Close this search box.

We are creating some awesome events for you. Kindly bear with us.

Cybersecurity, legal/regulatory processes, human resources- three challenges for Singapore’s Smart Nation vision


Lena Goh, Chief Marketing Officer, GovTech, Singapore (left) and Dr. Janil Puthucheary, Minister in-charge of GovTech (right) (Credit: Screenshot of interview video from GovTech Facebook page)

Earlier this year year, in March 2017, the Singapore government carried out organisational restructuring to enable a more integrated and responsive strategy to achieve its Smart Nation and Digital Government (SNDG) objectives. The Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) was formed directly under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Senior Minister of State (Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Education), Dr. Janil Puthucheary, was appointed as Minister in-charge of GovTech (Government Technology Agency of Singapore).

Today at 9:15 am Dr. Puthucheary participated in an interview broadcast live on the GovTech Facebook page, elaborating how the key projects were selected, the role of the government and the private sector and outlining the biggest challenges.

Large, complex, cross-cutting projects

The government has identified three major projects to focus on: National Digital Identity, E-Payments and a national IoT/sensor communication backbone, the Smart Nation Platform. (Minister Dr. Balakrishnan provided details of initiatives under these three areas in his opening keynote address of IoT Asia 2017.)

All three can make a huge difference to the entire public sector and to citizens’ lives. Dr. Puthucheary explained that these three projects are not end-points, but rather starting points. They should become part of a stack where here people can layer other products and services on top.

There is work already happening in these areas. Now the idea is to reorganise and bring it together under PMO and SMDGG, so that all the systems and processes can communicate.

These projects might be large and challenging, cross-cutting across a range of sectors. But Dr. Puthucheary said they were selected precisely for those reasons.

He said, “They are going to generate tensions in a good way around our regulations, privacy and confidentiality, around data and how we share data.”

The learnings from these will help the government update not just technology, staff and capability, but also the legislative and regulatory processes. The lessons can subsequently be applied to help particular agencies and ministries achieve some of their aims.

Three big Challenges

Dr. Puthucheary went on to highlight regulatory and legal processes as one of three key challenges. Some agencies are doing a great job within their own area. But their internal systems hinder sharing data and processes and interoperability of standards. Those barriers have to be broken down, while being mindful of privacy and operational risks. That is why everything was brought under PMO.

The other two challenges mentioned were cybersecurity and human resources. Everything being done under Smart Nation  increase the attack surface. So, security will have to be embedded into systems and processes, everything will need to have security-by-design.

Dr. Puthucheary said that ensuring the availability of people with right skills in adequate numbers as possibly the biggest and most persistent challenge. To meet this challenge, young people’s interest in IT/ computer science has to be stimulated, singaporeans have to be attracted  to come back from overseas and mid-career professionals helped in changing jobs.

Government cannot do everything on its own

Both the government and the private sector will play important roles in the achieving the Smart Nation vision. The government’s role is to set standards, updating regulatory processes, and offer a few key products where the market is not going to step in. Government must enable sharing of standards, data, processes, sometimes helping overcome private sector reluctance to share data .

For example, the autonomous vehicle service might be driven by the public sector but it will be on top of standards set by government. It might be interfacing with government-deployed sensors and could use a public sector derived payment system. But the value-added services, from route prediction to restaurant booking will come from the private sector.


Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.


As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.


Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit


SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.


HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 


IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and consulting services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,800 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service. For more information, visit