Lebanon has embarked on its journey of digital transformation. The Government of Lebanon has set an objective for itself to achieve more trust through transparency, fighting corruption, and meeting the needs and demands of its citizens for a better quality of life and improved public sector services.
In 2017, the President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, launched the Digital Transformation Initiative, thereby enabling the Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform (OMSAR) to set the course for developing a national digital transformation strategy. To succeed in this digital transformation initiative, which is a cornerstone for change, the Government of Lebanon has set this initiative as a priority in its Ministerial Statement of February 2019. Shortly after obtaining the Parliament’s vote of confidence, the Council of Ministers formed a Digital Economy Ministerial Committee headed by Prime Minister Saad Rafik Hariri (Decision No. 53 of February 28, 2019 and Decision No. 4 of May 24, 2019). In turn, the Prime Minister has formed and is presiding over a Steering Committee for Digital Economy and Digital Transformation (Decision 122 of July 5, 2019). The intent is to enable and support government entities in undergoing the necessary changes in policies, processes, procedures, and organizational culture to achieve a successful digital transformation.
Many individuals and groups have contributed to the realization of the Lebanon Digital Transformation Strategy and Implementation Plan: Advisors to the ministers, members of the OMSAR Digital Transformation Committee and the various team leaders, the Digital Transformation Higher Education Sub-Committee, and the Legal Advisory Committee of the Beirut Bar Association were priceless. The unprecedented civic engagement, which exceeded 300 activities and interactions, with citizens, civil society, entrepreneurs, public servants, and professional organizations, such as the Lebanon Information Technology Syndicate (LITS), Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) Lebanon Chapter, and the National Council for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (NCEI) was key to assuring a thorough fact-based strategy and action plan that stakeholders approved. The support of international partners including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank Group, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the governments of the United Kingdom, Estonia, Czech Republic, and United Arab Emirates was helpful for lessons learned. Finally, the participation of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Digital Economy and Digital Transformation Ministerial and Steering Committees in the strategic oversight, review, approval, and adoption of this strategy and implementation plan were critical to ensuring a successful outcome as Lebanon embarks on a challenging journey toward a digital economy.
The Lebanon Digital Transformation encompasses the core elements that enable us to build a strong foundation for riding the wave of change that will lift Lebanon into the information age. This 3 documents incorporate the following sections:
• Digital Transformation Unleashed that discusses the background, history, purpose, vision, strategic goal, and immediate objectives of the digital transformation strategy
• Situational Analysis including insights into data on Lebanon, a sectoral analysis of all major economic sectors in Lebanon, lessons learned, and critical success factors for the digital transformation strategy
• The foundations and pillars on which the Lebanon digital transformation is built along with a legal review of the relevant current and future laws and regulations
• Priority and pre-requisite programs and solutions
• Implementation plan with a 10-year roadmap enumerating important projects that are at the heart of digital transformation
• Key performance areas and indicators for monitoring and evaluating the digital transformation journey
• Stakeholder engagement and external validation
• Budget, exhibits, and bibliographic references
2. PURPOSE AND VISION
The purpose of digital transformation is not to deploy technology and systems, but to simplify and transform governmental procedures into digital services by leveraging existing and emerging technology to serve the needs of Lebanon’s citizens, residents, and visitors effectively. This document expands upon the Lebanon Digital Transformation Strategy of 2018 and includes the implementation and action plan along with a large-scale wide-reaching validation among stakeholders in the public sector, private sector, and citizens of Lebanon. This document will guide the digital transformation of the public service sectors in Lebanon into an inclusive digital society where all individuals, businesses, and government institutions can improve their way of life with digital technologies. The strategy advocates a new open government approach and an implementation plan of actions that will radically improve government digital services so that Lebanon can join the digitally advanced economies.
