The second session (report on first session) of the invite only OpenGov Asia Breakfast Dialogue on the topic of working towards greener data centres in the healthcare sector was held at St Regis Singapore on the 25th of August 2016. ICT professionals from the healthcare sector in Singapore shared about their experiences on operating data centres in their respective organisations as well as insights on monitoring the overall health of their data centres.
Mr. Mohit Sagar, Editor-in-chief of OpenGov Asia and dialogue moderator started things off by explaining the dialogue format and introducing Mr. Greg Boorer, CEO, Canberra Data Centres, Australia who was also the invited guest speaker for the event.
Mr. Bernard Tan, Regional Manager, Data Centre Software (Singapore, Taiwan and the Philippines), Schneider Electric, provided a brief background of the challenges of operating data centres: compliance with new green standards, the increasing demands to support Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and managing big data. Data centres need to be robust, scalable but also handle day-to-day operations. However, the bigger concern is that data centres consume huge amounts of energy and that has a detrimental impact on the environment. There is an imperative towards green data centres not just from an environment standpoint, but also from a cost-savings and competitive edge standpoint.
Guest speaker Mr. Boorer posed some a thought-provoking question to the floor: how can organisations/agencies design and build data centres which are scalable and future-proof?
Dialogue questions and discussion
Mr. Ong Sing, Senior Manager for Management Information Systems, Ang Mo Kio-Thye Hua Kwan Hospital, is working on setting up a new data centre for his organisation and was keen to learn from other delegates about the best practices for building and maintaining data centres.
When the question on whether there was a baseline PUE for their respective organisations, 20% replied “yes”, 40% replied “no”, 40% replied “I don’t know” and none replied “working on it”. This was expected compared to 47% of the delegates from government who replied “yes” from the previous day’s dialogue.
Compared to the event the day prior with mostly delegates from the public sector/agencies which had green data centre guidelines to comply to, the demands on the healthcare sector data centres are not as stringent but Mr. Sagar pointed out that the green standards would be pushed on to the private sector in due time.
83% of the delegates polled did not know about the current PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) levels of their data centres, almost 2 times higher compared to the previous day’s polling results on the same question. This was also not surprising as the green data centre guidelines by IDA to achieve a 2.2 or lower PUE for government agencies was currently not a requirement for the healthcare sector.
In terms of challenges faced by the delegates when running data centres in their respective healthcare organisations, some common issues surfaced:
Concerns on capacity, availability
83% of the delegates expressed that this was an area of concern for them as their organisations are typically running and maintaining data centres that range between 10 years to as high as 30 years old and there is a constant worry about whether there will be enough capacity for future expansion.
Mr. Boorer suggested that while upkeeping the data centre is a given, organisations need to have a ‘plan B’ or redundancy plans in place in the event of disasters and other emergencies.
Related to the earlier concern, most delegates are running data centres in their organisations that are at least a decade old. Mr. Bernard Tan proposed that IoT and sensor technologies can help to improve cooling processes for current data centres, which can lead to potential energy and cost savings.
Planning and executing the upgrade of the data centre facility
Mr. Christopher Chan, Assistant Director, Infocomm Technology, People’s Association (PA) talked about the challenge of juggling daily IT operations and upgrading of data centres.
66.7% of the delegates expressed that upgrading their current data centre facilities was a pain point, which was not far off from the 47% reflected by the delegates from the previous day. Challenges faced by the delegates include integrating older data centre systems and not having sufficient time to look at upgrading systems due to ongoing projects and day-to-day operations.
Consolidation and continuous monitoring of health of data centres
An effective way of improving the energy efficiency and reducing energy costs of current data centres is to look into the migration of existing smaller servers into larger consolidated servers and cutting off power from abandoned or obsolete servers. In addition, organisations should carry out their due diligence in terms of removing or decommissioning older legacy systems that may no longer be relevant or useful.
By using technologies like metered Power Distribution Units (PDU), temperature and humidity sensors and power management tools to continuously monitor the health of data centres, both private and public sectors can improve their data centre PUE levels to comply to green standards. The aim is to reduce overall energy consumption by data centres, which took up 3% of the global electricity supply in 2015. In Asia Pacific, it is especially crucial as the region consumed 26.5% of the worldwide electricity supply for data centres.
The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is spearheading an initiative to propel the nation’s capabilities in healthcare, Industry 4.0-driven manufacturing, and supply chain and logistics through the transformative power of 5G. This groundbreaking endeavour, known as the S$30 million 5G Innovation Programme, is not just a step forward but a giant leap into a future where innovation reshapes industries.
Launched in 2021, the 5G Innovation Programme is a testament to Singapore’s commitment to embracing emerging technologies. IMDA has forged strategic partnerships with key enterprises, including the National University Health System (NUHS).
In the healthcare industry, Singapore’s forward-thinking tech innovators, in collaboration with NUHS, have harnessed 5G to revolutionise patient care. The introduction of Mixed Reality-based Holomedicine in operating theatres stands out as a groundbreaking achievement.
This innovative approach not only enhances patient care but also redefines the entire healthcare experience. Announced in 2022, the initiative marks the Asia Pacific’s inaugural deployment of indoor private Enterprise 5G mobile edge computing (MEC) for Mixed Reality and Holomedicine capabilities in health tech.
A significant stride in healthcare also involves a collaboration with Republic Power to deploy 5G-enabled unmanned medical booths. These “Medbots” represent Asia’s first 5G-enabled unmanned pre-screening and teleconsultation medical booths. Equipped with state-of-the-art hygiene and safety systems, these booths support remote health screening and video consultations, offering an enhanced user experience that aligns with the demands of a digital era.
The impact of 5G extends beyond healthcare, permeating the realms of Industry 4.0-driven manufacturing, supply chain, and logistics. Collaborations with ST Engineering and DB Schenker have given rise to groundbreaking applications.
For instance, Singapore’s first 5G-enabled Digital Twin has been implemented for a logistics and supply chain company transforming warehouse and manufacturing operations, quality control, and customer experience. Simultaneously, ST Engineering’s 5G-Enabled Industry 4.0 Smart Factory boasts one of Singapore’s first 5G-enabled collaborative robots, revolutionising manufacturing processes.
Dr Ong Chen Hui, Assistant Chief Executive of the Biztech Group at IMDA, emphasised the agency’s commitment to architecting Singapore’s digital future. The goal is to build capabilities in various sectors powered by emerging technologies like 5G. IMDA’s collaboration with forward-looking companies signifies a concerted effort to unlock the full spectrum of benefits that 5G offers across a wide range of sectors.
As Singapore propels itself into the future, the 5G Innovation Programme stands as a testament to the nation’s dedication to progress. The partnerships with key enterprises underscore a collective effort to reshape, redefine, and transform industries across the country.
Singapore is not merely embracing change; it is pioneering a future where technology catalyses innovation and progress. The journey has just begun, and Singapore is at the forefront, shaping the narrative of a technologically advanced and future-ready nation.
The comprehensive initiative serves as a catalyst, propelling Singapore into a new era of digital prowess. It is not merely an adoption of advanced technologies; rather, it is a strategic alignment with the needs of the future, recognising the pivotal role technology plays in shaping economic landscapes on a global scale.
The 5G Innovation Programme signifies Singapore’s commitment to sustainable economic growth. By embracing technology as a driver of progress, Singapore is not just securing its current standing; it is laying the foundation for a resilient and forward-thinking economy. The emphasis on sustainability in this digital transformation ensures that growth is not just rapid but also enduring, with an eye towards environmental and social responsibility.
In an era where technology increasingly shapes the way we manage daily life, its impact on crucial legal matters is often neglected. A commonly overlooked concern revolves around decision-making in unique situations.
If an individual becomes incapable of making decisions, it’s important to note that their next of kin doesn’t automatically assume legal authority to oversee their affairs. Instead, they’re required to undergo a lengthy and cumbersome court process to gain access to bank accounts or manage insurance payouts.
With this in mind, Singapore offers an option to deal with such circumstances. The Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a crucial legal document allowing individuals to designate someone to act on their behalf if they become incapacitated. Recognising its pivotal role, the partnership between GovTech’s Services team and the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) under the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) in Singapore has led to a remarkable digital transformation in the LPA application process.
