is a federated architecture governance model and it provides advantages in cost, schedule, autonomy, scalability and robustness. The federated governance structure maintains a good balance between enterprise-wide standards, reference architecture and frameworks, and localized business-area driven innovation. Central enterprise architecture team i.e. National Enterprise Architecture Governance has primary responsibility for reference architecture, standards and frameworks that are common across the Kingdom of Bahrain. Bahrain ICT Governance enables to focus on achieving desirable levels of IT quality and performance, while making sure that appropriate infrastructure support is in place to deliver the right business solutions. Primary objectives of Bahrain ICT governance include the following: Value Creation and Delivery: Managing, controlling, and monitoring activities that impact or involve the team and organization—and subsequently building trust among the business and IT organizations (which ultimately improves the effectiveness of governance in creating and delivering business value). Facilitation: Establishing and promoting standards, best practices, and guidelines for technology adoption and support across organizations in order to advance business and IT strategies; and preparing the process for change management to adopt new technologies. Risk Management: Identifying and managing risks associated with the set strategies and objectives, as well as continuously monitoring the risk levels across projects to ensure visibility into critical situations and enable practitioners to make informed decisions. Compliance: Linking individual projects and initiatives to national, enterprise strategies and objectives, as well as measuring, monitoring, and managing the progress of IT projects in delivering the business goals while following EA guidelines and principles. Enforcement: Defining and enforcing ways to use architecture patterns and information during the entire lifecycle of national application development, integration, and deployment. The Governance committee prime target audiences are: Information Technology decision makers across all government entities in the Kingdom of Bahrain, All Information Technology employees across all government entities, Vendors and suppliers in the Kingdom of Bahrain Government sectors.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Bahrain’s Information Communication Technology governance framework is a unique initiative to address the above mentioned objectives and issues. The framework is tool for Business Innovation Realization, allowing government and agencies alike to achieve the optimal provision of IT while delivering maximum value to the citizens of Bahrain. Changes in the underlying technology infrastructure are often needed to enable business transformation. Hence governance architecture is the key to managing complexity and scale of change in the business. The method used is the integration of the processes for strategic, business, operations, systems and technology planning in a way that also integrates with other business and technology governance processes. In the domain of central government, it is very difficult to address the issues without an appropriate protocol mechanism in the new ICT arena, hence the ICT governance model is an initiative has a proper hierarchical protocol process and transparent to across government leadership and management. They activities are being published and communicated very quarterly to government leadership board, ministerial board that is driven by Deputy Prime minister of Kingdom.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The Strategy has been implemented as a set of programs with timelines to achieve the key objectives of Bahrain ICT governance as stated above across the government:. 1- Integrated National Human Resource Management System (HRMS) and Financial Management system (FMIS): One key issue was the lack of a centralized and integrated government employee and financial management system. This led to improper resource and fund utilization on program and portfolio managements. Hence the Governance model emphasis and architect the framework to have an integrated HRMS and FMIS for nation. 2. Enterprise Architecture Maturity program: One of the core objective of governance is to raise the maturity of the government entities’ IT architecture and to streamline and standardize to exhibit a consolidated IT landscape that ensures the business IT alignment across the government entities through a set of process and mechanism which is a customized framework for Kingdom of Bahrain which in build utilize The Open Group Architecture Framework (ToGAF). 3. National Information Technology Plan: Bahrain’s ICT Governance executes a continuous program every 2 years to conceive and execute the government’s forthcoming ICT program / projects. This program assesses and examines the government IT plan to ensure ministries and agencies align their plans to the national strategy and VISION 2030. This plan also ensures the buy in of C-level Executives across government as well as the Supreme Committee. 4. Information Technology Investment Framework Model: Governance has realized there were no adequate systems in place to track the IT investment in the Kingdom. Hence it has designed a strategic architecture framework for transparent IT investment across government entities. 5. ICT Policy and Standards: ICT Governance emphases cross government ICT standards and compliance. This initiative drives the development and enforcement of policy and standards to ensure best–in-class services are provided to the citizen, government and business. The standards process is a continuously evolving program to provide a secure and integrated business environment in the Kingdom. 6. National Service Delivery Platform: The National Service Delivery Platform provides a ‘one stop shop’ for citizen and business to access services. The platform manages and monitors the integrated service delivery model through multiple initiatives across the government in the business and Information Technology arena. 7. Improve Government IT efficiency and effectives: This process ensures that the design and deployment of IT within the governance framework is efficient and effective. These standards are achieved through appropriate processes and systems at the national level to drive a “whole of government approach”. 