By 2030, our vision is to improve the quality of life of our people and businesses by transforming Lebanon into one of the most advanced digital countries in the Arab World, ensuring a transparent open government, and implementing citizen-centric digital services so that public civil servants can better serve citizens, residents, foreign visitors, entrepreneurs, and wider society.
3. DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION STRATEGY FRAMEWORK
The framework of the Lebanon digital transformation strategy uses an evidence-based approach to ensure the success of the strategy and its implementation plan. The key inputs to the strategy are (a) Strategic Goals, (b) Situational Analysis, (c) Data Insights, (d) Lessons Learned, (e) Best Practices, and (f) Stakeholders Engagement. The outputs of the strategy are (a) Recommendations, (b) Actions, and (c) Outcomes. Consequently, actions and outcomes must be monitored and evaluated on a continual basis to ensure success. The analysis will be focused on six priority Key Performance Areas (KPAs):
1. Citizens Centricity (CC)
2. Business Centricity (BC)
3. Digital Government Solutions and Applications (DGSA)
4. Digital Infrastructure (DI)
5. Digital Transformation Policies and Legal Framework (DTPLF)
6. Digital Transformation Ethics, Norms, and Standards (DTENS)
Digital Transformation Strategy Framework
4. FOUNDATIONS AND PILLARS
4.1 FOUNDATION 1 - GOVERNANCE
Building strong infrastructural foundations are important anchors for an effective digital transformation. Central to this is (a) developing internal digital capabilities; (b) setting up modern institutions that help us face the opportunities and challenges of the information age; (c) ensuring modern, secure, high availability, affordable communication infrastructures; (d) implementing government operations continuity plans; (e) adopting supportive legal and governance frameworks; (f) improving digital literacy and fostering an open culture of cross-discipline innovations; and (g) developing the right skills, culture, and learning environment focused on outcomes and results for citizens. Lebanon’s digital transformation strategy has four important foundations (a) Governance, (b) Open government, (c) Information Security, and (d) Continuity of Government Operations. On these foundations, five main pillars are anchored (a) People, (b) Innovation, (c) Processes, (d) Civic Engagement, and (e) Legal Framework.
Rising to the challenge the government faces – in digitally transforming its interaction with citizens and businesses to meet their changed expectations – requires the establishment of a clear governance framework that provides a high level of political commitment, leadership, management, and coordination.
The proposed model addresses three levels of governance, which are determined by the existing organization of the Government of Lebanon (GoL) and technological and organizational maturity of the institutions that will be included in the digital transformation implementation roadmap.
The three levels of the governance cover:
1. Strategy Level of Governance, which covers the ownership of the Lebanon Digital Transformation strategy within the GoL. The organization that will have this governance level will be responsible for the lifecycle of all digital transformation initiatives, their continuous improvement, and change management.
2. Build Level, which covers the ownership of the Lebanon Digital Transformation solution building blocks. The institutions that have this level of governance are responsible for designing the building blocks of the digital transformation systems, as well the operations management. The mandate for this governance level shall be given to organizations that have high technological and organizational maturity.
3. Operate Level, which covers the integration, administration, and operations management. This governance level shall be assigned to the Institutions that are responsible for the services.
4.2 FOUNDATION 2 - OPEN GOVERNMENT
Open government is the simple but powerful idea that governments and institutions work better for citizens when they are transparent, engaging, and accountable. Open government is the major building block for a more democratic, equal, and sustainable society.
4.3 FOUNDATION 3 – INFORMATION SECURITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Security must be embedded into all applications as the first line of defense. To achieve such level of security, the Government of Lebanon must adopt the Security-by-Default approach, whereby the security controls embedded in an application are, by default, set at the highest levels of protection. This is one of the hallmarks of being more proactive in securing data: Protection is the default posture.
