Managing a smart city involves overseeing a complex ecosystem of suppliers across all kinds of disciplines. The supplier ecosystem may include hardware, software and cybersecurity providers and spans numerous applications within the smart city. Parking management, waste management, smart buildings, public transport and many other areas of life in a smart city rely on them.
Outsourcing IT for an entire city is a massive undertaking. Deploying IT infrastructure and services means finding, partnering with and managing dozens, even hundreds of different suppliers. After the various services have been rolled out throughout the city, they will need to be continuously managed. It isn’t just a case of managing the technology and the devices, but also managing the environment itself.
How Multisourcing Service Integration can help smart cities
Working with an MSI partner can help a smart city operate more effectively and remove a lot of the complexity inherent in such a big project. While MSI can benefit all types of organizations, from multinational corporations (MNCs) to government bodies, it seems even more suited to smart cities.
At Orange, we have worked with smart city projects in the Middle East, such as Silicon Park, Dubai’s first integrated smart city initiative that is part of the Dubai Silicon Oasis. In that project, we work with the municipality itself to plan smart city operations, along with our ecosystem of partners in the region, and with external smart city service suppliers.
Here, the MSI activity includes setting up a central command center and service desk to monitor the IT infrastructure. This allows the city authorities to control and manage the performance of the IT estate for full visibility on how suppliers are performing. This, in turn, helps to accurately report costs, manage customer expectations, and more.
MSI is a specialist skillset: the MSI partner needs to understand and manage all the different types of services, and the approach is different for a city than for an enterprise. For an enterprise, MSI could incorporate the company’s telecoms, network, videoconferencing, UC&C services and so on. In a city however, we concentrate more on the relationships and performance of the suppliers – the communications side in a city largely revolves around local area networks (LANs) and wireless connectivity.
How Orange MSI works with smart cities
At the start of a smart city MSI project, our consultants analyze current city operations to evaluate the short and long-term expectations. This is the “design” stage, which helps define the MSI strategy. The next step along the journey is the “build” stage, where we find the best partners for the city’s needs, source the IT solutions and services, and then begin to integrate them.
After the build stage, we move on to integration. This is where we work with smart city partners to integrate all new digital services into existing systems as seamlessly and smoothly as possible. These could include: smart grid, smart home, security, building automation or location-based applications.
Once we have defined that integration layer, including the command center and processes, we move to the “run” phase. We help with operational management by setting up an MSI service desk to handle and troubleshoot all incidents and changes with suppliers on the IT administration of the smart city. We’re also committed to a process of continuous improvement, always looking to innovate and recommend the latest technologies where they can provide a benefit. Vendor ecosystem management is central to MSI, so we closely evaluate existing supplier relationships to establish a consistent service across all providers.
Benefits of MSI to smart cities
Implemented effectively, MSI can give smart cities a competitive edge that can make it more attractive to investors. It also helps free up city resources to work on developing innovative new services. Cities can operate in more agile ways and save costs, thanks to the overall reduced complexity and increased control that MSI provides. MSI also offers smart cities standardized governance, thanks to clearly defined responsibilities and service level agreements (SLAs).
At Orange, we commit to helping smart cities continuously evolve their MSI solutions to help drive ongoing innovation, for example, delivering the latest cloud, IoT, edge computing and mobile solutions to drive automation and data analytics in the city. Tomorrow, that could mean embracing artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation (RPA) and other digital solutions to enhance MSI solutions even further.
What we have realized in strategizing MSI for smart cities is that cities want to retain control of choosing the various service providers they need, but they do not want to manage the countless interactions required with them. According to Gartner, MSI can free up an organization’s management time by as much as 50% and drive cost savings of 13%. Furthermore, Gartner also forecasts that 50% of large organizations will require an MSI partner by 2022. It would be smart for cities to get on board with MSI today and begin reaping the benefits.
To learn more about Multisourcing Service Integration from Orange, please visit our MSI focus page.
Stephane is responsible for driving business development for ICT outsourcing/Multisourcing Service Integration at Orange Business Services IMEAR. He was previously Head of ICT consulting in the MEA region and has overseen digital transformation projects including intelligent cities, smart energy, eTransport and smart buildings.