8. ICT Shared Service Environment: This initiative stresses the importance of the shared service strategy and shared environment across government. This program developed a roadmap and approach mechanism to achieve the identified shared service IT program in the Kingdom to name few program are Shared Electronic Document Management System, Integrated HRMS and FMIS for the government, emphasis to have Shared service Center of Excellence and program management office for the government. 9.People and Process Capability Development : Its strategic important objective to ensure to have appropriate capability on resources, processes in the government to achieve this it has a set of activities to assess a cross government IT capability development plan and program which drove by ICT governance. 10. Enable Next generation environment: This initiative is to educate and propagate the importance of national and eGovernment strategic objectives and emphasize the C-executive leadership to drive their strategy towards the next generation environment.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The general stakeholders for the framework are principally the government C-Level Executives and decision-makers across all government entities, Heads of IT across all government departments and key vendors and suppliers in the Kingdom of Bahrain are also important stakeholders. Each of the identified initiatives above have, in addition to the general stakeholders, specific stakeholders necessary to drive their objectives: 1- Integrated National Human Resource Management System (HRMS) and Financial Management system (FMIS): Key stakeholders include the Ministry of Finance, Civil Service Bureau, eGovernment Authority and Central Informatics Organization and other government entities which are utilizing the systems. 2. Enterprise Architecture Maturity program: This initiative is driven by eGovernment Authority to all government entities, currently the key stakeholders are Shura Council, Survey & Land Registration Bureau, Constitutional Court, and Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Urban Planning. 3. National Information Technology Plan: This initiative is driven by eGovernment Authority to all government entities. 4. Information Technology Investment Framework Model: This initiative is driven by eGovernment Authority to all government entities with the Key stakeholder are Ministry of Finance, eGovernment Authority and Central Informatics Organizations. 5. ICT Policy and Standards: Key stakeholders are all government entities. 6. National Service Delivery Platform: Stakeholders are all government entities 7. Improve Government IT efficiency and effectives: Stakeholders are all government entities 8. ICT Shared Service Environment: Stakeholders are all government entities, prime stakeholder are eGovernment Authority and Central Informatics Organization. 9.People and Process Capability Development Stakeholders are all government entities , Key Stakeholder are Civil Service Bureau , eGovernment Authority and Central Informatics Organization, 10. Enable Next generation environment: Stakeholders are all government entities
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The National Enterprise Architecture Framework has been implemented by an experienced team within the Bahrain eGovernment Authority (eGA) and key international consulting partners. The resource mobilization and advisory framework was implemented according to the following model: The Executor (eGA) drives and implements the initiatives along with international consulting partners for the Client (Government, Ministries and agencies) across the kingdom. The executor implies has a group of C-Level executives, Technocrats, Architects and Directors drawn from eGA. One key resource is the project directors and advisors, who have 20 + years of experience in Strategy, Enterprise Architect, Financial Planning and Program Management. Another is the Chief IT Governance Architect who has around 18+ years’ experience on International and enterprise level Application, Data, Technology Architect and as well project management experience and IBM certified Architect and a Program and project manager who has a very strong experience with client management (Ministries and agencies), project management with around 12 + years’ experience on those and Quality Assurance and Security team are behind to support the executor. These executors have identified and executed the program with the partnership of international consulting service partners. The consulting team had mobilized a 10 members group of technocrat who are well experienced with international exposure on Enterprise Architecture practice and Architecture cum project management certificate resource with hands on around 10 + years over the domain. Which consist of Enterprise Architecture Global head, Project director, Project manager, Chief Architect, Enterprise Architects from the consulting group. Cost associated to the governance is around 1.5 Million US dollars in the span of last two years.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Policy Framework: There was no appropriate framework in place which defined guidelines, standards and reference models for governance. The framework governance which could streamline eGovernment strategy, Vision 2030 and the Policy framework for data sharing, system interoperability, adoption of standards has not been defined before year 2011. The value realized by forming and executing an initiative called Bahrain Enterprise architecture and governance which is driven by a set of Standards, Governance, Reference model and Guidelines. Blue Print of Information Technology: Before the Governance Initiative was implemented, the Kingdom did not of a consistent framework in place which reflects business IT alignment and isolated IT blueprints by ministries none reflection of vision 2030. Due to this there is sub-optimal utilization of national infrastructure as such as National Gateway Infrastructure (NGI), National Portal, National contact center and National payment gateway. The value has been realized by forming and executing an initiative called National Bahrain Enterprise architecture based on service delivery framework. Currently