The setting up of governing mechanisms under Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 to promote intergovernmental collaboration was a big support to the swift response to limit the spread and economic repercussions of Covid-19 pandemic, according to Ismail Daham Alani, Head Government and Public Sector, KPMG in Saudi Arabia. The firm published a detailed study titled New Reality in Government comparing notes with developments in six other major economies, the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, Canada and India.
"The Saudi government managed to respond to the pandemic through the agility of the multi-institutional committees, most notably, the cross-ministerial and functional collaboration between healthcare, public finance, economy & planning, technology, and transport entities," he stated.
Covid-19 showed a tangible trend in the Saudi government structure, Alani said, noting the government is more self-forgiving and is allowing itself to perfect things later due to its smoother decision-making processes.
In response to the pandemic, governments rapidly established new services and ways of working, including setting up of new temporary hospitals and digital health solutions, supply chains, apps and call centers and stimulus packages.
In Saudi Arabia, two smartphone applications were rapidly developed and launched to provide people with critical services during the pandemic.
The two apps - Tawakkalna and Tabaud - allow individuals to view instant and live data on Covid-19, manage mobility permits during lockdown, and diagnose early symptoms, report cases and infection risk intelligently through proximity and location mapping.
"These digital services were rapidly designed for maximum user experience and simplicity, keeping all the heavy data filling, integration and exchange to the back-end. This was probably aimed at making sure adoption reaches as high as possible, with customer-centricity becoming a native design necessity," asserted Alani.
Furthermore, KPMG believes that governments in the post-pandemic new reality need to focus on the needs of citizens as customers and to put them at the center of how the public sector operates.
"Efficiency will be a key driver in the new reality as governments address their debt burden and organizations cannot continue with back-office functions and systems that are not aligned with their purpose and the needs of their customers," he concluded.