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Training the Public Sector workforce while going through Digital Transformation, INTAN Malaysia’s Marsineh Binti Jarmin explains

OpenGov recently spoke to Mrs. Marsineh Binti Jarmin, Head of the Innovative Technology Cluster (i-IMATEC), National Institute of Public Administration (INTAN), while in Malaysia this past month.

Marsineh Binti Jarmin has served the Malaysian Government for over 36 years, across several agencies. She has been involved in the planning, development and implementation of many technology related projects at the various levels including Management Information System and Decision Support System.

As we were discussing the topic of preparing the public sector workforce for digital transformation, we thought it was appropriate to get Mrs. Marsineh’s take on the matter and learn how she is working to help close the growing skills gap in the IT sector.

In the Eleventh Malaysia Plan 2016-2020, Chapter 9 envisions that the strengthening of talent management for the public service of the future will happen through the upgrading public sector training to improve relevance and impact.

“You may ask, when will digital transformation take place? We have a vision for 2020, that by that time we will talk about getting things done accurately using the power of technology and innovation,” Mrs. Marsineh stated.

To work towards this 2020 vision, the public sector must be equipped with the right skills to adopt and adapt to digital transformation strategies and initiatives.

Mrs. Marsineh explains that so far, the public sector has not met the public expectations so they must focus on transforming and upgrading the skills within the workforce.

“Do we have enough skill sets or are we still relying on the conventional skill sets at hand?” Mrs. Marsineh told us.

“Having gone through that journey until today, we are still hearing from citizens that we have not transformed. This is despite the fact that we have transformed ourselves so much, we are still getting left behind by technology.”

There are 7 training areas that INTAN will be focused on, in order to help prepare public servants for the information age. These areas include:

  1. Strategic Digital Management
  2. Business Solution and Service Management
  3. Data Service Management
  4. Quality & Legal Assurance
  5. Security & Privacy Management
  6. Infrastructure Management
  7. Change Management

Mrs. Marsineh shared these 7 areas with us and explained some of the vital roles they play in the journey towards digital transformation. With respect to Strategic Digital Management, she had a strong stance as to whether or not this would pertain to individuals throughout the whole agency.

“It is not just ICT personnel that should know about strategic digital management,” stated Mrs. Marsineh.

The reason for this is, as she explained, because everyone must be on board in order to properly welcome change to service delivery.

When we approached the topic of quality and legal assurance, it become clear to us that this is a high priority in the Malaysian Government. Each organisation holds heaps of sensitive data and keeping that secure is critical to maintaining business as usual.

“This area of quality and legal assurance is lacking. If something goes wrong, nothing can be done as data is lost. We have more documentation, more executives, more legal leverage, but unfortunately, data can be lost for good,” Mrs. Marsineh emphasised.

In addition to this, security and privacy management are critical matters. The cyber threat landscape is growing and the number of attacks targeted at government is increasing, as well. This has required agencies to ramp up their security strategy and protocol and knowledge throughout the organisation.

“We are actually building a new draft of the public sector plans for the next 5 years which will support the Information Security Plan. We have to support that plan because INTAN must provide the necessary training for this to be realised,” Mrs. Marsineh said.

Change management is one of the most talked about topics when it comes to digital transformation.

As we have often heard and said, culture change is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome before an organisation can embrace a digital transformation initiative.

Mrs. Marsineh shared why overcoming change management will be a big step forward for an organisation to take when integrating new ICT strategies.

“Some people give a lot of resistance to change, saying that technology is difficult and they cannot understand. This is a challenge to all of us,” Mrs. Marsineh explained, “If we want to go through digital transformation, we must build a community that is willing to change. This is because whatever we have learned and our experience must be very skilled to demand the latest of technology and the new expectations of our services by the citizens.”

This year, Mrs. Marsineh Binti Jarmin and her team will roll out several workshops and training sessions that will focus on upgrading the skill sets of public servants, in order to meet the ever-changing demand.

“2016 onwards, we must look to hold workshops that focus on these 7 areas,” said Mrs. Marsineh, “We plan to carry out training through various modes, including: face-to-face workshops, virtual learning, and blended learning.”

As the Malaysian Government is beginning to understand that technology is the future, and the future is now, they may better prepare the workforce and the public sector to meet the goals set forth in the Eleventh Malaysia Plan. 

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