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IMDA provides updates on progress and plans for SMEs Go Digital Programme at second industry briefing

Photo: Mr. Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive, IMDA speaking at the second SMEs Go Digital industry briefing 

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) of Singapore provided updates on progress and future plans for its SMEs Go Digital Programme at the second industry briefing. The programme, which was rolled out in April 2017, helps SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in the adoption and use of digital technology to boost their productivity and build their digital capability.

Progressively raising standards of pre-approved solutions

At the inaugural industry briefing, IMDA officially recognised fifty digital solutions for SMEs, these solutions being pre-approved for SMEs to choose from, providing reliable and proven tech and services.

During the first two months, over 100 SMEs adopted 24 pre-approved digital solutions (currently there are 56 pre-approved solutions), amounting to a combined project value of SG$2.4 million.

For pre-approval, the solutions are evaluated on criteria such as functionalities that meet SMEs’ requirements, ease of use and pricing affordability. Moving forward, beyond typical requirements to enhance productivity and drive transformation, digital capabilities such as cybersecurity, data protection, data analytics, inter-operability and compliance to standards will be gradually included as part of the evaluation criteria.

In addition to looking at new criteria, such as cybersecurity and compliance with the requirement set by the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), existing criteria which might be broad-based at the moment are being refined.

Pre-approved solutions will be re-evaluated after one year. Things like cybersecurity and privacy requirements do not remain static. So, this process of raising standards on a regular basis would help IMDA ensure that the SMEs remain compliant with the latest regulations and standards, while removing the pressure from SMEs to continuously monitor compliance, which they might not the resources or capability to do.

The solution providers will be informed in advance of the latest requirements and given adequate opportunity to comply with the raised bar for the solutions to remain on the pre-approved list or to enter the list.

Mr. Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive, IMDA said, “To enable our SMEs to continually benefit from innovative digital solutions, we will progressively raise the standards of the pre-approved digital solutions under SMEs Go Digital programme and catalyse the development of digital platforms that provides them access to game changing technologies such as artificial intelligence and data analytics.”

Association of Small & Medium Industry to operate SME Digital Tech Hub

IMDA also announced that the non-profit organisation, Association of Small & Medium Industry (ASME), has been selected as the agency to operate the SME Digital Tech Hub. The new Hub is a dedicated hub that will provide specialist digital technology advisory to SMEs. The intended users are the SMEs with more advanced digital needs, in areas such as data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity.

The services offered by the SME Digital Tech Hub complement the business advisory services offered at SME Centres. It will be rolled out later this year.

“The SME Digital Tech Hub is timely as SMEs navigate the rapidly evolving Infocomm Media (ICM) landscape. The specialist advice provided by the Tech Hub will be much welcomed by SMEs as they embark on their digital transformation journey. ASME is pleased to be appointed by IMDA as the operator of the SME Digital Tech Hub. I am hopeful that the SME Digital Tech Hub will be able to guide and help them seize opportunities in the Digital Economy,” said Mr. Kurt Wee, President of ASME.

Call for industry proposals on AI and data dcience platforms

IMDA also opened a Call for Submission (CFS) to gather pre-qualified industry proposals about how to catalyse adoption of AI and data science through platform-driven ecosystems.

Currently, platform-driven ecosystems are primarily seen in the business-to-consumer arena (Airbnb in travel, Uber/ Grab in transport, Upwork in labour and professional services, Kickstarter in finance). However, IMDA is looking for platform ideas in the business-to-business ecosystem, which is growing rapidly.  

In their proposals, industry partners are required to submit their drafts on how such digital platform or platforms could be commercially managed and have long-term sustainability. The proposals should also look at how the platforms could enable access to data, access to and adoption of AI algorithms and solutions and finally access to and adoption of digital products or services, such as digitisation of assets. Submissions are invited starting from today till September 8, 2017. 

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