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The pandemic has accelerated the process of digital transformation for governments, banks, and enterprises at a rate that we could never imagine. While this rapid digital shift has led to a data deluge in organisations, there is a lot of uncertainty about how to draw useful insights from it.

Looking to empower enterprises and agencies in Malaysia on secure and effective data management, OpenGov Asia organised an OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight on 19 November 2020. The session witnessed an overwhelming level of attendance and engagement from the audience.

Make data management a priority in this evolving digital landscape

Mohit: Partner with champions who can make your digital transformation journey smooth

The session was opened by Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia. Mohit pointed to the fact that the volume of data being generated has increased exponentially over the past few months. But he was quick to note that the data would only be valuable if we organisations could to draw actionable insights from it.

He urged the delegates to make data management a priority in this evolving, and often, daunting digital landscape. As they chart out their data management strategy, it is imperative to keep in mind certain considerations, specifically –  security, compliance and governance, cost, automation and performance monitoring.

Mohit acknowledged that providing access to all data to remote employees from anywhere and, at the same time, ensuring the security of data is an incredible balancing act that is vital for organisations to get right in the current context.

In the same vein, he also cautioned the audience to not let security concerns limit or block possibilities for them.

In conclusion, Mohit exhorted the delegates to incorporate a robust and scalable data management system. Rather than trying to do it by themselves, he advised them to partner with experts in the field who can support them on this journey.

Ransomware and cyber threat trends in the current Digital Landscape

Andy: 70% of organisations took more than 24 hours to recover from a ransomware attack

After Mohit’s opening, Andy Ng, VP, Managing Director, ASR Sales shared some very insightful findings from research recently commissioned by Veritas. The study was conducted across 21 countries globally with a very strong representation from SEA.

The objective of the survey was to gain insight into organisations preparedness against ransomware attacks. Key findings from the survey indicated that:

  • 64% store their data and applications in the cloud
  • 61% use more than 5 different cloud services (data complexity/visibility)
  • 70% of corporations who suffered a ransomware attack took more than 24 hours to resume normal business operations
  • The third biggest concern occupying organisational time is how to fend off risks from external and internal risks and data loss

After shedding some light on the current cybersecurity landscape, Andy revealed how Veritas Enterprise Data Service Platform could help delegates better manage, protect, and simplify your data landscape.

Cloud is the biggest enabler of business agility today

After Andy’s presentation, Rueben Athaide, Head, Cloud Customer Engagement, Standard Chartered Bank offered his perspective to the delegates.

Reuben explained that cloud today is the biggest enabler of business agility in three key ways:

  • instilling a culture of innovation
  • reducing the cost and speed experimentation
  • enabling taking advantage of external opportunities by connecting to ecosystems
Rueben: The cloud service model organisations must be designed to support business strategies

He further shared that at Standard Chartered, the cloud service models are designed to support business strategies. Today, almost all the products and services of a bank are digitally enabled. Based on the classification of these products and services, Standard Chartered uses a combination of SaaS, IaaS and PaaS cloud service models.

Reuben expanded on the four key areas of cloud transformation for Standard Chartered. They include application migration from on-premise to hybrid, virtual workplace and end-user tools, security and network transformation.

He elaborated on how their cloud strategy helps enhance operational resilience. They have two on-prem data centres in two different geographical locations with a pair of data centres to enable disaster recovery. They have coded everything into their cloud operations to avoid any misunderstanding and miscommunication.

To ensure the security of data, they have laid down specific guiding principles and a broader approach based on the different categories of classified data.

Reuben concluded his presentation by emphasising the importance of data security.


Data explosion and rapid digital transformation have exposed the organisation to a lot of external risks

John: Chose a reliable partner who can help you overcome your data management challenges

After Rueben’s information-rich presentation, John Abel, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Veritas Technologies shared his observations with the delegates.

John agreed that many organisations had to rethink the way they were operating and change their business models in light of the pandemic and the anticipated post-pandemic new normal. He acknowledged the rapid transformation and the increased digital footprint of doing everything online.

