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EXCLUSIVE: OpenGov Tech Day 2019 – Building Your Digital Foundation with Agile Integration

Delegates at OpenGov Tech Day 2019 – Building Your Digital Foundation with Agile Integration

 Agility and Integration: Finding the Sweet Spot

OpenGov Tech Day 2019 – Building Your Digital Foundation with Agile Integration was hosted at the JW Marriott Hotel Jakarta on 27th August 2019.

In attendance were 39 senior digital executives from the Jakarta Provincial Government who convened to discuss the importance of Agile Integration in accelerating the government’s transformation journey.

Applications and services have become fundamental to business strategy and distributed agile methodologies have changed the way organisations operate.

Consequently, this becomes important for IT leaders to integrate their backend and legacy systems in an agile way.

In doing so, governments can transform their service delivery for the better, creating an enhanced citizen experience that is personalised, interconnected and seamless.

To integrate in an agile manner is to have microservices that can be updated on and removed from the architecture seamlessly. This means that an organisation’s enterprise architecture must have the flexibility and adaptability to do so.

Large-scale monolithic architecture will become a thing of the past as applications are glued together in a centralised architecture. This prevents microservices from having the ability to add or remove service functionality.

An Ambiguous World

Mohit: Agile is a highly misunderstood word

In his opening address, Mohit Sagar, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia, emphasised the importance of agile integration in a volatile and ever-changing digital landscape.

As technology is constantly evolving organisations need to be agile to face any challenges thrown at them.

Stepping back in time, Mohit highlighted that the roots of agility could be found in Taylorism.

Taylorism is a production efficiency methodology that breaks every job into smaller fragments which can be easily taught. This increases worker efficiency and, subsequently, impacts profits.

Agile Integration, like Taylorism, involves breaking applications along functionality lines.

The development cycle is in brief, iterative sprints, giving microservices the ability to modify service functionality. The iterative development cycle allows for continuous planning and feedback, enabling business value to be realised.

However, business value is not realised as individuals are working in silos.

Taking Technology Leaps

Rully belives Open Source is critical to agility

The first step towards agility is to break down silos. It is imperative to connect everything in an enterprise to build an integrated database that allows for digital transformation within the government.

This is where the power of Open Source is required. Rully Moulany, Country Manager at PT Red Hat Indonesia drove this point home in his presentation.

The benefits of using Open Source include allowing collaboration, increasing transparency, solving shared problems faster and introducing standardisation by working together.

Part 1: Polling Results & Analysis

Before proceeding with the first round of gamification, delegates reflected on their department’s digital transformation initiatives.

One of the questions included the extent of digital transformation as a key part of their department’s transition to eGovernment services.

Interestingly, most delegates see digital transformation as extremely relevant, but not critical, to their department’s transition to eGovernment services. Only 29% of delegates see digital transformation as critical.

This suggests that most delegates have an existing programme in place, but they have yet to establish a critical path that outlines priorities and desired outcomes in details.

This observation contradicts the fact that most delegates voted that they are behind the curve in the readiness of their current IT systems, data, infrastructure for eGovernment digital transformation. They have yet to establish a clear roadmap or implement key innovations to underpin their transformation programme.

Although more than 50% of delegates see digital transformation as critical and extremely relevant, only 11% are ahead of the curve in their readiness to embark on the next phase of digital transformation.

Let the Games Begin

The lack of readiness could be due to the tricky process of Agile Integration that requires many factors to be considered.

To help kickstart their journey, delegates were placed in a real-life scenario with a task to scale up citizen services.

The scenario simulation pushed delegates to think about the required components in their digital transformation framework that would enable rapid development, participation of the community and digital delivery of services through many touchpoints while being hosted in the cloud.

Gamification Discussion

Identifying the optimal answer – a tough choice!

After intense 35 minutes of debate within each group, the delegates presented the components that they had identified.

All groups were able to correctly identify the following components as crucial in their digital transformation framework:

  • Implement an Agile Integration Platform – to connect all disparate data and process into a homogenously connected architecture
  • Automate Business Processes and Infrastructure Management – to make applications more guided and secure whilst assisting citizens in navigating complex government systems

However, they also converged on the point of using Service Oriented Architecture and an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).

A delegate explained the need to have reusable services because it allows organisations to simply make slight changes to the services when it is down.

Another delegate mentioned that departments tend to have data silos making it important for these services to be aggregated in a centralised ESB.

Pushing back, others suggested that while it is important to have a centralised architecture, having an ESB is not the optimal component as it does not enable agility. Modern architecture needs to have agility and flexibility while integrating data.

Others argued that utilising 5G technologies for communication should be the optimal component, but they failed to realise that technology is rapidly evolving. Ultimately, the key in digital transformation is the ability to stay agile to adapt to these ever-evolving technologies.

Surprisingly, the option of optimising existing IT infrastructure was not popular among the delegates. It is important to optimise existing IT infrastructure as this brings cost-savings to organisations.

Part 2: Polling Results & Analysis

Having gone through the first round of gamification, delegates were aware of the key components to be considered in their digital transformation framework.

They were given another set of questions to cast light on the future directions of their eGovernment digital transformation initiatives.

64% of delegates voted that Open Source software will play a role in eGovernment digital transformation and 32% of delegates have already identified the specific components that can be addressed by Open Source software.

On their desired outcome of eGovernment digital transformation initiatives, 73% of delegates voted seamless experience with full integration of e-services across administrative boundaries as their desired outcome. But how do delegates achieve their desired outcome, even in times of crisis?

Having identified their answers, a team wants to take it to the next level using wild cards

Achieving Seamless Experience During Crisis

The first round of gamification and intense debate left delegates wanting for more.

The second gamification scenario placed delegates in a situation of crisis, where conflicts are increasingly waged on the cyberspace.

Delegates were tasked to identify components in a digital transformation framework that would allow for data sharing in the interest of national security and effective incident response.

Gamification Discussion

Interestingly, three groups did not choose “Develop Cloud Native Applications – to implement predictive systems and systems that can bridge response coordination to large distributed groups of responders” as the optimal component.

Instead, they chose “Use Distributed Messaging Systems”. Having distributed messaging systems is a great solution, but delegates need to realise that it is part of building cloud native applications.

Developing cloud native applications is a broader strategy that will enable organisations to leverage on distributed messaging systems.

A group suggested an additional component – to educate citizens on the spread and usage of IT. This is an important issue to consider in eGovernment transformation initiatives. However, given the proliferation and uptake of devices, the problem may resolve by itself.

In conclusion, all answers fielded were good. The key is in finding the “more” right answer and justifying it. This is where peer-to-peer learning takes place. While some were more suitable than others, each had value in the context it was presented in. Governments will continue to harness the power of technology to bring about a seamless citizen experience.

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