Having a sustainable knowledge-based economy is among the nine pillars Abu Dhabi has identified to bolster its social, political and economic future. Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre (ADSIC) ensures that the emirate is on track to realising such a vision by enabling the modernisation of government services through information technology (IT).
"Every country that undergoes modernisation has to build a strategy to fill the gap between its weaknesses and strengths. For Abu Dhabi, IT is a crucial area that we are aligning with the 2030 vision," says ADSIC director general Rashed Lahej Al Mansoori. "We have to build the right IT infrastructure, open our minds to best practices and create tailor-made solutions that fit Abu Dhabi."
ADSIC has been implementing a modern, efficient and citizen-centric e-government strategy since 2007. Embodying this strategy is the Abu Dhabi Government (ADG) portal, www.abudhabi.ae, which serves as a centralised electronic gateway to 90 various ADG entities.
The ADG portal provides more than 850 services and information pages in Arabic and English. It enables targeted customer groups, including individuals, businesses, employees and ADG entities, to perform as many as 60 transactions online, ranging from acquiring personal documents and licences to paying utility bills and seeking employment. With a comprehensive coverage of Abu Dhabi's legislative systems and legal affairs, the portal has also become a first point of call for potential investors and businesses looking to the UAE.
"The ADG portal brings together local and federal entities to provide stakeholder services that match the best in the world," Al Mansoori says.
The portal is recognised by international organisations as one of the most useful websites and an effective platform for strengthening international best practices. It also helped the UAE boost its global ranking from 99th to seventh in the United Nations' 2012 online service index and climb to 28th position in the e-government development index.
Its success has spurred ADSIC to develop more similarly impactful projects including the ADG Contact Centre, which provides round-the-clock multichannel services to keep the public updated on tourism, sports and other event-related information.
ADSIC also organises annual virtual career fairs that allow employers to interact with candidates through internet chat, voice or video conferencing.
ADSIC takes inspiration from other countries that are working on similar modernisation programmes. It looks to Asian countries such as South Korea, which is a leader in green IT, and Singapore, which is highly invested in human capital.
"Human capital and content drive our services - and investing in both is important to help Abu Dhabi's succeeding generations," Al Mansoori says. "Having a strong relationship with the private sectors and sharing our strategy with them are also key because their success helps the government move forward."