Around the world, government agencies are working hard to meet citizen needs and weather the impact of COVID-19. The new normal is driving the public sector to accelerate digital transformation initiatives to ensure that the citizens continue to avail themselves of government services uninterrupted and seamlessly.
While this transformation encompasses people, processes and solutions, it is the underlying technology that forms a foundation for a successful initiative. A big part of this shift is modernising the on-premises Information Technology environment and applications that span data centres, edge locations and public clouds.
In a fast-changing business environment, governments have seen first-hand the value technology brings to enable a connected and innovative ecosystem. While organisations in 2020 were focused on responding and adapting to the pandemic to ensure business continuity, 2021 marks a turning point with innovation becoming a priority for future-ready agencies looking to accelerate their growth.
The Philippines is progressing well on its path of digital transformation efforts and achieving a resilient, inclusive, and innovation-led economy.
Recognising the vital role of Information and Communications Technology in transitioning to the new normal amidst the ongoing pandemic, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) amended its Cloud First Policy to provide clearer instructions on policy coverage, data classification and data security, as well as its policy on sovereignty, residency and ownership.
Under the policy, cloud computing is acknowledged as the preferred technology for government administration and the delivery of government services. With the amended Cloud First Policy, the government is paving the way to an ICT policy environment that is more responsive to current needs and is expected to further enable government agencies to serve the public more efficiently.
However, this begs the question: How do organisations translate policies into practices on the ground?
This was the focal point of the OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight held on 12 November 2021. This session aimed at imparting knowledge and strategies on how to unlock the multi-cloud future to accelerate digital transformation and deliver secured citizen-centric services with agility, scalability, and speed.
Staying ahead in the ‘cloud game’ of digital transformation
Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, kicked off the session with his opening address.
Global mindsets and organisational culture have had a paradigm shift because of the pandemic and people are more inclined to continue to work remotely. In 2020-2021, a lot of technology was used to keep things functioning but these, he feels, were stop-gap measures – ‘band-aid’ solutions to keep organisations afloat.
With the world settling in on the new normal, there is a need to rethink and strategise for the long term. Citizens are becoming familiar with online digital services and “no citizen wants to wait in line again,” Mohit noted. In this scenario, cloud has become a critical component all over again. “Cloud is a requirement, not an option,” Mohit asserted.
Cloud technology is transforming businesses across industries and creating a dramatic shift by delivering hosted services through the internet with huge cost benefits and business innovation. It has changed the way data is accessed, stored, migrated, and managed. It offers high accessibility of information and enables the access of information remotely – a big plus in the context of the current global crisis.
Not to be left behind, the prevailing trend of governments is a shift towards a hybrid cloud strategy with the goal of increasing efficiency. Agencies are not only moving workloads between on-premise data centres and public cloud but are also making a change by uploading data instantly. With the transformation, agencies will have to juggle hundreds or even thousands of applications – all of which are critical to business.
Against this backdrop, how can agencies modernise, re-platform, re-host and re-factor applications – transition from monolithic systems to agile, streamlined microservices? The answers involve small, scalable steps.
Two of the most significant trends in legacy app modernisation are multi-cloud and hybrid cloud. Modernisation helps software teams optimise existing applications for these more distributed computing paradigms, rather than requiring them to rebuild their critical applications from scratch.
At the same time, navigating this shifting terrain must be done securely – there is a need to ‘bake’ security into the process and tools. This means that security is readily built into the infrastructure across workloads and applications. This is not an add-on product, tool, or bundle, but a concerted strategy for leveraging existing systems in new ways across applications, clouds, or devices. It is a unified approach to accelerate the identification, prevention, detection, and response to threats with the right context and insight.
Ultimately, Mohit is convinced of the flexibility that the cloud offers in responding to changes demanded by digital citizens. “No one wants to wait an hour for government services!”
Services are at the highest demand ever and while security is a concern, “it cannot be a handicap,” Mohit emphasised. More than ever, the ‘cloud game’ is one that agencies need to pay attention to. In this digital age, services need to be responsive and demonstrate agility, scalability, and speed even amid a pandemic.
The journey towards implementing cloud technologies
Walter So, Country Manager, VMware Philippines spoke next on how digital transformation can help organisations thrive in a post-crisis world.
Before moving to cloud, Walter explains that it is essential for delegates to understand the value their organisation wants to derive from cloud adoption. He highlighted the importance of having clarity on the Cloud value expectation. Some of the value expectations include:
Cost – Going to Cloud is cheaper because organisations no longer need an on-premise environment
Financial Flexibility – With the pay-as-you-grow model, companies shift from CAPEX to OPEX
Agility – Cloud can provide resources as and when organisations need them
Security and Resiliency – Being in a cloud environment provides organisations with better protection and availability because of the intrinsic technologies within
Managed Service – Organisations no longer need to manage infrastructures as cloud is provided as a service
While the journey began with the move to mono-cloud, the pandemic has accelerated the shift from mono-cloud to multi-cloud. This transition, however, from mono cloud to multi-cloud requires integration. This is where VMware can step in to assist, Walter opined.
The focus of the current phase hinges on running a more diverse set of apps in the cloud. Customers can select the cloud based on their needs and what their business demands. Data centres can also be transformed into private clouds where apps are run. The new digital architecture is a multi-cloud architecture.
For Walter, it is about having the right cloud for the right purpose, “Being cloud smart is to know that multi-cloud is an eventuality.”
Walter notes that with Edge, apps and services are pushed closer to the point of need, especially in sectors like retail, manufacturing, transportation, and energy. From his perspective, multi-cloud now extends from public clouds to private clouds to the Edge.
