Research Problem statement:
The countries in the Middle East are undergoing a sea change due to the introduction of Information technology at a large scale. The region is now at a cross road where it can not move forward yet moving ahead, keeping in pace with the change and advent of technology, is a daunting task. Technological advancement has increased transfer and development of ideas and information and opened up a new window, changing people’s expectations, point of view and knowledge. E-government is dramatically changing the scenario and the process government processes are being conducted.
E-government has been studied from different perspectives and different angle. These are:
- Government to government
- Government to business
- Government to citizen
Understanding the different perspectives on e-government adoption is necessary to respond to the political, managerial and socio-economical backgrounds. This study explores and widens the working structure of e-governance, implementation at a national level in connection with agency level. The main aim of research is to identify the key issues in technological and organizational Change that can expedite or hinders the implementation of e-governance.
- The process of technology movement in electronic government in Saudi Arabia.
- Explain and identify the E-government role in the Ministry of interior Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- Risks Involved in E-Government.
- Issues in E-Government
The research questions for this particular study are as follows:
- What are the key issues that are affecting e-government adoption??
- Characteristics of e-government.
- Why e-government is needed?
- What speed up or delays the implementation of e-governance?
- How the issues are handled in Saudi Arabia?
Review of relevant Literature:
The purpose of this section is to consider prior investigations and study concerning e-governance, and to review the available literature regarding the effects on organizational issues in the adoption of e-government initiatives. It is based on integrating different information system working together.
“The term “organizational issue” is frequently used in the review literature as a generic expression to describe a wide range of nontechnical aspects, which have an impact upon the outcome of information system projects” (Clegg et al, ’97). From this we can conclude that it has not received wide acceptance.
Doherty and King (’98) defined an “organizational issue” (in the context of Information system development) “as any distinct area on the interface between a technical system and the characteristics and requirements either of the host organization or its individual employees, which can lead to operational problems within the organization.”
The currently available literature study in information system suggests that human and organizational issues are more important and will become even more critical to the successful development and implementation of the Information system.
A report conducted by OASIG describes that about 80-90% of IT projects failed to meet their performance goals and this is in part due to the fact that organizations give inadequate information and attention to non-technical details.
According to “Heeks” many IS in developing countries can be categorized as failing either totally or partially.
Many researchers have indicated various reasons for the failure of information systems projects and, the purpose of this study is to review the issue.
Definition of E-government:
“E-government is defined as the use of information technology by the government agencies to reach out to citizen, business and other arms of the government by using Internet, web and WAP.”
In recent years computers and information technology has improved communication in a spectacular way. Many researchers have argued that e-government is the next wave of the information age and therefore many governments around the world are trying to opt this to build trust of their citizens, and to improve the quality of their services in the public sector, with the hope of reducing cost, and effort and as well s increasing the efficiency and transparency of the government. Both developed and developing countries are adopting e-governance system with a view that it will have cost saving potential. However if the innovation becomes technologically and administratively complex, and it is not compatible with the existing values, its adoption will be likely to face the opposition.
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Benefits of E-Government application:
Benefits of e-governance are huge in the sense that it gives the user online access to information according to his preference of time, as the service is open for 24 hours a day. All the processing of application is done through online, minimizing human effort and chance of errors. The overall system becomes updated minimizing human dependencies. Delivery of services is improved, generating smoother flow of information, and greater convenience. It also increases revenue and reduces cost. This facilitates a convenient model, much clear and transparent, helping reducing corruption at each level.
Challenges in E-government Application
The main challenges in e-government application is Authenticating the users, Assigning liability and risk, Scalability and extensibility of the system, Assurance of data integrity must be taken care of and the other challenge will be maintaining confidentiality.
Transformation towards E-government
The era of hierarchical government bureaucracy is coming to an end. And a new system of governance is emerging in a big way, where the role of executives is redefining responsibilities from managing people and program to coordinate resources for producing public value.
The transformational efforts include
E-government Adoption process:
The implementation of an IT system goes through six stages: Initiation, Adoption, Adaptation, Acceptance, use and incorporation.
Some changes to E-government
|Factors||Traditional Ways||E-government services|
|Mode of service||Service for citizens.||Self-service in many operations|
|Goal||Citizens in line||Citizens online|
|Expectation||Digital exclusion||Digital participation|
|Management Style||Transaction Intensive||Knowledge management|
|Orientation||Production cost and efficiency||User satisfaction & control,
|Leadership style||By rule and mandate and command and control||Flexible management, interdepartmental network,
Facilitation and coordination
|Organizational structure||Top-down, hierarchical||Innovative approach
|Communication||Centralized, formal limited
|Direct and fast feed back.
|Interaction||Documentary Mode||Electronic exchange
Non face to face.
E-Government role in Saudi Arabia:
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia
So far we have discussed about the implementation of e-government in general. Developing any system in any country depends on that country’s background. The characteristics of Saudi Arabia, the geographical, socioeconomic, population and cultural background must be known to implement the system in a proper way.
The official name of the country is The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Internationally it is called Saudi Arabia.
Location, Size and Population
This particular country is situated in the southern eastern part of the Asian continent. It bridges the gap between western world and Asia. The total population is nearly about 25 million, among them 54.3% are males, and 47.5% are female.
Information and communication technology in Saudi Arabia
Information and communication system is now playing a vital role in the economies of many nations and as a result the government of Saudi Arabia has given it top priority. IT applications have spread rapidly to cover many sectors for the purpose of enhancing productivity and performance in the field of government, health, education, commerce, finance etc.
