The Government of Western Australia has signed a mandatory common use arrangement (CUA) with a US-based cloud giant. The arrangement, which leverages the Commonwealth’s Whole of Government Agreement for the tech giant’s public cloud services, means all public authorities must use the service or local partners as their exclusive source of supply for products and services included in the agreement.
The CUA covers the tech giant’s cloud computing services, enterprise support, professional services, training and certification, and AWS marketplace. Specific amendments to the Commonwealth whole of government agreement have been negotiated to meet WA’s requirements.
The Country Director for the cloud giant’s Public Sector in Australia and New Zealand stated that the arrangement will provide state and local government agencies with a consistent approach to procuring services and remove the need to negotiate separate contract terms.
He noted that with agencies and universities having the ability to access the firm’s services via the CUA, the firm’s partners can more easily build innovative solutions to meet the changing needs of Western Australian citizens,” he said in a statement last week.
The West Australian Regional Manager for the cloud giant’s consulting partner stated that the ability for WA’s government agencies to access cloud services via the new CUA would drive digital government services. Secure, reliable digital citizen services have been crucial for the continuing smooth operation of our society through 2020, he said.
CUAs are designed to harness the buying power of the government to achieve savings and reduce duplication across agencies.
The arrangement is in keeping with WA’s Digital Strategy, which commits to adopting cloud-based services where they are fit for purpose and deliver value for money.
It also comes after the state government in September 2020 announced it would provide $1.8 million to establish its first whole-of-government Cyber Security Operations Centre.
The centre would detect threats and boost cybersecurity resilience across government networks, innovation and ICT Minister Dave Kelly said. WA’s Office of Digital Government has released a cloud procurement framework including Cloud Procurement Practice Guidelines and a Cloud Procurement Strategy Template.
OpenGov Asia reported earlier that the Innovation and ICT Minister stated that the Cyber Security Operations Centre will significantly improve the visibility of cyber threats against agencies’ networks and the Government’s capability to detect and respond to cybersecurity incidents.
The centre also supports existing complementary efforts to improve cybersecurity resilience across government. It will also expand and complement the existing dedicated cybersecurity team within the Department of the Premier and Cabinet’s Office of Digital Government.
Staff in the new operations centre will be trained cybersecurity professionals, with the centre also offering further avenues of work and training for cybersecurity TAFE and university students participating in the Office of Digital Government’s work-integrated learning program.
The new operations centre will provide unprecedented visibility of threats against agencies’ networks, as well as improve the State Government’s ability to coordinate and respond to cybersecurity threats against its systems. The Cyber Security Operations Centre will create further jobs and opportunities for cybersecurity professionals in WA.
The Cloud Procurement Practice Guidelines provide information and practical advice to public authorities on the procurement pathways to source cloud and consumption-based Information and Communication Technology services.
Five Vietnamese firms that have developed cloud computing platforms were given certificates by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) acknowledging that they have met the technical criteria to serve e-government and e-governance.
In April, to accelerate the development of cloud computing platforms, which is an important foundation for national digital transformation, MIC issued technical criteria to evaluate and select cloud computing solutions for e-governance.
According to a press release, the set of technical criteria consists of 153 standards, including 84 technical criteria and 69 information security criteria. A cloud computing platform that meets these benchmarks is considered to be a modern and secure platform.
The Viettel Cloud platform
It has applications in the fields of telecommunications, safety, network security, and information technology. Built with a scale of more than 17,000 servers, which are capable of storing over 30,000 Terabytes of data, the platform currently serves more than 14,500 customers nationwide, in the form of Public Cloud and Private Cloud.
The VNPT Cloud platform
This is designed to use many cloud infrastructures with different technologies and provide resources to customers. Resources are allocated on different cloud infrastructures with virtualisation technologies and consistent business processes. With a total of 1,000 servers that have a storage capacity of 10,000 Terabytes, VNPT Cloud currently has about 800 corporate customers.
The VNG Cloud platform
The platform is set up to provide solutions for several industries, with accompanying products and services to support and improve the efficiency of using applications for businesses. Aiming to save costs, time, and resources, and with a total of 5,350 servers with a storage capacity of 12,100 Terabytes, it has about 650 corporate clients.
The CMC Cloud platform
This cloud computing model offers services for government agencies, public administration agencies, and organisations operating in the fields of finance and e-commerce. CMC Cloud includes 278 servers with a storage capacity of 15,000 Terabytes. The platform currently has around 6,000 customers.
The BizFly Cloud computing platform
Developed by VNCorp, the platform includes 15 services to meet almost all infrastructure needs in a business. With a total of 1,000 servers totalling 20,000 Terabytes of storage capacity, BizFly Cloud platform currently has 1,200 customers, including 800 corporate clients.
The event that recognised the platforms was part of the international seminar-exhibition, Make in Vietnam cybersecurity – A key factor in national digital transformation. In the press statement, MIC said it has identified digital transformation as a comprehensive, all-people revolution. Digital transformation is taking place in all areas. To successfully conduct digital transformation, changes in perceptions and business models are required.
One of the key pillars of digital transformation is the national digital infrastructure. Transforming from a telecom infrastructure to digital infrastructure entails shifting to 5G broadband telecommunications infrastructures, fibre optic cables, and cloud computing.
