An introduction to MIS (Management Information System)
Management Information System is the process of managing or controlling the overall functional activities of a business organization in order to achieve its predetermined goal. It is also the method of processing the raw data into information which is then transmitted into different sections for making appropriate decisions in the production process. While the data is transmitted in all levels of departments it helps to achieve the effective and efficient cooperation of all members in the company for quick and prompt resolution. Information is the important need of every business, so the data is collected, processed and stored in the way of information required for doing the business activities in a smooth way without any risk. The data collection process helps to retrieve the authentic, accurate and up-to-date data enabling the company to exist in the competitive business world. In the management information system the management has to give essential guidance and assistance to the employees for doing their task in an effective and easiest way without any error. Today, most of the businesses depend on computer for processing data as it helps in faster processing which saves the precious time of the workers. For achieving the main goal of the business, there is need for good planning and rapid decisions and this system helps the managers in making suitable planning and decision for the proper functioning of the business.
MIS is classified into three functions.
- Create various reports needed for the regular activities of the business.
- It helps to answer the questions asked by the management.
- It supports in making fast decision (Management information system, 2009).
For the effective management and developing of information system, there is need for efficient and qualified persons.
An introduction to E-governance or Electronic Governance
It is the combination of information technology developments and the application of these technologies in government entities. This technological development helps the citizens to get information of the government authorities. Information technology helps in effective functioning of governments. This technology has developed to serve the citizens of the country and to find out the needs of the citizens. Ministry of Information Technology controls the functions of e-governance. Technological changes help public administration reach closer to the common people. The improvements in information technology strengthen public services and democratic processes. E-governance helps the government to work more efficiently and more effectively (E-governance, a definition that covers every aspects of government, n.d.).
E-government is Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is situated in the south east part of Asian continent. There are 350 government organizations and more than 1.2 million people are working in public sector. They are considered as the oil reserve for the whole world, and they are the price maker for oil and petroleum products which plays an important role in economic activity of the country. Today, Saudi Arabian government goes for modernization in market, economy, education, health care and public services. But considerations are given to values of Arab and Islamic civilization and national culture. This may affect the adoption of electronic governance. Surveys were conducted in Saudi Arabia for adopting E-Governance, but many of the government employees were not ready to participate because of fear of misinterpretations against their individual interest.
Saudi Arabian government supports the development of information technology in all aspects of the country’s development. Information technology in Saudi Arabia is at the beginning stage as compared to developed countries like, USA, Japan, UK and Canada. Adoption of information technology in Saudi Arabia is a major problem. The insufficient management support, lack of IT planning, lack of qualified persons and their training are the shortcomings. The internet users in Saudi Arabia have increased which enabled the growth of e-government. Some new projects helped e-governance such as smart cards, ministry of interior portal, and e-payment gateway.
“YESSER is the Arabic word for simplify and the name of Saudi Arabia’s e-government program.” (Alsheha, 2007, p.2).
Information technology helps to improve speed and efficiency in each transaction. It helps to simplify the operations through electronic interactions which interconnect citizens, business and government authorities. Governments can save cost of each transaction. Citizens can participate in the political and decision making process.
Positives /Negatives of e-government
Adoption of e-government
There are many reasons from the point of government in adopting e-government; they are political, economic, social, technological and managerial. Management Information System helps in reforming the public sector. In social side, it helps better delivery of government’s services. In political side, it helps effective participation from the citizens, it helps in cost reduction. Moreover, the facilities are available all over the country. (Al- Shehry, Rogerson, Fairweather, & Prior, 2006).
Due to the advancement of the technology all over the world, governments try to take advantage of this technology to provide their people with best benefits. The Saudi Arabian government, with no exception, also understands this reality and utilizes technology to reach higher and higher levels. With the help of e-government, huge amounts of communications take place and it helps in reducing cost too. By means of the information technology tools like e-mails, intranets and the internet, there will undoubtedly have a profound impact in reducing costs of communications.
The time element is one of the major aspects which the e-government takes care of. Usage of technology has helped in an easier and faster communication process and an effortless process of finding information. “In the United Nations’ Global E-Government Readiness Report 2005, Saudi Arabia was ranked 80th out of the UN’s 191 member states.” (Alsheha, 2007, p.3). Saudi Arabian government always took efforts to maintain a high class electronic infrastructure. The e-government has paved the way for a flow of communication system for the public and industries. Many online business sites, statistical reports etc help the industrial professionals in a huge way.