Observing that enterprise architecture and workloads are increasingly distributed, Walter makes the point that it is more complex to manage a multi-cloud environment:
- Enterprise architectures are far more distributed
- Workloads are more diverse; cloud-native, core enterprise, SaaS (Software as a Services) and are now apps at the Edge
- Businesses are running these workloads across different clouds, and each one has its own siloed set of tools and systems
- Managing, connecting, and securing all these apps is a challenge
- Developers tend to have a preferred cloud they are most comfortable using
- But getting code into production is painful and slow — even in one cloud, let alone across different clouds
- Customers and employees expecting instant access to all apps anytime from anywhere add to the mounting pressure.
For Walter, this is where VMware comes into the picture, providing the innovation of multiple clouds while having the simplicity of a single cloud. VMware can assist with a range of modernisation strategies:
- Retain – Maintaining and optimising app on-premise
- Rehost/migrate – Relocating existing apps to cloud
- Re-platform – Packaging existing apps into containers
- Refactor – Building new apps using cloud-native technology
- Retire – Phasing out traditional infrastructure and converting to SaaS
VMware unlocks the power of every cloud to unleash the full potential of existing applications and accelerates the creation and delivery of new ones. It offers consistent operations, simplifies management, and accelerates adoption – designed with multi-cloud in mind and optimised for every application. VMware’s cloud management spans across cloud environments and supports every possible app securely with confidence.
Walter concludes that the time is ripe for a shift from mono-cloud to multi-cloud. With VMware, organisations have the freedom to choose, an accelerated transformation, and application management.
Philippine government’s mandate of Cloud First Policy
The next speaker, Roderick B. Escolango, Government Digital Transformation Bureau, Department of Information & Communications Technology, explained the Cloud First Policy, related initiatives and how these support government transition to the new normal.
The Department of Information Communications Technology (DICT) is the primary government entity responsible for promoting ICT development, agenda and the use of merging ICT technologies to enhance national policies, programmes and services to improve the citizen experience with the government.
The DICT recognises the significant role of ICT in transforming to the new normal, easing the current conditions in data accessibility and service delivery.
The policy promotes the adoption of cloud computing as the preferred ICT deployment strategy for the government’s administrative use and delivery of online services. Cloud computing services provide better access to a global system of services and solutions and up-to-date digital innovations. The Cloud First Policy supports the optimal use of ICT for government transition to the new normal.
Moving to the cloud is expected to foster flexibility, security and cost-efficiency among users, he opines. It also offers accessibility to a global network of databases and innovations, alongside up-to-date security and more inclusive policies that fit the current demands.
Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) have specific classification categories to protect the data and construct well-informed judgments in terms of data access, storage, and transmission. Accredited CSPs manage data efficiently by abiding by international standards, qualifications and protocols in accepting and storing data as well as its migration to the cloud. With the following features, transparency, reliability and trust among the cloud service providers and the clients are fostered.
From the government standpoint, using cloud computing services encourage efficient inter-agency collaborations and citizen engagement. With systems and services accessed through the cloud, transaction processes are fast-tracked, and services are delivered in a shorter period.
Apart from the favourable stage, it sets in improving transactions, cloud computing services aid in reducing operational costs of building and maintaining physical infrastructures as well as decreasing the processes needed to be undertaken. Through this, cost-efficiency and convenience are achieved.
Introducing DICT’s GovCloud, Roderick explained that the joint project by ICT Office and Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) aims to provide cloud infrastructure access and services to government institutions. It offers a hybrid cloud infrastructure, which is composed of private on-premises and public cloud services through different service providers, such as AWS, Azure and Google.
It is a hybrid deployment of on-premise resources controlled and maintained by the DICT as well as resources from accredited Cloud Service Providers. The DICT manages and maintains the GovCloud to host several government systems to ensure that ICT infrastructures are efficiently working and free from cyber-attacks. Parallel to this, government agencies are allowed to activate, allocate and define capacity at their convenience.
The DICT GovCloud currently has 24 government agencies as tenants or clients. It offers a secured private cloud infrastructure that is developed and maintained following the client’s requirements and is encrypted with up-to-date security systems to avoid unauthorised access and data tampering.
The GovCloud allows easy upscaling or downscaling of ICT resources as deemed necessary to increase efficiency and runtime usage, and to accommodate the increasing number of users. It also provides vast data storage to support emerging resources and innovations.
Further, because of its on-demand accessibility, the clients and CSPs can provision, configure, and manage needed data conveniently and collaborate with minimal effort.
Roderick closed his presentation with the exhortation that government agencies, as well as private institutions, should adapt to continue providing commodities and services to the citizens and support their companies through revenues. Using ICT tools and platforms such as the cloud and cloud computing services will need to be maximised to address the current needs and demands of the clientele.
After the informative presentations, delegates participated in interactive discussions facilitated by polling questions. This activity is designed to provide live-audience interaction, promote engagement, hear real-life experiences, and facilitate discussions that impart professional learning and development for participants.
The first question asked delegates what their top strategic IT priority over the next 12 months are. The delegates were equally split between the priorities of modernising their data centre,e.g., HCI,(27%) and moving to private/public cloud (27%). Similarly, the rest of the votes were also evenly divided between security and governance (23%) and application modernisation, e.g., Containers, Microservices, (23%).
A delegate felt that as organisations move into developing many applications there needs to be a consistent database that can be accessed by everyone. In response, Walter opined that cloud centralisation is the key that will lead to collaboration and data consistency.
Mohit posits that a hybrid cloud is not an option but a necessity. As more apps are deployed, organisations need to be cloud-native. The question of security is “not an inhibition but a conversation,” he emphasises. Regardless of the platform, organisations will have to continuously ensure that people are doing all the right checks and balances.
When asked about their current state of public cloud adoption, most of the delegates indicated that it is still under evaluation (41%). Other delegates either have some workloads in a public cloud (32%) or some workloads in multiple clouds (27%).