The country’s cloud computing market is worth nearly VND3.2 trillion (US$ 133 million). The country is now home to about 27 cloud computing data centres, invested in by 11 domestic firms with more than 270,000 servers.
Domestic enterprises, however, only account for about 20% of the market share. Foreign partners seize the remainder. The market is forecast to be worth US$ 500 million by 2025, and this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed its growth by 40%.
With the growing need and dependence on data protection and management, investing in the right cloud application, finding the right partners and hiring the right people with innovative mindset are key solutions for government agencies to consider in giving their operations a boost in terms of efficiency and flexibility.
This was the cornerstone principle put on the table for discussion during the OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight: Optimising Cloud Deployment for a High-Performance Digital Government held on 8 December 2020.
The virtual session was attended by ICT executives from governments across Singapore. The session saw a plethora of insights, perspectives and opinions being shared not only regarding problems that government offices encounter but about various data management solutions that agencies can utilise for effective operations.
The overwhelming response from digital executives from Singapore paved the way for intense dialogue. Top officials from a wide cross-section of government agencies presented challenges they encountered with the shift to data management as a tool to handle voluminous information. Solutions were also discussed at length on how to engage government agencies’ workforce in adhering to a rollout of innovative data and cloud storage systems.
Catering to citizens’ demand for government services through cloud solutions
Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia, believes to keep up with the increasing demand for government services by increasingly tech-savvy citizens, agencies must invest in the right solutions and the partners to ensure that its glass is always kept full.
A smart nation means ensuring that everything is working in top shape, being flexible and being connected at all times. While this notion is not new, what has essentially surfaced during the COVID -19 pandemic is the importance of scalability.
To emphasise his point, Mohit expounded on how citizens have become smarter. They have technology at their fingertips to ask and receive services and can engage with private providers anywhere, anytime. What this means for government agencies is that they have to continuously invest in integrated, scalable and seamless data management applications, all tailored to fit both the needs of their offices and the general public.
One of the solutions offered by Mohit in his opening speech is quite simple – keep your citizens happy. This principle goes to the very core of public services that agencies have sworn to abide by.
Government agencies should go beyond putting up in-house data security systems but rather must capitalise on its big IT arm. They must also team up with partners for data management services rather than try doing everything by themselves.
Finding the right data management solution
Expanding on the concepts laid down by Mohit, Neville Vincent, Vice President, South Asia Pacific, Nutanix, simplified the concept of using public cloud by likening it to a hotel. It needs to be available, convenient and flexible. While there is truth to the notion that investing in data management is an additional cost, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.
The next level of cloud solutions was compared by Neville as a service department. There are many features in a cloud data service that can be customised by organisations. Regardless of whether an organisation is public or private, people should always look for three components: security, performance, and economics.
Neville eased the apprehension of participants by adding that there really is no such thing as the best cloud application in the market for a specific organisation. The answer is to mix and match between several modalities and apply a multi-level approach to achieve the right mix of quality performance, reliable security, and economics custom-fit to suit an agency’s needs.
For Neville, finding the right cloud data service is a balancing act. All three elements must be considered by government agencies. When it comes to choosing effectively which data system would work best, the question to be pondered is whether one has the right workload at the right workplace and at the right time.
The power of taking risks
Glenn Ashe, Chief Information and Technology Officer, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, highlighted the steps his office undertook with regards to teaming up with the private sector for secure cloud solutions.
Glenn addressed some of the usual problems that most agencies are exposed to in their daily operations. To solve these, Glenn and his team opted to transition from a traditional mode of gathering and storing data to cloud storage and management. This solution significantly improved operations.
“We transferred the IT operating model. We went down the pipe to transform our ICT to be much more flexible, resilient, and to be able to deliver high-performance services. We have scaled on prime modes to meet business demands. It accelerated modelling turnaround time,” Glenn explained.
The benefits of shifting to innovative data services are many. For one, these solutions are flexible and on another standpoint, they are resilient. These elements allowed Glenn and his team to handle a massive amount of data in healthcare with data computing technology. Prime resources, he added, can be added much more flexibly.
He added that the impact of the COVID -19 pandemic also pushed the organisation to look for a strong system that would allow it to handle an immense amount of data while allowing the workforce to work within the confines of their homes.
After the presentation of the speakers, attendees were engaged in an in-depth discussion facilitated through the polling questions.
The first question inquired about the current cloud strategy employed by the various attendees. More than half (56%) said that they rely on a hybrid cloud system.
According to a senior delegate from the Accountant General’s Department, with so much happening in government operations including that of standardisation, a hybrid cloud program is the best way to go. Questions to be considered would be narrowed down to those related to end goals of an organisation and the type of data classification needed in storage solutions.
As to how their agencies leverage data, again almost half answered that they currently employ data integration. This is despite stringent government-instituted policies and classified data make agencies wary to share in an online platform. Notwithstanding, there is still data sharing that happens in some government offices, including those providing health services.
The issue of how organisations get the right skillset from the workforce it hires was also raised during the session, with about a third (37%) of respondents saying they consider other modes of acquiring appropriate skills from employees through means other than training, hiring, and partnership. This was tailed closely by training (33%).
