ranks as the world’s second most
innovative city according to the Wall
Street Journal and Citibank’s City of the Year contest. It’s the
second-largest city in Israel and a major tourist destination for international
travelers. As such, it serves the daily economic and governmental needs of its
massive population as well as a significant shadow population of tourists.
The city used
to rely on a complex computing environment that incorporated more than 400
information systems installed on hundreds of servers to deliver services to
citizens. Tel Aviv needed a way to meet its growing needs without deploying new
physical servers, a costly, inefficient, and often tedious path to growth. An
important factor: mobile access for citizens, as well as remote city workers,
had to be fully addressed and secure.
The city decided
to build a multi-functional cloud based system that integrates several systems
into one place. By increasing transparency and simplifying how data is
organized, accessed, and delivered, Tel Aviv’s Project Management Office (PMO) was
able to bring five important advantages to the city:
- City workers can now work from anywhere, on any
device. The same goes for citizens and visitors, who can access city services
while on the go.
- Information delivery is reliable and the systems
are highly available, improving continuity of operations for the city of Tel
Aviv as well as businesses that rely on city services.
- The system can expand as needed, so city leaders
know their investment is safe. Their information system can continue to grow,
and keep up with the massive growth in population that most cities will see
over the next century.
- Faster time to market as opposed to on-premises
deployment, which would have taken approximately one year.
- Improved response time: IT departments can focus
on the city’s needs and give better service to different business groups in the
the transformation took place over the course of just four months. Part of the
credit goes to the IT team’s familiarity with Microsoft
CityNext solutions including Windows Azure,
Machines, and PaaS services including SQL Azure,
Directory, and Cloud
Services. But even more credit goes to the city of Tel Aviv itself, which
once again has earned its reputation as one of the world’s most innovative and
progressive cities. The city had a vision, and engaged its Chief Architect and
Director of Software Infrastructure to drive the project forward under a tight
timeline and an even tighter budget. They defined their priorities and a
non-negotiable timeline upfront, then stuck to it.
- Operational flexibility—any system they created
had to be able to grow as population increased, and it had to support a range
of policies for backups, availability, and unlimited storage.
- ROI—this was an investment in the future of the
city, and as such, city leaders expected a quick return, which they got thanks
in part to the fast deployment schedule, which reduced upfront costs.
- Device freedom—access must be assured from any
device, 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 sustainability
and livability issues in the face of rapid population growth. The city has also
provided an excellent roadmap and has removed barriers for taking other
services to the cloud. And they’ve sharpened the IT skills they’ll need to
accelerate future projects.
It’s an exciting time for our cities as they pioneer new technologies to
be more sustainable and economically competitive in the years to come. In
Tel-Aviv, it’s clear that the cloud is a crucial resource for achieving those
outcomes. Focusing on the evolving needs of citizens, businesses, and city
workers rather than on the rigid details of infrastructure is an important step
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