How will the e-Government platform better enable the UAE’s businesses?
MANSOORI: The e-Government initiative in Abu Dhabi has progressed to help all business, investments, and people in the emirate. We developed the platform based on the latest technology and the best practices to accommodate all the needs that are required by the government to be profiled to the customers. The customers are two types of people. There are people who need to know about the services that we offer and how they can access those services as well as those who want to invest and do business in Abu Dhabi. This platform integrates all the government entities together with their services and makes those services available via the web to the public at large. We have 725 services available in total today.
In what ways do you utilize web 2.0 applications and green IT policies?
MANSOORI: This is very important. We have been leading in the region in introducing the latest technology. With regard to web 2.0, we are introducing and piloting applications today to be available to everybody. Green IT has been developed holistically in Abu Dhabi. We have piloted a green IT initiative in one entity and we saw that real benefits will be added to the UAE. We are going to launch something in this regard very soon to the public.
How does ADSIC’s e-Government capabilities compare to regional neighbors?
MANSOORI: We are on the forefront regionally. We are recognized globally. We have received 3 or 4 awards internationally for our achievements and this is not easy to accomplish when we were only established 5 years ago. We have become one of the leading institutions globally in Geographic Information Technology (GIS). Now there are many other countries trying to adopt what we have done. Since Abu Dhabi is leading the world in GIS and spatial data infrastructure, we have been recognized globally by the WSA (World Summit Award) for implementing our spatial data infrastructure platform. From this we can implement location-based services which is a new trend today.
Where does the UAE stand on the UN’s e-Government readiness survey?
MANSOORI: We have been moving up in the ranking over the years. According to the UN survey that has been published most recently we are ranked sixteenth or seventeenth up from somewhere in the 30’s.
What opportunities are available for private sector companies in the development of an e-Government platform?
MANSOORI: We have developed an application on our portal that allows people to go through, step-by-step, how to set-up a business in Abu Dhabi. This includes the cost of that business and who will need to be involved in establishing that business. If you look at www.abudhabi.ae, you will find an application called ‘Click’. This application takes you through step by step how to do business in Abu Dhabi. 65% of the traffic we receive on this portal comes from outside of the UAE. This means that Abu Dhabi is being targeted globally in terms of business and that business people abroad are looking here for business opportunities.
We have developed an application on our portal that allows people to go through, step-by-step, how to set-up a business in Abu Dhabi. This includes the cost of that business and who will need to be involved in establishing that business.
Looking ahead, what new initiatives can we expect from ADSIC?
MANSOORI: There are too many initiatives in the pipeline to cover all of them. I would like to highlight The Government Contact Centre 800-555. It is available to anyone 24-7, day and night. This hotline provides any information from any government entity. It is also a place for complaints, suggestions, and following up with transactions. For example, if somebody makes a transaction with any government entity, they can follow up with their case using 800-555 to complete their transaction as soon as possible. This has been benchmarked globally and recognized as by the UN and has been shortlisted for an award from the UN. Recently, we have been visited from other countries that want to implement a similar system. There are many countries interested in doing this. Some of them are in Europe, some in South Asia, and some of them in Africa. The aim of this program moving forward is that we need to make Abu Dhabi its benchmark, and establish our logo and our identity. This type of project is unique globally. There are 3 or 4 countries that have approached us to use this type of branding model. One of our most successful projects has been ‘Jobs Abu Dhabi’. It can be accessed from all over the world and we have seen many success stories from this site. Anybody can log in and post a CV. This is one of the best systems in place today. It is an automated system and is already responsible for hiring more than 10,000 people. This project has been recognized by the UN and needs to be highlighted globally.
What role will ADSIC play in Abu Dhabi’s 2030 vision?
MANSOORI: We are playing two roles. The first is to encourage the private sector and the ICT sector, as well as providing people with access to information from different government entities. We need the government to work hand in hand with the private sector to push the economy forward.