The data explosion and rapid digital transformation have also exposed organisations to a lot of external risks. All these factors together have increased the IT complexity making even more challenging for the organisations to stay resilient.

John concluded his presentation by showing the delegates how the Veritas Enterprise Data service platform can help them overcome these challenges. Their platform is built on 3 major pillars which include making data easily available, keeping it protected and enabling deriving insights from it.

After the presentations from the speakers, it was time to engage in discussion with the audience through polling questions.

On the first question about the requirement that is shaping your landscape to be agile with the business needs, a majority of the audience voted for adapting to changing customer demands (42%).

A senior delegate from a public sector agency shared that incorporating the needs of the citizens is of paramount importance as their primary goal is the serve the citizens in the best way possible.

On the next question about the biggest challenge faced by organisations when looking at digital transformation, the delegates were equally divided between skill shortage to implement and operate technology (36%) and dependency on the need to integrate with legacy systems and/or technology (36%).

Another delegate noted that they are seeing a lot of demand among citizens/customers to incorporate digital transformation in their processes. But there are a lot of legacy systems in place and integrating them into the new digital platforms is a very challenging task.

On the final question about the biggest consideration for your organisation when evaluating new technologies, the audience was once again split between cost optimisation (33%) and support for new and modern technologies (33%).

A delegate said, when looking for a new solution in the organisation, they ensure that it supports the latest technology to bring the ease in operations and processes.

After the interactive polling session, John addressed the delegates to bring the session to a timely closing.

As data is going to explode, complexity within organisations is going to go up. In line with Mohit’s advice, he advocated partnering with a stable and reliable organisation that can assist and support in the area of data classification and protection.

John encouraged the delegates to engage in conversation with the Veritas team and share with them their data management challenges so that they can assist them along their journey.

Even though the public sector was well on the path of digitisation and moving to the cloud before COVID-19, the pandemic has forced governments to rethink their cloud strategy. To delve deeper into the rapid cloud transition and its impact on the public sector, OpenGov Asia spoke with Peter Moore, Regional Managing Director, Asia Pacific and Japan, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services.

Peter began by tracing the public sector’s cloud journey to the time when the public sector was both intrigued and sceptical about adopting cloud systems in day-to-day functioning. Since then, he has seen a tremendous move to cloud among public sector agencies. This was well before the world was hit by the pandemic and remote work became the norm.

Peter opined that the primary driver behind this shift in the pre-COVID era was citizen demand for effective service delivery. Education, healthcare and civil service institutions started putting a web backend to enhance citizen service delivery and better capabilities for government employees.

This led to a major attitudinal change towards cloud and a realisation of its advantages like high performance, agility, and security. Such pioneering public sector institutions started experimenting with cloud solutions in their backend functions as well.

Today, there is a wide spectrum of readiness for cloud in the public sector across the Asia Pacific region depending on policies, procurement, training and internal readiness.

Explaining AWS’s role in this move to the cloud, Peter shared that training and educating both users and developers of cloud and helping them overcome fears and doubts have been their major goal.  AWS is all about supporting its customers at every step in their cloud journey. They don’t consider a job (well) done till their customers get the services they signed up for.

Peter, jokingly, said that users have had a love-hate relationship with cloud historically. But they are gradually coming to realise the ease of securing, monitoring and analysing data on the cloud that they never had at a data centre.

The cloud journey took a sharp turn when the pandemic hit. The compulsions of lockdowns and remote working paved the way for moving to cloud for everything at a pace faster than it had ever been in the last 6 years. Peter also shared that public sector organisations that had already made the transition to cloud and established the capabilities to work remotely had a huge advantage when the world was locked down.

This spiked demand for cloud is a trend that will not slow down as the world recovers from the pandemic. In fact, it will likely continue to accelerate and further deepen the realisation of security, agility, and reliability that cloud brings.

