Husameddin Al Madani, Director-General, National Centre for Performance Measurement (ADAA)
An improved performance culture and big data support Vision 2030
In an interview with Global Platform, Husameddin Al Madani, director-general of the National Centre for Performance Measurement (ADAA), discusses their role they are playing in increasing the efficiency of the public sector through training and an improved performance culture. By improving the accuracy of availability of big data, the ADAA has made it easier for companies and governments to review their progress. In addition, the centre is also fostering partnerships between the public and private sector, to support Saudi Arabia in achieving its Vision 2030 goals.
Saudi Arabia was embarking on a large transformation economically and socially, and without being able to measure and know where we are we would have run into many risks. This is the first challenge: performance culture, how can we encourage our public servants to think of how to measure their progress, identify targets and KPIs, and also have performance reviews frequently to be able to improve public services. We have trained over 8000 government employees in classrooms; talking about strategy development and KPI development, to make performance culture a part of our daily language. There are challenges that are not only specific to Saudi Arabia, we have seen them also in some OECD countries measuring performance accurately and timely is definitely a challenging task. The second challenge will be data. Data availability and data accuracy is maybe the most common challenge across similar organisations globally. Are we reading the right data? Are we reading it in a timely manner? You have to be able to identify relevant data that allows you to gauge your performance and allows you to get an accurate pulse on how we are doing. One of our major investments – to access more data – was to connect with multiple data sources that are available globally and also locally. We are able to connect with over 40 international data sources. We also work with internal organisations in Saudi Arabia; whether it is the statistical office or the entities themselves – ministries and authorities – to integrate our system with their backend system to be able to access data faster and also access the right data. Investment and technology allow us to access more data in a faster way. Things that used to take months take weeks, things that used to take weeks take days, if not days maybe even hours. So there is a significant improvement in the efficiency of the government engine itself. Governments today deal with multiple data sources and the amount of data is increasing rapidly. We know now that cybersecurity and data integrity are key priorities for nations across the globe – actually more relevant than any time in the history of computing. All data, when you have them available in one place, you can use advanced technologies to identify opportunities for optimisation, opportunities for streamlining and also opportunities for investment. We have an ambitious Vision 2030 programme. Saudi Arabia recognises that without the partnership of the private sector and without the true engagement of investors we will not be able to realise our Vision 2030 aspirations. Hence, the private sector and the investment community are at the heart of our transformation, and our delivery plans. We have seen more partnerships from the public sector. We have seen the tourism and entertainment industry significantly grow, unveiling any opportunities for small, midsized and even large investors. We have an amazing future ahead of us. We are all believers in this big transformation, the historic transformation that we are very proud to be part of and we need the private sector and the investment community to be partners with us in this amazing journey. Two of the key indicators that we closely monitor and report on are: ease of doing business and public-private partnerships. There are many enablers that we are working on to attract more investment and make those public-private partnerships possible. One area is streamlining the procurement process and the contracting process, training more human capital that are ready to engage and be hired by the private sector to operate public facilities, introducing more simplified contractual terms and legal terms that make those partnerships more effective. Public and private partnership is a priority, privatising some of the government facilities is also a priority, and with the top leadership commitment and the championship of these KPIs we know that this degree of performance, these ambitious plans can see light.