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Municipality set to outsource IT

Dubai Municipality looks set for a massive shakeup of its IT operations, with the government organisation saying last week that it has adopted an outsourcing strategy for the department.

Dubai Municipality looks set for a massive shakeup of its IT operations, with the government organisation saying last week that it has adopted an outsourcing strategy for the department.

Senior executives said the move would allow it to make substantial cost savings and replace some of its older technology with newer equipment.

The government organisation, which is responsible for providing a range of services to Dubai residents, said outsourcing would also lead to an improved service for its customers through faster problem resolution.

“In addition to substantial costs savings and higher quality of service, we will be able to gain access to technical expertise and skills, and in the process ensure wider fulfilment of business requirements,” “said Abdulla Al Shaibani, assistant director general for technical services and head of Dubai Municipality’s Outsourcing Committee.

“By outsourcing certain functions, DM’s staff can be fully focused on the core business, rather than spending time and resources on daily operations,” he went on to add.

“While on one hand outsourcing will allow DM to implement latest technologies, on the other it will facilitate replacement of old technology and consolidation of disparate technologies,” said Yousif Shams, head of Systems Development and IT Department Outsourcing Committee for Dubai Municipality.

Dubai Municipality is currently evaluating a number of outsourcing companies, Shams told IT Weekly, although the clock is ticking for a decision to be made.

“We are planning to start outsourcing by the end of June,” he said. “We will go gradually, service by service,” he added.

However, he ruled out any “offshore” service, saying that any company selected would be based in Dubai or the UAE.

The first phase of the outsourcing strategy, already underway, involves assessing the business value of outsourcing; identifying which IT processes need to be outsourced and building the Municipality’s core outsourcing team.

Phase two, to begin in June, includes evaluating and selecting outsourcing vendors, structuring outsourcing contracts and building the vendor governance framework.

While outsourcing is still comparatively rare in the region, it is picking up momentum, with a number of government organisations in the UAE having adopted outsourcing strategies; earlier this year, Dubai’s Road and Transports Authority (RTA) announced that it was outsourcing its call centre requirements to Etisalat.

With Dubai Municipality employing more than 11,000 staff, this shift in strategy could lead to some lucrative contracts for vendors — while any decision to replace old technology could also mean some losing work.

Dubai Municipality has not yet decided which processes, assets and services will be outsourced at this stage, but Shams said that potentially the data centre and the maintenance of the equipment would come first.

He emphasised that the Municipality is not currently looking to outsource the entire department at once, because of security and localisation issues.

“We would like to support the customer in a very professional way and to give the customer all their needs on time,” he stressed.

The Municipality is in the process of revamping its business process infrastructure after software showed that as many as 10% of the processes it currently conducts are redundant (see IT Weekly 6-12 May, 2006).

It recently implemented an automated workflow solution at its Administration and Quality Development department, which monitors the quality of services carried out by the different departments of the Municipality.

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