the government has a national level Service delivery based IT Blue Print. Snapshot of IT Investment : The government does not have an appropriate IT investment snapshot before the ICT Governance initiative initiated. To overcome and mitigate the issues we exercised an initiative to collect and analysis the IT Plan across government entities in the year (2011-2014). It aims to deliver the following for government: • To ensure alignment of IT investment with eGovernment vision, strategy and objectives • To avail a holistic national level view of IT investments and associated business benefits • To identify redundancy / duplication in IT investment across entities • To Identify IT investment optimization / rationalization opportunity o Common IT solution catering similar need across entities o Increased use of IT investment towards functional capability development o Enable easier integration & interoperability across government ICT environment • Identify new National initiatives based on common requirements across entities • Provide high level guidance on IT budgetary requirement. Based on the National IT plan year 2012-2014 exercise by enterprise architecture governance council collected and analyzed around one hundred and ninety eight (198) initiatives and projects across thirty two (32) government entities in Bahrain, it prioritized high, medium, low projects in the government and highlight to supreme committee the potential 21 million USD cost avoidance on IT investment

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
There is a formal committee which has a set of C-level Executive members, directors, chief who are involved to drive and monitor & evaluate the implementation of the governance program which defined by the vision, the mandate and the sponsorship of the Bahrain ICT Governance program and it has been endorsed by Supreme Committee of Information Communication Technology (SCICT) of Kingdom of Bahrain. This governance committee was established in year 2011 to oversee and act as an advisory board in respect to Information Communication Technology related activities. It consist of the key members from different government entities like eGovernment Authority (eGA), Chief Informatics Organization (CIO), Ministry of Education (MOE), Deputy Prime Minister Office (DPMO), Economic Development Board (EDB), Ministry Of Industry and Commerce (MOIC), Ministry of Finance (MOF) those member are under secretariat and above cater level in the government of Bahrain and also an academic advisor from University of Bahrain (UOB). In respect of the governance drive in the Kingdom each members of committee has individual role to play according their Line of Business (LOB). The key responsibilities of the governance committee are as follows: • Establish and communicate vision, charter and strategic directions for Enterprise Architecture based on Vision 2030 • Direct, oversee and support the vision, direction, and adoption/implementation of Enterprise Architecture based on Vision 2030 • Evangelizes Enterprise Architecture and obtains buy-in from Senior Business Leadership • Decide and guide on adoption of technology advances • Review, Approve annual prioritized planned initiatives, projects.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Historically, different entities with different businesses and supporting IT faced several challenges to communicate internally with their counterparts in other ministries. Most of the time these challenges were handled in the name of One Technology, One Vendor Solution (preferably) on a common platform to ensure interoperability and seamless integration. There were also cases of deploying point-to- point integration between different entities and even from ministry to ministry. This solution worked as a short-term patch, but stored up greater challenges for the future because of the ad-hoc implementation. Business-IT alignment is another debatable area, where organizations tend to either ignore this completely, or adopt after numerous investments in IT, to support the businesses. Even business owners tend to ignore the fact that some of the IT initiatives, can really bring down their cost of providing necessary business services. Governance and Compliance were never seen as show stoppers for these organizations, because business would still continue and IT would still be able to support these businesses. Mostly the compliance validations are adopted on ad-hoc basis which ensures that nothing stops. Even if there are critical issues, Quick Fix patches are ready to be used. Another key obstacle is commitment from individual ministries to implement recommendations from the framework. The eGovernment Authority had overcome resistance by addressing the concerns of ministries through constant communication, clear monitoring of the impact of initiatives and consistent Change Management. White Paper publications are Testimonial evidence: -Paper on Bahrain EA Governance Framework, for Journal of Inspiration Economy @2014: Scientific Publishing Center, University of Bahrain, J. Ins. Econ. 1, No.1, (Sept-2014). -Paper on Policy Making and Assessment: Case Study of Bahrain Enterprise Architecture’s Policy & Standards in IT, for Middle East North Africa Public Administration Research (MENAPAR)

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The Bahrain Governance initiative has brought huge improvements government-wide in the delivery of next-generation eGovernment services to citizens and customers. Through the largest government-wide resource management planning and financial management integration framework ever conceived in the Kingdom, 75% of government resourcing and expenditures are now administered through these systems. Based on initial results, it is estimated that 99% of all IT resources are now spend in an efficient and transparent manner, delivering on a prime objective of the Kingdom’s VISION 2030. The Enterprise Architecture Maturity program has allowed 4 government entities (which directly report to the Cabinet Office of the Kingdom of Bahrain)to raise their enterprise architecture maturity to level 1 & 2 according to the National Enterprise Architecture Framework. This improvement is a very positive change in the government and across Middle east region who primarily believe and encourage the enterprise architecture