Creating the blueprint for Saudi digitization

NXN is working with Saudi Arabia’s NDU to deliver plans for nationwide digitisation

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Creating the blueprint for Saudi digitization NXN is working on national and sector initiatives in Saudi Arabia, says Atallah.
By  Mark Sutton Published  December 26, 2017

In October, smart city consulting and digital service provider NXN (formerly neXgen) signed an MoU with Saudi Arabia’s newly formed National Digitisation Unit (NDU) to support the Kingdom’s digital transformation and help to develop its open data initiative. The signing marked next step in Saudi’s digitisation program, and the next step for NXN in the Kingdom and building on its work with other leading smart programs in the region.

Ghazi Atallah, CEO of NXN, said that the company’s role with the NDU is to develop the blueprints and master plans for transformation, which will focus on two distinct tracks of developing key sectors, and developing national level plans for Saudi Arabia. The blueprints aim to identify all the stakeholders in each sector and their identify roles and responsibilities, and to set out the master list of all projects and initiatives that are required for the transformation.

Atallah said: “The NDU’s mandate is to accelerate digital transformation in the Kingdom, so we are working with them on sectorial acceleration. We are taking the key sectors in Saudi Arabia — digital commerce, digital healthcare, digital education, smart cities and so on — and we are putting in a blueprint and a plan to accelerate transformation. We identify the key initiatives and activities to be done in the sector, through workshops with the various key stakeholders within each sector and with the government, to accelerate each sector, and also to get ready within government to support those sectors.

“Within government we are identifying the key initiatives that the NDU will drive with government, to support the transformation of the Kingdom and support the transformation of those sectors. It includes what the government has to do to support digital commerce, digital education, digital healthcare and so on; so we are working on innovation platforms, digital services, data — we are working on many parts of the initiative.”

The programs have been developed based on NXN’s own methodology, Atallah said, an advanced, robust methodology which can be utilised for smart city and smart nation programs, based on input for the specific conditions and challenges of each clients, the current state assessments of each project and each element in the project, and the overall strategic plans and goals. The methodology helps NXN to quickly create the masterplan and blueprints for transformation for each client.

“The initial work that we with do with a city, a state, a nation or government entity, is to look at two parts. The first is ‘what do you want to achieve, what are your strategic objectives?’ We qualify and quantify those strategic objectives with the customer.

“Then second, we start looking at challenges you have as a stakeholder and the capabilities that you have - what are the opportunities to leverage those capabilities to accelerate the transformation. Once we gather these strategic objectives, plus the challenges and the capabilities, then that is enough for us to bring it into the methodology, go through benchmarking, define the road map and so on,” Atallah explained.

Data and innovation platforms are key parts of the transformation agenda which NXN will be focusing on for Saudi Arabia, Atallah said, which will also leverage key capabilities of the company. NXN’s own digital platform, DNX.

DNX has been developed as a digital innovation platform, which will form the basis for data and smart digital services for Saudi Arabia. The platform includes various technical capabilities, including data orchestration, geospatial data integration, blockchain, AI, API management and other functions, he explained, which can be utilised by customers across different functions and verticals to help them accelerate their digital deployments. DNX includes Platform-as-a-Service capabilities, and in-built use cases that a customer can take the platform and use it to develop their own digital services in whichever sector they require, with a much shorter development cycle than if each service was developed from scratch.

“DNX enables customers to develop applications in rapid, agile manner, with platform-as-a-service capability, geospatial integration, data integration, blockchain integration, API management capability, dashboard management, all of those capabilities are there for the benefit of the customer. “It is essentially taking 80% of the effort required to build a new service, taking away 80% of the complexity from our customers and allowing them to develop their use case in the space of two three months versus the twelve to eighteen months it normally takes; and we can manage and run those services on their behalf as well,” he added.

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