A delegate shared his experience of using multiple clouds. With the government requiring agencies to provide online capabilities for transactions, cloud offers flexibility because it frees operations from the binds of hardware infrastructures. Another delegate believes that while some data can be moved to a public cloud, some will remain on a private cloud.
Agreeing with that train of thought, Mohit emphasises that hybrid cloud adoption is a calculated decision and a strategy. “Governments need to learn to be fluid,” he asserts.
Concerning the driver for cloud adoption, the delegates were again split between the drivers of data centre extension/scaling capacity on-demand (39%) and migration of apps to cloud (39%). The remaining 22% chose disaster recovery as the main driver.
Mohit remarked that it is important to migrate to cloud especially for those working from home. It offers scalability and VMware can help agencies manoeuvre through that journey. With the platform, agencies will not be locked into particular cloud services which translate into agility and cost savings.
Polled on their key concerns when moving to the cloud, security and governance ranked the highest (44%). The rest of the votes were evenly distributed between the need to re-skill talent (28%) and operational costs (28%).
To flesh out the issue, Walter introduced the concept of risk-benefit ratio – to look at security vis-à-vis the benefits organisations are getting. “Is the security in our existing enterprise any better than what we will get into?” he asked. “Taking ownership of the risk matters.”
Mohit concurred that it is about understanding the risk-benefit when making decisions. It is also not a zero-sum game where you must put everything up – organisations can take small steps in a strategy-driven approach.
A delegate added that the idea that the public cloud is less secure could also be a matter of perception than reality.
On the topic of their ideal cloud environment, most delegates agreed that an ideal environment would allow them to migrate workloads to the cloud easily and seamlessly (44%). Others opted for keeping their apps secure (39%), enabling them to manage applications consistently (11%) or being able to move apps from cloud to cloud easily (6%).
About the current state of Kubernetes use within their organisations, 60% indicated they are using sandbox only while others were still evaluating it (26%). The remaining delegates either require more information (7%) or have limited use (7%).
In the final poll, most delegates see the lack of developer/operator skills as the top challenge for adopting Kubernetes (59%) while 23% said that they have security concerns. Of the rest of the delegates, 12% find the complexity of technology an issue, while 6% were unsure about the ease of managing Kubernetes.
Closing the session, Celeste Vicencio, Lead – Government, VMware Philippines, thanked everyone and expressed her gratitude for their insights, plans and contributions.
To cope with the rapid demands of a changing world, governments are making headway into technologies that can enable innovation and productivity for a distributed workforce and remote working.
Addressing the challenges of a distributed workforce requires a modern, integrated approach. Future-ready staff solutions must enable a seamless and more secure digital employee experience, driving greater outcomes in the new work environment. Celeste believes that a cloud operating model will be the backbone that facilitates such innovation and productivity for this employee base.
Celeste believes that a cloud operating model will be the backbone enabling innovation and productivity for a distributed workforce must be powered by. Staffed with a highly skilled team, the company will be able to assist delegates in exploring ways to provide exceptional citizen experiences, beginning with small steps.
Many customers began their journey by learning through VMware’s workshops or availing trials offered by VMware to test the migration of their legacy applications to a public cloud.
VMware is privileged to have been able to help government agencies stay resilient and serve citizens and they are committed to continuing to be available. Celeste encouraged the delegates to reach out to her and the team to explore ways VMware could assist them on their cloud journey and to have deeper conversations to make relevant recommendations.
Indonesia has great ambitions for its digital economy and has deployed strategies to achieve its ambitions with a goal to reach USD315 billion by 2030. The 2021-2024 Indonesia Digital Roadmap is set on 4 pillars, namely digital infrastructure, digital government, digital economy and digital society.
As part of its strategy, the government is promoting four important digital skills to accelerate its digital economy. The government believes that the future demand for digital skills will be focused on four areas Artificial Intelligence, Bitcoin, Cloud Computing, and Data Analytics (ABCD). The ABCD skills are projected to help the national economy hit its US$315 billion by 2030 target.
Therefore, the Indonesian government is encouraging young people to start businesses through a variety of free programs such as Beta School, 1,000 Startup Movement, Startup Studio, HUB.ID and IGDX.
“Aside from university disciplines, the ABCD is becoming increasingly important for everyone. I believe that all young people require ABCD,” stated Dedy Permadi, Expert Staff of the Minister of Communication and Informatics, in a discussion forum.
Mastering ABCD technical hard skills apart, Indonesian digital talents are also expected to be proficient in non-technical or soft skills known as the 4C’s, which are Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity and Communication.
The Director of SDPPI Kominfo, Ismail, expressed his hope that the young generation in Indonesia would capture the golden opportunity for digitalisation. Digitalisation will transform Indonesia from a consumer country to a prominent player in the new normal.
The government recognises the importance of good infrastructure support in boosting the digital economy. As a result, the government is working to ensure an equitable distribution of internet connection networks across Indonesia, particularly in frontier, remote, and underdeveloped (3T) areas.
According to Ismail, the development of ICT infrastructure must meet three criteria: broad coverage, the deployment of a fibre-optic cable network on the backbone, and affordability, which means that the price is reasonable for the community.
Private operators focus on developing infrastructure in high-demand urban areas and, as a result, the digital divide between cities and towns has grown wider. Consequently, the government is beginning to develop 3T telecommunications in rural, underserved areas.
“We cannot rely solely on private-sector investment. To speed up and accelerate digital transformation, the government must invest in infrastructure,” Ismail said emphatically.
The Ministry of Communication and Information Agency and Telecommunications and Information Accessibility (BAKTI) have also worked to improve and expand internet access for public services throughout Indonesia. BAKTI is working with telecommunications companies to build Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) in remote areas of Indonesia.
