It also says that such automation systems include archiving, correspondence, emails, client relationship management and internal resources management. In contrast, the results of the report show some success stories in automating internal processes such as activating the archive, correspondence and email systems in some agencies. The results indicate that 98 per cent of government agencies need to simplify and re-engineer procedures for some or all its services.
The eGovernment Transformation Readiness Report (the “eReadiness Report”) shows that government units are making relative progress in the ePresence Phase. Advanced units in terms of their readiness for electronic transactions have pushed the government average for this phase, since the aforementioned units provide more eServices to the end users than other units. Participating government agencies have advanced in their overall readiness consequent to taking active steps towards organising the transformation process as per the requirements of the plan. The Council of Ministers in its meeting during November and December 2013, reviewed the eReadiness Report prepared by the Information Technology Authority (ITA) in collaboration with government agencies.
The Council stressed that it is imperative that due attention and care be accorded by all government agencies to realise the set goals of the eGovernment Transformation Plan. Furthermore, pursuant to the principle of societal participation, it is necessary for these agencies to continuously publish information related to quality assessment and user satisfaction measurement in their websites. The eReadiness Report measures the extent of the readiness of government agencies to move into eGovernment. Out of 71 agencies invited to participate in the eTransformation Readiness assessment, 64 agencies participated. They entered their data directly into an electronic system designed to measure eTransformation readiness. This data was later extracted and analysed to synthesise results and draft the eReadiness Report.
Prior to that, the ITA reviewed the entered data and guided the respective agencies to effect a few amendments, since the accuracy of the report essentially depends on the accuracy of the data entered by these government agencies. The eTransformation Readiness Measurement System was designed to comprise two parts. The first is concerned with measuring the overall eReadiness of government agencies, and the eReadiness of the agencies to achieve the requirements of each phase of the plan. The second deals with collecting basic data about the services offered by participating government agencies. According to averages of eReadiness indicators for all government agencies at large, the results showed relative progress, due to the active steps assumed by these agencies towards organising the transformation process, coupled with the relative progress in business process automation within government agencies.
Moreover, the average indicator value for the government ePresence phase has increased more than any other phase, since government agencies made progress in the digital presence through websites or connection to networks. It was also noticeable that the overall readiness indicator of eTransaction for the government as a whole has increased as a result of some government units providing more eServices to end users compared to other units, which led to the increase of the value of the government average index in the third phase of the eTransformation Plan. As per the results of eReadiness measurements, approximately 70 per cent of government agencies lag in the use of automation systems pertaining to administration and internal processes within government agencies. This has a negative impact on the internal efficiency and effectiveness of the agency and subsequently the delivery and operation of services.
Such automation systems include: archiving, correspondence, emails, client relationship management, and internal resources management. In contrast, the results show some success stories in automating internal processes such as activating the archive, correspondence and email systems in some agencies. The results indicate that 98 per cent of government agencies need to simplify and re-engineer procedures for some or all its services. In this regard, the ITA provides necessary consultancy services and training workshops to induct members of the task forces at different government agencies with skills and develop their expertise. About 45 per cent of the agencies said that decision making power with regard to service delivery are not sufficiently clear. The eReadiness Report has also shown that decision making is quite slow in 39 per cent of agencies, which may result in delays in delivery of services.
Accordingly, the ITA dedicated one of the pillars of the eGovernment Transformation Plan to address process re-engineering and office automation within government agencies, to accelerate and automate these processes with the objective of attaining the required operational and procedural efficiency. This will ultimately lead to better government services. Most government agencies, around 80 per cent of them, have websites in Arabic, as well as in English, though to a lesser degree, where this percentage is about 73 per cent. It was also clear that less than half of these bilingual websites are symmetrical or comparable in content. Thus, the ITA is developing the capacities of the eContent teams through training workshops related to content management, social media networks, user-friendliness, digital penetration, as well as introducing team members to international standards and guidelines, and modern trends in eGovernment.
With regard to connecting to the Official eGovernment Services Portal (Omanuna), results show that 3 per cent of the total number of agencies have achieved integration between some of their services and the government portal. This refers to the link between the internal procedures of government agencies concerned with delivering eServices, and the Official eGovernment Services portal systems. The objective is for the portal to be the digital front-end for requesting a service and obtaining updates about its implementation. Moreover, 20 per cent of agencies have linked some of their services to the portal through service-specific links, though these are not fully integrated. This calls for working on increasing the percentage of integrating website services into the official portal, since this forms an essential goal of the eGovernment Transformation Plan. This matter is being addressed by the ITA in order to achieve this integration between services and databases through the Official eGovernment Services Portal (Omanuna).
The results of eReadiness measurement indicate that 97 per cent of government agencies headquarters have Internet connections, and that 73 per cent of these headquarters have been linked to the Oman Government Network (OGN). However, 70 per cent of these agencies see that the link speed caters partially only to the requirements of Internet connection, or does not suffice for network connection requirements. Results show that 81 per cent of government agencies have dedicated a group of its staff to the task of interacting with users, while 45 per cent of government agencies said that they have a call centre for this purpose. Around 61 per cent of government agencies provide downloadable forms and service request application from their websites. This applies to all or some of their services. On the other hand, half of the agencies provide forms to be filled online on their websites.
Earlier findings and indicators show that some government agencies have the essential frameworks and components for interaction, which will enable them to develop their interaction with the end users. This in turn will raise the quality of service delivery. These indicators are satisfactory, though insufficient and require further development and improvement. On the other hand, almost half of the government agencies, which took part in the eReadiness assessment, already have some social media presence, especially Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This shows an increasing attention by government agencies to establish different channels of communication with users.
In order to deliver services electronically, modern applications and infrastructure would need to be present in government agencies, where such applications and structure would be used in executing the process related to the delivering and providing services electronically and linking these applications to the internet. However, as per the results, around 75 per cent of government agencies would be required to amend or change their infrastructure, to varying degrees. Others, around 93 per cent, would be required to amend their applications to be compatible with the eTransformation requirements. Such requirements aim to attain integration among government applications through the Official eGovernment Services Portal and centralised applications and services systems. This means that government agencies will be able to provide integrated and full eServices through electronic channels without the need for the public to go to different government agencies’ headquarters. With regard to the government services indicators, the eReadiness measurement shows the following indicators:
Basic Indicators for Government Services
Government procedural services – i.e. services through which the status of a user is amended or providing services as per the internal regulations – represent two thirds of the services that have been entered by the government agencies in the eReadiness Measurement System. They include all services provided by the government to individuals, companies, government officials (i.e. the services provided by the government to its own staff), or government agencies (this covers services provided by some government agencies to other government agencies). Members of the public avail of 41 per cent of all kinds of government services, while the private sector avails of only 35.4 per cent. As far as the significance of government services to users is concerned, about 49 per cent of the services are considered important for the general public, while 36 per cent of these services cater to a specific group or sector of users. This calls for further focus on these two segments of services to achieve the greatest possible benefit for the end users.