x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Data is fuel for successful smart government, says expert at GCC meeting

Data fuel for continued success

DUBAI // The move from e-government to smart government can generate an immediate Dh5.8 billion market with an annual increase of Dh370 million, experts said at the GCC Government Social Media Summit.

“This market could be developed by providing data to private entities to develop relevant online applications that can benefit the public,” said Ibrahim El Badawi of the public-sector advisory company Exantium. “Data is the fuel of a successful smart government.”

Mr El Badawi said data sharing by the public sector could provide the tools for companies and individuals to develop applications to serve the public better.

“This would help in building a data economy. Our research revealed that in the GCC the value of the market can develop an almost Dh7 billion services market,” he said.

Mr El Badawi said e-government systems in the region during the past 20 years had suffered from “a concentration on the technical side to research issues and solutions instead of a business or customer orientated approach”.

“In a recent example in an Arab country the pensions department developed a costly and innovative online solution for payments to pensioners, but the solution failed because pensioners refused to use it,” he said.

“The reason was that pensioners enjoyed the monthly meeting of old colleagues and socialising at the department. This is a clear example of a technically driven solution.”

Mr El Badawi said many government departments invested in costly innovations that were not used, causing a “white tail” effect.

The term is borrowed from the aviation industry. When an airline cancels an order for planes that have already been built, the aircraft are described as having a white tail.

Mr El Badawi said that data availability in the region was evolving, and issues remained such as security and privacy protection.

amustafa@thenational.ae