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Singapore Simplifying Business Access to Government Services

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In an era defined by the rapid advancement of technology, the role of governments worldwide is evolving to meet the changing needs of their citizens. Singapore, known for its innovation and forward-thinking policies, has not been left behind.

The Government Technology Agency (GovTech) in Singapore has been at the forefront of leveraging technology to streamline government processes, prioritise citizens’ needs, and make public services more accessible. One of their remarkable achievements in this journey is the GoBusiness platform, which is transforming the way businesses in Singapore interact with the government.

GoBusiness is a groundbreaking platform developed in collaboration with The Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). It serves as the primary channel for businesses in Singapore to access government e-services and resources. Its creation was not a solitary endeavour; it involved extensive consultations with over 500 business users from diverse industries to ensure that it addressed real business challenges.

Simon Ang, Deputy Director of Product Management for GoBusiness, explains that the platform’s genesis was rooted in simplifying regulatory processes, particularly for businesses in tightly regulated sectors like Food & Beverage (F&B). In these sectors, businesses often find themselves navigating a labyrinth of licenses and permits from various government agencies. GoBusiness Licensing was introduced in 2019 to streamline these processes for F&B businesses. Following its success, the platform swiftly expanded its scope to cater to a wider array of industries and business requirements.

Today, GoBusiness stands as a testament to innovation, supporting businesses in every stage of their journey. It offers a seamless and enterprise-centric experience in accessing government resources and digital services. Yet, building this platform was not without its challenges.

One major hurdle was consolidating and linking services from different government agencies, each with its data definitions and API specifications. This required significant efforts to devise solutions, reengineer processes, and convince internal stakeholders of the worthiness of the investment. Prioritisation was another challenge, as finite resources demanded a careful selection of problems to tackle. The outbreak of COVID-19 forced the team to adapt and pivot from their original product roadmap to address businesses’ immediate needs.

The impact of GoBusiness is substantial, recording daily averages of 20,000 page views and 300-400 transactions. These transactions typically include business registration, license applications, and renewals, with expectations of further growth as the platform expands its suite of services. It has also proven its ability to handle massive traffic spikes, particularly during announcements related to business-related schemes or initiatives.

The platform’s infrastructure is designed for scalability and is complemented by the Green/Blue deployment strategy, minimising downtime and reducing the risk of failure during deployment. Security is paramount, adhering strictly to government standards, leveraging the SG Tech Stack for data integration, and ensuring encrypted and secure channels for information transmission. User access is secured through Singpass authentication.

GoBusiness significantly eases the initial hurdles for aspiring entrepreneurs by providing a single touchpoint for obtaining reliable and up-to-date information on business activities. It consolidates content and services from over thirty government agencies, saving businesses time and effort in researching across multiple sources. Self-service tools such as step-by-step guides and e-Advisers offer personalised guidance on navigating regulations and applying for government schemes and licenses, tailored to individual business needs.

GoBusiness remains committed to evolution and expansion, engaging business owners and administrative staff through user interviews, and testing to optimise the portal’s design and development. Over 500 businesses from various industries have related to this so far, and these interactions will continue to shape GoBusiness’s ongoing development.

Looking ahead, GoBusiness aims to take a proactive role in delivering timely Government services and information to businesses. Personalised recommendations based on businesses’ maturity and activities are on the horizon, enhancing the platform’s relevance and utility.


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