Abu Dhabi Government Publishes World’s First Comprehensive Data Management Standards

The Abu Dhabi Systems & Information Centre (ADSIC) was established as a Centre under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

ADSIC owns the IT agenda of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.


ADSIC instigated the development of the multi-year Abu Dhabi Government Data Management Programme and engaged data management specialists from Entity Group to develop the strategy (Full disclosure: I led the specialist team).

This programme represents an ambitious pan-government initiative, and the first of its kind globally in terms of breadth and depth. It aims to achieve the following goals across more than fifty government departments:

  • Improve data quality and accuracy in Abu Dhabi Government Entities (ADGEs)
  • Govern and control ADGEs’ data lifecycle
  • Support decision-making systems
  • Facilitate and improve data exchange between ADGEs
  • Improve data transparency in ADGEs
  • Standardise Data Management across ADGEs
  • Provide the ‘Single version of Truth’ to reduce data fractions.

Furthermore, the project was required to:

  • Develop the Operating Model required to manage the programme and achieve its goals
  • Develop Abu Dhabi Government Data Management Policy and Standardssupporting the programme to achieve its goal
  • Develop Template Models and Training Materials to support ADGEs in implementing the Strategy.

Ultimately, the programme will enable Government Entities to implement capabilities and orchestrate the people, process and technology required to facilitate effective Data Management.

Entity delivered the project in partnership with Gulf Business Machines (GBM), a leading GCC IT solutions provider.


This project was all about defining the Abu Dhabi Government’s Data Management Strategy together with the programme that would roll out this strategy. It was divided into three phases.

We worked with a number of Abu Dhabi Government Entities to review and establish the current state baseline for data management across the government.

We also carried out a comprehensive benchmarking review of international best practice, including reviewing:

  • all the data management domains of other leading government agencies around the world that were comparable to ADSIC
  • relevant international standards
  • other models of best practice


We defined a vision of the desired target state for data management within the Abu Dhabi Government.

We then developed a Data Management Programme — designed coordinate activities across government to achieve that desired target state. This included aroute map and overall programme plan, including plans for the sustaining activities such as training and communication.

In the final phase, we authored all the key documents required to support the programme, including:

  • Abu Dhabi Government Data Management Policy
  • Abud Dhabi Government Data Management Standards
  • Templates/examples to support ADGEs in applying the policy and standards within their own organisations.

Some of these documents were created in both English and Arabic.


ADSIC has now published the Abu Dhabi Government Data Management Standards.

This represents the world’s first comprehensive set of government-level data management standards in terms of subject-matter coverage.

If the General Secretariat of the Executive Council (GSEC) of Abu Dhabi decides to mandate the Data Management Policy (a decision is pending), then a number of central projects will begin, followed by a cascade of sub-programmes as each of the Government Entities start to implement the Policy and Standards within their own organisations.

This article was first published on LinkedIn.

Author: Jason Edge 
(Team Lead/Primary Author of the Abu Dhabi Data Management Standards).

I combine an active (and noisy) family life with two other great passions:

Data — I have never been in any doubt about the power of data! I wrestled the early web browsers into submission to deliver real-time data-driven financial systems (The frameworks to do this are now commonplace). I also developed a code generator that built web applications from databases.

Music — a musician and conductor, I relish directing music groups to lift music off the page and bring it alive. At the age of 12, I was recognised by the UK’s national media as the country’s youngest official church organist. I consider this present flirtation with corporate life to be a momentary distraction from my childhood aspiration to be a Cathedral Organist!

I’m currently co-authoring a book on Crossing the Data Delta.

The Data Delta is the chasm between the data organisations have and the business people that need to use it (due for release soon).

The views in this article are my own, and may not reflect the views of my employers at Entity Group. Connect with me on LinkedIn.


All images and content relating to the Abu Dhabi Data Management Programme are the property of the Abu Dhabi Government.