The collaborative solution from the Office of the Public Guardian Online (OPGO) is a pioneering platform aimed at simplifying and automating the LPA application process. This digital overhaul not only slashes the processing time from three weeks to a mere 15 minutes but also revolutionises the user experience.
The development of OPGO was not a mere technological leap; it was a carefully curated process. The team embraced design thinking methodologies, engaging stakeholders, conducting usability workshops, and even pilot-testing with various demographics, including medical professionals and legal experts.
The integration of the National Digital Identity platform brought forth Secure Electronic Signatures, eliminating the need for physical signatures and ensuring a secure environment for document verification. Data security measures were rigorously implemented to safeguard sensitive information, offering citizens peace of mind when engaging with the platform.
The OPGO team is eager to explore more avenues to ease citizen’s lives. They’re on a mission to integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning into document processing, anticipating even faster processing times and improved user experiences. By employing predictive analysis, they aim to broaden coverage with reduced manpower.
The agile methodology adopted, coupled with technology like low-code platforms, continuous integration and delivery practices, automated testing, and cloud technology, ensured adaptability and quality assurance throughout the project lifecycle. These measures were instrumental in refining OPGO’s usability before its launch and continue to facilitate its evolution.
The journey from manual processing to digitalisation has not only simplified bureaucratic procedures but also empowered individuals to take charge of their future in a technologically advanced, efficient, and secure manner.
In essence, the evolution of LPAs through technology is not just about paperwork; it’s a testament to how innovation can transform legal processes, making them accessible, efficient, and reliable for the benefit of society.
Since its launch in November 2022, over 57,000 individuals have used the OPGO portal to submit their LPA applications. The platform’s success surpassed key benchmarks for customer satisfaction, e-payment integration, digital signatures, and data pre-fill, proving its intuitive interface and functionality were well-received by citizens.
Until March 2026, citizens have the opportunity to benefit from a waived $75 application fee for LPAs, enabling them to use the efficient and user-friendly OPGO platform to secure their future.
Singapore recognises that technology has the potential to better people’s lives. They also understand that all segments of society should be able to understand, access and participate in an increasingly digital world.
OpenGov reported on the government’s commitment to supporting Singaporeans in this quest for perpetual learning. Senior Minister of State Tan Kiat How underscored the pivotal role of continuous learning and skills acquisition in navigating the dynamic landscape of the modern world. He shared the Forward Singapore report, a comprehensive guide to the nation’s major developmental shifts, urging those unfamiliar with it to explore its insights.
In a stirring address at the Emerging Enterprise Awards (EEA) 2023, Senior Minister of State Tan Kiat How underscored the pivotal role of continuous learning and skills acquisition in navigating the dynamic landscape of the modern world.
Emphasising that education should be viewed as a lifelong journey, extending beyond formal academic years, he articulated the need for individuals to adapt to the evolving demands of an ever-changing workplace.
Acknowledging the government’s commitment to supporting Singaporeans in this quest for perpetual learning, Tan Kiat How also appealed to business owners and industry leaders to create an enabling environment for employees to upgrade their skills. He highlighted the Forward Singapore report, a comprehensive guide to the nation’s major developmental shifts, urging those unfamiliar with it to explore its insights.
The Senior Minister of State asserted that embracing technology as a strategic enabler is integral to overcoming traditional constraints and enhancing competitiveness. He underscored Singapore’s pioneering role in digital technology adoption, dating back to the 1980s when the nation became one of the first in the world to integrate computers into its public service and workplaces.
Singapore places a paramount emphasis on the pivotal role of digitalisation in revolutionising its educational landscape. With a focus on enhancing learning experiences, fostering global competitiveness, and preparing students for the future workforce, the nation is embracing innovative teaching methods and personalised learning through advanced digital tools.
The integration of technology not only streamlines administrative processes but also facilitates seamless transitions between in-person and online learning models. This commitment to digitalisation reflects Singapore’s dedication to staying at the forefront of educational innovation, equipping students with essential technological skills for the evolving global landscape.