“We hope to finish building BTS in all remote areas by 2023 and connect them to the 4G network,” Deddy stated.
Indonesia is a vast archipelagic country. So, relying solely on fibre optic cable networks will make it difficult to provide connectivity. As a result, the government is combining the fibre optic cable network constructed with the 150 Gbps SATRIA 1 satellite.
This multifunctional satellite can provide internet access to 150,000 public service locations in Indonesia, including educational institutions, local governments, defence and security administration, and health facilities. This satellite is scheduled to launch in 2023.
The government has begun construction of the first National Data Centre in the Delta Mas Region, GIIC, Cikarang District, Bekasi Regency, West Java Province, in connection with its digital strategy. It will then gradually expand data centres in Nongsa Digital Park in Batam, Riau Archipelago, the new National Capital City (IKN) in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, and Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara.
The creation of this government data centre is intended to promote efficiency, effectiveness, state data sovereignty, and national data consolidation as part of the One Data Indonesia initiative. “This (data centre) is critical because government data management is critical to developing society’s transformation into a digital society,” Deddy said.
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) announced it would roll out Internet advertising management measures at a conference in Hanoi earlier this week. Participants at the event discussed how advertising in cyberspace has become the norm. Domestic and foreign firms choose it because it is easier to access customers and it offers flexible costs and larger reach. However, the limited management of ads poses potential risks to the safety of brands, the Ministry has said.
According to a press release by MIC, ad agents affirmed that without the cooperation of cross-border platforms in modifying algorithms to filter and censor content, ad violations will remain rampant. The Ministry will penalise agents and brands that cooperate with platforms that do not fall in line with MIC regulations. On the other hand, the Ministry will support ads on domestic and foreign digital platforms that comply with domestic laws, MIC’s Deputy Minister, Nguyen Thanh Lam, noted. This will protect brands and build a healthy, safe, and fair ad business environment.
The Ministry will also increase inspection and clampdown on violations of Internet ads activities, he said. Cross-border ad firms that fail to comply with Vietnam’s laws will not be allowed to operate in the country. MIC has also generated a Whitelist consisting of licensed e-newspapers, magazines, general information websites, and social media. Other websites, registered accounts, and information channels are also in the pipeline for the list, the release said. The list will be publicised on the portals of the Ministry and Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information. Ad service providers, agents, and brands were also urged to use the list for their work.
Nearly 80% of the population in Vietnam are digital consumers, as OpenGov Asia reported earlier in October. Over the past year, the average contribution of e-commerce to total retail has continued to grow at 15%. Higher than growth in India (10%) and China (4%), with an online-to-total retail share of 6%. Now that the world is in the post-pandemic stage, regional consumers are prioritising an integrated shopping experience, combining online and in-person services. During the ‘discovery’ phase of their shopping, 84% of Vietnamese shoppers use the Internet to browse and find items. This is a period when they use more platforms than ever before, with the dominance of the e-commerce market accounting for 51% of online spending.
At the same time, social networking sites account for nearly half of online discoveries, including images (16%), social media videos (22%), and related tools such as messaging (9%). These tools were paramount channels for 44% of survey respondents. Consumers’ openness to interaction and experimentation has also led to behavioural changes, with 64% of respondents saying they have interacted with a business account in the past year. As customers seek more engagement, the content creation economy is able to grow exponentially.
In the context of digital consumption, Vietnamese users switch brands more often and increase the number of platforms they use to find a better value, with 22% of online orders made on various e-commerce platforms. The number of online platforms Vietnamese consumers use has doubled from 8 in 2021 to 16 in 2022. Therefore, it is important to put in place proper ad regulations as Internet usage grows.
The Indonesian government disclosed four potential uses of Big Data and AI to improve its e-government programmes. These two technologies, they feel, have the potential to support disaster identification and preventive action, prevention of illegal activities and cyber-attacks and increase workforce effectiveness.
The Director General of Informatics Applications, Semuel A. Pangerapan, explained several scenarios for Big Data. According to him, the government can use Big Data to improve critical event management and the quality of the response by identifying problem points through Big Data Analytics. For example, the agencies can be better prepared to prevent and mitigate natural disasters such as drought, epidemics or massive accidents occur.
In addition, Big Data can also enhance the government’s ability to prevent money laundering and fraud through better surveillance to detect such illegal activities.
Furthermore, Big Data significantly reduces the possibility of cyber-attacks. Cyber-attacks can come from external parties, data leaks or internally for a variety of reasons. An analysis of patterns and unusual activities can help in preventing or managing such cyber issues.
Big Data and analytics can contribute to workforce effectiveness by increasing monitoring. In addition, it can be used for policy design, decision-making and gaining insights.
Semuel stressed the importance of data analysis after collecting all data in the right fashion. Data is only valuable if it is collected correctly and then analysed – data will only provide benefits if processed in the right way. “In its implementation, AI helps analyse existing Big Data, providing data understanding or insight to help make decisions,” he explained.
Another advantage of AI is the ability to speed up new implementation services and corrections in real-time. At the evaluation stage, AI can also provide suggestions for adjustments and improvements to subsequent policies.
Currently, the encourages the improvement of the quality of Big Data and AI innovation through the development of e-government. The Indonesian government is also open to third parties to accelerate Big Data and AI use.
E-government has made progress in recent years and received appreciation from the United Nations in 2020. The UN said that Indonesia’s e-government development index rose to rank 88 from previously ranked 107 in 2018. Indonesia’s e-participation index has also increased from rank 92 in 2018 to 57 in 2022.
“The two rankings show an increase in the quality of Indonesia’s e-government and the level of community activity in using e-government services,” said Semuel.
