Online Services in KSA

Online Services in KSA

admin / December 19, 2018

Introduction

The Internet has introduced a wide range of opportunities for organizations, businesses, and citizens in terms of communication, cooperation, and social interaction. Being one of the greatest contributions, it has also presented new options and services that can substitute physical infrastructures with online presence of the above-mentioned systems.

Certainly, such innovation has considerably improved social and cultural interaction, yet some countries are in extreme need of these introductions that significantly them from successfully communicating at the international level.

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Public and private organizations, government, and citizens in Saudi Arabia also realize the core benefits of using the virtual space for overcoming the problems with delivering services, selling products, and competing with other, more progressive international companies (Al-Ghaith, Sanzogni, and Sandhu, 2010).

Unfortunately, the problem is that not all online services available for the Arab users are worth relying on, which creates the problems of confidentiality, security, and credibility of information delivered online (Aladwani, 2003, p. 18).

Specifically, the Saudi websites are commonly created by the governmental organs and ministries, banking systems, and educational establishments that can offer high-quality online services.

Other economic segments, such as e-customer services, attorney services, healthcare services, renewing passports services are not developed enough in Saudi Arabia.

Therefore, it is necessary to analyze the identified gaps through the analysis of existing services in Saudi Arabia and those in other countries to evaluate the level of Internet adoption and define the area that should be more advanced in that matter.

Introducing the Sites Already Available in Saudi Arabia

The adoption of electronic services in Saudi Arabia is largely carried out by governmental and banking infrastructures as presented by Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (2011), Saudi Government (Online Services, 2011), Portal of Ministry of Health (Electronic Services, 2011), Ministry of Higher Education (2011), etc.

All these websites are secured enough to provide valid information. As per the other sectors, insufficient attention is paid to the problems of insurance, confidentiality, and accessibility for commercial activities performed online.

It should also be stressed that the contemporary community can offer a wide array of online services among which are those that are not available in Saudi Arabia. Specifically, the increasing rates of globalization process have had a potent impact on the commercial system in the country.

According to Oxford Business Group (n. d.), a 2008 period was marked by significant rise of customers using phone handsets to purchase product and services. Increasing potential is observed within Business-to-Consumers (B2C) e-commerce environment that creates greater opportunities for global integration and for penetrating to the international market (Oxford Business Group, n. d.).

Overall evaluation of existing problems.

The studies presented by Al-Ghaith, Sanzogni, and Sandhu (2010) shed light on existing problems in the sphere of online services whose accessibility is not of the highest level.

Particularly, the researchers identify the major problems of Internet adoption. One of such problem consists in presence of a considerable gap between the increasing number of internet users and development of security systems for online databases. Similar challenges are considered by Aladwani (2003) who believes that the purchasing power of the Arab world currently depends on the quality and availability of online services.

However, specific political, cultural, and religious ideology negatively contributes to improving the situation. More importantly, the research suggests that improper analysis of language, traditions, history, and values established in the Arab countries makes it impossible to define the main what improvement should be made to reach greater accessibility and security.

Another problem is that Saudi Arabia does not have enough resources for creating a well-secured online system ensuring great potential and options of Internet users. In this respect, both Aladwani (2003) and Al-Ghaith, Sanzogni, and Sandhu (2010) are more concerned with shortcomings of online system which is more oriented on governmental and political needs.

E-government websites and online banking infrastructures

In the studies provided by Abanumy, Al-Badi, and Mayhew, P. (2005), the problem of e-government accessibility is evaluated in terms of guidelines provided, tools applied, and underpinnings of human factors introduced.

While evaluating these key areas, the researchers try to outline the problems connected with the integration of Information and Communication Technology aimed at improving the agencies service and enhancing the internal development of the organization. The introduction of more advanced communication technologies will contribute greatly to transforming e-government websites and making them more citizen-oriented.

Impetuous diffusion of the Internet has dramatically changed the distribution channels utilized by the financial systems. Many banking infrastructures are currently referring to online technologies much more frequently in order to provide customers with wider opportunities to participate in retail banking operations (Aladwani, 2003; Al-Somali, Gholami, and Clegg, 2009).

According to Al-Somali, Gholami, and Clegg (2009) “round-the-clock availability and ease of transactions and avoidance of queues and restrictive branch operating hours” are the basic reasons for preferring online presence to the physical ones while carrying specific banking procedures (p. 1).

Importantly, the studies also prove the idea that social influences and reluctance to change significantly prevent the banking website from normal functioning. With regard to this, extreme necessity for the introduction of online services to all spheres of life is predetermined by the rigid competition on the e-market arena.

