Driving digital government for RAK
The UAE emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is working toward establishing a highly integrated, mobile government for the benefit of citizens and business.
Since the formation of the Electronic Government Authority of Ras Al Khaimah in 2004 under the directives of HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al-Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, the authority has worked to transform Ras Al Khaimah society to an online community through the launch of a wide range of e-government services. Eng. Ahmed bin Saeed Al Sayyah, general manager of the Electronic Government Authority discusses the successful implementation of e-government applications, driving user acceptance of applications and smart services, and developing local resources:
For e-Government applications to be successful they must first and foremost address the needs of the citizens and businesses. The applications and mobile services offered must be user-friendly and present a pleasant interface. Application development must take into consideration the end user and avoid strictly following the way services are delivered in person or through the web.
Technology is rarely a barrier in the development of smart services, user acceptance of the service is a much higher concern. The transition towards smart government can be misguided for a simple transfer of services and information to mobile platforms without reengineering of the processes; this might result in a low usage of the service and application. The usage of the application will be very low if the services offered do not respond to the needs of the user or demand transactions which are too lengthy or complex for a mobile interface. Another key success factor is for service providers to have strong Service Level Agreements (SLAs) on the services offered. If the response to a request or transaction is slow or inadequate, users are likely to lose trust in the provider and stop using the application.
A key aspect of successful smart services implementation is integration. By integrating different governmental departments and authorities we can offer an end product which meets the requirement of users.
We also believe that mobility should be considered in all services development projects, meaning that whenever a new project is implemented we should analyze which aspects of it can be delivered through mobility, through e-Services, both or any other smart channel.
One aspect which was important for us prior to developing more mobile applications and services was to put together a development kit setting guidelines for a common look and feel to all applications coming from the Government of Ras Al Khaimah. As application development is easily accessible to all and it can be difficult to authenticate the source we want our users to easily recognise the RAK Government signature and have a similar navigation experience for all our smart services.
In order to achieve our goal of transforming Ras Al Khaimah into a digital and fully integrated government we have also developed end-to-end ERP and CRM solutions to manage government resources and data seamlessly. We developed a portal and single data layers between departments allowing precious time saving for citizens and business using our services. We also implemented business intelligence solutions for all governmental transactions. The availability of the information and the treatment of the data are of high value to the management of the concerned departments as it helps us greatly in enhancing the services offered and having a better understanding of our areas of improvement. This GRP (government resources planning) project is giving us a solid foundation in managing multiple layers of data and diverse stakeholders to deliver seamless end-to-end services easing the life of citizens and businesses.
As a government entity, we also put high importance on the development of our local resources which is why we offer different certification programs to train young graduates and current employees to specific technical and business skills related to our needs, the needs of our stakeholders and the technology used.
Our plans for 2015 include the establishment of a GIS Center, the implementation of SAP HCM across 13 departments, the implementation of a fleet management solution for Public Works, a revamping of all government websites versions making them mobile compatible and expending our mobile services offer. We are also working on the expansion of our CRM infrastructure by collaborating with more departments and enhancing the solutions currently available. Finally, as information security is one of our priorities we are also implementing ISO27001 standards across all departments.
The ExploRAK App provides comprehensive information about Ras Al Khaimah and the services available. Users will be able to easily identify touristic attractions, activities, hotels and restaurants from a list or map view and can also contribute to the enhancement of the city by reporting criminal cases to the police or clutter to the Public Works Department.
Users can also book a taxi or limo and view their bus and flight schedules. Emergency services can also be easily located and contacted. Another unique feature is the interactive day planner allowing users to plan their day from the variety of attractions, facilities and transport options using an easy schedule integrated with all features of the application.
Other notable features available on the app include: A list of landmarks, attractions, general contact information and operating hours. Users can also report any issue encountered across public facilities in Ras Al Khaimah including garbage on the street or stray animals. The application is available on IOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows.