February 28, 2024

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EXCLUSIVE – eGovernment development trends in the ASEAN region

EXCLUSIVE – eGovernment development trends in the ASEAN region

Mr. Sebastian Foo, eGovernment Advisor & Senior Consultant, The World Bank, was the opening keynote speaker at the Indonesia OpenGov Leadership Forum 2017 held in Jakarta on March 22. OpenGov finds out more from Mr. Foo about his background in e-Government work and doing e-Government development work in countries like Myanmar and parts of Africa. 

Could you tell us about your role as an international egovernment consultant at the World Bank Group?

I have the good fortune of working as a senior e-Government consultant to the World Bank to develop digital government strategies that are aligned with and accelerates the realization of the country’s national socio-economic priorities.  I am humbled by the opportunities given to mentor several governments' e-Government units to aid in e-Government project design and implementation.

What are some of the projects/initiatives that you are working right now?

Besides being engaged by the World Bank, I am also working for the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise as well as consulting for African governments.   The current engagements include developing and overseeing digital socio-economic strategies and initiatives for Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Tanzania and Uganda.  These on-going engagements have given me a wide spread view of how to strategize, design and deliver visible outcomes under challenging circumstances through creative use of technology.

Having an important role in setting up eGovernments in countries like Myanmar and parts of Africa is something not commonly heard of, could you tell us about how the experience was like and what were some of the challenges faced?

Being engaged in e-Government in countries like Myanmar and Eastern African countries has been most enlightening.  While I add value to the governments’ e-Government agenda, I am also learning so much at the same time.  Challenges faced aren’t that different in nature as compared the more developed countries, the difference usually lies with the degree of the challenge. 

         Let me give you an example, most governments recognize the need to build capacity. For many of the developed countries, the level of information communication technology (ICT) knowledge is fairly high. This is not the case for the mentioned countries, where the capacity is extremely low.  Many senior stakeholders have no muscle memory of what e-Government can do, hence there is a need to first communicate the value proposition of e-Government in simplistic terms,  this is followed by establishing a foundational ICT curriculum focusing on the basics.  
         
         
         

You have almost two decades of experience relating to eGovernment in both private and public sectors, could you share about some recent trends in eGovernment development in the ASEAN region?

In the past few years, there has been a wave of technologies that have finally reached a tipping point where these technologies have become commercially viable, practical in applications and are result-proven.  These technologies include Cloud computing, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data analytics, wide spread mobility, broad based social media platforms, advanced algorithms and more.  What is truly exciting is the confluence of these technologies and with correct applications of these technologies, we now have huge opportunities for the government to accelerate its public policy implementations to create positive impact to its constituents.

Opportunities range from the way electronic services can be designed to address the pressing needs of the citizen, the way citizens can use the electronic services to voice their concerns, the interactions between citizens and their living environment, the way government agencies can collaborate better, the way the industries can be transformed for greater productivity, and the way data collected that can be analysed to solve some of the most pressing urbanization issues. 

         However, this confluence of technologies also brings about challenges to the government.  Many jobs will be displaced as a result of automation and robotics.  It is imperative that governments must plan for this displacement as part of an overall strategy, through proactive skills upgrading so that citizens can embrace these opportunities and raise their standard of living.
         
         
         

What are your thoughts on public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the current context of technological and digital disruptions? Did you notice any changes in PPPs in the course of your career?

PPPs are an important ‘tool’ for e-Government and Smart City implementations.  While technologies have changed over time, the principles remain fairly robust and consistent.  Government leaders should avoid viewing PPPs as a means to secure easy funding.  Constructing a PPP model is an extremely challenging and time consuming endeavour. While there are successes, there are plenty of failures too. It is akin to two individuals agreeing to be married.  PPPs should be viewed beyond the financial standpoint, with more emphasis placed in tapping on the private sector’s technical, management and operational expertise for public service delivery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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