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Sample Research Proposal on E-government in Saudi Arabia

Abstract

E-government can't be ignored. All government agencies will inevitably be part of e-government in some way because they all deal with the same people, who have the same expectations of government. E-government is good for both customers and providers. It is the only sensible way to organize and deliver results in the 21st century, and will be a significant factor in the success of organizations across the public sector departments. The Public Service is required to participate fully in all aspects of the e-government program. This study explores the impacts of e-government in the progress of Saudi Arabia's economy. The paper investigates the launch of the new e-government in Saudi Arabia two years ago. In order to achieve the main purpose of the study, the researcher evaluates the short-term and long-term plans of the e-government program of Saudi Arabia. The study employs both quantitative and qualitative methods of research in order to get the perspectives of the authorities regarding the topic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

The dawn of the new millennium marked the struggle of third world countries in the realm of information technology. While developed countries are already reaping the benefits of these advancements, developing countries are still groping in the dark whether to invest or not. Major social and economic alterations in most countries were attributed to their daring feats with the most advance micro-electronics-based information and communication technologies (ICTs). Their uses expand beyond all segments of economies and societies. ICT opens the door for potential and further growth for these countries. It is these gains that prompt other countries to launch extensive support to the construction of a global information infrastructure (Mansell and When, 1998).

 

Background of the Study

            In the literature, e-Government is defined in a number of different ways. However, a common feature of the definition is given by (Poister and Streib, 1999) that is 'the use of technology particularly web-based internet applications, to enhance the access to and delivery of government information and services, and government entities'. E-Government is also a 'tool to enhance the economic competitiveness of business and to empower citizens' (Kraychuk and Schack, 1996), and to improve both service delivery and government decision making. Some of the benefits to citizens and businesses from this initiative are identified as following: better delivery of services and information; the creation of new employment opportunities; reformation of the public sector; access to information empowering citizens; bridging the digital divide and improving efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability of government processes, and even to increase the possibility of foreign investment and assistance.

Although the Saudi Arabia state recognizes the crucial role of improved information technology in achieving the country's national objectives, its efforts are still wanting in terms of fully developing this sector.

            Just very recently, the government made a pronouncement stating its desire "to build up a country-wide info infrastructure to ensure to information by every citizen to facilitate empowerment of people and enhance democratic values and norms for human resources development, state-governance, e-commerce, banking, public utility services, and all sorts of on-line IT enabled services" (Ho, 2002).

            The government initiatives to be lenient with computer hardware and software exporters, has pulled the costs of these equipments to an easy-to-reach/purchase level particularly to the middle-classes. Last year, computer exporters had generated enormous income from selling such equipments (Raihan, et al, 2001). It is further expected that the revenue from selling of PCs would be double this year.

            With the positive stance of the Saudi Arabian government, it is projected that the mechanism that will link other village of SA would be easily realized. In fact, the state has already provided an 18-acre piece of land for this project (Zafarullah, 2001). Their vision is very much close to that of Software Technology Parks built in India. With the help of high-speed telecommunication infrastructure that would also be afforded by the government, all the minor companies would be given place equipped with the most advanced facilities.

In order to give a clear view of the online development of the Government presence following is a description of the e-Government stages of progress:

-         Emerging: in this stage a few independent government official websites establish their presence. The websites contain limited, basic and static information. The Internet functions as a brochure for posting government information on-line. In this stage customer cannot interact with officials.

-         Enhanced: a comprehensive regular updating for the content and information of the websites including publications, legislation, newsletters, links, search engine and e-mail capabilities.

-         Interactive: great deal of communication through downloadable forms, official emails through which users can make appointments and requests.

-         Transactional: a financial transaction presence where users can pay for services online. In addition, more sophisticated functions including digital signatures, passwords and encryption are also provided.

-         Seamless: fully integration across departments to present e-Services and functions. All services can be accessed instantly from one portal without differentiation between government agencies and departments (UNDPEPA, 2002).

            These stages are representative of the government's level of development based primarily on the content and deliverable services available through official websites. They are a method for quantifying progress.

            As the stages in e-Government initiatives have become operational, governments have begun to focus attention on measuring the efficacy, performance and impact of their websites. Performance measurement is a very important tool for the e-Government efforts. It can monitor the process of the e-Government initiatives and ensure that government's time and fund are being well spent (Ho, 2002).

 

 

The municipality departments and the government as a whole are in danger of becoming fragmented and a collection of so called 'silos' that do not work very well with each other. This can make it hard to deal with these large government organizations. E-government is a way that enables both municipality departments (as well as the rest of the government agencies) to work more coherently and in a networked fashion and therefore making it easier for the ultimate beneficiary (the customer) to deal with government organizations.

 

Today, 2 years after the launch of the first e-service, Saudi Arabia has successfully been able to provide a great deal of convenience to its customers. By reducing customer visits to SA by a striking 70 % and in some cases by 100%, the Municipality has achieved a very important goal of making it easier to do business with government (Burkhart and Older, 2003).

Review of Related Literature

The Internet, its associated technologies and business models, is profoundly affecting the way government, business, and people interact. Government is adapting to this new environment in a way that will eventually transform how it operates (Ho, 2002). The design and delivery of services is already changing to meet the changing needs of the general public and businesses.

 

To be successful in this new environment government agencies as well as municipality departments will need to work together more effectively, sharing resources and integrating their services (Mansell and When, 1998). People and businesses will have a better, more consistent experience of government if all agencies and departments work together. This approach will also help reduce the costs of delivering services online and through other channels. Transforming the way the public sector operates will not be achieved overnight. Bearing in mind that more than just e-government will effect the transformation, the model below shows how the foundation components of the e-government program support the change process through a series of phases.

