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GovTech bringing together different Singapore government grants for businesses into a single portal

GovTech bringing together different Singapore government grants for businesses into a single portal

The Government Digital Services (GDS) team at the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) published a series of blog posts on June 22, describing the ongoing development of the Business Grants Portal (BGP), which is designed as a single point of access for companies to find and apply for suitable grants from the government.

The Singapore government offers over 25 grants to Small & Medium enterprises (SMEs). Examples of areas where the SMEs can seek support include technology adoption, building in-house R&D capabilities, efficiency improvement, expansion to international markets and workforce training. A number of different agencies are involved, such as Spring Singapore, IE Singapore, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

The BGP seeks to bring the different government grants for businesses into one portal, making it significantly more convenient for businesses to find and apply for the grants they need. Previously they would have needed to visit multiple websites to find the right grant meeting their requirement.

Users need a CorpPass account to log in to the portal. CorpPass is a single corporate digital identity for businesses and other entities (such as non-profit organisations and associations) to transact with Government agencies online. It was introduced by GovTech last year to remove the need for users to handle multiple login IDs. By December 2017, CorpPass will be the required login for over 100 government digital services.

Access to BGP is divided into three tiers, Viewer, Preparer and Acceptor. While a Viewer can only view and monitor, the Preparer can view, edit and submit the grant applications. In addition to the above rights, the Acceptor can accept the terms and conditions of the Letter of Offer on behalf of the company.

Once the user logs in, details from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) are filled in automatically. After checking the information and filling in any additional details, the applicant is asked 3 simple questions about their business and based on their answers, they are led to the right grant. The portal streamlines similar grants that are administered by different government agencies and routes the application to the right agency.

As the application is processed, regular updates are provided through the Portal. If the application is successful, the user can simply log in to accept their Letter Of Offer.

Currently, the portal hosts 6 of the most popular grants and other grants are being added. The beta version was launched in May 2016 with 1 grant and 6 supported areas. The number of grants increased to 2 in September and 1414 applications had been received by December 31, 2016.

Six grants were accessible through the BGP by February 2017 and there were 133 supported areas (supported areas refers to functional areas such as Branding & Marketing, Overseas Expansion, Standards Adoption, Product Development, Business Model Transformation etc. within the different industries and sectors). By June 2017, 4989 applications had been received and 2348 approved. There are plans to have 7 grants and 144 supported areas by September this year. In addition, the use of chat bots and better fraud detection measures will be explored in Phase 2.

A second blog post on the development process explains that BGP was one of the first whole-of-government digital services developed using Agile, which allowed the prioritisation of features with high business value. The first grant was delivered in 12 months and the next 5 grants over the next 6 months , a significantly shorter time to market than traditional Waterfall development, which typically takes at least 3 years.

“All the code is fully integrated and tested at all times. Whenever there are new features, all the existing and new tests are run automatically and have to be passed before the new feature is merged. If the regression test fails, the development team is notified and the issue will be fixed immediately, preventing any bug from growing into a fatal error,” the blog explains.

The testing is fully automated, eliminating the need for additional manual testers as the product grows. Only new servers are needed. After the January launch, there were less than 20 minor issues which were easily fixed.

Components were rearranged to improve the flow after testing the first grant form and some of the labels were made clearer and alert messages added in at critical points. These form components are being reused for other grants and hence, the design continues to get tested and improved on.

The team has had to adapt to changes in grant policy, business needs and economic conditions during this first phase.Once the release plan had to be altered because one agency couldn’t find a vendor to manage the integration between the portal and their system in time for the release.

Product owners from the Grant Management Office, Ministry Of Trade And Industry were co-located at Hive to enhance communication between the development team and product owners.

Read the blogs on Medium:

How we made applying for grants easierOur 4 secrets of successful software delivery

PARTNER

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.

PARTNER

CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

PARTNER

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 www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

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.

PARTNER

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. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help 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 3,000 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.