Nigeria Government Enterprise Architecture: An Enabler of Digital Transformation in the Public Sector, By Mubarak Umar
POLITICS DIGEST- Nigeria, through National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), under the supervision of Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy tends to prioritise the use of digital technologies in government activities to streamline and integrate workflows and processes for the purpose of effective data and information management, enhancing public service delivery, as well as expanding digital channels for engagement and empowerment of people, has launched one of its long-awaiting project, Nigeria Government Enterprise Architecture (NGEA).
The government has identified NGEA as a key enterprise and technology best practice to put a full stop into perennial challenges and complexity associated with IT deployment across Federal Public Institutions. NGEA enables Federal Public Institutions to evolve and translate their capabilities into government-wide enterprise change while leveraging digital technologies and innovations. This is coming on the heels of global acceptance of e-Government as a critical resource for maximising value creation for various stakeholders in the political, legal, managerial and administrative chain.
NGEA specifies the principles, practices, standards and policies that guide the way capabilities are evolved over time and continue to deliver results even under a continuous change of political, administrative, and economic activities. It also provides an integrated and long-term view of the Federal Government’s enterprise strategic goals as related to structure people, finance, data/information, business processes across all lines of businesses/mandates, functions and services and their relationship with information technology and the external environment with the aim of deriving maximum benefits from the use and adoption of digital technology in government.
It could be recalled that NITDA presented the NGEA framework around March 21st, 2019, a document conceived out of necessity to address government-wide ICT challenges that are hindering the realisation of expected values from every ICT investment. It provides a clear road map for Government Digital Transformation (GDT) in the public sector.
The Agency embarked on series of reforms to bring efficiency into government use and adoption of Information Technology systems in accordance with its enabling law, NITDA Act 2007.
Feedbacks from the stakeholders’ engagement revealed that implementation of the framework cannot be effective without data on the current state of IT deployment in the Federal Public Institutions (FPIs), i.e. Ministries, Departments, Extra-Ministerial Departments and Agencies of Government at Federal, State and Area Council levels.
Accordingly, NITDA surveyed One Hundred (100) FPIs to collect a baseline data that will adequately establish the current state of IT in government AS-IS (present state of the organisation’s process, culture, and capabilities) and provide insights into closing the existing gaps hindering attainment of Government Digital Transformation Agenda TO-BE (how the organisation’s process, culture, and capabilities will appear in the future.) In addition, the outputs of developmental policies and programs targeted at closing existing gaps and improving the inefficiency of IT systems in the public sector were gathered.
President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR in his speech during the annual eNigeria Conference emphasised the need for the public service to be highly competitive, innovative and digitally-enabled to deliver public services and effectively drive government programmes and policies.
Buhari directed that Digital Transformation Technical Working Groups (DT-TWGs) be established in Federal Public Institutions (FPIs) as e-Government Champions and part of the digital governance structure for the implementation of Nigeria e-Government Master Plan (NeGMP) and National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).
This is in line with Presidential Executive Order 005, part of the present administration’s deliberate efforts and strong commitment to strengthening the role of Science, Technology and Innovation in the country’s socio-economic development.
Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, is championing this long-term strategy and road map for restructuring government processes, through the deployment of IT processes efficiently in the public sector with the goal of achieving Whole-of-Government for effective public service delivery and attainment of Government Digital Transformation in Nigeria.
Last week, he (Pantami) inaugurated the Digital Transformation Technical Working Groups (DT-TWGs) and the Nigeria Government Enterprise Architecture (NGEA) portal (www.ngea.gov.ng) aimed at institutionalising governance structure which will be responsible for coordinating the implementation of National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), National e-Government Master Plan (NeGMP) and any digital transformation-related activities in the public sector at the Federal level.
Pantami asserted that the DT-TWG will be an instrument to the implementation of four pillars in NDEPS. The pillars are Developmental Regulations, Service Infrastructure, Soft Infrastructure and Indigenous Content Promotion and Adoption.
In his words, he said: “Service and Soft Infrastructure are critical to achieving appropriate deployment of government digital services and to strengthen public confidence in the use of digital technologies and services. Digital Transformation Technical Working Groups (DT-TWGs) are to support the Federal Government to develop citizen-friendly digital platforms in support of service innovations and digital transformation for digital Nigeria.”
It is worthy to note that at the beginning of framing the implementation of NGEA, the Nigerian e-Government environment is in a Silo State where there is a barrier in communication, information exchange and interoperability of IT systems between and across Public Institutions. The result of the survey conducted at the Strategic Capacity Building Programme for Chief Executive Officers of Federal Public Institutions on August 09, 2018 revealed this. The scenario made it difficult for Public Institutions to collaborate where cross-portfolio services are required. It is also making IT deployment and solutions costly in any attempt to initiate seamless communication, interoperability and integration of IT systems between government institutions.
According to Director General of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi CCIE, Digital Economy requires adaptive policies, strategies, regulations, standardised infrastructure, globally competitive workforce, carefully orchestrated and coordinated digital governance structure. Without appropriate digital governance, it becomes difficult for digital investments and implementation to meet strategic objectives and expectations.
To address these difficulties, the NGEA proposed an operating model that has two value propositions – One Government (whole-of-government) and autonomy of each Federal Public Institutions (FPIs) to make certain decisions around business processes, digital services and applications. The seven layers of NGEA which are Business, Service, Data, Application, IT Infrastructure, Security and Performance are centred around people, processes and IT. Each layer has high-level expectations for FPIs and as well specifies best practices, standards, tools, reference models and recommendations that will help achieve the value propositions and citizens’ expectations for government digital services.