However, the government faced challenges in implementing these two technologies. Overlapping and data replication is one of the main problems. “Regulatory obstacles in the procurement of government Big Data infrastructure also need to be overcome. Then compliance with international standards for the national Big Data ecosystem is also still the government’s homework.”
To optimise AI use, Semuel emphasised the need for a skilled workforce, regulations governing the ethics of using AI, infrastructure, and industrial and public sector adoption of AI innovations.
The government is implementing several solutions to overcome challenges. First, they have provided suitable facilities in the form of National Data Centres (NDCs) in four separate locations. The NDCs will accommodate Government Cloud and contain national data across sectors.
Optimisation of data centre utilisation needs to be supported by staff with qualified expertise. For this reason, the government is holding digital skills training on AI and Big Data through the Digital Talent Scholarship (DTS) and Digital Leadership Academy (DLA) programs.
Apart from facilities and upskilling, Indonesia is looking to develop a business ecosystem that utilises AI and Big Data. Support for this comes from the National Movement of 1000 Digital Startups, Startup Studio Indonesia (SSI) and HUB.ID.
In the new normal, everything is moving online, including employee workloads, leadership insights, and how the services and businesses interact with customers or clients. Organisations must undergo a digital transformation to create entirely digital processes, better experiences and streamlined operations.
Successful digital transformation allows all processes and systems to communicate with one another. Users have a single source of truth, updates occur in real-time, and data is integrated.
The transformation enables organisations to effortlessly pivot when necessary because all their systems and teams are interconnected. Everything can be done quickly and without impacting the operations – whether it is to add more users, connect new business software or begin automating tasks.
In a cloud-first strategy, organisations are not merely adding a new layer of technology when they transform. They are expanding their IT capability in an entirely new way. Data and systems are hosted in the cloud, allowing for a seamless, effective and adaptable connection of all their IT.
Increasingly, companies of all sizes are aware of the potential and power of the cloud. Due to the increased security, scalability and convenience, more businesses and services are moving their apps and data onto the cloud.
Within this suite, that offers consumers a significant advantage is cloud communications. As remote and hybrid work models become the norm, cloud communication is quickly gaining importance.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight with Indonesia’s top public sector leaders on 1 December 2022 at the Westin Jakarta provided the current information on the benefits of the most recent cloud technology that can help the nation’s public, education, financial services and healthcare sectors.
The Cloud at the Heart of the Digital Transformation
Mohit Sagar, CEO & Editor-in-Chief OpenGov Asia, believes cloud-based strategies are being adopted and implemented by companies of all sizes to spur growth and increase profits. Cloud has fundamentally altered business communications.
Cloud transforms how people communicate, collaborate and conduct business in today’s digital world. It has sparked advancements in machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), devices, healthcare and autonomous vehicles.
“The cloud offers cutting-edge features and functionality that let staff members collaborate and communicate in ways – and places – they never imagined,” says Mohit. “Organisations can outsource systems management tasks like provisioning, switching, data storage, and security to cloud communications providers.”
Moreover, with remote and hybrid models, employees report higher productivity and greater satisfaction.
Nonetheless, according to Mohit, even though remote and hybrid models are becoming increasingly popular, they will not be successful if they are not based on the right technology. Cloud communications are a crucial component of any hybrid or remote work environment.
With cloud-based communication tools, staff can easily switch to working remotely, teams can keep meeting, and operations can go on as usual.
“Technology for collaboration will be more crucial than ever with employees working in different time zones and locations. Hence, teams have the resources to connect with coworkers across boundaries thanks to cloud communications,” Mohit explains.
Organisations can make the most of their resources with cloud communications, which can quicken implementation, increase flexibility, and provide limitless high-volume information exchange. Moreover, cloud communication security features guarantee adherence to data privacy laws.
The technology, protocols and best practices that safeguard cloud computing environments, cloud-based applications and cloud-stored data collectively constitute cloud security. Understanding exactly what needs to be secured and the system components that must be managed is the first step in securing cloud services.
As an overview, cloud service providers are responsible for backend development against security vulnerabilities. Clients should concentrate primarily on the proper service configuration, safe use habits, and selecting a security-conscious provider.
“Clients should also confirm that any end-user networks and hardware are properly secured,” Mohit says.
Every step taken to secure the cloud aims to facilitate data recovery in the event of data loss; guard against malicious data theft on networks and storage; prevent human error or carelessness that results in data leaks, and minimise the effects of any data or system compromise.
The transition to cloud-based computing has resulted in a significant evolution of traditional IT security. While cloud models offer greater convenience, always-on connectivity necessitates new security measures. There are a few ways in which cloud security differs from conventional IT models as a modernised cyber security solution.
According to Nathan Guy, Zoom Phone Leader, Asia Pacific, Zoom, the macro business environment has significantly changed. Businesses are under tremendous pressure to increase productivity, adapt quickly as competition heats up and be productive to keep up with the rapid pace of innovation and technological advancements.
This problem is becoming even more pressing because of economic uncertainty. Without effective communication between customers, prospects and employees, it will be impossible to address these issues.
Nathan highlighted that the workforce is also experiencing a generational shift. People prefer the option of remote employment. And they are asking for cutting-edge equipment and communication systems as they need to do their jobs.
With every new tool and app that is made available, communication becomes more complex and confusing. Employees, clients, and potential customers are just a few stakeholders with preferences and expectations about how, when, and where they conduct business.
“Due to this, many businesses choose their battles carefully when it comes to facilitating communication,’ says Nathan.
Among the routes they take are keeping up with currently used systems deemed adequate; embedded communication tools included with other software packages; exploring multiple solutions depending on the situation; among others. “These strategies are meant to provide the organisation with fundamental communication.”
Such methods allow for some flexibility but also change the environment for prospects, employees and customers. People are compelled to alternate between various solutions based on their needs.
Some consumers “separate” from a favourite brand after just one disappointing interaction. Today’s harsh reality is that communication is a critical path activity; your business will also fail if it fails. A path that is crucial to the business failure.
Nathan believes that organisations must go beyond essential communication to universal communication. Creating intuitive connections to all parties – employees, customers, and investors – regardless of location, device, or business activity – will have a tremendous advantage in this uncertain business environment.
“You do this by combining the connection needs of the individual and organisation by delivering a consistent and quality experience for all participants, making human connection effortless, and enabling rapid innovation to maintain relevance,” says Nathan.
These steps could result in:
- Meeting both the organisations’ core business needs and the demands of their customers;
- Refocusing internal resources away from administering communications and towards new services and capabilities; and
- Improving the agility and the perceived value both in the company and the market
An organisation’s reputation is directly linked to the quality of its communication services. In addition to the fact that employees, clients, and customers can work from anywhere, people returning to the office do not want them to be disappointed by the home office environment to which they have grown accustomed.
Expectations have increased; a session that fails due to dropped participants or subpar audio/video is unacceptable and embarrassing. Organisations must adapt to this new hybrid environment and guarantee that everyone receives high-quality service regardless of circumstance or location.
“When communications are disrupted in today’s world, business transactions become impossible,” claims Nathan. “Organisations can eliminate a work-limiting unpredictability risk by doing this. They provide a controlled experience by enabling the staff to work without concern about the underlying technology.”
By using a top-notch infrastructure specially built to prevent failures, Zoom will protect organisations from communications breakdowns. Organisations could troubleshoot the underlying cause of environmental problems and take preventative measures. This allows the workforce to concentrate on their work without unneeded interruptions or uncertainty. Hence, employees will have confidence that the communication system they provide will work as expected.
Differences in network performance and bandwidth can seriously impair audio and video quality and lead to intermittent problems, preventing some users from participating fully. Even with severe packet loss, organisations can use Zoom to deliver a productive meeting experience. This makes it possible to eliminate local network and infrastructure variability, which is crucial when doing business internationally.
More complexity is being added to communications. “Now you have workers returning to the office, frequently in a hotel setting, as well as those travelling or working remotely,” says Nathan.
Three main contexts have been produced as a result: remote, office and mobile. Unfortunately, all too frequently, people are forced to juggle a patchwork of disjointed point solutions created during the pandemic. This includes a personal cellphone, a videoconferencing option for small meetings and another tool for significant events.
Nathan believes that employees and clients must learn to use a different interface. Even if the organisations stick with a single vendor, many have expanded through acquisitions, leading to various products with no shared characteristics.
“There’s no doubt that communication platforms are a big part of how hybrid teams work,” Nathan asserts. “A modern communications platform like Zoom could help boost productivity, add to what can be done, and show how engaged employees are.”
Fireside Chat: How to Prepare for the Transition to the “Cloud Culture”
According to Deddy Kartika Utama, Head of Information Security, Ministry of Home Affairs (Kemendagri), policies regarding political and general governance and regional autonomy are developed, determined and implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The Ministry also plays a role in establishing regional and village administration, governing issues, regional finance, demographics and civil records.
Given the number of parties involved and the nature of the hybrid organisation, including the Ministry, maintaining consistency may prove difficult. Because of this, compelling and trustworthy means of communication are crucial.
Cloud communications, Deddy emphasised, continue to be the preferred method of meeting the growing demand for efficient organisational communications, considering the advent of the hybrid workplace. With cloud computing and communications, organisations can quickly expand or contract to meet fluctuating demand.
In the public sector, by using internet-based connectivity to reduce lag time and unreliable connections, organisations can communicate with their team and customers through various channels, including email, voice calls, chat and video.
Through the advancements in IT, organisations now have access to a flexible, instant, scalable, stable, and conveniently located environment. Organisations that switch to cloud-based communication technology can take advantage of full cloud communication’s mobility, scalability, security, reliability, and cost-effectiveness.
The rapid development of cloud computing services and collaboration technologies has apparent benefits for remote and hybrid workforces. It enables teams to work together and achieve their shared goals even when they are not physically present in the same office.
“Using a cloud collaboration strategy, coworkers can work together on documents stored in the cloud while having access to the same files and making changes to them in real-time,” Deddy explains. “One method for cutting costs while maximising organisational resources despite growing communication capabilities and reach is to concentrate on the quality of the technology.”
By utilising the cloud, businesses have found cheaper alternatives while ensuring that their customers can access their data and systems from any location at any time. Transitioning from traditional to cloud office culture is exciting and promising. To protect the organisations and their operations, a solid security foundation must first be established.
According to Deddy, the potential of cloud computing is becoming increasingly apparent to various organisations, and it is also growing. “Organisations are already transitioning from the traditional office culture to the cloud culture, and doing so is profitable. They can save money and space by switching to cloud technology.”
Nathan emphasised the significance of cloud security, albeit that most organisations are already utilising cloud computing in some form. “Organisations are still hesitant to move more data and applications to the cloud due to security, governance, and compliance concerns when storing their content in the cloud.”
By partnering with Zoom, the human connection could be simplified and security could be included. Organisations can capitalise on the habits and competencies individuals have developed over the past two years. Additionally, they will ensure consistency across multiple use cases.
“By partnering with Zoom, businesses will be able to maintain their relevance through rapid innovation. They have access to a constant stream of new capabilities that reflect actual user requirements,” Nathan claims.
According to Mohit, a critical component of cloud security is the protection of data and business content such as customer orders, secret design documents and financial records, among others.
Preventing leaks and data theft is critical for maintaining customer trust and safeguarding assets that contribute to competitive advantage. “The ability of cloud security to protect your data and assets makes it critical for any organisations that are transitioning to the cloud.”
