As much as the rate at which the use of internet is growing rapidly in Saudi Arabia (SA), availability of internet services that can be relied on by citizens is still very low. In most cases, the online services available do not coincide with the services available in the world.
This makes it difficult for both public and private organizations, businesses and citizens in Saudi Arabia to use the virtual space to overcome problems like delivering services, selling products and competing with other more progressive international companies/organizations that carries most of its activities online (Al-Ghaith, Sanzogni & Sandhu, 2010). Since the transport system in Saudi
Arabia is poor, it can be sometimes inconvenient for females to leave their houses since the culture restricts them from driving. Lack of reliable online services has a negative impact especially on government departments where most of the work is done manually (on paper) leading to cumulative work and time wastage. The longer queues for services are cumbersome for customers and contribute to time wasting.
The unreliability of most online services available in SA creates a lot of problems for the users of online services. “Among such problems include lack of conditionality, security as well as credibility of information delivered online” (Aladwani, 2003, p.18). Most of the resources for online service development have been invested in high rank governmental organs, educational systems and banking services with little attention to other economic segments like e-customer services, attorney services and health care services.
In other words, most of the developed online services available only offer high quality services for high rank governmental departments unlike other economic segments which offer services directly to the common citizens. This situation has created a large gap in terms of adoption and availability of internet services available in SA and those in other countries thus calling for need to make advancements in some areas.
According to research studies carried out, it was evident that the existing problems in the area of online services are related to accessibility, reliability, security and confidentiality (Al-Ghaith, Sanzogni & Sandhu, 2010). In the research, researchers identified major problems of internet services in Saudi Arabia.
The main problem identified was adoption of internet services. It was found that the rate at which the internet services are adopted in the region is lower compared to other competitive regions of the world.
It was also identified that the main reason for low rate of adoption of internet services was due to the growing gap between the increasing number of internet users and the development of systems of security for online databases. Aladwani (2003) also found out that such challenges are being faced by the country since its current purchasing power largely relies on availability, reliability/quality and accessibility of online services.
Some of the factors identified to be major negative contributors to improvement of this situation include specific cultural beliefs and some religious ideologies in the region.
Moreover, research studies carried out indicates that improper analysis of language, traditions, history as well as values established in the country makes it difficult for reformers to define, analyze and suggest measures that can be implemented to realize an improvement and reach greater accessibility and security levels in the use of internet services.
Saudi Arabia has also been found to be short of resources that can enable it create well secured and reliable online services and systems which guarantees great potential and options for internet users.
According to the above findings, it is upon the government to put in place measures that will address the factors that contribute to unreliability of the internet services available in the country to enable it attain high competitive levels like other countries that rely on online services (Al-Somali, Gholami & Clegg, 2009).
One of the motivations for the research devoted to the online services in SA is the benefit to the life of women in the country. It is considered that online services in Saudi Arabia are vital since they may act as a basis for changes to make the life of women in the country easier. Due to restricted rights for women where they can only be allowed to do certain things while accompanied by men, most of them are advocating for online services that will enable them enjoy their services out of their own consent.
It is evident that Saudi Arabian women suffer from having to deal with lack of organization that government offices have. In order to do something, people have to physically attend the place, office and shop without forgetting about mentioning the lack of convenience due to the fact that every woman needs a male guardian to accompany her and consent everything before she does it.
With research on online services, solutions are likely to be found to enable women in the country to enjoy the services without necessarily moving away from their houses or seeking men’s consent and this is likely to lead to the change that most of them are advocating for. “Moreover, the transportation issues are the most important in Saudi Arabia” (Dwivedi & Weerakkody, 2007, p.47).
Women cannot drive and the poor public transportation system that we have in Saudi Arabia makes it problematic for many women to reach their place of destination.
Another motivation for research devoted to online services in SA is due to the increasing number of internet users in the past ten years. According to research, it has been found that the rate at which people are willing to use the internet has been increasing drastically in the past ten years. However, the problem has been on the reliability of the internet services available. Poor traditions, beliefs, taboos and other cultural attachments have contributed negatively to the aims of these people.
I am motivated to address the needs of the increasing number of internet users by exploring such problems like adoption, security, availability, reliability and accessibility of internet services. The usefulness of considering the opportunities women would have if they worked at home via the Internet or used other services helpful in household is also a great motivation for the research (Aladwani, 2003).
As the following table and chart indicates, there has been a drastic growth in percentage of the users of internet services for the past ten years in Saudi Arabia.