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Malaysian Government Data Ocean, hosted by MAMPU, is not just a 'pool' of data

This past week, while in Malaysia attending the IDEX 2015 event, OpenGov had a chance to catch up with Dr. Suhazimah Binti Dzazali, Deputy Director General ICT, MAMPU. Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Planning Unit (MAMPU) is the guiding force behind ICT integration and utilization in the Malaysian public sector.

We had a lot to catch up on as Dr. Suhazimah has kept quite busy since we last spoke in October. It was then that she told us how MAMPU has developed a drive to improve online government services, how MAMPU is hosting and working with government data, and what she hopes to do with data analytics.

Citizen Centric Online Government Services

Government agencies need to focus on how to improve their service delivery system. That is the core business of the government. Dr. Suhazimah believes that the same focus applies to online services, and now, the standards must be raised.

 “Government 2.0 has been tracked by transactional targets. But now, we need to raise the bar. It is more about how many of those online services are affecting the citizens, and aiding the citizens. To do this we need to reexamine our government services provided online,” Dr. Suhazimah states.

She has been working towards improving these online services so as to create more proactive service delivery. MAMPU will work on revamping services to apply a more citizen-centric view that will stimulate more proactive response. Yet, in order to do this, insights from data will be required to create predictive analytics.

Government Data Ocean spurs Data Driven Transformation

We recently spoke to Dr. Suhazimah, discussing their new apps and services, data analytics, and what 2016 hold for MAMPU. Since we last spoke, Dr. Suhazimah already has a big new project under her belt.

This project is the Government Data Ocean (GDO) ,Proof of Concept.

“There is an opportunity to revamp the business process of organisations through the GDO enabling platform,” Dr. Suhazimah stated, “MAMPU will provide the central data exchange which will facilitate better data management between different repositories. We will enable that sharing amongst organisations.”

Over the past two months, Dr. Suhazimah’s main focus has been to build this stock of government data sets coming in from across the Malaysian Government. The GDO is comprised of data sets, categorised into three layers: Classified within the Agency, Classified within Government Agencies, and Open Data. So far, the GDO has published over 500 open data sets provided by government agencies, aiming to spur innovation from citizens.

To apply a more citizen centric focus to online government services, data analytics will be a main driver. Yet, organisations must be willing to share their data through the GDO to enable insights of value.

When asked why MAMPU is hosting the GDO, Dr. Suhazimah explained, “We are hosting the [GDO] because we were given this mandate to lead e-Government and the GDO falls under this mandate. Organisations trust us as the facilitator for these projects.”

To convince organisations to share their data, MAMPU creates a big data wall visualisation which helps to demonstrate the benefits of big data analytics. When organisations share data with MAMPU, they are assigned an account so ICT professionals can show subject matter experts the results. These results can then be visualised like so, and applied to their business processes.

All government agencies are holding data. In order to leverage the big data analytics process, organisations must feed information through the GDO. “While we are continuing our mission towards data driven transformation, this data in the GDO is what we hope to capitalise on to reveal relationships between sets of data. In turn, this will help organisations increase the standards of living for citizens,” Dr. Suhazimah stated.

How Immigration used Data Sharing (in the 90’s) to Improve Service Delivery

To describe the benefits of the organisations pooling their data together, Dr. Suhazimah told us about her time at the Immigration Department.  

“When I was working with Immigration in 1998, the government organisations were working in silos and no one was communicating with each other. In order to issue a passport, for example, the immigration officer needed to validate that the person in front of them was the person they claim to be,” Dr. Suhazimah said, “It took a long time to validate this information. We changed this by connecting immigration to the registration department, which administers citizen ID cards. Now these ID cards are using biometrics to authenticate the citizen is who they are.”

In 1998, this gave Immigration a tremendous opportunity to transform the business process for passport issuance. It takes an hour to process and print a passport application in Malaysia, as the Immigration officer is able to use the multi-factor authentication provided by the registration department ID.

This is one of the first examples of how sharing data across organisations helps improve service delivery, and it is one of Dr. Suhazimah’s main arguments for organisations to add their data to the ocean.

“This case describes a 1 to 1 example, now we are looking for many to many,” Dr. Suhazimah told us, “By a series of workshops and labs, we have seen many ministries bring their data to the GDO.

Three Outcomes of GDO

The GDO will work as an enabling platform for multiple organisations to share their data seamlessly. Through this, a data driven transformation approach is represented.

This exercise hopes to show 3 potential outcomes:

  1. Improvement of Online Government Services to be Smart and Citizen Centric
  2. Gaining value from Data Analytics for better Productivity, Planning, and Decision Making
  3. Increasing of Open Data to spur more co-creation and citizen participation, which will contribute to the economy

With the GDO, Dr. Suhazimah hopes that more organisations will join in, thus public sector service delivery will be greatly improved. Many of these online government services are not working ‘end-to-end’, Dr. Suhazimah told us. This is why the citizens still need support from a wider variety of Government services capabilities.

The next stage in data analytics is Predictive Analytics. In creating predictive analytics, multiple sets of data must be pooled together to create valuable insights which will create more proactive service delivery.

“To enable predictive analytics, it is imperative that organisations come together and share information amongst each other. I see the GDO as a potential for much more than data analytics, it will give us answers for how to carry out business transformation,” Dr. Suhazimah explained.

Overall, MAMPU is looking to improve the effect of public sector services on the end-point users, which are the citizens. “At the end of the day, GDO will provide better governance and utilisation of government funds,” Dr. Suhazimah stated. We are looking forward to how MAMPU will utilise this Government Data Ocean to create predictive analytics which will advance government service delivery in the upcoming year.

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