model in the government which has shown around 90 % of potentially planned architecture improvement in those government through which seamless service delivery to the customer and citizen are met and also their business & IT are aligned substantially to name those ministry / entity are: 1)Ministry of Work 2) Shura Council 3) Survey & Land Registration Bureau 4) Constitutional Court 5) eGovernment Authority By conducting nationwide Information Technology planning across the government entities, the enterprise architecture governance council collected and analyzed around one hundred and ninety eight (198) initiatives and projects across thirty two (32) government entities in Bahrain. The council prioritized projects high, medium and low across the government and highlighted to the Supreme Committee the potential saving of 21 million USD by optimizing IT investment in the Kingdom. Through this program, Bahrain governance has introduced strategic IT strategy development program to the government which improves the capability and capacity to develop methodological approach towards IT strategy plan development. Through the detailed analysis conducted by the Bahrain governance programme, initiatives and frameworks across government have been offered a significant opportunity for National Shared Service concept which can improve overall IT performance in the Kingdom. To emphasis the positive impact in the public sector, the following have been achieved:  Multiple entities have requested similar initiatives which can be better implemented through national level shared service: • Seven (7) entities proposed document management/workflow systems there were a clear opportunity for shared service document management implementation across government. • Two (2) entities proposed call center/help desk system which can use national call center • Three (3) entities proposed internet protocol (IP) telephony which optimally can use existing chief informatics organization/ eGovernment authority’s IP telephony infrastructure • Four (4) entities proposed disaster recovery (DR) environment setup which can use CIO’s high availability disaster recovery initiative • Multiple entities has proposed new data center; it arises an opportunity for national data center.  Multiple entities proposed huge investment for setting up entity level Infrastructure: • Opportunity for Infrastructure As a Service (IaaS) at national level • National IaaS will enable higher budget for functional capability development  National Level Policies and Programs for Infrastructure Optimization: • Opportunity for centralized licensing policy across all entities • Master service agreement (MSA) with infrastructure and product vendors for better cost advantage To ensure positive change in the government culture, the Bahrain governance has initiated huge competency / skill development program across government some are in build with multiple initiatives which are highlighted above through which Bahrain ICT governance council managed to develop capabilities in few key area like enterprise architecture skill through The Open Group Architecture Framework (ToGAF), Strategic Planning Skills ,IT Strategy Development, Benefit Quantification ,Cost and Return on Investment (ROI) computation.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
This Bahrain Information Technology Governance initiative focused primarily on sustainability and transferability over the vertical subject areas like social and economic, cultural, environmental, financial, institutional and regulatory. As detailed above, one of the key outcomes of the programme is an ICT Governance model in built driven by the Enterprise Architecture governance framework which is directly touch base with the above mentioned subject area ministries wise and their Business, IT alignment were examined and advised those ministries / agencies to adopt the National Enterprise Architecture frame work to adopt and ensure to achieve the sustainability among the Kingdom level. The identified different national initiatives / program as discussed in one of the above section in which each initiatives provides a sustainable and transferable solutions to the government through a recommended the Roadmaps, Framework, Policy and procedures, Standards and Guidelines, The Projects to follow and implement to align with the Bahrain enterprise architecture framework the frame work been designed as such transferable to the individual ministries and agencies to adopt. It has been deemed with international level interest to accommodate to transferrable enough to adopt the framework in a very transparent manner.

 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)
During the Bahrain Information Communication Technology (ICT) governance, there many opportunities to learn and correct areas in the government. Some of the key lessons are: • Government entities leadership, senior management felt that they would lose credibility on their own line of business; hence it was very challenging period to negotiate and get acceptance of enterprise architecture governance process and mechanism. • Huge effort and time took place to avail government entities leadership direction and guidance to accomplish strategy and IT alignment through the enterprise architecture governance framework. • Mid-level management involvement and collaboration across government entities were key challenge. • Continuous awareness and regular coordination are the key area where continual improvement needed to promote and align with enterprise architecture and governance framework • To trade the model of optimal, efficient utilization of information technology in shared service concept were tiresome across government entities • Competency to execute the centralized and shared service program across government entities are really challenging factor in the ministries.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   eGovernment Authority, Kingdom of Bahrain
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Nidhin Hari
Title:   Leader, Service Delivery  
Telephone/ Fax:   +973 17387488
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   Al Barsha Building, Building no. 145, Road no. 2403, Block no. 224, Muharraq Governorate, Manama 75533
Postal Code:  
City:   Muharraq

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