This commitment to technological advancement has persisted, forming the bedrock of Singapore’s digital foundation. Senior Minister Tan shed light on the government’s SMEs Go Digital programme, an initiative integrating emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud services into Industry Digital Plans (IDPs).
These IDPs serve as roadmaps, guiding businesses across various sectors in adopting digital solutions and upskilling their workforce. In a recent example, the Tourism (Attractions) IDP incorporated AI to streamline workflows and provide data-driven insights, enhancing decision-making for attraction operators.
The government’s holistic approach extends beyond specific sectors, with a thorough examination of industry disciplines sector by sector. This involves updating strategies, incorporating emerging technologies, and ensuring that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can boost productivity and competitiveness while navigating the complexities of digital transformation.
Senior Minister Tan cited the Chief Information Security Officers-as-a-Service initiative, where cybersecurity consultants aid firms in enhancing cyber resilience through “check-ups” and tailored health plans.
Encouraging firms and networks to actively engage with these programmes, Senior Minister Tan emphasised the need for Singapore to embrace its agency in shaping its future. He urged the nation to leverage its strong foundation and the strategic roadmap outlined in Forward Singapore.
As Singapore charts its digital odyssey, the EEA 2023 serves as a platform not just for acknowledging achievements but for inspiring a collective commitment to a future where technological innovation and lifelong learning propel the nation to new heights.
The Senior Minister of State added that Singapore’s exceptionalism relies on collective ambition, hard work, and unity, ensuring that the nation continues to defy the odds and stand as a beacon on the global stage.
Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Defence, Heng Chee How, and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Health, Dr Janil Puthucheary, recently visited the Critical Infrastructure Defence Exercise (CIDeX) 2023, underscoring the government’s commitment to fortifying national cybersecurity.
The exercise, held at the National University of Singapore School of Computing, witnessed over 200 participants engaging in operational technology (OT) critical infrastructure defence training.
Organised by the Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), with support from iTrust/SUTD and the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory (NCL), CIDeX 2023 marked a collaborative effort to enhance Whole-Of-Government (WoG) cyber capabilities. The exercise focused on detecting and countering cyber threats to both Information Technology (IT) and OT networks governing critical infrastructure sectors.
This year’s edition boasted participation from DIS, CSA, and 24 other national agencies across six Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) sectors. With an expanded digital infrastructure comprising six enterprise IT networks and three new OT testbeds, participants operated on six OT testbeds within key sectors—power, water, telecom, and aviation.
CIDeX 2023 featured Blue Teams, composed of national agency participants serving as cyber defenders, defending their digital infrastructure against simulated cyber-attacks launched by a composite Red Team comprising DIS, CSA, DSTA, and IMDA personnel. The exercises simulated attacks on both IT and OT networks, including scenarios such as overloading an airport substation, disrupting water distribution, and shutting down a gas plant.
The exercise provided a platform for participants to hone their technical competencies, enhance collaboration, and share expertise across agencies. Before CIDeX, participants underwent a five-day hands-on training programme at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)’s Cyber Defence Test and Evaluation Centre (CyTEC) at Stagmont Camp, ensuring readiness for cyber defence challenges.
On the sidelines of CIDeX 2023, the DIS solidified cyber collaboration by signing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with key technology sector partners, expanding its partnerships beyond the earlier agreement with Microsoft earlier in the year.
Senior Minister Heng emphasised the importance of inter-agency cooperation, stating, “CIDeX is a platform where we bring together many agencies throughout the government to come together to learn how to defend together.” He highlighted the collective effort involving 26 agencies and over 200 participants, acknowledging the significance of unity in cybersecurity.
Dr Janil echoed this sentiment, emphasising CIDeX’s role in the Whole-of-Government (WoG) cyber defence effort. He remarked, “Defending Singapore’s cyberspace is not an easy task, and it is a team effort.”
He commended the strong partnership between the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and the Digital and Intelligence Service, recognising the exercise as a crucial element in strengthening the nation’s digital resilience and national cybersecurity posture.
By leveraging collaboration, innovation, and a robust defence strategy, Singapore aims not just to protect its critical infrastructure but to set a global standard in cybersecurity practices.