For a majority of the participants, the trick is not just to train or to hire but to mix two or three modes. Hiring a good employee is one thing but hiring should also be followed by rigorous training.
One interesting point made during the poll was that protection is a significant added value for agencies relying on cloud services and infrastructure. A majority (61%) voted for protection as a significant added value.
An executive from the National Environment Agency felt that protection is closely intertwined with reputation. A breach on data would mean a breach of reputation which government agencies and organisations work hard to maintain.
When asked how attendees differentiate between cloud providers for workload solutions, the attendees identified services over than performance and integration as the main differentiator. The reason is that optimum performance from cloud service providers is already a given, as well as integration. With services, this feature must be fully integrated to fit a specific government function.
On the final question, almost three quarters (73%) felt that the biggest challenge for agencies and organisations are the workforce and employee skill-set. While, as Neville stated, knowledge of people is important, it is critical to continuously foster a high level of curiosity with employees to make them open for changes – in the organisation and solutions, including shifting to online data management.
The session came to a close with some food for thought from Neville on how organisations can receive help in choosing the right partners and putting forth a new mindset for its employees. He said that cloud management is a real game-changer. With this technology, things have become more complex. The big question then is how to make the best of it and use it for organisations’ own advantage.
In the end, the answer lies in addressing the need to make the right cloud decision. This, Neville said, can be done by maintaining an appetite for knowledge, information, change, and guidance.
COVID-19 is propelling digital transformation faster than imagined. This has afforded companies with ever-increasing opportunities to grow and innovate at scale and deploy technology rapidly.
The pandemic can be viewed as a game-changer to accelerate the digital transformation. Both businesses and the public sector can re-strategise, investing in more integrated digital infrastructure to manage current and future disruptions.
Some leading organisations have been able to do this – not by trying to outrun technological disruption, but by seeing it as an opportunity to reinvent themselves; and by learning to use it as an enabler to unlock new value sources.
OpenGov Asia organised a highly timely Virtual Breakfast Insight on 4 December 2020 to discuss effective and efficient multi-cloud data management strategies and how to ensure data availability, accessibility, and protection across any cloud environment while implementing strategies for reducing costs.
The importance of the highly timely topic was borne out by the fact that the session saw active participation, engagement, and full attendance from some of the leading enterprises from Singapore.
Winning Formula – Data intelligence, agility and insights
Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director, and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia initiated the proceedings by acknowledging the fact that data has gone off the ceiling in the current digital landscape.
Data being the new oil, this massive amount of data represents intelligence and insights which cannot be missed by any organisation. But data is only as valuable as the actionable insights that can be drawn from it. He urged the delegates to focus on the five pillars of cloud data management strategy:
(2) Compliance and Governance
(3) Cost Management
(4) Automation and Orchestration
(5) Performance Monitoring
Mohit acknowledged that while ICT professionals are juggling the tough job of maintaining a tight balance between data availability, protection and security. It is no surprise, then, that they are choosing to pursue cloud-based data management as their best business option. As such, across industries, the cloud has proved to be an invaluable tool for advancing business.
In the same vein, he also implored the delegates to look at the various possibilities that cloud data management provides. Although local data storage has been the industry standard for some time, the preference is shifting as businesses become aware of new developments and the advantages of cloud data management technology.
Mohit’s concluding remarks encouraged the delegates to incorporate a simple, secured, scalable, and robust data management system. He advised them to partner with technology experts in the field who can support them on this journey.
Future-Ready Enterprise: Automation, orchestration, and performance matters
After Mohit’s opening, Justin Loh, Country Director, Veritas Technologies, gave an overview of Veritas Technologies’ effective offerings and the accolades they have received year after year. He elaborated on the benefits of Veritas’s Enterprise Data services platform with the audience.
Justin spoke about how the Veritas Enterprise Data Service (EDS) Platform brings new levels of availability, protection and insights at the enterprise scale. It can help the digital executives better manage, protect and simplify their data landscape.
Justin expanded on the innovative features of their platform and how it helps customers reduce risk, optimise cost, strengthen ransomware resiliency and manage multi-cloud environments at scale. The EDS platform allows organisations to get what matters to them most – highly available apps, always protected and recoverable data and insights that drive operational efficiency and regulatory compliance.
The platform also allows organisations to gain control of their data to help them manage their growth, reduce the impact of ransomware and improve compliance for on-premises and cloud environments.
Justin concluded his session by sharing his observations that have been gathered from interaction with various business leaders. He mentioned four key areas that have been in the spotlight:
- Sustaining the business
- Cost optimisation
- Risk management & compliance
- Reinventing future business models
Embracing cloud to innovate faster
After Justin’s presentation, Franco Chiam, General Manager – Digital and Innovation Lead, Daimler South East Asia shared his organisation’s Cloud journey with the delegates.
Franco agreed with Justin’s remarks on accelerating digital transformation with the adoption of cloud strategy. He explained that his organisation’s cloud journey and its objective to ensure that they remain innovative and relevant.
Daimler pivoted its IT priorities to three pillars of – Move, Perform, and Transform. In the initial stages, the strategy veered around:
– Cloud & DevOps
– Security & Identity and Access Management
– API Architecture
– Open-source. etc
Over the years, the focus has now shifted towards:
- Self-Services, Automation
- Data Analytics, ML/AI
- Connected Platforms
- Software & Products
All these initiatives have helped the organisation to ensure that the plans and capabilities are optimised. They have additionally helped the team to redesign and provide better solutions that meet the current and emerging needs of their customers.