According to the Oxford Business Group (n. d.), online “[a]ccession has led to the creation of new laws for all sectors from banking and insurance to telecoms and distributions, enabling the creation of a plethora of new companies” (p. 39). Interpreting this, the country will be able to stand a competition only when effective online services are introduced.

Exploring Online Services Offered in Other Countries

Though Saudi Arabia gradually enters online infrastructure, the Internet adoption considerably lags behind other developed countries, such as the United States, Australia, and European countries. The explicit gaps exist in the sphere of passport renewal, e-commerce, legal considerations, and healthcare system.

The broadband in Saudi Arabia is not developed enough to introduce renewing passport and driving license services, which is heavily practiced in the United States (Travel.State.Gov, n. d; Australian Government, n. d.). Hence, the service enables the users to renew their passports via e-mail by fulfilling a number of simple procedures.

This introduction would greatly contribute to the online communication systems developed in Saudi Arabia and provide more opportunities for the Arab women who can freely participate in certain procedures without male’s consent.

With regard to the above, Gibbs, Kraemer and Dedrick (2003) present a comparative analysis of political environment impacting the formation of global e-marketing to reveal that Business-to-Business commerce is usually caused by external, or global forces whereas Business-to-Customers marketing is more determined by local influences.

Despite global orientation, international companies still pay closer attention to the individual demands and local diversity issues to work out more effective strategies of online marketing (Oxford Business Group, n. p.).

Therefore, the primary focus should be made on considering consumer values and preferences, national culture and peculiarities and distribution system that differ considerably across countries and these differences identify the global perspectives of development.

In addition, Gibbs, Kraemer and Dedrick (2003) insist on the idea that telecommunication optimization seems to have the most tangible impact on e-marketing by providing more affordable Internet access both to consumers and firms. As a result, the necessity for introducing consistent system of e-commerce legislation is indispensible to favorable development of online services in Saudi Arabia.

In general, a cross-country examination of the e-commerce websites as well as quality and security of information delivered online provides a clearer picture of existing gaps in Saudi online services systems in terms of options and demands. Specific emphasis should be placed on considering customer’s needs and preferences, cultural peculiarities, and security and reliability of online network in Saudi Arabia.

Gaps to be fulfilled in the sphere of online services

Due to the fact that the Internet usage is dramatically increasing in Saudi Arabia, many government ministries and leading companies have an Internet presence and, therefore, new e-commerce strategies should be adapted to meet social and cultural challenges, specifically those caused by Western influences.

First of all, direct cost, extensive investments, and introduction of active business models will be the best contribution to advancement of online services quality in Saudi Arabia (Aichholzer G., Schmutzer R., 2000, p. 380).

In addition, e-marketing strategies should also be oriented on creating effective advertising campaigns that would attract more consumers who are the core indicators of marketing success. Without consumers’ demand, e-commerce will be nothing, but a bulk of hardware and software platforms.

Second, online website should involve more people to participate in online forums and discussions where each question asked by a consumer should be immediately answered by online operators.

With regard to this, human resource management should be adopted to provide a sufficient support to customers and create a more reliable ground for seller-buyer interaction within the virtual space. Third, the above-presented review of sources provides more reasons for integrating more effective e-commerce law as established in countries having more experience in online marketing.

Summary of Reviewed Literature

In literature review section, such aspects as analysis of existing online services, assessment of e-government and online banking infrastructures in Saudi Arabia have been examined to relate them to the global trends of Internet adoption.

A cross-country analysis contributes to presenting the most sophisticate problems and challenges that Saudi Arabia online services currently face. While assessing the current options, the review has also provided a number of gaps to be fulfilled in online systems in terms of accessibility, quality and credibility of information delivered, and options offered.

The results of literature review and surveys have shown that significant emphasis should be put on creating e-commerce infrastructures regulated by e-commerce legislature, websites offering the attorney services, and sites providing other specific services, such as passport renewing and drive licensing.

Saudi government should be aware of the benefits offered by the virtual space and in order to introduce technological advancement in the identified spheres, it is imperative to re-consider political, social, and cultural issues that have a potent impact on the formation of a more globalized online services system.

Reference List

Abanumy, A., Al-Badi, A., and Mayhew, P. (2005). E-Government Website Accessibility: In-Depth Evaluation of Saudi Arabia and Oman. The Electronic Journal of e-Government. 3(3), pp. 96-106.

Aichholzer G., Schmutzer R., (2000). Organizational Challenges to the Development of Electronic Government, IEEE Press, pp. 379-383.

Aladwani, A. M. (2003). Key Internet Characteristics and e-commerce issues in Arab Countries. Information Technology & People. 16(1), pp. 9-20.

