ORGANIZATIONAL SUCCESS

Abu Dhabi 2019 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Rashed Lahej Al Mansoori, Chairman of Statistics Centre-Abu Dhabi (SCAD), on its efforts to improve data collection and lower costs, innovative statistical development tools, and its Emiratization policies.

Rashed Lahej Al Mansoori
BIOGRAPHY
Rashed Lahej Al Mansoori holds the position of Chairman of Board of Abu Dhabi Statistics Center and is Director General of the General Administration of Customs - Abu Dhabi. Aside from his responsibilities at Abu Dhabi Customs, he also concurrently serves as the Manager of IT Advisory Services at Mubadala Investment Company. He is also a member of the Security, Justice, and Safety Committee of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and member of Board of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority. He holds a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the University of Colorado.

How does SCAD ensure accurate analysis and production of data to forge sustainable business relations?

In response to the changing economic environment and needs of the users of official statistics, some survey data collections were replaced with administrative data sources to reduce the cost of conducting these surveys. Meanwhile, the timeliness and quality of data collections and dissemination of statistics have been improved through innovative electronic communication and connectivity platforms. In addition, SCAD has developed a unique identification number for each economic (business) establishment in Abu Dhabi, which are stored in a central database. This initiative supports government entities through faster data collection and lower costs. At the same time, data quality is preserved by eliminating the risk of duplicate respondents. A good example of interconnectivity among governments is the eStats program. It coordinates access to several government administrative datasets, which allows SCAD to transform into useful, high-quality statistics. Finally, plans are underway for the next population census in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, as well as an exporters and suppliers register which includes geographic location data.

What have you and your international partners learned from one another?

In 2017, SCAD had three stand out international learning points: statistical maturity, big data, and statistical leadership. For statistical maturity, SCAD is enhancing communication and cooperation, building and maintaining trust, and maximizing its value for money across the Abu Dhabi government. For example, in 2017, SCAD completed 670 client data requests. Our clients' data needs are used as inputs for future statistical production processes. In terms of big data, SCAD is exploring new data sources to provide timely information for decision making. To achieve statistical leadership, SCAD is investing in its people, empowering its top management to be inspirational in pursuit of organizational success. Following Abu Dhabi's successful hosting of the International Association for Official Statistics Conference at the end of 2016, SCAD continues to strengthen its partnership and reputation with the international statistical community, contributing to a variety of areas including: digital government and executive dashboards; outputs and uses of the Abu Dhabi Consumer Price Index; and innovative integration of the Generic Statistical Business Process Model. In 2018, SCAD looks forward to playing a key role at the second United Nations' World Data Forum, to be hosted in the UAE in October.

What are some of the innovative statistical development tools SCAD seeks to implement?

Similar to statistical agencies around the world, SCAD balances the competing requirements of timely releases with the need to produce accurate and reliable statistics. To this end, SCAD follows the best-practice Generic Statistical Business Process Model (GSBPM) and international statistical methodologies. In terms of technology, the focus is on three core areas: SMART SCAD—an enterprise business management system enabling statisticians to generate statistical indicators faster—is being integrated with Abu Dhabi government entities to exchange administrative data using secure data exchange protocols; latest technologies such as big data and data visualization tools are being used to empower customers to generate customized statistics in interactive and graphical form; and mobile applications such as Sallatna, Abu Dhabi Over Half Century, and m-Services have been developed to serve growing public demand.

How can Abu Dhabi strike a balance between attracting foreign talent and developing local human resources?

As of July 2018, SCAD reached an Emiratization level greater than 70% and maintains a healthy balance between national and international expertise. This is achieved through rigorous identification and induction of local talent, the careful selection and placement of international experts in key strategic positions, nurturing local talent through SCAD's dedicated Statistical Training Institute and wider learning environment, and utilizing motivational initiatives such as SCAD's Digital Library, Innovation Labs, and Employee Open Forums. SCAD leads the industry in compensation, benefits, and opportunities for its staff and is a great place for fresh UAE graduates to build their careers.