Abu Dhabi Digital Authority - Leading Abu Dhabi’s Digital Future

Abu Dhabi Digital Authority is driving a shift to customer-centricity to improve quality of life

HE Dr Rauda Al Saadi, Director General of ADDA.
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HE Dr Rauda Al Saadi, Director General of ADDA.

Abu Dhabi is in the midst of a transformation, as the Ghadan 21 program delivers infrastructure, economic and social improvements to boost quality of life and increase economic activity in the Emirate. Managing the digital component of this transformation, and steering the Emirate’s other digitisation initiatives, is the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA, formerly ADSSSA and ADSIC), which has a mandate to bring new levels of service to residents, citizens and businesses in Abu Dhabi, and to support the digital transformation of Abu Dhabi government entities.

HE Dr Rauda Al Saadi, Director General of ADDA, explained: “The Abu Dhabi Digital Authority is responsible for the digital transformation of the Abu Dhabi government. Our new mandate aligns itself with larger objectives set under the Ghadan 21 initiative, which aims to enhance the quality of life, provide prosperity for the people and improve the emirate’s business environment. Digital transformation propels social and economic growth in the Emirate, and as a direct service provider to the Abu Dhabi government, ADDA plays a key role in delivering on the promise of Ghadan 21.”

The AED 50bn ($13.6bn) Ghadan 21 program is delivering a wide range of improvements for Abu Dhabi, including road infrastructure, new parks, and street renovation, along with social programs to benefits citizens, and economic and investment stimulus plans.

ADDA focuses on four main pillars — government services and solutions, data and applied intelligence, and cybersecurity.

“Our vision is to create an innovative and digital government that contributes to the happiness of society. We want to deliver a centralized and unified customer experience — in other words ‘One Government’, for Abu Dhabi, through digital transformation, promoting fast and secure data exchange and fostering innovation. We are focused on enabling the over 70 Abu Dhabi Government entities that we serve to deliver with excellence and provide Abu Dhabi residents with unparalleled government services.

“Our key priorities are to establish a seamless, hassle-free and personalized customer experience across all channels; drive synergies and create incremental value from joint initiatives across government entities; enable fast and accurate data exchange and improve government proactivity; and safeguard the government digital infrastructure, systems and data.

While all four pillars are enhancing and supporting the government’s efforts, the customer-centric agenda marks a major shift in approach, one which Dr Rauda said aims to move the needle from ‘customer service’ to ‘customer centricity’. The aim is to go beyond just digitising single government services, and to take a holistic approach to customer experience, including many different elements, to completely change the experience for citizens, residents, visitors and investors in Abu Dhabi.

Perhaps the change initiated by ADDA which will be most notable for Abu Dhabi residents, is the new model of delivery for city and government services, under the TAMM platform.

Launched in February 2018, TAMM — the Arabic word for ‘done’ — has completely changed the way services are delivered.

Dr Rauda explained: “It is a total shift in how we provide government services to our people. Abu Dhabi is the very first government in the world to introduce end-to-end journeys. We stopped digitising single services and have started implementing an approach of end-to-end journeys, which supports customer centricity and leads to a better customer experience than providing individual services. In this way, we are looking to offer a holistic experience to the customer in Abu Dhabi.”

ADDA has shifted its focus from customer service to customer centricity, says Dr Rouda.

The plan for TAMM calls for the consolidation of over 1,600 individual government services into about 80 journeys, which serve the needs of both individuals and businesses in Abu Dhabi. Each journey focuses on a particular activity, for example finding and moving into a home in the Emirate, and aims to combine all the different services required into one single process that can be completed with the minimum of fuss. Processes are digitised, and delivery is available across multiple digital and physical channels.

A major part of the project has been the reengineering of services, Dr Rauda added, and ADDA is working with local and federal government, and the private sector, to bring all of the elements together, and build them into an integrated service. Creating each journey has involved a combination of technology, innovation and design thinking to create services with an unparalleled user experience.

The most recent launch for TAMM is the ‘Social Services’ journey. Developed in collaboration with the Department of Community Development (DCD), this new journey offers 47 different services for citizens and residents across six areas of community, health, education, housing, business and family services. The journeys include many different aspects of social care, such as applications for government home loans and land grants, registration of citizens with special needs, applications for welfare services, marriage fund applications and more.

