Skip to content

What the rise of Digital Economy in Saudi Arabia means for you?

Get to know the pioneers of the digital age how to join this new wave of transformation!

Digital economy, digital transformation, and digitization are some of the words that we get to hear on a day-to-day basis. You may get to hear it with SaaS and digital product companies’ marketing their products to businesses, aiming to either add value intrinsically to their operations or extrinsically to their products. Or managers comprehending if to let go of their old legacy systems, and upgrade to a modern system.

Taking that step to buying a digital product or service, or to upgrade to modern systems involves several considerations like assessing the cost and potential ROI, ensuring compatibility with existing systems, and evaluating the features and capabilities to name a few.

These are the internal factors to consider in this digital environment, but what are those external factors shaping this environment in the first place? This article will explore these factors, give examples of pioneers in the digital field and offer a few questions that would help you decide if a step in the digital direction is worth taking.

Digital Vision

Companies in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are living in a rapidly changing ecosystem moving towards a digital savvy economy. The ambitious Vision 2030 is unfolding, and one of its three themes is ‘A thriving economy’ commits to developing the digital infrastructure for advanced industrial activities in the country.

Vision 2030 has vision realization programs in progress that are achieving goals at an impressive pace. The National Transformation Program, currently in its second phase (2021-2025), vows to support digital transformation programs throughout the country and is aiming to achieve contribution to the GDP through digital economy by the end of the year 2025.

Last month Saudi Arabia ranked second among the G20 members and fourth globally in the preparedness of digital systems in its quest to empower the digital economy. We need to understand and appreciate the pioneers and the enablers of this wave of digitization in the country .

The Obstacle is the way

Covid-19 gave humans around the world more than a few obstacles to overcome, and overcome we did. We are all familiar with the Tawakkalna application developed by the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) to aid government efforts aimed at countering the virus. The app got awarded the United Nations Public Service Award 2022 for its institutional resilience and innovative responses to the pandemic.

The key feature and success of Tawakkalna during the curfew periods was to automatize the process of authorization and issuance of movement permits to individuals. SDAIA has built on this near-perfect blueprint of an e-service platform to now include health passports, educational services, digital ID, public violations, passport appointments, and Umrah permits to name a few.

Elm (owned by the Public Investment Fund) is another pioneer of offering E-products that have automatized and digitized a considerable portion of government services. Muqeem is an e-product launched by Elm in 2007, that has successfully increased efficiency of official documentation processing related to passports, visas and National IDs.

Efficiency is Contagious

The ambitious Vision 2030 in all its glory has come to fruition already with world renowned products that have contributed to making our lives safer, easier and a lot more efficient. It’s hard to ignore the value addition products like Muqeem and Tawakkalna have provided to the government and in turn to organizations and businesses in Saudi Arabia.

A manager can check the expiry date of an employee’s National ID, renew it and send it for printing in a matter of few clicks all through Muqeem. A parent can check his child’s grades, upcoming holidays and get an Umrah permit all through Tawakkalna in minutes.

The investment and development in this digital infrastructure in our lives, is one of the major factors that gives rise to the environment where digital transformation flourishes. Using efficient modern systems around us, allows us to question the current legacy systems being used in our organizations.

Advancing Industry with Technology

A clear obstacle or problem which can be solved with digital transformation, is easy to make a decision on. But what about the industries operating legacy systems comfortably, not knowing the benefits that they’re missing out on or the risks present? Here are some of the questions that we need to ask ourselves:

  • Is the data secure or accessible from all devices?
  • Are there no time intensive and repetitive tasks in the current system?
  • Are insights being provided from the processed data to help in making data-driven decisions?
  • Are the maintenance costs of our current system low?

If any of the questions above, have an answer of ‘no’ then it’s certainly time to consider migrating or transforming your legacy system into a modern system. Modern systems offer cloud-based data storage, automation of repetitive tasks, data insights for better decision making, accessibility and zero to low maintenance costs.

Saudi Arabia is on the rise with the digital economy booming, the industry you are operating in is getting more efficient day by day. It is time to ask yourself what steps you can take to automate your processes, make them more secure, make better data-driven decisions and grow with the economy!