Franco divided the resulting top achievements into five areas:
- Automation and Innovation
- Capacity Building
- Service Experience
- Enable Workforce Transformation
- Control & Reduce Cost
Franco rightly took pride in stating that recalibrating and automating processes have resulted in building new digital services and agile innovation.
He ended his session saying that getting the right team members helps increase capacity building and in turn accelerate the journey of digital transformation.
Abstracting IT complexity, while improving application availability
After Franco’s inspiring presentation, John Abel, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Veritas Technologieshared his valuable insights with the delegates.
John began by agreeing that the economic difficulties being faced by businesses have been exacerbated and their digital transformation efforts have been disrupted due to the ongoing pandemic.
Many industries have almost been decimated like the travel and hospitality industry, Many have had to rethink their strategy of how to serve their customers remotely and revitalising their IT applications.
He drew an interesting comparison between the Ford Corporation, Tesla and Airbnb. He emphasised how Airbnb has effectively utilised data and insights to create a better user experience.
He made a foundational statement on which he laid his premise: with changing customer behaviour and the rise of a new generation of consumers who are digital natives, it is almost imperative for organisations to rethink their IT strategies and evolve to serve them better.
Data will allow organisations to draw actionable insights. He acknowledged the rapid transformation and the increased digital footprint of doing everything online, especially in the current landscape.
On the flip side, this data explosion and rapid digital transformation have exposed organisations to a lot of external risks like ransomware and dark data. All these factors together have increased the IT complexity, making it even more challenging for the organisations to stay resilient.
John urged the delegates to protect their organisations against the significant rise in ransomware and also referred to a recent survey done by Veritas in this area.
John concluded his presentation by saying that exponential data growth, prominent data threats like ransomware and a highly volatile and ever-changing data regulatory environment are some of the things that keep CIOs awake. But he could sleep well at night because he knows where his organisation’s data is sitting, readily available and secured and that he can draw insights to the benefit of his organisation. All this is possible because of the advantages of the Enterprise Data Platform.
Protection against the growing threat of ransomware
After an enlightening session by John, Andy Ng, VP, Managing Director, ASR Sales of Veritas Technologies shared some very insightful findings from research recently commissioned by Veritas Technologies.
The study was conducted across 21 countries globally with a very strong representation from South East Asia. 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, he explained to the delegates how the Veritas Enterprise Data Service Platform can help delegates better manage, protect, and simplify their data landscape.
Polling Questions & Discussion
After the presentations from the speakers, it was time to engage in vibrant discussions with the audience through polling questions.
On the first question about the requirement that is shaping their landscape to be agile with the business needs, delegates were divided between the speed of change for applications, data and building/removing core business systems (40%) while an equal percentage of them voted for adapting to changing customer demands.
A senior delegate from a leading enterprise shared that incorporating the needs of the customers is of paramount importance and enterprises need to evolve and overcome their legacy infrastructure to be able to serve the next generation of customers. This has especially gained importance in the COVID-19 era.
On the next question about the biggest challenge faced by organisations when looking at digital transformation, the participants were split between skill shortage to implement and operate technology (31%) and dependency on the need to integrate with legacy systems and/or technology (38%). It came as no surprise that 23% of the delegates voted for securing against cyber threats as one of their biggest challenges.
For the third question on evaluating new technologies and considerations being taken as a priority, there were interesting answers from the delegates. Operational simplicity and product reliability were hands down the most preferred choice of answer from the delegates (50%).
At the same time, 25% of delegates chose vendor brand reputation and end-to-end capabilities and cost optimisation (25%) as their choices. This led to a presentation of varied but interesting insights into the buying decisions of the delegates.
On the final question about the area of interest for your organisation and what do they value the most, the audience overwhelmingly voted for delivering business resiliency through highly available applications and workloads and ease of doing business through a simplified technology consumption model (42%).
There was unanimity in the delegates’ choice of answers stating that there is no luxury of time and that simplicity is key. A delegate observed that simplicity means customisation and that the technology should be able to future-proof the business.
After the hugely interactive, exciting, and engaging polling session, John addressed the delegates to bring the informative session to its logical end.
The thought-provoking discussion and sharing by prominent Singapore enterprises undoubtedly provided food for thought for all the participants.
John urged the delegates to be prepared to evolve as new-age consumers who are more tech-savvy are on the rise. Data is going to explode and become even more complex and technology needs to rise to the occasion and become intuitive.
He acknowledged unequivocally that this is one of the best times for IT leaders. He urged them to get the seat on the board and have a say in business decisions.
Mohit added that these are exciting times and IT is not only the enabler but is in the driver seat. It is no longer just a “fix my computer” job for IT but how to drive the business into the next era.
Financial institutions are scaling up the utilisation of cloud services to enable innovation and new business models, as well as to meet the exponential need for and use of data.
Changing customer expectations, the rise of FinTech, and COVID-19 are accelerating banks’ digital transformation, forcing them to upgrade their infrastructure to meet the requirements of the data-intensive era.