On being asked about how cloud can help the economy on its road to recovery from the pandemic, Peter believes that cloud helps enhance efficiency in service delivery by the public sector. Cloud assists governments in providing financial and healthcare services to their citizens remotely.

Today people are hungry to learn the skills and use solutions that help them remain relevant in these times. And cloud is a very powerful tool that can help entrepreneurs run businesses, doctors reach patients and teachers teach their students without being in physical contact with one another.

For the citizens, services have become more cost-effective and they can interact with their family, friend and colleagues without leaving their homes. Countries all across the Asia Pacific are seeing these advantages of cloud and utilising it to recover both economically and socially.

Peter spoke about the future of cloud and the role that AWS will play in the crucial period over the next six months. The shift of unclassified data to the cloud has already happened and there is an ongoing attempt to move the most valuable applications and workflows to cloud among public sector organisations. The focus for AWS will be to maintain this trust in cloud and strengthen the processes further to ensure the safety of data.

Four guiding principles that can help public sector organisations overcome COVID-19 challenges, Max Peterson, Vice President of International Sales for Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services

Another goal of AWS will be to rapidly scale up the capabilities of pivoting to cloud irrespective of the availability of policy, money, capabilities and concerns about cloud technology across different levels in the public sector industry.

Max Peterson, Vice President of International Sales for Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services, delivered a keynote at AWS Public Sector Summit Online highlighting four guiding principles that can help public sector organisations overcome COVID-19 challenges while remaining focused on delivering their missions.

Peter shared some highlights that online summit hosted by AWS which earlier used to be a physical event. The summit covered ground on how to move forward in the cloud journey, have an agile platform, how to keep innovating it and how to think big. Apart from expert speakers, the online summit brought together a number of AWS customers who shared their stories with the audience, strengthening belief in the power of cloud technology.

Peter exhorts governments and public sector enterprises all over the world to respond to their citizens’ needs effectively and efficiently, especially in unprecedented times like the last six months.

He is a strong advocate of digitisation of governments; considering it to be the biggest asset a nation could have in ensuring the overall wellbeing of its citizens. He validated this with the examples of Japan and Singapore who have done an exceptional job at keeping their countries resilient over the last few months.

The Japan Government Common Platform was launched on AWS on October 8. The Japanese government will be using AWS to modernize IT and strengthen governance by integrating disparate applications and data across the cabinet office, thirteen ministries and agencies to centralize management, enhance security, and reduce operational costs. This will allow government ministries to move quickly in innovating and delivering digital citizen services.

In Singapore, the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) has been pioneering the use of cloud services to drive the Singapore Government’s digital transformation. Over a five-year period till 2023, the Singapore Government will systematically shift less sensitive Government ICT systems onto the commercial cloud, to allow public agencies to use leading-edge private sector capabilities to develop digital services. Most recently, in response to COVID-19, GovTech has used AWS cloud technology to quickly build the SafeEntry application, Singapore’s national digital check-in system, to prevent and control the spread of the pandemic.

As Regional Managing Director, Asia Pacific and Japan, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services, Peter has been intrinsically involved in building and growing the public sector business for AWS and he has seen trends rapidly change for cloud adoption. Paradigm shifts in perceptions of what cloud can do, its advantages, agility and security have driven organisations, agencies and institutions  – be it government, education, healthcare or non-profit organisations – to make cloud a cornerstone of their strategy.

Amazon is committed to becoming a trusted partner for the public sector in moving to public commercial cloud for increasingly complex and mission-critical workloads. He firmly believes that they pave the way for change and development by offering disruptive innovation, agility, twenty-first-century capability, new skills and efficiencies.

Peter assured us that AWS is set and eager to support the public sector on their future cloud journeys. Dedicated to their mission and their clients, Peter believes they have fun and simultaneously, create history every day– making the world a better place by enabling world-changing projects, driving economic development, facilitating citizen services and engagement and through cutting edge research and education.

Public sectors across the world will receive help in harnessing the power of analytics in the cloud through a new strategic partnership between an American analytics software developer and an American multinational technology company is helping the public sector.

