Managing Director/Chief Executive, Galaxy Backbone, Mr. Yusuf Kazaure, spoke with Emma Okonji on how its recently acquired ISO 20000 certification would reposition the government agency to further deepen e-governance among MDAs. Excerpts:
Galaxy Backbone has been at the forefront driving connectivity among Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government. How has this drive enhanced e-government strategy?
Yes, we are passionate about driving internet connectivity within government agencies and this has helped in enhancing e-government strategy of the federal government. When I became managing director of Galaxy Backbone in 2014, there was a lot of pressure on us to deliver the best of services to our customers and at that time, e-government penetration was low, but there was a growing awareness for e-governance. Then several government agencies were in need to upload their services online and interface with the public sector in such a way that the people could access their services online-realtime. At that time, a lot of government payment systems were moved online, including job recruitment among other services. There was also transition to Treasure Single Account (TSA) by the federal government within that period, precisely in 2015. So all these put a lot of pressure on Galaxy Backbone as a government agency that provides connectivity solutions to all government agencies.
Despite the growing demand as at that time, there was limited financial resources from government to drive the whole process as a result of the sharp drop in oil prices at the international market. The situation compelled Galaxy Backbone to revisit its service delivery system, and in the process, we realised that we needed to do things differently and we came up with an idea called Galaxy 2.0 strategy.
How has the Galaxy 2.0 strategy helped in achieving the goals of Galaxy Backbone?
The key elements of the strategy was to enable us create a resilience organisation that could address the wind of change. We wanted to create agility, innovation and entrenched cultural change within Galaxy Backbone, using the Galaxy 2.0 strategy. At the end of it we were able to adopt Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), which is a standard for deploying information technology(IT) services in organisations.
The strategy, which we deployed, brought about tremendous change and growth in customer satisfaction and we decided to evaluate ourselves to measure our performances by undergoing the processes of the ISO 20000 certification, which is a service management system that enhances quality of service delivery.
So we benchmarked our performances with the ISO 20000 certification.
Galaxy Backbone, last week, was issued the ISO 20000 certificate it obtained from the British Standard Institute (BSI). What impact will the certification have on e-governance?
When I took over as managing director of Galaxy Backbone in 2014, the awareness and penetration levels of e-governance were low, the challenge then was lack of infrastructure. So what we did was to first put the right infrastructure in place and ensured that the infrastructure delivered the right and quality service it was designed to deliver. Having achieved the two steps, we went further to address the issue of the type of apps that will run on the infrastructure to drive e-governance, which is about digitising government data and processes and making them available to the public across the country, and we will continue to do that. So we built the data centre, the connectivity and the cloud that will allow all government agencies to host their data with the government cloud that is seated with GalaxyBackbone. So the issue of creating connectivity by government agencies does not arise any longer. The infrastructure is available for agencies to plug in. This was done to enable all government agencies achieve e-government strategy in a collaborative manner, as against working in silos.
How will you rate customer satisfaction before the certification and what impact will the certification have on customers going forward?
Customer satisfaction as at 2014, when I became managing director of GalaxyBackbone, was not so high. But as the years run by, customer satisfaction started improving, based on the infrastructure we had already but in place. Last year, we decided to measure customer satisfaction and discovered that there was a six per cent increase in customer satisfaction, over what it used to be in 2014. What that means is that, there is improvement in customer satisfaction, based on what we were able to implement. So I will say that the ISO 20000 certification that we just received speaks volume of our readiness to improve further on customer satisfaction.
Customer satisfaction with government organisation is a complex one because we have to contend with different kinds of people that use our solution.
But customers are the ultimate winners in all instance and I say so because the service provider like Galaxy Backbone, has an obligation to provide services that will enhance customer satisfaction. So the ISO 20000 certification will spur us into doing more for the customers and the certification is a pointer to the fact that we are capable of delivering world standard technology services to our customers and our customers will in turn, enjoy the benefits of world-class services and solutions from us.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalong, at the presentation of the ISO certificate, challenged IT solution providers to develop solution that will fully engage the Nigerian youths and make them self-reliant. What is your take on this?
The challenge thrown by the minister was apt and necessary because rapid development of a nation is hinged on the volume of technology solutions being utilised by the citizens, especially the youths. We need to deploy IT for national and international competitiveness. IT has caused a lot of disruptions and innovation that is driving economies and Nigeria should be able to encourage its youths and engage them with IT solutions. When the youths are fully engaged in IT through several training, they will maximise the power and tools of IT to develop themselves and the nation. The youths need to be educated, especially in IT, and this can be done perfectly through e-learning.
ISO certifications are not new toGalaxyBackbone because it has attained several of such certifications in the past. Could you tell us what propelled GalaxyBackbone to seek ISO 20000 certification as additional certification?
Yes, ISO certifications are not new to us. Six years ago, GalaxyBackbone obtained the ISO 27001 certification, which is an information security management system certification. We had to enroll for that certification because of the role of GalaxyBackbone in servicing government agencies, using IT solutions. Three years later, we got recertification on the ISO 27001 and we are getting ready for another certification this quarter. After that, we have had other ISO certifications, but we needed to get the ISO 20000 certification as additional certification, because it deals with service management system, which the company was positioned for. It is about delivering service to customers in a sustained and world-class manner.
One thing is to get ISO certifications and another thing is to maintain the standard. What are your plans to implement and sustain the standard of ISO 20000 in your business?
Like I said, we had other ISO certifications and we were able to earn recertification on them. The way we had, over the years, consistently maintained the standard of such certifications, is the same way that we are promising Nigerians about the sustainability of the ISO 20000 certification standard.
What we do with certifications as soon as we earn them, is to entrench the values into the staff of GalaxyBackbone as our culture, and we back it up with frequent training.
What is the role of Digital Jewels Consulting in the ISO 20000 certification attained by Galaxy Backbone?
Digital Jewels is a consulting firm that specialises in delivering training for organisations. They also consult for companies in attaining ISO certifications. So we engaged their services in most of the training we had and we also used them to do mock audit before the actual audit by the British Standard Institute that offers the ISO certifications.
The Deputy British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Harriet Thompson, who presented the ISO certificate to Galaxy Backbone, encouraged organisations to do more with technology certifications. What is your take on this?
Thompson was right on point because the demand for technology services is on the increase and as such, service delivery by government and organisations must change to conform with the high and sophisticated demands. Certain government departments may go into extinction if they do not adopt technology processes. So also, government agencies must use technology to deliver services, and enhance transparency. Most businesses are now online and government is beginning to put out all its services online and interact with the public online, thereby reducing stress on the part of the people and making government digitally complaint.
ISO certifications are rigorous. So how long did it take Galaxy Backbone to achieve the ISO 20000 certification?
The most important thing about certification is that it is focused around the people. We need a cultural change in our organisation and we had to benchmark our services with ISO 20000 certification for validation, despite the rigorous training involved with ISO certification. So all the staff members of Galaxy Backbone were subjected to the rigorous training and it took us approximately 18 months to complete the entire processes, before sitting for the final examinations.
What will you say is your passion in driving the entire change in Galaxy Backbone?
My passion is about excellence. I have a passion for excellence and I am driving it with technology. I can be very patient to get the best done, but I can also be impatient when I see things deviating from the part of excellence. So my ultimate passion is to see Galaxy Backbone at the centre, in creating efficiency in governance among MDAs. I want to see Galaxy Backbone renewing government promises to its citizens and been able to deliver on its promises, using technology solutions.