Customer data protection is an absolute must. If the data gets into the wrong hands, it will cost the company greatly. It can engender a loss of customer’s trust, which can put the financial company’s reputation at stake.
OpenGov Asia organised a highly timely Virtual Breakfast Insight on 2 December 2020 to discuss enhancing multi-cloud data management, data availability, insights, protection, and compliance readiness to gain the coveted competitive edge.
The session saw active participation, engagement and full attendance from some of the leading financial institutions from Singapore.
Focussing on five pillars of cloud data management strategy
The session was kick-started by Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director, and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia. Mohit pointed to the fact that we have been inundated with data in the COVID-19 era. But he was quick to note that, in a bid to keep the lights on and sail through this difficult time, data strategy does not need to take a hit.
Data would only be valuable if we could draw actionable insights from it.
He urged the delegates to focus on the five pillars of cloud data management strategy:
(2) Compliance and Governance
(3) Cost Management
(4) Automation and Orchestration
(5) Performance Monitoring
Mohit emphasised that data strategy is not a zero-sum game, but it is about maintaining a delicate balance between data availability, security and insights. In the same vein, he also implored the delegates to not let governance and compliance hinder their cloud data management strategy as these should be the enablers of creating possibilities for them.
In conclusion, Mohit encouraged the delegates to incorporate a simple, secured and scalable data management system. He advised them to partner with experts in the field who can support them on this journey.
Reduce risk, optimise cost, strengthen ransomware resiliency, and manage multi-cloud environments at scale
After Mohit’s opening, Justin Loh, Country Director, Veritas Technologies shared his insights on Veritas’s Enterprise Data services platform with the audience.
Justin spoke about how the Veritas Enterprise Data service platform can help the delegates better manage, protect and simplify their data landscape.
Justin elaborated on the innovative features of their platform and how it helps customers reduce risk, optimise cost, strengthen ransomware resiliency and manage multi-cloud environments at scale.
The EDS platform allows organisations to get what matters to them most, namely: highly available apps, always protected and recoverable data, and insights that drive operational efficiency and regulatory compliance.
Justin concluded his session by sharing his observations that have been gleaned from his interaction with various business leaders. He mentioned that four key areas have been in the spotlight:
- Sustaining the business
- Cost optimisation
- Risk management & compliance
- Reinventing future business models
Infrastructure Automation, Application Modernisation and Operation Optimisation
After Justin’s presentation, Dr Amarit Laorakpong, Executive Vice President, IT Strategy and Governance Bank of Ayudhya shared his organisation’s Cloud journey with the delegates.
Dr Amarit explained that cloud security is the linchpin of their digital transformation efforts. Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri) leverages the cloud to transform its technology infrastructure to support its digital transformation.
Dr Amarit shared how his organisation built a secured and resilient cloud-enabled infrastructure to migrate to and managed a hybrid cloud environment which resulted in:
– Accelerated application development
– Extended security posture to applications running on cloud
– Optimised costs and utilisation
He further shared that at Bank of Ayudhya, there are over 300 applications on-premise which are being slowly migrating to the cloud. There are seven domains that Krungsri are building on the cloud which are as below:
- Identity and Access Management
- Cloud Risk Governance and Compliance
- Cloud Resiliency and Incident Response
- Monitoring risk of Cloud Traffic
- Cloud Applications Security
- Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Security
- Data Protection
Dr Amarit concluded his presentation by emphasising the importance of data protection. This has gained significance in the wake of Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). The act is in the process of being updated, and full implementation and compliance are expected by the middle of 2021.
Focusing on the three pillars – Data Availability, Protection, and Insights
After Dr Amarit’s thought-provoking presentation, John Abel, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Veritas Technologies shared his perspectives with the delegates.
John began by agreeing that this year has been topsy-turvy and the digital transformation efforts of most of the organisations have been disrupted due to the ongoing pandemic.
Many industries have been impacted like the travel and hospitality industry and the banking industry has had to rethink their strategy of how to serve their customers remotely and revitalising mobile applications.
He drew an interesting comparison and example of Ford Corporation and Airbnb. He spoke about how Airbnb has effectively utilised data and insights to create a better user experience.
He acknowledged the rapid transformation and the increased digital footprint of doing everything online, especially in the current landscape.
The data explosion and rapid digital transformation have also exposed organisations to a lot of external risks like ransomware and dark data. All these factors together have increased the IT complexity, making it even more challenging for the organisations to stay resilient.
John concluded his presentation by saying that he could sleep well at night because he knows where his organisation’s data is sitting, readily available and secured and that he can draw insights to the benefit of his organisation. All this is possible because of the advantages of the Enterprise Data Platform.
Polling Questions & Discussion
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 their landscape to be agile with the business needs, a majority of the audience voted for speed of change for applications, data, and building/removing core business systems while 37% voted for adapting to changing customer demands.
A senior delegate from a leading financial institution shared that incorporating the needs of the customers is of paramount importance and banks have to overcome their legacy infrastructure to be able to serve the next generation of customers.
On the next question about the biggest challenge faced by organisations when looking at digital transformation, the delegates were divided between skill shortage to implement and operate technology (33%) and dependency on the need to integrate with legacy systems and/or technology (28%). Interestingly, 22% of the delegates voted for compliance with government regulations being the biggest challenge.
