By Stephen McDonald, Ph.D
This article is based on the writer’s visit to some of the most critical technology infrastructural facilities in Nigeria, of which Nigerians are entitled to be proud — for the quality of the facilities on offer and professionalism of the personnel of Galaxy Backbone (GBB) Limited, its operator.
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 ones that everyone must digest and understand its implications for the benefit of everyone.
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, 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 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 Center’ 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 power their operations real-time and on demand. A visit to its National Shared Services Centre (NSSC) of the agency will convince one even more. A seven-story twin building which sits beautifully at Central Business District area of the nation’s Federal Capital Territory, is a sight to behold. One of the impressions one would come out with after a tour of that facility and interaction with its teams of the Datacentre, Cloud and Network Management experts is that of elation that such a world class and secure platform actually exists in the country.
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 organizations from the private and public sector dealing with a lot of data.
This is why GBB is oftentimes described as the Digital Infrastructure organization, in that it is providing the hosting and colocation platform for software/applications and hardware services organizations to leverage on. That is why its Managing Director/Chief Executive, Professor Muhammad Bello Abubakar, consistently reminds organizations in the private sector that Galaxy Backbone does not intend to compete with them. Rather, its major objective is to partner with them so that they can serve their customers better.
NSSC, soon to be launched by the Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, will enhance digital services across government organisations and across other sectors in Nigeria. It will end the challenges in harnessing the true potential of Information technology in government on a low budget.
In creating this organization, one of its focal mandates was to establish a common services platform that would 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 strengthens the efficient use of ICT services across government.
The awareness that technology could transform the way government interacted with one another on one hand, and with organisations and citizens on the other, was 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 enjoy the benefits of economies of scale and better utilization of technology.
National Shared Services Centre (NSSC), which is run by Galaxy Backbone, is a sight to behold.
The execution and management of services across not just public sector, but private sector as well, are encouraging and a beacon to those who are looking to experience world class digital services similar to that obtainable in developed nations across the world.
It is noteworthy that the President would be commissioning the NSSC and the Digital Infrastructure therein, and officially opening it for use by organisations across Nigeria looking to leverage the services GBB will be providing from that platform. This achievement further strengthens the digital transformation journey of Nigeria being driven by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami who has passionately led the digital technological achievements our Nation has recorded in the last 4 years.
Within NSSC are several secure digital communications and network management facilities. One of such facilities is the Network Operations Centre, where the teams at GBB work 24 hrs every day to ensure the services of all their customers are kept up and running consistently in a secured 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 for 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 costs of technology related services that is often times associated with the multiplicity of tech equipment across MDAs. The common services platform supports government’s vision of economy of scale by adopting e-government services across all its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). This helps drive digital transformation not just for the 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. GBB’s Chief Executive, Professor Muhammad Bello Abubakar, has at different forums explained how important Security is to GBB’s operations and how serious it is being taken to support government’s transversal applications and the entire nation. The NSSC in this regard, houses a security Operations Centre (SOC) amongst other things as indicated earlier.
Furthermore, one of the most vital facilities within the Centre is the GBB Uptime Certified Tier III Datacenter. This datacenter is connected via GBB nationwide fibre optics ring network and seamlessly connected to its Kano tier IV data center. 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 an international writer on technological innovations based in Abuja.