 

 

For e-government to be successful for Saudi (including other government agencies) and to bring about that the transformation needed for this success there is a need for a common design framework or architecture for service delivery using information technology as the vehicle of delivery.

 

The "service delivery architecture" depicted below shows how the Government expects agencies to use and be a part of the government information, technology, and standards environment in future.

 

Architectures of this kind are becoming increasingly important to governments around the world. In 2001, the Gartner Group stated that "over the next two years 70 percent of governments that do not develop e-government architecture will duplicate efforts and infrastructure, and will fail to meet constituent expectations for service delivery, resulting in complaints and wasted public funds".

 

Perhaps, it still too early to make a conclusive statement about the general development and growth of e-finance in Saudi Arabia since the country is juts emerging itself from the traditional way of doing business (. Nonetheless, what is clear from the previous discussion has been the generous support from various institutions and the government's willingness to bend its own policies in order to accommodate the much needed breakthroughs in the economic realm.

 

 

Statement of the Problem

This study is primarily concerned in determining the impact of e-government to the economy of Saudi Arabia (SA). This study will focus on identifying the success of the launch of e-government in SA. The following are the statements present the research questions of this study:

1.                  How the government of SA helps does establish the launch of e-government?

2.                  What are the short-term and long-term e-government programs that the government of SA implements?

3.                  What are the policies that the SA government upholds to protect and maintain their country's e-government program?

4.                  What are the determinants of the feasibility and success of instituting e-government in SA?

5.                  What are the impacts of e-government to the economic development of SA?

Significance of the Study

            This study will be most helpful to the government officials, IT experts, economist and businesses in Saudi Arabia. The result of the study will provide information regarding the current situation of e-government in SA. The common ICT concerns, problems and issues of e-government will be given attention in hope of addressing their needs to be able to help themselves as productive citizens of the country as well as to contribute to the overall economic gains of the nation. The findings of this particular research endeavor will likewise promote awareness among e-government.

 

To the people in the academe to whom this research endeavor will be of most interest, the results and findings of this paper will contribute to the bulk of studies related to e-government and economics. As such, this may also open new avenues for further researches and studies so as to provide the civil society with relevant information that are dealt with in the everyday life of each individual. Its application for the common interest and good of the public will be hopefully uphold.

              The researcher on whom the majority of the responsibility of completing this research project is given will be the first to gain and experience the benefits of the success of this research paper in meeting the requirements of the course and in satisfying the intellectual drive of a learning individual.

   

Objectives of the Study

            Since the study is primarily concerned in determining the impact of e-government to the economy of SA, the focus will be on finding out the success of implementing e-government in the country in meeting the demands of the economic development.

            The following research objectives will be recognized by this study:

1.      To determine how the government of SA help develop e-government.

2.      To identify the short-term and long-term e-government programs in SA.

3.      To learn the policies of the SA government on their e-government programs.

4.      To enumerate the determinants of the feasibility and success of instituting e-government.

5.      To evaluate the impact of e-government to SA's economic development.

 

Scope and Limitation of the Study

            This study will primarily focus on determining the programs and policies of e-government in SA. The focus will be on finding out the success of the launch of e-government and its contribution to the economic success of the country. The study is also interested in finding out the feasibility and success of such program particularly to the ways and measures that the government employs in order to empower the e-government. The paper will likewise present the common shortcomings, issues and problems that the e-government has.

The study will be completed under the qualitative research design and approach using the key informant interview method. The use of interview guide questionnaires will be of great importance on the quality of the elicited data that will be used to come up with valid and reliable results and findings. The informants of the study who will be participating during the data collection period will be composed of individuals who belong to the launch of the e-government in SA.

Some of the possible constraints that the researcher may encounter while conducting the research include maintaining scheduling appointments with selected participants, the interviewees or informants who will rather refuse to take participation in the study, issues on the conceptualization and construction of the interview guide questionnaires, gatekeepers of information and permits, accumulating enough in-depth data and issues on the quality of the data gathered.

Overview of the Methodology

           

Methodology

            This study will make use of the descriptive research design, where impact of e-government to the economy of Saudi Arabia will be taken into account. The selected research design will enable the attainment of the enumerated objectives. For this research, various data sources will be used to determine how e-government affects the economic development of Saudi Arabia.

 

Participants

            In this study, the government officials and staffs that launch the e-government program, government economic experts and a business firm will be used. This business firm should have applied e-government for a year. There will be 10 participants from the government, 10 from the economic experts and 10 from the business firm. The participants of the sample will be derived from the management sector of each group and will be used as the respondents of the study. They will be answering the questionnaire and interview which will be used for the study.

 

Data-Gathering Methods and Sources

            The data-gathering procedure for this research will be conducted through the survey method and documentary research. Using a structured questionnaire prepared by the researcher, the participants selected for the research will be asked to participate in a survey. They will be answering questions pertaining to the developments in economy since the implementation of e-government in Saudi Arabia. Specifically, these developments will be determined through questions on information technology and economic development.

In addition to the survey method, the results will also be supported by an interview of the respondents who will be participating in the research process. This is for the purpose of verifying the answers they have given in the questionnaire as well as for obtaining other findings the survey will not be able to give.

From these data-gathering techniques that will be employed, two sources of data will be used: the primary and the secondary resources. The primary sources of information will be derived from the survey-questionnaire and interviews conducted by the researcher. The secondary sources of data will be based on published articles from computer, business and IT journals, books and related studies on the Internet, e-commerce and computer development.

 

Data Analysis

The data gathered from these instruments will then be subjected to analysis. The analysis will be characterized by descriptive and comparative approaches. Qualitative data that will be gathered from interviews will be present in text formats. The summary of the quantitative data from the survey will be converted to percentages and presented in graphs.


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