Development partners can assist organisations in meeting a broader range of customer needs, resulting in increased market reach. As a result, when developing cloud applications, make sure to include platform or integration capabilities as well as a partner strategy.
“Your cloud partner strategy should be based on business potential, engineering capability, and platform marketing. A balanced strategy will enable a larger partner ecosystem, more comprehensive customer solutions, and increased revenue potential,” Mohit concludes.
Enterprise transformation refers to a significant shift in the way a company conducts its day-to-day operations. This could involve adjusting an organisation’s fundamental technology, the structure of the company’s workforce or the way the company creates and markets its goods.
Enterprise transformation can take many different forms, one of the most prevalent of which is when an organisation makes a significant change in the products or services it offers. Currently, with digital technology, adjustments like this are occurring more frequently.
Companies are realising that they need to modify their approaches to meet the ever-evolving requirements of their customers as well as the consistently expanding standards set by their rivals.
Simultaneously, several Digital technologies, including Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Blockchain, Big Data, Virtual reality, Augmented Reality, Robotics and automation, among others, have the potential to transform how businesses operate. They can transform various functions of the value chain, such as logistics & supply, manufacturing, engineering, marketing, customer service, corporate management and support functions.
With their versatility and agility, these technologies can be deployed to numerous industries, among these are Healthcare, Food & Beverage, Manufacturing, Services and Mobility.
Innovative Business: What Lies Ahead?
“Businesses need innovation, not only for survival but for future growth,” says Vikram. “Innovation could emerge as product innovation, process innovation, service innovation or business model innovation to create a long-term sustainable advantage.”
Enterprises have been creating legacies based on research and development (R&D) which has LED them to incremental innovations. However, innovation is disruptive or transformational and it can be around product processes, services and business models.
Transformational innovation represents innovation that transforms businesses and innovates processes to create long-term sustainable, competitive, profitable business models. Disruptive innovation is targeted more towards identifying and inventing new mechanisms to solve existing and anticipated problem statements in businesses, which is also expected to have a business impact.
Many businesses do not distinguish between R&D and innovation. Enterprises today, however, are better able to distinguish themselves from one another and can understand and appreciate the impact that innovation has in comparison to R&D’s function.
R&D is an essential part of most businesses, and the benefits it brings are usually small and mostly limited to the people who work in R&D.
Innovation, on the other hand, isn’t just a function; it’s also a way of thinking for the whole organisation. It affects everything from the process to the product to the service to the business model, and the expected size of its effects is disruptive rather than incremental.
This further demonstrates how the current difficult business and economic environment has forced companies with lower levels of technology adoption and digital maturity to rethink their operations.
Enterprises can now assess the possibilities that technology integration may bring about, not only to address their current problem statements but also to consider new opportunities, whether it takes the form of a product, service, or business model.
There are a few common KPIs that should be measured regularly to gauge an organisation’s and its employees’ level of digital maturity. Vikram believes that because every organisation is unique, the KPIs used for assessments will vary.
For example, the key metrics for some common functions, like customer experience, data and insights, strategic and leadership, technology, operations, digital skill sets and so on, would need to be customised based on how they have changed and how they are changing now.
“We can get innovations which can predict based on the data analytics for the next 10 years,” Vikram reveals. “Every organisation should think out-of-the-box. Then they only need the right set of people who can guide them for the KPIs to be defined.”
Additionally, a variety of industries, including those in healthcare, food and beverage, manufacturing, services, FMCG, mobility, hospitality, and many more, can adapt to new technologies.
The following are crucial actions that businesses need to take today to digitally transform their futures:
- Identify your key employees’ level of digital maturity
- Research the technologies that are currently being used by the Enterprise’s various functions
- Select current issue citations
- Sort the problem statements according to priority
- Assess a system for locating, evaluating, and integrating digital technologies
- After a framework has been chosen and put into place, make the process iterative
- Establish it as the Enterprise’s mentality
Urban Ideas and Solutions Through LKYGBPC
When it comes to entrepreneurs who are truly pushing the envelope, Vikram is looking for certain characteristics. One of these is how the participants interact with businesses, which is determined by a unique set of criteria.
“And because we engage with various sets of parameters when looking at entrepreneurs, we can combine their efforts with those of the business,” Vikram explains.
Therefore, they bring the enterprise work and the entrepreneurs together when looking at the entrepreneurs, especially in the GHV DX LAB framework – they are the project managers and the system integrator for GHV.
The digital transformation, specifically the adoption of online business models and the general shift of economic and social activities online, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, has altered how economies operate, businesses function and societies interact.
The exploitation of data is the driving force behind the emergence of a new type of data-driven economy. It creates new opportunities for international cooperation to leapfrog the intermediate infrastructure of the industrial age, taking advantage of the new markets made available by digital platforms and the improved service delivery made possible by smart technologies.
In addition, the most effective mechanism in education would be to integrate innovation and entrepreneurship at the earliest possible stages of the educational system. In today’s context, entrepreneurship is about more than just passion, raising capital, or coding something; it’s about building a network around yourself to support your entrepreneurial journey. The network is critical.
Vikram spent sixteen years in Japan before relocating to Singapore and India to establish a business. He has realised that he must contribute significantly to society. For Vikram, LKYGBPC is a fantastic platform that can be an integral part of any entrepreneur’s entrepreneurial journey.
As opportunities for entrepreneurs are created through this platform, a global network of mentors and other ecosystem partners are integrated with LKYGBPC to focus on the entrepreneurs. “I think it’s a fantastic platform that is desperately needed right now, not just in the context of Singapore or Southeast Asia, but for the global market,” Vikram is convinced.
He believes that a combination of all these factors pushed him into the venture capital world. “I enjoy being a techie. But I’m enjoying my current role as a mentor to thousands of Asian entrepreneurs.”