CIDeX 2023 serves as a compelling embodiment of Singapore’s unwavering dedication to maintaining a leadership position in cybersecurity practices. This strategic exercise underscores the nation’s commitment to cultivating collaboration and fortifying its resilience against continually evolving cyber threats.
Beyond a training ground for sharpening the skills of cyber defenders, CIDeX 2023 encapsulates the government’s profound commitment to adopting a robust, collaborative, and forward-thinking approach to safeguarding the integrity and security of the nation’s critical infrastructure in the dynamic landscape of the digital age.
The Chief Dental Officer of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Associate Prof Chng Chai Kiat highlighted their role in fostering collaboration, exploring innovation and propelling oral health into the future. Digitalisation, a key element of this transformation, takes centre stage providing a vibrant space for scientists to delve into technological advancements shaping the future of oral health.
Over the next few days, 60 local and international speakers will unravel cutting-edge technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), digital dentistry, biomaterials, orofacial devices, therapeutics, and more.
Oral diseases, affecting 3.5 billion globally, not only compromise health but also pose a substantial economic burden. In Singapore, the 2019/2020 National Adult Oral Health Survey revealed high prevalence rates, emphasising the need for effective strategies.
Assoc Prof Chng underlined the significance of oral health surveillance studies, crucial for policymaking and health system planning, while research becomes a driver for innovation in delivering quality oral care.
Population health takes precedence, aligning with Singapore’s healthcare reform through the Healthier SG initiative. The ageing population becomes a focal point, prompting the need for preventive care to ensure good oral health. Population oral health studies become instrumental in understanding responses to interventions across generations, contributing to effective policymaking.
A notable endeavour is the SG70 cohort study, “Towards Healthy Longevity,” integrating oral health research into mainstream public health initiatives. Led by the National University of Singapore, it examines the effects of biological, lifestyle, and socioeconomic factors on healthy ageing. A representative sample of 3,000 Singaporeans aged 70 and older will be followed for the next 10 to 15 years.
Digital dentistry solutions take a leap forward with the ongoing development of a clinically integrated workflow to produce removable partial dentures efficiently. Spearheaded by SingHealth-Duke NUS Medical School, this research proposal employs 3D dental prosthesis printing, biomaterials, and regenerative dentistry, catering to the oral needs of an ageing population.
Industry collaboration has become integral, and a noteworthy example is the development of an antiseptic mouth rinse with anti-viral properties. Originating during the COVID-19 pandemic, the study by the National Dental Centre Singapore has successfully partnered with a homegrown oral care brand, showcasing a synergy between oral health research expertise and industry knowledge.
Digital dentistry solutions have revolutionised dental practices by offering precision, efficiency, and enhanced patient experiences. Utilising advanced technologies such as intraoral scanners and CAD/CAM systems, these solutions ensure precise measurements and accurate diagnoses.
Digital workflows streamline traditional processes, significantly reducing chair time and enabling same-day restorations. This benefits practitioners in terms of time efficiency and enhances the overall patient experience, as digital impressions replace traditional materials, providing a more comfortable and less intrusive procedure.
Customisation and aesthetics are paramount in modern dentistry, and digital tools like CAD/CAM systems allow for the creation of highly customised dental prosthetics tailored to individual patient anatomy. The precise colour-matching capabilities of digital technologies contribute to restorations that closely resemble natural teeth, achieving superior aesthetic outcomes.
Additionally, improved communication between dental professionals is facilitated through digital platforms, enabling seamless collaboration on multidisciplinary cases. The ease of sharing digital records with laboratories, specialists, and other team members fosters better coordination in delivering comprehensive patient care.
Beyond the immediate benefits, digital dentistry offers long-term advantages such as cost-effectiveness, as reduced material costs and increased efficiency offset initial investments.
The accessibility and secure storage of digital patient records contribute to better continuity of care, while ongoing technological advancements, including the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing, ensure that dental practices remain at the forefront of emerging trends.
Hence, digital dentistry has become an essential component of modern dental care, providing practitioners with tools to deliver high-quality, patient-centred services in a technologically advanced environment.
Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education (ITE) has emerged as a trailblazer with its innovative Work-Study Diplomas (WSDips) initiative. Launched five years ago, the programme has evolved into a crucial pathway for ITE graduates seeking to elevate their qualifications. According to Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, the Second Minister for Education, the success of WSDips lies in its ‘learning by doing’ approach, aligning seamlessly with ITE’s practice-based curriculum.
Since its inception with 100 trainees across four courses in 2018, the WSDips initiative has witnessed exponential growth. With over 1,000 trainees now enrolled in 40 courses, the programme has become a testament to its effectiveness. Graduates not only experience salary growth but also boast high employability, with more than 70% choosing to stay in their respective companies post-graduation.
ITE is set to expand its successful WSDips initiative by introducing five new courses in 2024. This move reflects ITE’s commitment to staying ahead of the curve in addressing the diverse needs of both individuals and industries.
The new additions, ranging from Accountancy and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Nursing and Tourism Management, showcase ITE’s dedication to providing upskilling opportunities tailored to the evolving demands of the workforce.
The WSDip in Accountancy aims to sharpen expertise in in-house accounting functions, addressing the intricate financial management needs of businesses. Recognising the pivotal role of technology, the WSDip in AI and Data Intelligence is designed to support businesses in executing robust digital strategies by nurturing talent well-versed in AI and data intelligence.
The WSDip in Electronics and Computer Engineering responds to the increasing importance of optimised operational efficiency in digital work environments. This course focuses on cutting-edge electronics and computer engineering, producing skilled professionals ready to tackle the challenges of an increasingly tech-centric world.
In the healthcare sector, the WSDip in Nursing offers an apprenticeship-based progression pathway, addressing the growing demand for healthcare professionals. This programme provides a structured and hands-on learning approach, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared for the dynamic field of nursing.
The WSDip in Tourism Management recognises the significance of the evolving tourism industry. Going beyond traditional approaches, this diploma encompasses a spectrum of skills, from customer behaviour analytics to sustainable tourism practices, preparing trainees to navigate this transformative industry.
The expansion of the WSDips portfolio underscores ITE’s dedication to offering specialised courses that address the contemporary workforce’s needs. By providing upskilling opportunities in crucial areas, ITE ensures its graduates are not only job-ready but also positioned to thrive in their chosen fields.
The integration of digitalisation courses into study diplomas has become a strategic imperative. This move is not merely a reaction to industry trends; rather, it represents a proactive measure to bridge the gap between traditional education and the rapidly evolving technological landscape.
Study diplomas tailored to include digitalisation courses offer myriad benefits, from heightened employability to cultivating a workforce prepared for the challenges of the digital age. Graduates possessing digital literacy are not only better positioned for a wide array of careers but are also empowered to contribute to innovation and entrepreneurship.
Moreover, these programmes play a pivotal role in addressing the global competitiveness of individuals and industries, ensuring that professionals have the necessary skills to navigate a digitally interconnected world.
As educational institutions adapt to include digitalisation courses, Singapore paves the way for a future workforce that is not only adaptive to industry-specific requirements but also capable of driving technological advancements in various fields.
In the rapidly evolving landscape of the global economy, digital transformation has become a key driver of growth and competitiveness. Indeed, embracing this transformative wave is not just a choice but a necessity. The key to unlocking Indonesia’s vast potential lies in adopting a skills-first approach to learning, where the workforce is equipped with the digital skills needed to thrive in the 21st-century economy.
Indonesia, with its diverse culture and abundant resources, stands at a crossroads of opportunity. However, to harness this potential fully, the country must transition into a digitally-driven economy. The pandemic has underscored the importance of digitalisation, making it imperative for businesses and individuals alike to adapt to the new normal. Embracing digital transformation is not only about survival but also about ensuring sustainable and inclusive growth.
While the vision of unlocking Indonesia’s potential through digital transformation is promising, some challenges must be addressed to ensure successful implementation; and one of the primary challenges is the digital divide.
To overcome this barrier, concerted efforts are needed to expand digital infrastructure and provide affordable access to technology, especially in remote and underserved areas. Government initiatives, public-private partnerships, and community-based programmes can play a pivotal role in bridging this gap.
Additionally, the education system must undergo a significant overhaul to align with the demands of the digital era. This involves revising curricula to include not only technical skills but also critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. Encouraging multidisciplinary approaches and project-based learning can help students develop a holistic skill set that prepares them for the challenges of the digital workforce.