One of the delegates shared that compliance invariably becomes one of the biggest challenges when it comes to accelerating the digital transformation journey. There are a lot of legacy systems in place and integrating them into the new digital platforms is a very challenging task.
The third question on evaluating new technologies and considerations being taken as a priority, there were interesting answers from the delegates. Operational simplicity and product reliability were hands down the most preferred choice of answer from the delegates ( 69%).
On the final question about the area of interest for your organisation and what do they value the most, the audience overwhelmingly voted for ease of doing business through a simplified technology consumption model (50%).
There was consensus among the delegates that simplicity is the key and is the ultimate sophistication. A delegate said, when looking for a new solution in the organisation, they ensure that it supports the latest technology to bring ease to operations and processes.
After the hugely interactive and engaging polling session, John addressed the delegates to bring the informative session to its logical end. He whole-heartedly agreed that these thought-provoking discussions and sharing by prominent Singapore financial institutions undoubtedly provided food for thought for all the participants.
John acknowledged unequivocally that this is one of the best times for IT leaders. They have to push the envelope, they need to work around the data and make sure their organisations are cyber resilient.
Mohit added that these are exciting times despite the challenges; with the right partners, leaders can get assistance along their journey of digital transformation.
Cloud has emerged as the biggest enabler in assisting businesses to operate and thrive in these unstable times. Most organisations have transitioned to a full cloud or hybrid data storage model to ensure their employees can work seamlessly from remote locations.
As the shift to the cloud was done, in many cases, hurriedly as a reactive measure due to the severity of the pandemic, it may not have been the best in terms of security. Organisations are now feeling vulnerable and exposed because they do not know how best to make their cloud platforms more secure and reliable.
OpenGov Asia hit the nail on the head with the OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight it organised for delegates from various agencies and organisations in Singapore to discuss the reliability and efficiency of their cloud strategies to deliver mission-critical services.
The Virtual Breakfast Insight on 26 November 2020 witnessed an overwhelming response from the delegates both in terms of their attendance and engagement.
The pace of transformation has picked up significantly but security is still a concern
Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia opened the session with a quick round of introductions in the virtual room and set the tone for the discussions to follow.
He acknowledged that cloud technology is not new, but its acceptance and adoption have risen significantly in the COVID-19 era.
Drawn into the digital transformation wave, citizens are becoming increasingly reliant on digital solutions, pushing governments and private service providers to be more adaptive and accessible in service delivery.
Mohit also pointed out that though the pace of transformation has picked up significantly, security still remains a big concern. Most certainly, the public sector that harbours much sensitive information on its citizens and residents, needs to be extra cautious in this regard.
Digital solutions in the new normal demand rapid digital transformation strategies that are well thought out and planned, keeping accessibility, agility and security as the pillars on which everything else develops.
In conclusion, Mohit urged delegates to not waste any time trying to do all this in-house. He stressed the power of a well-coordinated partnership with experts to attain stability and security in their cloud operations.
Organisations must Innovate their digital infrastructure
After Mohit’s opening, Yee May Leong, Managing Director, Equinix South Asia took to the virtual podium to share her insights with the delegates.
Yee May emphasised the need to fast track digital strategies and the pivotal role leaders play in driving them. She shared that the most optimal way of doing it is minimising the distance and cost between employees, customers and other stakeholders.
She went on to explain the role that digital infrastructure plays in driving this advantage and how Singapore’s Smart Nation Program has made this digital infrastructure is easy to access
Yee May encouraged delegates to focus on three major goals as they progress on their cloud journey:
- Solve performance, scale, and flexibility challenges
- Accelerate growth and gain agility
- Sharpen competitive edge
She underscored how Equinix is leading the way for digital transformation by sharing a few customer testimonials.
In conclusion, Yee May opined that focus must on consolidating the right resources, people and possibilities to ensure success as digital leaders. She signed off by encouraging the delegates to reach out to them to know more.
An Overview of Victoria Government’s digital strategy to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic
After Yee May’s presentation, Jithma Beneragama, Director, Digital, Design and Innovation of the Department of Premier and Cabinet (Victoria), shared some interesting insights on digital initiatives being run by the Victorian government and how they harnessed Cloud Technology to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jithma began by agreeing that governments are incredibly complicated organisations in terms of structure and that there is an urgent need to transform the way they use digital tools and technology. He explained that his team’s focus has been to make technology and the process of digital transformation faster, simpler, scalable and repeatable.
Jithma went on to share some of the initiatives they worked on as the challenges of the pandemic became increasingly complex.
The first course of action was to create a consolidated platform, a dedicated hub for all information related to the COVID-19 pandemic. He confirmed that their goal was not only to simplify the frontend of technology tools for the citizens but also to create a decentralised backend for easy navigation and use of employees.
The next step for them was to ensure that this information is stored and hosted in a scalable environment that can cope with the dramatic and almost instantaneous changes in traffic. Their major priority was to make sure that the cloud platform storing all this information is highly secure with proper access and response across all Victorian Government departments.
In summary, Jithma emphasised the importance of having fast, scalable, repeatable and secure digital applications, especially for the public sector.