The advent of robust analytics and flexible cloud strategies is giving governments the ability and the agility to stand on equal ground with the nimbler private sector — particularly during the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Director of Global Government Practice at the analytics software developer stated that never before have enterprises adapted and transformed as rapidly as they have since the arrival of COVID-19. In the private sector, these decisions have come relatively easily, even if the execution is hard — meet the customer where they are, expand infrastructure to meet the ballooning digital demand, and enable legions of employees to work remotely.

However, to truly understand the scale of the moment, watch as governments — sometimes perceived as slow to adopt digital transformation — become agile champions of the cloud.

To help governments achieve this, the analytics software developer has formed a strategic partnership with the tech giant to combine and harness the power of the former’s data analytics capabilities and the latter’s flexible Azure cloud environment.

Of course, analytics and cloud are not new concepts, but what’s different is the urgent move away from siloed and legacy infrastructures that are simply not capable of reacting fast enough in the current environment.

The Worldwide Director of Smart Infrastructure at the tech giant has spent the past 15 years helping cities around the world build innovative solutions using cloud-native analytics. He says he can see clearly how the future will be defined by data analytics, particularly with the Internet of Things taking off and the data flood beginning.

For someone to make sense of all that data and see patterns in it is a monumental challenge — let alone making predictions from it. There’s so much potential with the analytics software developer, who has that inherent knowledge of understanding and interpreting data analytics, with the ability to execute on that data.

And of course, when talking about government-held data, compliance and security are at the top of the list of requirements, making the tech giant’s certified Azure solutions all the more important. Azure provides control of the data, and the analytics software developer’s Viya — a data analytics platform designed for Azure — enables analytics across the entire spectrum.

Public-sector analytics in the IoT age

One may not think of a government or city council as having a large IoT estate but think of light poles, luminaires, air quality sensors, water meters and water quality management systems. All of these are connected and generating a huge amount of data.

Keeping on top of these assets and sensors is vitally important for city, state and federal governments, especially those committed to dealing with climate change or other serious challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemics, the present one or any other, seem tailor-made for analytics solutions. The analytics software developer is using analytics to find anomalies in public health, figure out how to optimise hospital bed usage, and manage a supply chain for personal protective equipment in the wake of COVID-19.

And then there are other fields such as fraud prevention, crime investigation and so on, which also are ideally suited to analytics solutions.

The possibilities of powerful analytics in government are truly exciting, the Director of Global Government Practice stated. The company’s focus now is helping those public institutions embrace the cloud quickly to drive tangible results.

Deep integration

The need to respond quickly to COVID-19 has helped everyone in the sector to realise that digital transformation can happen anywhere, on any timeline.

It doesn’t have to be at the nation-state scale. Local government is equally well suited to capitalising on the benefits of cloud-enabled analytics. Cities don’t have the expertise internally to deploy these tools, so customers are not being asked to invest in huge data centres and spend their precious budget on data capture and data storage.

That service offering is built on the deep integration of the Viya platform with Azure services such as including Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS), the tech giant’s Active Directory, Azure Synapse, enabling the delivery of a fully integrated, end-to-end, cloud-native analytics solution.

Keeping the end in mind

It’s important to remember the ultimate beneficiary of all this technology is — the citizen. Cloud-enabled analytics must be employed in such a way that dealing with government agencies becomes easier and more streamlined. Citizens are expecting a level of performance that they experience in the consumer world, and that performance can now be achieved faster and at a lower cost thanks to partnerships like that between the two software firms.

Governments have an enormous responsibility to keep citizens safer, to reduce unnecessary spending, and frankly, to make daily life more enjoyable. The analytics software developer takes this responsibility seriously and is working on the next generation of analytics technology that will help the public sector reap the benefits of the cloud, and improve the citizen experience.

Digital transformation is the process of adopting the current and/or emerging digital technology in driving the business through strategic plans and organisational change to augment or adapt services, delivery and revenue.