Problems/threats concerned with e-governance:
- Lack of Awareness of e-government programs among the employees and society.
- Unavailability of computers and internet facilities.
- No proper legal framework for electronic transaction.
- Lack of training and development
- Lack of studies and research in e-governance
- Tradition and culture
- Security of information
- Lack of support from the top management (Al- Fakhri, Cropf, Higgs, & Kelly, 2008).
Challenges of e-government in Saudi Arabia
There are many challenges faced by governments and local authorities in developing new modes for the development and implementation of e-government plans. The development and implementation of E-government projects, programs, policies and strategies differ from others for which they have developed.
- Government transformation and reform.
- Participation of citizens.
- Security and privacy
- Evaluation, Accountability
- Managing the programs
- Cultural barriers.
The government transformation and reforms
Saudi Arabia is the rising super power in the world while comparing with developed countries. E-governance and infrastructure have great role in the progress of the country. Saudi Arabia is now doing the initial part of the state e- governance, which contains the information about G2B and G2C services. It is now in a striding stage. It is a late comer and is rapidly growing in the field of e-governance. The major objective of the nation is government transformation and reforms. As part of this transformation, many programs were started earlier. The state is undertaking transformation in the telecom sector and started a Telecom Company (STC) in 1998 itself. They initiated liberalization of ISP sector on 1999. In 2001, new policy was implemented i.e. the telecom act and Independent Telecom Regulator (SCC). In 2003, they established a ICT ministry and expanded the ICT commission. In 2005, they started a new government program named as ‘Yesser’, finalized the ICT plan, launched a new program of smart cards, restructured the internet and initiated home pc’s. These types of programs made changes in the progress of government and people.
The participation of the citizens
The people in the country should be part of government’s development programs. All the development programs in the country are intended to increase the standard of life of each citizen in the state. So, the citizens have great role in the e-governance and transformation programs. The participation of citizens is of two different types – political and administrative. The administrative participation is the help to maximize the outcome of planning, development and all government services.
Security and Privacy
There may be a chance of internet penetration in the state. The accessibility for every citizen has been made into action; at the same time, the security also should be taken care off. The government sites of Saudi Arabia have to be made accessible for everyone and while making it accessible, the privacy and security settings also need to be implemented and maintained well. Even though Saudi Arabia stands high in the usage of e-government, they stand very low or at zero level in privacy and security settings of the same.
The country still lacks in having a strategic vision or focus for the operation of e-services. The major issue is the lack of clear goals or objectives in achieving them. The lack of enough research works done is also another problem. The lack of responsibility and the evaluation of the e-services can be a serious challenge.
Managing the programs
Once, the e-service has been implemented, it is very important to oversee and maintain it. So, the lack of management of such services can also be a challenge. A clearly defined plan with objectives listed out is needed for a successful maintenance and management of the system. This lack may result in the overall slowdown in the development process in Saudi Arabia.“Saudi Arabia has government departments as old as 70 years, run by bureaucrats with unlimited resources and almost untouchable status.” (Sahraoui, Gharaibeh, & Al-Jboori, 2006, p.10).Hence, managing e-services is a serious issue there.
Due to the lack of a universal mode for e-service implementation, it is essential to take into account the cultural and demographical factors too, which affect the e-governance. As it is basically a closed society in nature, it is very difficult to accept the concept of knowledge based society which completely relies upon e-services. Having an e-governance model will help in avoiding these challenges and will help in reaching to a highly electronic country.
This report gives a clear idea about the implementation of e-governance in Saudi Arabia and the challenges faced by them. By tackling the threats and challenges, it will be easier for Saudi Arabian people to have a well-developed set up inside the country. The e-government implementation will help Saudi Arabia for many breakthroughs. This report shows that Saudi Arabia is moving towards development in the e-services with high efficiency, but the issues have to be tackled and solved efficiently. If the practitioners of e-government focus on technical needs, they can develop an efficient system which governs not only the current government practices bust also helps in transforming the basis of relationships between the public, private sector and the government. E-government can be powerful equipment for the improvement of the total quality life in Saudi Arabia. It is essential for the citizens to get trained in e-services before their implementation and thus the e-governance and services can be managed efficiently.
- Al- Fakhri, M., Cropf, R A., Higgs, G., & Kelly, P. (2008). E- government in Saudi Arabia: Between promise and reality. Khosrow- Pour, Mehdi (ed.). International Journal of Electronic Government Research, 4(2). IGI Publishing.
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