Report Writing: How to write the Conclusions section

The conclusion section to this strategy report, eGovernment Strategies, The Case of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), from Dr. Ali M. Al-Khouri, United Arab Emirates, provides an excellent template on how to summarize the main points in a strategy document.

This conclusion section is divided into five paragraphs:

  1. Problem statement: need to develop new capabilities to identify electronic identities.
  2. Decision: own the identification process
  3. Benefits: eliminate replication of user credentials; develop common partner framework
  4. Aspirational Gains: perform cross-border transactions
  5. The final summary paragraph

Problem statement

This states that the conventional physical trust mechanisms are insufficient, the government needs to develop new capabilities to identify electronic identities.

“In an era of increasing digital communications and connectivity, governments are paying more attention to the interaction with their citizens within the virtual world. While making such attempts, governments are realising that conventional physical trust mechanisms are now insufficient and that there is a clear need to develop new capabilities to identify electronic identities.”

Decision

The next paragraph introduces the decision it has made, then introduces the new system it will implement, and the justification for taking this decision. The structure is as follows:

  1. Decision: own the identification process, for instance, create a new identity management system
  2. Solution implementation: provide secure, unique and tamper-proof digital identities to citizens
  3. Justification: offer improved security, gain higher levels of trust, confidence and encourage participation.

“The government of the UAE decided, as part of its national development strategy, to own the identification process itself and provide secure, unique and tamper-proof digital identities to its population. This kind of identity management system owned by the national government is envisaged to offer improved security, gain higher levels of trust, confidence and encourage participation.”

Benefits

The third paragraph discusses the two main benefits this will offer:

  • First Benefit: eliminate replication of user credentials for separate applications and systems
  • Second Benefit: common framework to share information between trusted partners

“The federated identity management system… is foreseen to eliminate the need to replicate databases of users’ credentials for separate applications and systems. It also paves the way to use a common framework to share information between trusted partners, where government agencies would not need to establish separate relationships and procedures with one another to conduct transactions.”

Aspirational Gains

The fourth paragraph highlights possible long-term gains, for example, to perform cross-border transactions.

“The UAE eGovernment initiatives will be more successful when citizens will be able to transcend the physical borders to carry out their transactions. A citizen should be able to use his/her national identity card to conduct eGovernment and eCommerce transactions on websites verified and validated by a single identity validation service. This should be the future aspiration.”

Long-term gains

The final paragraph highlights possible long-term gains, for example, to perform cross-border transactions and collaboration between different agencies.

“To the extent that the UAE federated identity allows government agencies to offer controlled access to data or other resources, it has the potential to enable new levels of collaboration between the different agencies. Identity management can support process re-engineering for extending access to valuable resources, using multi-factor authentication mechanisms, while the integration of systems across governmental and private sector spheres further broadens the opportunities for supporting eGovernment and eCommerce applications.”

Takeaways

  • Use direct positive language
  • Keep one idea to each paragraph
  • Short paragraphs
  • Avoid sub-clauses. Sub-clauses can distract the reader from the main point. You risk losing their attention
  • Use examples to help the reader understand how the solution will work
  • Avoid jargon, acronyms, or buzzwords

Other things to note

In the first sentence, the reference to ‘within the virtual world’ could be misinterpreted by some readers as it’s often used for games.

..interaction with their citizens within the virtual world.

Instead, you could use ‘online’ or consider removing the phrase.

“In an era of increasing digital communications, governments are paying more attention to the interaction with their citizens.”

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