The chairman of Tata group, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, is on record as having said that “Going digital is no longer an option, it is the default”. When we consider how the world is evolving almost at the speed of light, we can confirm these words as valid and whose implications everyone must digest and understand for everyone’s benefit.
Nigeria has, indeed, gone digital, having made giant strides and bold steps that have been taken by this current government to enhance digital transformation. However, there is still a lot of ground to cover, and a lot of room to bring in public and private sector organisations, communities and individuals to bridge the digital divide and enhance the gains of digitization.
This underscores the critical importance of the National Shared Services Centre (NSSC) powered by Nigeria’s Digital Infrastructure Company, Galaxy Backbone (GBB).
According to Gartner, an information technology (IT) research and consultancy company, a ‘Shared Services Centre is a dedicated unit with the combination of people, processes and technology that is structured as a centralized point of service and is focused on defined business functions.
In the last decade, significant progress has been made in digitization only because of the decision by government to centralize its IT operations and empower Galaxy Backbone to perform its functions for the nation. Today, Galaxy Backbone has positioned its Digital Infrastructure platform to enable private businesses and government establishments alike to power their operations in real-time and on demand.
The Information technology space is huge. The interesting thing about this industry locally and globally is its fast pace of evolution and transformation. As customer requirements expand, the potential and possibilities of this industry that now powers all industries expand too.
As an organization that is aware of the reality that it cannot be everything or all things to its numerous customers and stakeholders, Galaxy Backbone (GBB) has chosen to focus on one area that can help create the platform for other local ICT companies, original e-Equipment manufacturers and organisations from the private and public sector dealing with a lot of data.
NSSC, soon to be launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, will enhance digital services across government organisations and other sectors in the country. It will end the challenges in harnessing the true potential of information technology in government on a low budget.
In creating this organisation, one of its focal mandates is to establish a common services platform that will bring together technology services for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) under one platform to ensure proper coordination amongst MDAs and effective management of IT services under one secure platform. This decision by the government has indeed helped aid and strengthened the efficient use of ICT services across government services.
The awareness that technology could transform the way governments interacted with one another on one hand, and with organisations and citizens on the other, is clear. That is the gap that Galaxy Backbone has filled, and the NSSC is a huge boost to the delivery of its mandate.
The Shared Services model was adopted to help consolidate the operations of federal government organisations so that they will be more agile in carrying out their respective mandates and enable government and its agencies to enjoy the benefits of economies of scale and better utilization of technology.
The execution and management of services across not just public sector, but private sector as well, are encouraging.
It is noteworthy that the president would be commissioning the NSSC and the Digital Infrastructure therein, officially opening it for use by organisations across Nigeria looking to leverage the services GBB will be provided from that platform. This achievement further strengthens the digital transformation journey of Nigeria.
Within NSSC are several secure digital communications and network management facilities. One such facility is the Network Operations Centre, where the teams at GBB work 24 hours every day to ensure the services of all their customers are kept up and running consistently in a secure form.
This Infrastructure also has within it an Executive Telepresence Room for 3D high-resolution virtual meetings with partners, international bodies, governments, customers and stakeholders across the world. With our world currently driven by digital engagements, as a result of the new world of work, this room serves executives who would like to have private closed-up meetings in an atmosphere that is warm and very appealing.
NSSC will help in bringing down the cost of technology-related services that is oftentimes associated with the multiplicity of tech equipment across MDAs. The common services platform supports government’s vision of an economy of scale by adopting e-government services across all its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). This helps drive digital transformation not just for government-to-government interactions, but for government-to-business and government-to-citizens engagement.
As a very critical infrastructure to the government and indeed the entire nation, security is at its very core. The NSSC in this regard, houses a Security Operations Centre (SOC) amongst others.
Furthermore, one of the most vital facilities within the centre is the GBB Uptime Certified Tier III Datacentre. This datacentre is connected via GBB nationwide fibre optics ring network and seamlessly connected to its Kano tier IV data centre. This Datacentre is not just for the government and its agencies but for all corporate entities looking to leverage the infrastructure in providing services to their own clients.
Dr McDonald is a writer on technological innovations based in Abuja