Respondents of a 2020 Asia Pacific small, medium business digital maturity study acknowledged the crucial role of digital transformation in the businesses. The study, covered Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam as markets. Conducted at the beginning of the year, the study had 1,400 respondents from across the commercial landscape exploring various industries from financial services, telecommunications, media, manufacturing, construction, transportation, retail to wholesale.

It found that digitally mature small and medium businesses (SMBs) have higher benefits in terms of revenue and increased productivity, contributing to their growth and economic recovery. Data revealed that digitally mature SMEs could enjoy up to 16% increase in revenue and a 14% increase in productivity, allowing for a greater contribution to a nation’s economy. The study showed that 31% of SMEs in the Asia-Pacific region are still in the first stage of the digitalisation process, called the digital indifferent stage. Meanwhile, 53% are in the observer stage, 13% in the digital challenger stage and only 3% are in the digital native stage.

A senior industry head opined that Philippine SMBs are eyeing improved customer experience and service delivery through digitalisation. Lack of budget and shortage of skilled talents are the key challenges for Philippine SMBs. They also had to deal with the lack of necessary technologies, lack of insight into operational or customer data, cultural resistance to change, among others.

The pandemic has entirely changed the context, scope and nature of transactions done by people. Enterprises need to learn, adapt and maximise the use of technology, especially now that most people rely on it to continue their businesses and lives in the new normal.

Business process outsourcing (BPO) companies, for instance, continue their services remotely, while most organisations have implemented work-from-home (WFH) strategies that rely on a digital workspace. In this scenario, businesses rely heavily on telecommunications service, cloud and cyber resilience services increasingly.

About 70 % of SMBs in the study said they are accelerating digitalisation in response to the coronavirus disease COVID-19 pandemic. Well over half (62%) of the respondents are looking at digital platforms, services and solutions to launch new products and services. They recognise that staying ahead of the competition remains an important factor.

A local entrepreneur confirmed how dependent the business is on technology and how poor digital services,  like intermittent or low-bandwidth internet, could affect service and revenues. Unreliable internet connectivity results in a delay in receiving inquiries from potential clients. If not serviced promptly, this translates into a lost opportunity. As such, it is critical for the internet connection remained stable, especially when products were being uploaded online. To ensure this, they consistently monitor the internet connection speed using an app. Similarly, the business uses a money manager app to monitor the cash flow and expenses, as well as consistently upgrades phones/cameras to be able to take good photos.

Data from the survey show that respondents plan to invest in cybersecurity, information technology infrastructure upgrade and cloud. The pandemic has increased the technology investment priorities on customer experience and video conferencing solutions and artificial intelligence (AI). In the Philippines, 18% of respondents shared they are looking to invest in AI, while 15% have prioritised IT or software upgrade. Another 15% answered that cloud would be the main focus of their technology investment.

The study suggests that accelerating the digitalisation process could add US$1.3 trillion to the region’s GDP in 2024. The pandemic brings an opportunity for SMEs to accelerate their digital transformation, as the process will not only help them solve problems but also sustain their growth in the long run.

The Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab recently announced that one of its incubatees launched a new solution which is now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.

Solution description

The firm’s AI chatbot solution can be used in various teaching and learning scenarios that can be scaled up to teaching or training large groups of students or employees. One breakthrough for the firm was the development of the software that enables online classroom flipping, which greatly enhances the experience of remote teaching due to COVID-19 pandemic. The research ideas behind the firm’s technologies have been published in academia venues and the filing of trademarks and patents are in the process. The benefits to end clients (students/employees) are supported by real data collected over three years.

Application Areas

The solution was designed to be applied in the areas of Broadcasting, Education as well as Training.

Technologies Used

The solution employs Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Computing, Data Analytics, Deep Learning, Machine Learning and Mobile Technologies.

Use case

The firm’s AI Chatbot is a complete solution aimed at empowering students of all abilities to learn effectively reaching their full potential while enabling scalable personalized learning on a real-time scale using Artificial Intelligence (AI) software technologies. It is common knowledge that the one-size-fits-all common education system that focuses on rigid assessment and pressurized competition leads to high dropout rates and stressed-out teachers and students.

