About the Author
By Manal Alduhaymi, General Court of Audit of Saudi Arabia
Ms. Manal Alduhaymi is an International Relations Officer, at the General Court of Audit (GCA) of Saudi Arabia. Manal holds a bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of Westminster in London, and joined the GCA in 2017 as a legal researcher. Formerly, Manal had legal experiences when she was working for Norton Rose Fulbright as well as Pinsent Masons. Manal has had a comprehensive experience of the GCA various functions among which, auditing in Performance Audit sector and Compliance Audit sector. Manal is also an integral assistant to the PFAC leadership in performing the committee’s duties and responsibilities.
Covid-19 Pandemic has silenced all remaining doubts about the necessity of digital transformation to business longevity. In a restrictive period, the vast majority of interactions took place virtually. With rare exceptions, working digitally is the only way to continue operations through mandated lockdowns and restricted activity. The only option was to either go digital or go down. The pandemic is a reality check for institutions that have been hesitant to embrace digital transformation and now find themselves woefully unprepared. This article will show the efforts of General Court of Audit (GCA) in assisting and developing the ICT resilience and providing solutions to the SAIs in need to shift their business continuity remotely. As it will also look closely into GCA's digital innovation and digital transformation in the whole GCA operations.
It is not odd that the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institution (INTOSAI) members assist their peer SAIs to operate at their highest level possible. Consequently, the GCA of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—under the leadership of its president, Dr. Hussam Alangari—has established a Saudi Fund for SAI Improved Performance (Saudi FSIP). GCA has allocated 2 million U.S. dollars for this fund from 2020 to 2022.
Initially, the fund allocated to support SAIs in the least developing countries and the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), in their efforts to develop and implement SAI-led strategic plans. However, given the challenges posed by remote audits during the pandemic, the Saudi FSIP expanded its scope to offer emergency grants to SAIs in developing countries within Asia to enhance their resilience through improved ICT infrastructure and trainings.
The initial feedback of SAIs that have received assistance from the Saudi FSIP has been extremely positive. These SAIs found that the grant from GCA bolstered their continuity of operations and enhanced their ICT infrastructure. GCA hopes that this support will also encourage SAIs to review and strengthen their emergency plans for business continuity. GCA has appreciated the opportunity to successfully collaborate with individual SAIs in the Asian region and will continue to look for opportunities to assist the global SAI community.
As a consequence, in order for GCA to lead for example in this prominent changes in the word-wide operations and the necessity to adopt remote working and transform digitally. GCA has augmented their digital innovation and enabled a digital transformation through business development and digital solutions through establishing a 'Digital Transformation Unit. A unit that leads by example for other entities in the field of digital innovation. The digital transformation unit aims to achieve distinction in the management of digital transformation projects; it will also aim to form an effective and influential role in achieving the strategic objectives of the GCA, and complete the path to reach a high level of quality and development.
This recent development will strengthen the GCA's efforts to preserve public fund and build capabilities in enabling the use of business intelligence model. The most eminent task of this unit is to plan initiatives and actions for digital transformation in the GCA; it will also provide support to the developments of business models to transform digitally and intelligently. Furthermore, it will also provide heavy analytical data and artificial intelligence tools using the procedures of governance and supervise the implementation of digital projects in the GCA.
Thus, it is apparent that digital transformation will accelerate the implementation of digital business, which as a result provide digital services and solutions to internal and external beneficiaries. Hence, GCA encourages Supreme Audit Institutions to ultimately focuses on their digital innovations and invest their efforts in transforming their operation digitally, as it will result in enhancing the achievement of their strategic goals and provide best outcomes to its stakeholders.