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Saudi public sector tech usage better than Europe

Saudi Arabia’s public sector is making better use of technology than some of its European counterparts, according to a research report.

Saudi Arabia’s public sector is making better use of technology than some of its European counterparts, according to a research report.

Investments in IT within Saudi’s government and healthcare arenas have led to increased citizen satisfaction in the past year, increasing by 44% in 2005, according to the Net Impact Saudi Arabia 2005 study released this month, comparing favourably with the European average of 29% improvement in customer satisfaction.

However, the European figure was achieved in the preceding year, 2004.

Networking giant Cisco Systems, under the patronage of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (CITC) sponsored the study, with research conducted by private firm Momentum Research Group.

“The notably higher rates of application implementation in Saudi Arabia in 2005, compared to our research in Europe in 2004 may be due to the time lag between the studies — or the very real possibility that Saudi Arabia has leapfrogged ahead,” said Yvon Le Roux, vice president, Public Sector, Cisco Systems Europe and Emerging Markets.

According to the study, technology usage has helped Saudi Arabian public sector departments resolve 38% inquiries in the past year, with the number of citizens using services having risen by 34% — all higher figures than found in Europe.

The study also claimed that KSA’s public sector had outpaced European countries in the adoption of technologies such as content caching (seen in 50% of cases), internet protocol (IP) telephony (47%), remote disaster recovery sites (45%) and voice over IP (34%).

Saudi Arabian departments also led in the adoption of technology ‘best practices’, with 95% using finance and accounting applications and 79% having a web interface for workforce collaboration and training.

“This research clearly demonstrates that various public sector organisations in Saudi Arabia are advanced in many aspects of networking and technology,” claimed HE Mohamed Jamil Al Mula, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Saudi Arabia.

“These examples of best practice are focusing on accelerating the speed at which their organisations operate and on expanding citizen-services capacity using existing resources,” he continued.

“We must all aim to follow these examples to drive the productivity of our nation and keep on investing in our infrastructure and our citizens.” he added.

A number of specific improvements needed were also unear- thed by the study.

It found that Saudi organisations cite fewer ‘triggers’ leading to technology adoption than their counterparts in Europe, indicating the absence of a clear business case for technology
investments.

It also said that KSA lagged behind Europe in terms of providing online services within their departments or to other agencies, though notably it outpaces Europe in providing online services to citizens and end users.

“To be able to compete in the digital economy now and
in the future it is imperative to invest in the business and technical skills of a national workforce,” said Paul Mountford, president, Emerging Markets, Cisco Systems.

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