National Enterprise Architecture - Application and Journey

January 2018, at the First National Enterprise Architecture (NEA) Conference, his Excellency Eng. Abdullah Al-Swaha, set the broad mandate of NEA 

“To reinforce the concept of Enterprise Architecture, and the importance of its adoption in the sector for accelerating the digital transformation of government entities, raising the Kingdom’s ranking in the UN e-Government Development Index and realizing Saudi Arabia’s Vision of 2030”

Since the establishment of NEA for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it has been an un-written prime directive to accelerate, facilitate and enable the advancement and progress of this dynamic and ever evolving great nation. NEA offers its capability and expertise in visualizing whole of government, and then being able to plan, analyze, optimize and govern the nation’s ICT in realizing the vision of 2030.

NEA Journey


NEA rolled out the world’s first whole of government service repository called Marsad. The application having a 360° view of the services has managed to reduce duplication in services, identifying dependencies and planning integration. The electronic usage of services grew from 2.5M to 5.4M during first two quarters of 2017, interactive services has increased by 10%, transactional services by 12% and transformational services by 42% in a year, due to Marsad. It continues to serve as a strategic national asset in improving e-Services Maturity, Quality and user experience, achieving transparency, enabling Data Sharing And Integration to name a few. The much awaited 2018 eService’s Maturity Assessment national report would provide further insight and guide the advancement of government service delivery thanks to Marsad.


NEA delivered a world class approach to implementing Enterprise Architecture at government agencies, several agencies have adopted and realized the value NORA provides. A few benefits realized include application and technology portfolio rationalization, development of agency transformation plans and roadmap, IT investment optimization etc. Armed with great feedback from the government agencies, plans have been set in motion to build on and improve the methodology even further with NORA 2.0.
NEAs Experiences with implementing EA at government agencies identified some major EA implementation pitfalls, addressing those pitfalls remain as a constant driver while designing the NORA generations. The constant feedback loop has been incorporated into improving and enhancing NORA perpetually.

Some sample pitfalls with EA implementation, that NORA tried to address.

ICT Optimization

The pilot ICT planning and Optimization consulting engagement showcased the value and effectiveness of NEA in utilizing the National EA practice (leveraging its artifacts and toolkits). The pilot engagement resulted in savings of more than 400 million, the expectations for a broader roll out are high and the prospects are exciting.

EA Maturity Assessment

The EA maturity assessment for all government agencies provided NEA with clear understanding of agency capabilities, maturity and utilization of EA and hence develop a common minimum plan as well as tailored plans for specific cases for transformation as well as improving whole of government IT capabilities. In 2016, a total of 156 agencies participated in the assessment.

A Summary of NEA Journey Taken from Eng. Adel Asiri - Yesser Slide from NEA Conference.

And ...Beyond

NEA Is positioned to be an accelerator for digital government and enabler for government digital services. The journey ahead promises opportunities not just for NEA but for government agencies, vendors and academia in areas of Leadership, Digital Government, ICT Standards, Digital Transformation, Reinventing government service delivery, Government wide blue prints etc. On the other hand is the possible challenges for realizing the envisaged full potential, for instance Governance, Business buy in, Duplication and Redundancy, Fragmented Approaches, Manpower and readiness to name a few.

Approach and Key Areas of Impact

NEA’s Forte has always been leveraging EA Practice at a national level, be it for establishing digital service standards, government wide application and infrastructure planning, re-engineer business processes and enhance service delivery etc. 

Then for instance, going on to build and define the concept architecture, how and where the National Enterprise Architecture fits visually in synergy with the overall national digital architecture.
However the extent of impact depends on cognizance of modes of engagement, the gears and levers of governance mechanisms, and the layers and dynamics of how the government machinery works. Hence it’s imperative to venture beyond the puristic, academic and theoretic approach to doing EA. Broadening NEA horizons to encompass Legal Framework, taking advantage of megatrends, performance management, Citizen Centricity, Transparency, Service Quality, National Framework Agreements, Optimized Licensing Models, facilitating informed decision making etc.
It’s a lot, NEA agrees with you, there is a delicate balance that’s needed, and would agree with Rumi when he says “If you don't find true balance, anyone can deceive you.” Its validation unfortunately is after the fact. 
Hence simplicity is the key, the below snapshot is an attempt to give an ‘adequate’ and yet a ‘simplistic’ (Balance –FTW) view of what NEA is trying to achieve at a high level. 

Accelerating the Digital transformation for whole of government realizing the aspirations of Vision 2030, grounded on the core EA artifacts, Business (BRM), Performance (PRM), Data (DRM), Application (ARM) and Technology (TRM) Reference Models etc. Guiding and supporting government agencies with NORA methodology. 
NEA supports in visualizing government-wide business/ICT landscape, Analyzing the full picture using advanced tooling, Planning for effective transformation and governing the change through education guidance and compliance.
NEA would continue to build Repositories, Tools, and Architectures etc. Provide guidancevia Reference Models, Methodologies & Standards on one hand, and coaching and mentoring on the other, enablement via framework agreements, and capability building and promotion via events and recognize inspiring efforts.


Congrats on making it thus far, and hopefully you have picked up few useful tips and pointers, and having refreshed and/or expanded your EA toolkit in general. Hope you have obtained a reasonable understanding and intricacies of NEA, and now let’s try to answer the age old question “What’s in it for me?”
For You (The reader) – If any of the content makes sense to you, and you are passionate about what NEA does and what NEA aspires to achieve … well then … what are you waiting for … We are hiring contact Yesser HR.
For Vendor- Collaborate with NEA, be it for National Framework Agreements, EA Engagements with agencies, NORA knowledge sharing and collaboration.
For Government Agencies: Get in touch with NEA to understand and take advantage of services we are offering.
For Academia- Collaborate with NEA in areas of Enterprise Architecture, ICT, Standards, Best Practices, Guidelines, Assessments etc.
Thank you for taking time to read all of it, Thank you Team NEA, (everyone from its inception till today and to the future), Teams from Government Agencies, Teams from vendors.


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