The Kingdom’s government has given special attention to information technology because of its effective role in boosting state economies. Accordingly, the IT sector witnessed massive changes throughout the past forty years. A few and limited applications were used at the beginning. IT was first introduced into the civil public sector in 1382 Hijra (1962) when the General Statistics Department used computers to perform some of its tasks. The early Hijri nineties (early seventies) saw IT spreading to other state departments where computer centers were established. Various kinds of equipment were procured. Large, high cost mainframes characterized IT use at that time. During the same period, the private sector began the computerization process as many specialized companies and organizations came into being to sell computer equipment, provide maintenance services and build some software applications. These activities led to the spread of a variety of computer applications that aimed to raise productivity and improve performance. The areas covered included financial, industrial, commercial, educational, government and health applications.
Through the Saudi ARAMCO, the private sector in Saudi Arabia took the initiative in using IT as of the seventies of the last century. Currently, Saudi companies, especially large organizations such as Saudi ARAMCO, SABIC, Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC), Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA), and banks use state-of-the-art technologies in their applications. IT penetration is rapidly increasing as statistics indicate that more than 80% of industrial sector companies use computer systems.
Government organizations apply the e-Government concept with varying degrees. Some of them have gone a long way in this field. The following section outlines some e-Government projects undertaken by some of the government organizations.