Stakeholders such as parents and school management often lack the understanding of problems faced by classroom teachers who in turn lack the knowledge on how their students perform in classrooms individually or across groups (within and across schools). Over years, disinterested students would have either given up already at an early stage or lag in foundational subjects like mathematics, thus leading to persisting education equity problems.

With pedagogy as the driver, tech innovations in education need to be relevant to the generations of students and teachers. Educational software — fuelled by the proliferation of mobile devices — creates the very tools needed to solve the education equity problem.

Technology can and must be mobilized to make the process of teaching and learning more efficient and engaging to curtail the critical decline of quality teachers in the industry, as well as unlock a fascination within students for intellectual subjects, inspiring students to pursue lifelong learning.

Ongoing research in neuroscience has provided new insights into the intricacies of neural processes underlying learning, offering clues that engaging individualized instruction with feedback can nurture learning. The feedback loop between teachers and individual students must be closed and reinforced with pedagogical innovations. The feedback loop between stakeholders like management, parents and teachers must be closed and reinforced with innovations that equalize equity gaps and optimise learning.

The company provides a complete solution to innovate K-16 education learning based on integrated software products driven by mobile AI Chatbot technologies and proprietary techniques in cognitive cloud computing big data analytics. For K-12 students, the firm’s AI Chatbot running on mobile tablets connect students with educational contents curated by a creative gamification process.

For K-16 (covering tertiary students) and adult learners, the mobile AI Chatbot technologies provide in-classroom and remote learning based on pedagogical innovations like classroom flipping with peer instructions that allow at scale delivery to a large number of students worldwide, opening up the possibility to teach 21st-century skill-sets and to groom an AI workforce. Data analytics-driven by cloud computing and machine learning algorithms provide deep insights and real-time feedback on students’ learning process to stakeholders like school management, teachers and parents.

A cloud-first strategy directs organisations to deliver applications and services from a cloud computing platform first before considering any on-premise alternatives.

While several considerations – like the threat of a data breach or data loss – could cause concern from using the cloud in sensitive industries, such as finance, the growing consensus is that a cloud-first approach has considerable advantages and in many cases is more secure for organisations than trying to protect their own infrastructure.

The New Zealand government Cloud-First requires its agencies to use public cloud services and to accelerate their adoption of public cloud services, in a balanced way, so they can drive digital transformation. This includes:

  • enhancing customer experiences
  • streamlining operations
  • creating new delivery models

With massive investments made into digital infrastructure by major global software companies, hyperscale cloud providers are keen to make their services available in New Zealand. These developments could prove to be a ‘game-changer’ for the nation’s digital transformation journey. Hyperscale cloud and sophisticated infrastructure would have a significant impact on digital maturity and accelerate the use of cloud in government.

To support and guide these developments, the Digital Public Service (DPS) branch at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is working collaboratively with partner functional leads to chalk out a detailed strategy to update policy and system settings for cloud technology. This will include new guidance for the use of cloud by government agencies.

Developing an all-of-government Cloud Centre of Excellence

The New Zealand government cloud programme supports public service agencies to accelerate the use and benefits of cloud in line with government’s policy.

Under the Cloud-First policy, government organisations are required to use public cloud services as the go-to strategy. They are required to adopt these services individually for the various services and offerings on hand after assessing all possible issues. The Cloud First policy requires government organisations to:

  • adopt public cloud services in preference to traditional IT systems
  • make adoption decisions on a case-by-case basis following a risk assessment
  • only store data classified as RESTRICTED or below in a cloud service, whether it is hosted onshore or offshore

The focus for the 2 years will be to establish an all-of-government Cloud Centre of Excellence, that would support agencies to successfully execute well-designed and governed cloud migrations. Currently, the Digital Public Service branch is working actively with agencies to assist them with their cloud adoption planning and to facilitate collaboration on common cloud-related challenges.

