Tel Avivranks as the world’s second mostinnovative city according to the WallStreet Journal and Citibank’s City of the Year contest. It’s thesecond-largest city in Israel and a major tourist destination for internationaltravelers. As such, it serves the daily economic and governmental needs of itsmassive population as well as a significant shadow population of tourists.
The city usedto rely on a complex computing environment that incorporated more than 400information systems installed on hundreds of servers to deliver services tocitizens. Tel Aviv needed a way to meet its growing needs without deploying newphysical servers, a costly, inefficient, and often tedious path to growth. Animportant factor: mobile access for citizens, as well as remote city workers,had to be fully addressed and secure.
The city decidedto build a multi-functional cloud based system that integrates several systemsinto one place. By increasing transparency and simplifying how data isorganized, accessed, and delivered, Tel Aviv’s Project Management Office (PMO) wasable to bring five important advantages to the city:
- City workers can now work from anywhere, on anydevice. The same goes for citizens and visitors, who can access city serviceswhile on the go.
- Information delivery is reliable and the systemsare highly available, improving continuity of operations for the city of TelAviv as well as businesses that rely on city services.
- The system can expand as needed, so city leadersknow their investment is safe. Their information system can continue to grow,and keep up with the massive growth in population that most cities will seeover the next century.
- Faster time to market as opposed to on-premisesdeployment, which would have taken approximately one year.
- Improved response time: IT departments can focuson the city’s needs and give better service to different business groups in thecity.
Amazingly,the transformation took place over the course of just four months. Part of thecredit goes to the IT team’s familiarity with Microsoft City Next solutions including Windows Azure, Virtual Machines, and PaaS services including SQL Azure, ActiveDirectory, and Cloud Services. But even more credit goes to the city of Tel Aviv itself, whichonce again has earned its reputation as one of the world’s most innovative andprogressive cities. The city had a vision, and engaged its Chief Architect andDirector of Software Infrastructure to drive the project forward under a tighttimeline and an even tighter budget. They defined their priorities and anon-negotiable timeline upfront, then stuck to it.
Key successfactors were:
- Operational flexibility—any system they createdhad to be able to grow as population increased, and it had to support a rangeof policies for backups, availability, and unlimited storage.
- ROI—this was an investment in the future of thecity, and as such, city leaders expected a quick return, which they got thanksin part to the fast deployment schedule, which reduced upfront costs.
- Device freedom—access must be assured from anydevice, from any location, anytime.
- Time to market—project completed in four months.
As a result of this project, Tel Aviv has at least partially solved sustainabilityand livability issues in the face of rapid population growth. The city has alsoprovided an excellent roadmap and has removed barriers for taking otherservices to the cloud. And they’ve sharpened the IT skills they’ll need toaccelerate future projects.
It’s an exciting time for our cities as they pioneer new technologies tobe more sustainable and economically competitive in the years to come. InTel-Aviv, it’s clear that the cloud is a crucial resource for achieving thoseoutcomes. Focusing on the evolving needs of citizens, businesses, and cityworkers rather than on the rigid details of infrastructure is an important stepforward.
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