As Indonesia steers towards embracing digital transformation through skills-first learning, the trajectory of its economic and social development is poised to undergo a significant shift. A digitally skilled workforce not only attracts foreign investment but also fuels innovation and entrepreneurship domestically. The country can position itself as a hub for technological innovation, creating a vibrant ecosystem that fosters collaboration between startups, established enterprises, and research institutions.
Likewise, the benefits of digital transformation extend beyond economic considerations. Improved healthcare, enhanced public services, and increased connectivity can contribute to an overall improvement in the quality of life for Indonesian citizens. Smart cities, sustainable practices, and resilient communities can be nurtured through the integration of digital technologies into various facets of daily life.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight held on 28 November 2023 at The Westin Jakarta discussed strategies to leverage emerging technologies for development and growth while acquiring digital skills to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving market in Indonesia.
Mohit Sagar, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia recognises Indonesia’s foray into digital transformation, signalling a transformative phase poised for substantial economic growth. Digital transformation, the integration of digital technologies into all aspects of society, Mohit agrees, is essential to propelling the nation into a new era.
The surge in smartphone adoption, expanding internet accessibility, and a burgeoning middle class are propelling the country’s digital economy at an astonishing speed. However, he underscores that this shift must go beyond adopting gadgets. It must become a fundamental shift in how businesses operate, governments function, and citizens lead their lives.
Highlighting the importance of digital transformation in Indonesia is crucial, especially in enabling economic growth, enhancing efficiency, and improving overall quality of life. This hinges on the citizens’ capability to comprehend, utilise and optimise digital innovation and technology.
In light of this, the urgency of acquiring digital skills cannot be overstated. In a job market evolving at a breakneck pace, individuals equipped with digital skills stand at a vantage point, securing employment and propelling their careers forward. The consequences of lagging in this digital race are stark, posing a risk of job displacement and a potential slide into obsolescence across industries, from healthcare to finance.
Adaptability, perpetual learning, and the relevance of skills in the swiftly evolving digital landscape take centre stage in this educational revolution. Enter Skills-First Learning is an innovative educational approach prioritising practical skills over conventional academic qualifications. This groundbreaking method aims to equip individuals and the workforce with the precise skills needed to flourish in the digital age.
Indonesia’s job market is undergoing a radical metamorphosis, propelled by the swift march of digital technologies. Conventional job roles are shape-shifting, creating a new wave of digital-centric positions. Automation and artificial intelligence are reshaping the private sector and infiltrating government jobs, streamlining administrative tasks and service delivery.
Citing the Indonesian government’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology’s projection of a need for up to 9 million digital talents by 2030, Mohit underscores the critical need for upskilling to meet the surging requirements of the digital age.
“In e-commerce, proficiency in digital marketing, data analysis, and e-commerce platform management is paramount,” says Mohit. “Fintech demands expertise in digital payments, blockchain, and risk management. Also, cybersecurity professionals need skills to shield digital assets from evolving cyber threats.”
The public sector, a cornerstone of societal development, must lead by example in embracing digital technologies. Government agencies grappling with skills gaps must bridge these divides to ensure effective digital transformation, necessitating collaboration with private industries and academia.
Moreover, as AI integration expands, ensuring transparency becomes paramount, aligning its use with public sector objectives, overseeing performance, and ensuring ethical deployment.
“Identifying existing skill gaps, tailoring training programmes, fostering digital literacy, and promoting a culture of continuous learning are the keystones to navigating Indonesia’s digital future successfully,” Mohit concludes. “The journey is difficult, but the destination promises unprecedented growth and innovation.”
Chad Al-Sherif Pasha, Senior Advisor and Head of APAC at Coursera for Government offers a thought-provoking analysis that projects a seismic shift in the employment paradigm by 2027. Anticipating a substantial transformation affecting approximately 28% of current employment, he underscores the pressing need for upskilling and adaptation to stay abreast of the accelerating digital environment.