Defining a multi-cloud strategy in the current environment
After Jithma’s sharing of best practices, Zheng Guanglei, Chief Cloud Solution Architect, WhaleCloud, shared his organisation’s perspective with the audience.
After briefly introducing the company to the audience, Zheng clearly defined multi-cloud strategy and the 3 main multi-cloud scenarios that are being adopted by organisations worldwide. They are private + public cloud, multiple public clouds, and private cloud + multiple public clouds.
After shedding some light on these three scenarios, he shared a fact that as much as 81% of all organisations are working with two or more cloud providers. This trend is mainly because organisations are recognising the benefits of using multiple clouds like greater flexibility, data sovereignty, disaster recovery etc.
But like everything else, multi-cloud options also bring in challenges like management difficulties, lack of IT skills, large CapEx in the private cloud etc. In the same vein, he also shared that the best way to overcome these challenges is to deploy a multi-cloud management platform that is flexible, fully managed and highly secure.
Zheng outlined the different kinds of services and support his organisation can provide to the customers like migration services (defining, planning, and executing the migration of data), cloud-enabling services (architecture design, security, training etc.) and cloud management services (interfacing with cloud vendors, SLA’s etc).
He concluded his presentation by sharing specific pointers that are essential to make a multi-cloud strategy a success. These include a secure and controllable environment, flexible and scalable technologies and change-driven leadership.
After the informative presentations by the speakers, it was time for the interactive polling session and discussion with the delegates.
On the first question about their organisation’s long term cloud strategy, a majority of the delegates voted that they plan on having a hybrid cloud strategy with some data sitting on-premise, some in the private cloud, and some in public/shared cloud (80%).
A senior delegate from the banking industry reflected that he believes that multi-cloud strategy is the future but due to so many compliance and regulations in Singapore, they are currently leveraging a hybrid cloud.
The next question polled the delegates on their respective organisation’s current percentage of mission-critical services put onto the public cloud this year almost two-thirds went with greater than or equal to 40% but less than 80%.
A digital executive from the financial services industry shared that because of the very sensitive nature of their data, it is very difficult for them to move all their data on the cloud and hence his vote for this option.
On the final question about the external help needed most by the organisation on cloud migration, close to half of the delegates voted for changing mindsets from traditional DC Ops to DevOps in the cloud (43%).
Another participant from banking shared that the biggest challenge for them to create a collaborative environment through the cloud, in particular convincing the staff to make that move.
After the polling session, Yee May addressed the audience with closing remarks. She thanked all the delegates for participating and sharing their challenges with them. She also opined that the journey of migration to the cloud starts with taking small steps and gradually scaling them.
Yee May urged the delegates to feel free to reach out to their team in case they have any questions or queries about the cloud scenarios and solutions discussed during the session. She also encouraged them to explore partner with them to facilitate their cloud journey.
Vietnam’s cloud computing market is worth nearly VND3.2 trillion (US $133 million). The country is now home to about 27 cloud computing data centres, invested in by 11 domestic firms with more than 270,000 servers.
According to a press release, however, domestic enterprises only account for about 20% of the market share while foreign partners seize the remainder. Speaking at an event held earlier this week, the Deputy Director of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC)’s Authority of Information Security Nguyen Khac Lich said cloud computing is a new-generation telecom platform in the next 5-10 years.
MIC considers cloud computing platform a digital infrastructure for the development of digital government, economy, and society. The market is forecast to be worth US$ 500 million by 2025, he said, adding that this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed its growth by 40%.
Vietnam is of the few countries that issued a set of criteria and technical standards to choose cloud computing platforms in service of digital government and administrations. The Vice Director of Viettel IDC Le Hoai Nam said that the country only provides cloud computing infrastructure services while software services on cloud computing platforms have yet to be tapped though they bring huge revenues.
Participants at the event suggested MIC and leaders of departments assist Vietnamese firms in building policies and mechanisms conducive to information technology enterprises in the field of cloud computing, helping them switch to digital transformation more quickly and conveniently.
Earlier this month, MIC held an event to introduce Base.vn, a corporate management cloud-based platform developed by Vietnamese company Base Enterprise. It was part of a series of events aiming to promote Vietnamese-made products and solutions to help realise Vietnam’s digital transformation programme towards 2025 with a view to 2030.
Base Enterprises Director Pham Kim Hung said the platform can provide executives with an overview of their firm through actual data to make the right decisions, enhance productivity, reduce costs, and increase revenue. For their part, employees can collaborate with their colleagues on the platform to fulfil their tasks more efficiently.
Base.vn is also able to connect with the services of other providers to create a comprehensive set of tools that can support a company’s sustainable growth.
According to its developers, the service can work on a multitude of smart devices and is compatible with both Android and iOS operating systems. The Base.vn platform is currently used by more than 5,000 corporate customers of various sizes and across a wide range of business areas in Vietnam.
According to the report “Southeast Asia’s Digital Economy 2019”, Vietnam’s digital economy was valued at US$12 billion in 2019. Over the past 5 years, Vietnam’s e-commerce market grew by over 25% per year. Vietnam’s digital economy is forecasted to contribute 5% to the country’s GDP and is expected to reach US$43 billion by 2025.
