GCC govt IT initiatives face key challenges says Booz & Co
Government ICT transformaton programs need to address key areas to ensure success says report
Government ICT initiatives in the GCC are at risk of failure, due to lack of enabling resources, inadequate infrastructure and occasional transient funding and oversight, according to study from Booz & Company.
The report found that while many governments in the Gulf region have embarked on projects to drive growth through IT transformation, many government still lacked all elements necessary to make these projects a success.
In response to this, Booz & Company says that it has developed a three part framework, that identifies essential steps that governments should take to drive initiatives. The framework focuses on three areas, Environment, Readiness, and Usage, (ERU), which require attention to ensure lasting change in the public sector through ICT.
"A robust e-government agenda should properly cover all three dimensions by defining the services the government wants to offer in order to drive improvements in the supporting environment and readiness factors," said Ramez Shehadi, a partner a Booz & Company.
Environment factors, related to the regulatory and ICT environments in the respective countries, require attention from government in areas such as establishing political leadership, including more high level political sponsorship of ICT programs; strengthening the regulatory environment, and encouraging collaboration between government departments, along with standardising ICT tools and processes to further support collaboration/
The ICT environment aspect can be improved by ensuring ICT and internet penetration across all areas, including private citizens, governments and business. Programs to promote broadband access, subsidies for ICT for public institutions, and campaigns to drive awareness, and the development of mobile delivery platforms, to cater to the high degree of mobile penetration in the GCC are all cited as possible strategies in this area.
In terms of readiness, especially governments' ability to capitalise on opportunities created by an e-government programme, governments need to address both physical resource shortages, and skills shortages, through programs to identify the skills and expertise they require, to identify any skills gap, and attract and retain properly skilled staff to fill those roles, along with a focus on ongoing training of key staff.
Governments and government IT departments should also follow the same approach to IT as large enterprises, looking to standardizing processes and adopting best in class ICT processes, standards and measurement, having IT departments involved in their respective agencies at a more strategic level and include greater governance, and looking toward a government-wide approach to ICT enterprise architecture design and strategy.
"To enhance the effectiveness of ICT investments and programmes, ICT departments within government agencies should adopt best-in-class ICT processes and develop capabilities, especially around ICT planning and management, which are fundamentally lacking in the region," commented Jad Bitar, a principal at Booz & Company.