Al-Ghaith, W., Sanzogni, L., and Sandhu, K. (2010). Factors Influencing the Adoption and Usage of Online Services in Saudi Arabia. EJIDC, 40(1), pp. 1-32

Al-Somali, S. A., Gholami, R., and Clegg, B. (2009, August). An Investigation into the Acceptance of online banking in Saudi Arabia. Technovation. 29(2), pp. 130-141.

Australian Government (n. d.) Renewing an Australian Adult Passport. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved from https://www.passports.gov.au/web/renewal/index.aspx

Dwivedi, Y. K. and Weerakkody, V. (2007). Examining the Factors Affecting the Adoption of Broadband in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Electronic Government, an International Journal. 4(1), pp. 43-58.

Electronic Services (2011). Portal of Minister of Health. Retrieved from http://www.moh.gov.sa/en/Pages/Default.aspx

Gibbs, J., Krammer, L. K., and Dedrick, (2003). Environment and Policy Factors Shaping Global E-Commerce Diffusion: A Cross Country Comparison. The Information Society: An International Journal. 19(1), pp. 5-18.

Ministry of Higher Education. (2011) Ministry of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.mohe.gov.sa/ar/pages/default.aspx

Online Services. (2011). Saudi Government. http://www.saudi.gov.sa/wps/portal/!ut/p/c0/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDCyPHYE8TIwN_s1BXA08jrxAfP0sXYyNnA_3g1Dz9gmxHRQAgjys4/?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/mcit/MCIT_en/Home/StaticContent/GovOnlineServicesDisplay

Oxford Business Group (n. d.) The Report: Saudi Arabia 2008. UK: Oxford Business Group.

Travel.State.Gov (n. d.). Renew Passport. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved from http://travel.state.gov/passport/renew/renew_833.html

Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency. (2011). Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency. Retrieved from http://www.sama.gov.sa/sites/SAMAEN/Pages/Home.aspx

Annotated Bibliography

Abanumy, A., Al-Badi, A., and Mayhew, P. (2005). E-Government Website Accessibility: In-Depth Evaluation of Saudi Arabia and Oman. The Electronic Journal of e-Government. 3(3), pp. 96-106.

In order to understand the level of e-government accessibility, the researchers from the School of Computing Sciences have studied three core aspects of online government accessibility, namely, guidelines, tools applied, and implication of human factors contributing to successful introduction of e-Government websites.

In addition, the paper briefly overviews evaluation methods, accessibility guidelines and analyzes tools attached to e-Government websites in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the site is of high relevance for the research paper because it outlines the current situation and availability of online services ensuring the communication between the government and its citizens.

Aladwani, A. M. (2003). Key Internet Characteristics and e-commerce issues in Arab Countries. Information Technology & People. 16(1), pp. 9-20.

The study is dedicated to the analysis of the Internet usage in Arab countries. The researcher comments on the basic Internet characteristics of e-commerce in the identified regions and introduces the challenges that the Arab users face while applying for online services. The results of the study have revealed that the Arab world still has much work to be done to fulfill an available range of Internet services.

Al-Ghaith, W., Sanzogni, L., and Sandhu, K. (2010). Factors Influencing the Adoption and Usage of Online Services in Saudi Arabia. EJIDC, 40(1), pp. 1-32.

The researchers from the Griffith Business School use data obtained from 651 participants by using survey questionnaires and base their study on the diffusion of innovations theory in order to prove the hypothesis that complexity is the most crucial factor influencing the adoption of online services in KSA, which is also accompanied by such problems as Compatibility and Privacy.

In addition, the research has identified the risk of quality of the Internet usage because it significantly prevents the online services from effectively integrating into the management system in Saudi Arabia. The study itself presents credible information because it is based both on practical information and theoretical frameworks.

Al-Somali, S. A., Gholami, R., and Clegg, B. (2009, August). An Investigation into the Acceptance of online banking in Saudi Arabia. Technovation. 29(2), pp. 130-141.

The scholars of Aston Business school refer to the technology acceptance model and important control varieties for the purpose of examining the core factors affecting the adoption of the online banking system and evaluating the behavior of 400 customers.

According to the results, such aspects as awareness of benefits of online banking, quality of online communication, computer self-efficacy, and social influence are crucial element identifying the usefulness and acceptance of online banking.

Dwivedi, Y. K. and Weerakkody, V. (2007). Examining the Factors Affecting the Adoption of Broadband in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Electronic Government, an International Journal. 4(1), pp. 43-58.

The researcher examine the main reasons for slow adoption of the internet usage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and analyze the quality of online quality and connection, usefulness and usage, type of accommodation and connection as the main factors.

In addition, the study mainly focuses on social and cultural influences to explain what research limitations, implication, and future directions exist for the development of broadband in Saudi Arabia.

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