Cloud programme partnerships

The programme will also specifically explore engaging with cloud providers to refresh and continually improve New Zealand’s access to cloud services. Where necessary, public service policies will be adjusted suitably and will a range of agreed ‘Lighthouse’ innovation partnerships will be progressed.

These partnerships, early in their lifecycle, are in the areas of education, environment, business and land. The overseeing agencies will determine how best to couple hyperscale cloud with advanced technologies to deliver solutions that would have significant national impact.

To build further capability and capacity for these initiatives the DPS branch will be recruiting key positions for the programme.

The DPS also encourages digital innovation through its Digital Government Partnership Innovation Fund (DGP). The fund is a $5 million contestable fund that invests in digital and data innovation. It provides an opportunity for government organisations to collaborate and invest in early-stage, cross-agency pilots and prototypes. It’s administered by the Digital Public Service (DPS) branch at the Department of Internal Affairs.

Any proposed initiative under the fund should also demonstrate innovation (the fund is not for business-as-usual), cross-agency collaboration, benefits to the public service or sector that will support transformation and must align with relevant standards, such as the NZ Government Digital Service Design Standard.

The Digital Public Service (DPS) branch at the Department of Internal Affairs is also engaging with a selection of government organisations this month to get feedback on the current and future states of digital standards maintenance and development.

This work will result in an implementation plan and roadmap for standards which will be released to all public sector organisations for consultation in early December 2020.

The latest solution by a firm within the Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab is now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.

Solution description

The platform, called DragOnce, allows both IT and non-IT users to digitise their processes, including workflows, without coding, and it supports both web or mobile apps. In addition, the company provides implementation services which can help the Government to digitise the processes in a rapidly using the DragOnce platform.

The platform allows users of different roles to streamline the business approval process, control records access permission control, set scheduling jobs, notifications, reminders, upload or download files, pre-defined tailor-made reports or charts, etc. It supports better controlling for Government staff to manage internal processes at scale. The deployment supports both cloud or on-premises use. The solution’s existing clients consist of several governmental agencies including OGCIO, HKPC, Cyberport, HK Electric, HKUST and more.

Application Areas

The solution was developed to applied in the areas of Broadcasting, City Management, Climate and Weather, Commerce and Industry, Development, Education, Employment and Labour, Environment, Finance, Food, Health, Housing, Law and Security, Population, Recreation and Culture, Social Welfare as well as Transport.

Technologies Used

The solution uses the latest in Cloud Computing, Internet of Things (IoT), Mobile Technologies and no-coding platform/HPaPaaS.

Use cases

Public Sector Use Case 1:

The firm helped digitise over 100 forms in 3 months instead of one year by coding. The e-forms and processes are maintained by the organisation’s staff. After being deployed with the DragOnce platform, the IT team can easily digitise all paper forms with an agile methodology and consolidates all forms in a unified platform. A unified platform allows organisations to centralise all forms into one single data source, lowering the data integrity problem caused by the manual error.

Since there is no one-size-fits-all solution in terms of a single org chart structure for every enterprise, the DragOnce platform is designed to handle any structure of org chart and allows administrators to set permission controls on each level of user. With the permission controls, organisations can easily control the data accessibility on all end-users and ensure data security. This costs between HK$500,000 to HK$1.3 million.

Public Sector Use Case 2

The firm in need approached the tech company seeking an internal procurement system that could emancipate them from the manual purchasing process (excel spreadsheets, email, phone calls, sign-on print-out papers, etc). The system needed to be able to handle vendor management, quotation requests, purchase requests, purchase orders, approval processing, delivery schedule checks, purchase invoice checking and inventory management.

The platform developed by the tech firm met these requirements and allows for multiple-level approval, permission controls on end-users and dynamic workflows. After implementation, the system speeds up processes three times and allows users to easily monitor the status of procurement processes and vendor management. The cost is between HK$500,000 to HK$1.3 million.