The framework of activities covers:
- Computerization of some of the public and private organizations in SA.
- Establishing training and educational institutes.
- Program to prepare manpower resources that will develop and maintain the IT frame work.
- Building basic infrastructure to support IT system.
The Saudi government actively endorses and encourages utilizing the IT system to the fullest, in the economy, through its own consumption, and its import, trade and international activities. But IT diffusion in Saudi Arabia is a huge task. The problems are often technological, but more importantly it is often due to social structure, cultural, educational, political and economical barrier.
Barriers of E-governance in Saudi-Arabia
The barriers of e-governance in Saudi Arabia are mainly related to the people. The IT budget constraint is a major issue along with lack of Top Management support, and proper IT planning. Availability of technical expertise is also a problem. Human resource, well conversed with the new form of technology is unavailable, and training them also is not an easy task. Lack of proper legislation and regulations regarding implementing e-governance is not adequate, skilled manpower is also a problem. Lack of IT awareness, proper business procedure, public infrastructure and education, and lack of trust are the major contributing factors here.
Driving Forces towards E-government
The main driving forces in e-government are government is implementing Paper-eliminating act, which will increase dependencies on computer systems, maintaining database. Privacy Act will also increase dependencies of software, where user can access his current data, without anybody’s interference, with unique id and password, and can update his status information according to his choice. Technologies are now much dependent on E-marketing, call center activities etc, increasing upgradation of software systems. From the infrastructural point of view we can say that, the demand for the system will increase day by day because of its authentication, digital signatures, certification agencies, secure WEB.
E-government planning-Project Planning
- Planning for E-government.
- Establish an agency to implement
E-government such as Decision Support Center:
- Changing procedure
Action to Take: The national plan in KSA reflects the key interest of the government in supporting the transformation towards e-government. To translate these principles and regulations into reality much effort is needed. E-government initiative was launched in 2003 and this focused on ICT as a tool for reforming public organizations. The main objective focused on three issues: E-readiness, E-society and IT training.
E-readiness: It addresses improving IT infrastructure, supporting country’s economy, initiating e-learning, e-government and e-health, improving productivity at low additional cost, setting up standards and guidelines for national networks.
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E-society: The government in KSA has realized the importance of enhancing computer literacy among its people. Consequently the government has introduced in May 2005, a new scheme to provide a computer to each family at a low cost, and encourage educational system to response to teaching IT.
IT training: The ministry of education in KSA introduced new courses to educate pupils in public schools about ICT. It has also devised a plan to build computer labs for all public schools. In addition to colleges and universities KSA have technical colleges, which offer courses on ICT.
Structuring a Project
Setting up Objectives
|Context of the project
What are the changes it will entail?
Why this project?
What are the issues at stake?
Content of the Project
|What is the theme and content?
What is the applied methodology?
What are the activities?
Where and When
|Where will the project be implemented?
What is the time frame?
When does it starts/ end?
|What logistics are required?
What practical aspects need to be taken care of?
Budget and funding
|What is the overall cost?
Where from the fund will come?
Methods of communication
|Internal communication: how does information circulate ?
External communication: does it require media coverage?
Follow up and evaluation
|How and when to be evaluated?
Which aspects? Why?
What Follow-up is planned?
Adoption of research Methodology:
Qualitative research methodology is chosen as a research methods as the researcher is attempting to understand the factor that hinders the process of implementation of e-governance. The purpose of this research is in-depth analysis of people’s behavior.
There are qualitative research is best suited as its deals with
- In-depth Understanding of phenomenon
- Complexities of processes
- Allows researcher to generate theories from practice
- Allows researcher to have thick and close description of phenomenon
- Allows reduction of barriers between researcher and user of the system
The key factors of this research will be the adoption of e-governance within the people of Saudi Arabia, including motivation for change and implement a new system and manage it well, so that the system can work effectively and efficiently.
Data Collection Method
The data collection methods used
Interview: It is an important method for generating information in qualitative research process. Structured, semi-structured and unstructured interviews are arranged to collect and obtain data.
Focus Group Interview: This is an interesting technique, where a group of people is assembled to discuss over a common issue, and a moderator facilitate the discussion, and the expression, body language, reaction of the respondents are recorded and observed minutely to clearly monitor the process, and developing an idea. This type of pilot method is very interesting and helps in gathering lots of information.
Ethical considerations: Ethical consideration is a significant factor in conducting this research study. The protection of the participants in the research process is a liability to the researcher. Ethical considerations require careful treatment of respondents and should consider many major issues that include privacy, deception, anonymity, accuracy and confidentiality. The privacy of the respondents must be provided in private rooms of office, allowing maximum comfort zone.
- Al-Sudiary, M,.2000. An empirical investigation of electronic data interchange(EDI) utilization in Saudi’s Private organizations. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Leicester UK.
- AL-TAWIL, K., SAIT, S. and HUSSAIN,S., 2003. Use and effect of internet in Saudi Arabia. Proceeding of the 6th World Multi-conference on Systemic, Cybernetics and Informatics, Orlando, Florida, USA.
- AL-TAWIL, K.M and SALT, S.M., 2002.E-governance-where we stand? MDF4,Amman, Jordan.
- AL-TURKI, S.M. and TANG, N.K.H., 1998.Information Technology environment in Saudi Arabia: A review. Work report, Leicester University Management Center.UK.
- Deloitte Research,(2000), cited in Silcock(2001) Eminence of web based application and portal technology.
- Howard (2001) capabilities of web technology.