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Saudi Arabia’s Public Sector Gets Top Marks in Technology Adoption and Use


Net Impact Study Sponsored by Cisco Systems and under the patronage of the Ministry of Communications and IT Finds Saudi IT Investments in Government and Healthcare Departments are Resulting in Benefits for Citizens.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, April 4, 2006 - Saudi Arabia’s public sector is making world-leading use of IT and network technologies to improve services to citizens, a survey has found. The study was sponsored by Cisco Systems® and under the patronage of the Saudi Ministry for Communications and Information Technology. The results of the 2005 Net Impact study, carried out by Momentum Research Group and released today, compared government and healthcare operations and services in Saudi Arabia to other countries in Europe in 2004 and found Saudi organisations to be leading in most areas.
In a related note, Cisco and the Ministry have also announced that they will run the highly successful Global iExecutive Forum (GIF) program. The week long program is targeted at high level officials and decision makers in the government and provides its attendees advanced training in leadership and management as well as elevates the understanding of strategic ICT usage and planning. The attendees receive insights about the impact of the internet and latest technological trends, as well as be able to hone their skills in performing organizational readiness, strategic planning and business case building. The program has been run twice at a pilot stage and now will be rolled out officially.

The Net Impact study discovered that the use of technology had helped Saudi Arabian public sector departments boost customer satisfaction by 44 percent in the last year. The number of inquiries that employees were able to resolve had risen by 38 percent and the number of citizens using services had gone up by 34 percent, all higher figures than found in Europe. At the same time, the country’s public sector outpaces European countries in the adoption of technologies such as content caching (seen in 50 percent of cases), IP telephony (47 percent), remote disaster recovery sites (45 percent) and voice over IP (34 percent). Saudi Arabian departments were also leading the way in the adoption of technology ’best practices’, with 95 percent using finance and accounting applications and 79 percent having a Web interface for workforce collaboration and training.

All this is in the face of a generally poorer infrastructure environment than is generally found in Europe. A quarter of the organisations studied only had 99 percent or less network availability and nearly half had 128 kbps bandwidth or less.

“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. “Another interesting finding is that Saudi Arabian organisations are not specifically focused on reducing costs; instead they are interested in increasing their agility and extending the resources they need to meet the demands of citizens.”

Net Impact is a study of the productivity effect of information communication technology, focusing primarily on European organisations. In 2005, Cisco and Momentum Research Group extended this research to include five additional countries in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, including Saudi Arabia. More than 1800 IT and business decision makers participated in the 2004 and 2005 Net Impact studies. In total, 38 Saudi Arabian public sector organisations were interviewed, 52 percent of which were in government and 48 percent in healthcare.

“This research clearly demonstrates that various public sector organisations in Saudi Arabia are advanced in many aspects of networking and technology, said His Excellency Mr 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. 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"

“Saudi Arabian connected organisations have already adopted many of the best practices identified in the 2004 study. As a result, many of the benefits of their IT investments are being realised,” said Paul Mountford, President, Emerging Markets, Cisco Systems. “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 nations workforce. Cisco has created e-learning programmes such as the CNAP (Cisco Networking Academy Program) to teach students how to design, build and maintain computer networks and the IExec Business Essentials course to give rising business and government leaders the knowledge and tools they need to transform their organisations.”

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