Vikram has mentored over 1200 startups to date, including 3 that will soon be unicorns. He has personally invested in over 50 startups, and through the GHV Fund, he has invested in over 20 startups. “Every day, I learn something new and give it back to society in the same way.”
Building intellectual property (IP) rights has been the best part of his digital journey so far, and he hopes to keep doing this. “The level of self-satisfaction I feel is never as high as when I say IP is greater. You can make a lot of money consulting, but that doesn’t get me excited if you can’t create IP and work together. And that’s why what we’ve been doing around it can be great,” Vikram concludes.
The Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW recently unveiled Our Vision for Regional Communities – a new strategy to ensure regional NSW remains an ideal best place to live, work, play and raise a family.
He noted that the release is a vision for the regional NSW we are building with local communities, backed by real action that will make a real difference in people’s everyday lives. Over the past decade, billions have been invested in the infrastructure NSW needs and in growing regional economies.
The vision shows how the Government plans to build on that foundation and ensure regional communities have access to the education and health services they deserve and attract the workforce needed to deliver these services. It will ensure families can find a home by tackling housing pressures and delivering the infrastructure and services they need in their local community, he added.
The strategy’s launch was also used to announce:
- A new welcome experience to be piloted across eight regional locations to support key workers to relocate to the regions and put down roots;
- An AU$5 million investment in scholarships to upskill existing health workers and attract new staff to regional communities;
- A trial of contactless payments on regional bus services in Dubbo and Bathurst to make services easier to use
Our Vision for Regional Communities is backed by a detailed three-year action plan that outlines key initiatives that will bring the vision to life. Initiatives already underway under the plan include:
- An AU$2.4 billion investment in strengthening the regional health workforce including innovative approaches to training and incentives;
- An AU$174 million investment in key worker housing that will deliver hundreds of new homes for teachers, police, and health workers over the next four years;
- An AU$98 million investment in a new AU$250 travel card for regional apprentices and university students to ease the cost of travel for training and classes;
- An AU$160 million investment in social and sporting infrastructure, and community programs like bike paths, playgrounds, and community centres through the Stronger Country Communities Fund;
- An AU$59 million investment in the next generation including $40 million for local initiatives shaped by youth for youth.
Our vision recognises that regional communities are diverse and need local solutions that work for them. Our Vision for Regional Communities and Action Plan 2023-2025 is a future-focused strategy with key priorities across healthcare, education, communities and places and regional homes.
Connectivity is the main pillar of the vision. Through the Vision, the Government will support high-quality physical and digital connectivity to enable access to quality services, delivered more efficiently, and with greater equity.
The global smart infrastructure market size was US$77.66 billion in 2020; it is projected to grow from US$97.20 billion in 2021 to US$434.16 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 23.8% during the 2021-2028 period. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the smart infrastructure market witnessed a negative demand shock across all regions.
Smart infrastructure projects require funding from public and private resources. These advanced infrastructure models use ICTs services to communicate or optimise resources. Due to constant interaction, big data plays a vital role in developing and building a smart infrastructure.
With the introduction of its Kooha Version 2.0 during the recently held 2022 National Science and Technology Week celebration, the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) showered photo enthusiasts with helpful tips on interactive smartphone photography.
Kooha is a photo-sharing app derived from the Filipino word “kuha,” which means “to take.” It capitalises on the Philippines’ status as “the selfie capital of the world,” with thousands of photographs shared on various social media platforms every day.
With the help of the camera app Kooha, users may take pictures that go beyond simple snapshots. Multiple sensors are embedded into mobile devices; Kooha uses these sensor data while users snap pictures and embeds them in the image.
Users will be able to quickly learn the location where the photo was shot, the background noise when they shoot a selfie, the network provider’s signal strength, the device battery level, camera settings, environment sensor data, motion sensor, and more. All the photographs captured by the app are shared on Kooha Community. Users’ photos become more than just images when they post them to the community; they become contributions.
When the sensor data from the images is combined with the large pool of sensor data from other users, the data becomes societally important. The data can assist data scientists in generating insights and fresh knowledge that can be used by decision-makers across the country. Kooha is a free app that can be downloaded from Google Play.
According to the DOST-ASTI, Kooha uses the built-in sensors of a mobile device to gather real-time data like sound level, temperature, and humidity and embeds it into a snapshot, making it particularly valuable in research operations across industries thanks to the fresh knowledge it produces.
It added that even more useful Kooha features include the ability to contribute images to the community section, rate shared photos based on “awards” from other users, map the locations of pinned photos, and unlock “badges” by completing specific “achievements.”
As a useful tool application, Kooha reflects the reality that science and the arts may collaborate effectively to produce meaningful results. In addition, the DOST- ASTI’s Quality Management System (QMS) was recertified in accordance with the ISO 9001:2015 standard.
Director of DOST-ASTI Franz A. de Leon stated that the ISO recertification demonstrates the DOST-ASTI’s dedication to continuously enhance its operations and assure successful service delivery – bringing science and technology closer to the people.
He added that their partners and stakeholders can be confident that the institute will constantly offer high-quality products and services because they adhere to the quality policy of developing relevant, timely, and impactful ICT- and electronics-based innovations.
The ISO certificate was the result of the DOST-ASTI management and staff’s collaborative efforts to expand its technologies and ensure the smooth execution of its mandate and functions. Reviewing and improving processes is critical to achieving the agency’s purpose of contributing to the achievement of national development priorities and the growth of Philippine firms through the provision of creative solutions centred on ICT and electronics technology.
This is DOST-ASTI’s second recertification since transitioning to the ISO 9001:2015 standard in 2018. Subject to regular surveillance assessments, the certificate is valid until November 2025.