Private Sector Use Case 3: Electric Utility Company

This electric utility company requires massive amounts of workflow data to be handled daily business processes. Thanks to the effort of the firm’s IT Team, the workflow request from the employees can be managed, but still, there are plenty of IT application requests from various Business Units and it is time-consuming to get through the traditional Software Development Life Cycle to deploy one application.

The company needs a solution to lower the workload for the IT team. DragOnce offers end-user computing solutions to them. This company needs a no-code platform to tackle the problem of numerous workflow requests on IT.

With a no-code platform, all employees can build their internal mobile applications easily without spending lots of developing time and no programming language is required.

End-user computing empowers the companys’ employees. When everyone, even non-IT employees, can build their application with few clicks, the IT team can finally focus more on critical projects. This not only results in higher productivity of the IT team but also encourages innovation in the company. All employees can now make use of their innovative ideas to build their own systems based on their understanding of the business flow. Thanks to end-user computing, the system created is 100% suitable for the end-users. The cost is between HK$500,00 to HK$1.3 million.

A real estate investment trust that invests in carrier-neutral data centres and provides colocation and peering services is building a new data centre in Hong Kong, its second in the administrative region.

HKG11 will be a 21,000 square metres (210,000 square feet) building and hold up to a 24MW of IT capacity. It is expected to be online in mid-2021, around the same time as Digital Realty’s upcoming Seoul facility in South Korea.

In 2012, Digital Realty acquired its first Hong Kong data centre on the Tseung Kwan O industrial estate, HKG10, capable of up to 18MW of IT capacity.

Its planned sister facility, HKG11, is located at the nearby but separate Kwai Chung district in Hong Kong and will operate as an auxiliary to HKG10.

The Chief Executive Officer of the firm stated that its investment in Hong Kong is another important milestone on its global platform road map, enabling customers’ digital transformation strategies while demonstrating its commitment to supporting their future growth on PlatformDIGITAL.

As the firm continues to expand in Asia, the launch of the second facility in Hong Kong underscores its importance as a major data hub, providing customers with the coverage, capacity, and connectivity requirements to support their digital ambitions.

The HKG11 facility will be built up to a total of 12 floors, eight of which will be dedicated to customer deployments.

The firm’s MD for the Asia Pacific region noted that Hong Kong is a regional leader in cloud readiness and has significant potential for further cloud adoption along with a strong base of customers with an appetite for digital technologies.

He stated. “We are delighted to launch our new facility, which will go a long way towards meeting the rapidly growing demand and bringing value to customers across the region, especially from China.”

Aside from Hong Kong, Digital Realty is also establishing facilities in Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore, Sydney, and Melbourne.

Hong Kong – a data centre hub

In February 2020, OpenGov Asia reported that a major telecommunications company, currently operating one of the largest globally connected IPv4+IPv6 networks in the world, completed a round of upgrades and improvements to their Hong Kong data centre.

The aim is to boost network performance for end-users throughout China and across the APAC region.

The addition of new local and international connectivity partners has improved network performance and reliability for businesses seeking to reach one of Asia’s busiest centres or international finance, trade, and enterprise.

The data centre market in the Asia Pacific has been forecasted to reach US$32 billion by 2023, behind only North America in terms of regional revenue.

According to the findings of a data analytics and consulting company, the surge in spending during the next four years will stem from enterprise customers “increasingly migrating” existing resources to data centres to “reap benefits from data”.

By 2023, Asia Pacific will account for nearly 30 per cent of the global data centre market, behind North America with 34.2 per cent but ahead of Western Europe on 24 per cent.

The lead analyst on the report stated that the data centre and hosting market growth in the Asia Pacific will be driven by growing demand for cloud services and digitisation from both enterprises as well as the investors.

Investment will continue in new data centre projects by existing and new entrants with a view to expand their presence in the region and serve additional customers.

In addition, with the commercial availability of 5G services in the next 1-2 years, data consumption is expected to grow multiple-folds.

This will result in constant connectivity requirements as well as data centre supported features, for supporting the critical business applications and activities of the enterprises.

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