Other journeys launched under TAMM include ‘Find and Secure a Job’, which also supports Emiratisation programs; ‘Get Education’, to find a school and register a child; ‘Start Your Business’ to support and encourage SME development in the Emirate, and ‘Discover Abu Dhabi as a Business Destination’, that provides services for foreign investors and companies.

These are just some of the services launched so far, but the project is creating a shift in thinking towards a customer-centric approach.

“Our customers have ever-changing expectations, and ultimately, it is our goal to make people’s lives easier. Our approach is to be proactive and to anticipate their needs — we think that is what true service excellence means,” Dr Rauda said.

“By 2021, we expect to migrate all government services to the TAMM platform, with a significant impact on the economy and boost in government efficiency.”

Different stakeholder groups have been involved with the strategy and delivery of TAMM, including the public and the private sectors. ADDA has worked closely with different types of customers of the services, and with the respective government entities, to ensure that the services and products have been designed from a customer perspective.

ADDA is working with the private sector, both to integrate private companies’ services into TAMM, and to leverage new technologies in its delivery. ADDA is also expanding its strategic partnerships with academic institutions to benefit from their research, creativity and innovation, Dr Rauda added.

“We have excellent relations with the private sector,” she said. “In some regards, TAMM works as a marketplace for products and services offered. For example, if you are looking for a home to rent in Abu Dhabi, you will find a lot of properties offered by private sector providers.

“When it comes to end-to-end journeys, there are components that are provided by the private sector. For example, the ‘drive a car’ journey includes insurance and suggests retailers for buying a car.”

The TAMM platform is not only about the customer journeys, Dr Rauda added, but also includes a holistic customer-centric program that goes beyond simple customer satisfaction. An insight unit has been created, which uses data analytics and other insights to gain a deeper understanding of the customers.

Delivery of services is another area of focus. The TAMM services are available online, through the unified government contact centre, and they are also offered through new ‘one-stop-shop’ physical service centres. Four of the new centres have been opened across Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region. These new centres are more like an Apple Store than a customer service centre, Dr Rauda pointed out, and the satisfaction rate for their services is around 97%.

Dr Rouda: New technologies, including AI and blockchain, are enabling ADDA’s transformation initiatives.

TAMM is only one focus area for ADDA — it is also responsible for creating a unified data management program across all Abu Dhabi Government entities, and which also includes the private sector, to initiate data-sharing services.

The creation and delivery of these new initiatives makes extensive use of new technologies, Dr Rauda said: “Many of the emerging technologies, such as AI and blockchain, are part of our products. For example, one of the most critical success factors or accelerators in TAMM is built on blockchain — the Abu Dhabi Wallet.”

The digital wallet has been created as a unified resource for citizens to store and manage all of their relevant documents, Dr Rauda explained, including, alerts, reminders, digital documents and more. The wallet is a single reference for the customer for all their digital interactions, and manages updates on service, journeys, payment, subscription and event status. Through its foundation on blockchain, the wallet can be continuously updated as a secure, single source for customer data.

AI is becoming a core part of ADDA’s initiatives, Dr Rauda added: “ADDA’s efforts in leveraging AI technologies reflects our long-term strategy to lead excellence in government services using advanced technologies and supporting the ‘One Government’ service model. We are currently working with private sector partners and academic institutions to assess the feasibility, advancement and implementation of possible opportunities to create AI-based solutions across Abu Dhabi government entities.”

To create the expertise and develop AI-driven services, ADDA has undertaken several initiatives including working with IBM on creating an AI Centre of Excellence in Abu Dhabi to support Abu Dhabi government professionals. ADDA and IBM are engaged in knowledge sharing and exchange on AI, including on tools and solutions for enablement, development and testing.

ADDA is also partnering with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to leverage technology and expertise to advance the emirate’s AI agenda and improve customer experience with TAMM. ADDA will work with HPE global innovation centres to gain insights on the best digital practices adopted by governments around the world. The program also includes internships for top Emirati tech graduates, providing them with key access and exposure to global best practices that will help them prepare for future roles in the technology sector.

“We believe that investing in the education of our people for the future, including in AI, is essential to advancing Abu Dhabi’s digital transformation strategy and building a sustainable knowledge-based economy in line with the vision of Ghadan 21,” Dr Rauda concluded.  

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