Chad perceives this transformative wave not as a mere obligation to stay relevant in an ever-evolving job market, but as a gateway to thriving in the face of advancing technology and the imperative for industry transformation, offering a realm of new opportunities to unfold.
This dynamic environment, he notes, necessitates strategic planning in skills development – an essential for both confronting challenges and capitalising on opportunities that will unfold in the future.
At the core of preparing for this imminent digital transformation is upskilling. Upskilling not only provides a competitive edge but also serves as a gateway to innovation and a deeper comprehension of the changing dynamics in the market.
Strategic planning, as understood by Chad, involves a proactive approach to skills development. Recognising the trends in digital transformation and identifying the forthcoming skills requirements allows individuals and organisations to position themselves adeptly to meet the demands of the future.
“This involves the implementation of adaptive learning approaches and educational solutions tailored to the constantly evolving needs of industries,” Chad explains
Coursera, a pioneering platform in the digital education sector, plays a pivotal role in this paradigm shift. Through its diverse array of programmes and courses, Coursera contributes significantly to preparing individuals and organisations to grapple with the challenges posed by digital transformation. The platform provides access to relevant and regularly updated educational content spanning various disciplines and skills vital in today’s digital era.
Being a leader in online learning, Coursera not only facilitates access to global educational resources but also dynamically adapts its learning approaches to align with the needs of individuals and organisations amid the rapid changes in the world of work.
Chad’s role encompasses Coursera for Government, where he has organised programmes tailored to assist government agencies and organisations in readying their workforce for the ongoing digital transformation.
This initiative revolves around building a learning ecosystem that is responsive and meticulously aligned with industry needs, thereby continuing to support endeavours aimed at enhancing relevant skills and knowledge.
The significance of Coursera in supporting upskilling and reskilling extends beyond individual career development. It also contributes to organisations building teams that can adeptly navigate the dynamic business environment, fostering adaptability and innovation.
Coursera acts as a strategic partner in advancing education and skills development in the digital era. By consistently offering innovative and responsive educational solutions, Coursera is actively shaping the future of education, one that is more inclusive, accessible, and relevant for all.
“As individuals and organisations plan a holistic skills development strategy, they not only brace themselves for the challenges of the future with confidence and readiness,” Chad explains. “They also play a pivotal role in making a positive contribution to the development of society and the global economy in this era of profound digital transformation.”
Acknowledging the valuable insights from participants, Chad extended words of encouragement and motivation, emphasising the importance of dedicated upskilling and reskilling efforts. Highlighting the dynamic nature of a rapidly evolving world, he underscored the necessity for ongoing skill enhancement to stay relevant and competitive, advocating for a positive approach to meet these demands.
Chad emphasises the importance of proactively developing skills in the era of ongoing digital transformation. He pointed out that by continuously enhancing skills, individuals not only keep up with technological advancements but also position themselves as innovators and leaders, adept at understanding and implementing innovations.
He reaffirmed Coursera’s commitment to aiding individuals in their learning endeavours. With access to top-tier educational resources globally, Coursera stands as an essential tool in nurturing a workforce that is adaptable and ready to tackle change head-on.
“Coursera for Government reiterates its commitment to being a dependable partner for individuals and organisations navigating the complexities of digital transformation,” confirms Chad. “We are committed to the pivotal role in empowering individuals and organisations to excel in an era marked by ongoing change and innovation.”
Mohit emphasises the dynamic nature of the workforce, underscoring its continuous need to adapt to the rapid changes in today’s digital landscape. In this era of digital transformation, he acknowledges that workforce management extends beyond technical skills, encompassing vital attributes such as agility, creativity and adaptability.
Organisations need to prioritise a deeper understanding of workforce needs and skill growth as the cornerstone for crafting enduring policies that will positively shape forthcoming industrial and technological progressions.
Investing in skills development and human resources is pivotal for maintaining a relevant and productive workforce. Hence, continuous learning, ongoing training, and leadership development are integral components of a successful workforce management strategy.
“Success in overcoming the challenges of digital transformation for any organisation does not hinge solely on adopting the latest technology, but equally on cultivating an innovative work culture,” he concludes. “An agile, skilled, and innovative workforce stands as the linchpin in steering market dynamics towards triumph during the digital transformation era.”