National Broadband Ireland (NBI) was established to execute one of the most ambitious digital transformation projects in Irish history, the National Broadband Plan (NBP). Envisioned by the Irish government, the NBP’s roots trace back to the 2012 when the growing digital divide between urban and rural regions became a point of national concern. Amidst a backdrop of rapid technological advancements and increasing reliance on the internet for economic and social activities, it became imperative for the government to ensure that every citizen, regardless of location, had access to reliable high-speed broadband.
In 2019, after rigorous competitive tendering processes, NBI was awarded the contract to deliver the broadband infrastructure for these intervention areas. NBI was tasked with the monumental objective of designing, building, and operating a high-speed broadband network for over half a million premises across these areas. The project’s scope entailed laying over 140,000 km of fibre-optic cables to ensure rural communities, farms, schools, and businesses could seamlessly connect to the global digital economy.
NBI’s mission goes beyond infrastructure. It is intrinsically tied to national goals of economic growth, social inclusion, and ensuring that the digital era does not leave rural Ireland behind. The successful implementation of this project is expected to yield significant dividends in the form of increased economic activities, improved access to education and healthcare services, and the enhancement of rural communities’ overall quality of life.
The project begun early in 2020 and with it the introduction of design, build, commercial, project management and inventory systems, processes, and teams. The volume of data being generated across the project and the various teams was vast. As NBI’s processes became more sophisticated and integrated, the challenge was to leverage the existing data generated by one team to support a process across multiple teams and to automate labour intensive processes to minimise the time taken to manage the complexity of the project.
As various systems produced vast amounts of data independently, information remained scattered. With critical data stuck in separate silos, it was difficult to have a holistic view of operations. This fragmentation often led to redundancy, repetition, and inconsistent data.
Given the scale and complexity of the NBP, multiple teams needed to collaborate seamlessly. Without an integrated platform, teams often found themselves working with outdated or inconsistent data, leading to miscommunication and delays.
In the absence of an integrated system, real-time analytics was a challenge. Predicting and resolving issues before they became critical was almost impossible.
Early drafts of The Hubs functionality
As Chief Operating Officer (COO) of NBI’s deployment unit, Donal Hanrahan sought to enable the seamless transfer of relevant data between teams by creating a single unified platform for aggregating important data, while also automating and simplifying difficult and laborious business processes. To this end, DreamDev were engaged by NBI to design and build a state-of-the-art digital hub (The Hub), aimed at streamlining the intricate processes underpinning the complexities of delivering the extensive broadband network across Ireland.
Understanding the inherent complexities of managing data from disparate sources, DreamDev designed the Hub as a comprehensive data management system. This system harmonised data formats and ensured consistent, clean, and validated data input from every connected system.
Recognising the importance of real-time data in decision-making, DreamDev embedded dynamic reporting tools within the Hub. This feature allowed users to generate custom reports, dashboards, and visualisations, which were pivotal in understanding the current status of the project at any given time.
To manage the vast amount of data and ensure consistent performance, DreamDev employed a cloud-based infrastructure for the Hub. This ensured high availability, scalability, and efficient data processing without any lags or downtimes.
DreamDev introduced a workflow management system within the Hub. This system helped automate routine tasks, assign responsibilities, set reminders, and track task progress, ensuring nothing fell through the cracks.
Given the sensitive nature of the data, a sophisticated user access system was incorporated. This allowed the admin to control who had access to what data, ensuring data security and integrity.
Potentially display images of the HUB here
The Hub now serves as a centralised platform, deeply integrating with the existing design, build, financial, and commercial systems. By harnessing advanced analytics, real-time data oversight, and state-of-the-art automation techniques, the Hub facilitates streamlined resource distribution, prompt decision-making, and pro-active issue resolution.
Every day, over 140 users from throughout NBI and its partners access the Hub, each using the Hub to support their own important role in the network rollout.
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