Vietnam has made tremendous strides in its digital economy and tech-related industry and the country has managed to attract many big investors including numerous tech giants. The overall number of ICT firms in Vietnam (both domestic and foreign-invested) is 46,000 units. The Vietnamese ICT industry’s revenue in 2019 was US$ 110 billion, the B2C e-commerce contributed about US$ 10.8 billion, and the digital content industry’s revenue was US$ 850 million.
The Philippines is among the countries who were the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. It forced organisations, especially in the public sector, to adopt and deploy technologies rapidly to meet the demands of a post-pandemic world.
In this digital age and the new normal, there is increased dependence on cloud and service providers. However, these data storage and management models have wide-ranging and, often, unclear data security levels. This has become a big challenge for organisations today.
To help our digital executives address the constraints and complexities and simplify their data management systems, OpenGov Asia organised an OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight with delegates from the Philippines public sector on 20 November 2020.
The insight witnessed 100% attendance from the registered delegates who whole-heartedly participated with a high level of engagement.
Citizens are becoming increasingly tech-savvy with higher expectations
The session was opened by Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, with a quick round of introductions and overview of the time ahead.
Mohit pointed out that the new normal and the rapid digital transformation of all sectors of society, citizens are becoming increasingly tech-savvy with higher expectations. As a result, the demand for efficient and quick citizen-service delivery from the public sector is on the rise.
Comprehensive and rapid transformation combined with greater demand poses significant challenges for the public sector.
With digital citizen expecting effective and reliable 24×7-services a mouse-click away, public agencies need to be able to continuously transform, upgrade and secure delivery mechanisms.
In conclusion, Mohit advised delegates to not try and do everything on their own as, often, this results in poor quality and limited outcomes. Public sector agencies would be wise to partner with the right people who can help them transform quickly and deliver effectively.
Transforming amid the pandemic was exceptionally difficult for the public sector
After Mohit’s presentation, Joshua Au, Head, Data Center, Agency for Science, Technology, and research shared his insights.
Joshua acknowledged that the pandemic took everyone by surprise – its magnitude was far beyond what people had imagined. No one was prepared to deal with the sheer scale and scope of COVID-19. None the less, organisations that were already on their digital transformation journey were able to tackle it better than the rest.
Furthering Mohit’s point, he agreed that this time has been exceptionally difficult for public sector agencies. They had to continue delivering normal citizen-services while catering to the additional needs the pandemic had created. Managing a wide range of stakeholders with limited funds and, often, with constrained digital infrastructure at their disposal, was a colossal undertaking.
Delivering urgent assistance, coping with stay-at-home orders and managing lockdowns while migrating online and simultaneously ensuring digital and physical safety and security was no small task. The public sector had to push itself to do something exceptional.
Joshua pointed out that making a rapid transformation, on any given day in the best of circumstances, is a herculean task for public sector agencies. Not only because they do not have sufficient infrastructure but also because they do not have the business savviness of an enterprise. Their primary goal is the serve the citizens and ensure their wellbeing.
He concluded his presentation by urging the delegates to think outside the box and go beyond what they have been doing to adapt to the new normal.
The rapid digitisation has led to more complexity in data centre ecosystem
After Joshua’s insightful and challenging presentation, Tony Kang’s, Business Vice President, Secure Power, Schneider Electric Philippines, offered his perspectives.
After briefly introducing the origins of Schneider, Tony reiterated that digital transformation must be the top and most critical priority of all organisations. This is closely followed by data security and customer experience.
The pressure to digitise everything at such a quick pace leads to a lot of complexity in the data centre ecosystem. Connecting all the devices in the local edge, regional edge and a centralised location can be cumbersome and confusing for organisations. The situation is exacerbated and complicated as the ecosystem expands further.
Schneider’s eco structure, an open IoT enabled system architecture platform for offices and data centres, helps connect and control apps and analytics.
In closing, Tony encouraged the delegates to reach out to the Schneider team to can help them overcome some of these challenges.
After the speaker presentations, Mohit engaged the audience in an interactive Q&A session.
On the first question about current plans for IT expansion and deployments in near future, most of the delegates voted that they plan to deploy hybrid IT infrastructure leveraging on cloud while still deploying on-premise data centres (75%)
A senior delegate from the Department of Health shared the sensitive nature of the data they collect does not allow them to store all their data on cloud. They have to maintain an on-premise data centre in addition to the cloud.
On the next question about the importance of data centre modernisation and local edge computing, a major chunk of the audience voted that it is very important to them and they are currently undergoing transformation (68%).
An executive from the banking industry shared that digital transformation is the topmost priority of banks today and, keeping that in mind, they are also undergoing digital transformation actively.
On the final question about the most important factor when choosing solutions for your IT physical infrastructure most of the delegates voted for product reliability and efficiency (72%).
A delegate from a government agency in the Philippines shared that factors like after-sale services, delivery time, price etc. are all important to consider but the primary factor of consideration is quality – and it should never be compromised.
After the interactive discussion session, Tony addressed the audience to bring the Breakfast Insight to a close.
He shared that Schneider is dedicated to rigorous research and development to produce the best possible products and solutions for its customers.
He thanked the speakers for sharing their insights and the delegates talking about their pain points and challenges. He was confident that such discussion and debate would go a long way in understanding and solving their problems.
Tony urged them to reach out to him and the Schneider team continue to talk through their digital transformation journey.