4.4 FOUNDATION 4 – BUSINESS CONTINUITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
The goal of Business Continuity Management (BCM) is to provide the organization with the ability to respond effectively to threats, such as natural disasters or data breaches and to protect the organization’s interests (ISACA, 2019). BCM includes disaster recovery, business recovery, crisis management, incident management, emergency management, and contingency planning. According to the ISO 22301 Standard, a Business Continuity Management System (BCMS) emphasizes the importance of:
• Understanding continuity and preparedness needs, as well as the necessity for establishing business continuity management policy and objectives.
• Implementing and operating controls and measures for managing an organization’s overall continuity risks.
• Monitoring and reviewing the performance and effectiveness of the business continuity management system.
• Continual improvement based on objective measurements.
4.5 PILLAR 1 – PEOPLE
The vital and unswerving goal of this strategy is to unleash the potential of the Lebanese people. The Lebanese citizen deserves a better quality of life with more choices, improved expectations, and better services. The interaction between citizens and the government departments must be seamless, easy, and built on transparency, trust, accountability, and efficient procedures. The Lebanese citizen be it an executive, an entrepreneur, a student, an expatriate, or just a regular citizen is at the heart of this strategy; thus, we believe that the aim is the people and not the technology.
4.6 PILLAR 2 – INNOVATION
The future of work will be determined by the battle between automation and innovation. In response to automation, employment in old sectors declines and in response to innovation, new sectors or tasks emerge (World Bank, 2019).
• We will publish open data by default and use data analytics to support future evidence-based government policies and performance metrics.
• We will develop comprehensive standards, guidelines, governance, and supporting tools to deal with the full lifecycle of the modernized data.
• We will provide a catalog of meta-data to enable their discovery and accelerate their use.
• We will create a cross government framework for data governance.
• We will establish unified digital platforms to dimply citizens’ access to government services.
• We will modernize inter-governmental services for staff and managers.
• We will invigorate the Lebanese entrepreneurial spirit and Lebanon’s digital economy.
4.7 PILLAR 3 - PROCESSES
In digitizing services, we must cater for the user’s needs: citizens and businesses. We must seek for innovative ways to improve their experiences. To digitize a process effectively, we will streamline the inefficient processes and simplify their procedures before automating them.
4.8 PILLAR 4 - CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
Civic engagement is a key pillar of digital transformation because of the importance of identifying all issues and problems from reliable stakeholders unfiltered at the source. Moreover, through civic engagement all action and implementation plans are validated to ensure their alignment with the strategic goal and immediate objectives of the digital transformation strategy.
4.9 PILLAR 5 – LEGAL FRAMEWORK
In any government digital transformation strategy, the legal framework is the key pillar without which no actions, policies, procedures, and decisions can be effective (Khoury, 2019).
The implementation plan is comprised of several programs each consisting of several projects covering several sectors and public administrations. The implementation plan is developed according to a participative and interactive methodology that combined several aspects together to come up with a comprehensive and highly applicable and relevant list of digital transformation projects. The methodology combined a myriad of research literature and desk review of best international practices and lessons learned from other governments, as well as experiences and observations of several administrations and stakeholders in Lebanon.
||No. of Projects
|Capacity Building and Digital Skills
|Data and Digital Platforms
|Infrastructure, Cybersecurity, and Gov-Net
|Legal, Standards, and Procedures
|Organizational Improvement and Change Management
|Streamlining and Digitalization of Public Sector Operations
Source of Fund:
Type of Activity:
OMSAR technical team is the custodian of the Digital Transformation Strategy and Action Plan and its update
Achievements, Millstones, Deliverables:
Full documentation of a Digital Transformation strategy and action plan and DT road map. (worth noting that the OMSAR team developed and documented before several strategies that guided its work in the ICT field (e-government strategy 2002, and e-government strategy 2008, national action plan 2012)
Validated and ready to be adopted
Prospects and Opportunities:
• Enactment of the Lebanon Digital Transformation Strategy – Strategies to Actions 2020 - 2030.
• Resource mobilization (WB is a potential 60-100 million US dollars).
• Establishment of the Governance model
• Implementation of the National Action Plan