OpenGov had the pleasure of speaking to Sam Liew, Managing Partner, Government Strategic Business Group, NCS. Keeping in mind the present realities, Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, discussed a range of topics from Sam’s driving passions to the strategic plans of NCS to the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Singapore.
Sam is genuinely committed to the vision of building a leading APAC Technology Services company headquartered out of Singapore. He is a firm believer in NCS’ business overall and is confident that the business he leads – Government Strategic Business Group (also known as Gov+) – can be a catalyst and a vehicle for change in the region.
Gov+, Sam explains, aims to improve the lives of citizens and advance communities by using technology to create a vibrant society covering Public Service, Defence, Homeland Security and Government Global Business – the four pillars of Gov+.
Its primary mission is to build up NCS’ digital government portfolio and drive collaboration efforts to propel NCS as the go-to digital catalyst for governments and smart cities across the Asia Pacific. The intent is to help government agencies digitalise the core of public services to enable holistic public service transformation, to advance communities and support enterprises.
The current environment of the pandemic is a stark reminder of the need to digitalise in an ever-increasing VUCA world. Gov+ helps drive public sector practice and contributes to helping governments digitalise to offer better citizen e-services and support the overall business.
“Technology and digitalisation is a revolution that is here to stay,” Sam is convinced. “If technology is harnessed well, it can help governments provide support for communities and enterprises, especially so in these times where all the sectors are disrupted, either by COVID-19, digitalisation or technological improvements.”
Mohit agreed that the world is truly in a state of rapid digitisation and that governments need to get on the digitalisation journey to stay relevant. He was curious about what Sam thought of as the key engines and the benchmarks for success in an initiative like Gov+.
Results and target are the outcomes of a solid, well-thought-out game plan, Sam says. NCS and Gov+ have established a set of foundational strategies:
- Double down and grow the Singapore Public Sector which remains a priority for NCS and Gov+
- Digitalise end-to-end Public Sector systems, enabling holistic public service transformation and bringing impact to the communities
- Grow Singaporean Core technology, talents and expertise which are particularly important for a small country like Singapore
- Focus on Pan APAC expansion by scaling Digital and Smart Nation assets to the APAC region and harvesting back knowledge and capabilities into assets
Mohit observes that the past 2 years have seen companies deploy “band-aid technology” to deal with the challenges of COVID-19. As things settle down, companies will need to look at the lasting changes that the pandemic has left in its wake and address those with more permanent solutions and smarter approaches. For instance, the agile methodology has become the true foundation and building blocks of governments. There are, of course, a myriad of problems and issues, so the fundamental question is: how do people know what to prioritise?
The question is absolutely vital, and while there are varying opinions, Sam believes that the focus should be on adopting cloud technologies for non-sensitive workloads, moving towards application containerisation, and modernisation of both infrastructure and applications. This will allow governments to deploy quicker, drive performance faster and build products more swiftly because they are in containers; and are components that can be assembled on the fly.
Beyond a doubt, there is a need to continuously drive multi-speed development and explore new technology and solutions as they become available. This is where and why he shares Mohit’s sentiment on agile methodology.
A perfect example of more efficient innovation is the development of DevSecOps and Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CICD) capabilities. DevSecOps provides security as well as developing templates for the upstream developers in the design, instead of leaving the discovery of mistakes for the downstream. CICD on the other hand is a tested and proven practice for software deployment, automated testing and code, etc.
Sam also recommends adopting emerging technology solutions such as AI, 5G and Digital Twin. Along with Cloud adoption, organisations need to start embracing these emerging technology, driving and identifying use cases in their agencies.
In a segue to the topic of wider adoption of cutting-edge technology, Mohit was keen to know how NCS plans to share its wins and learnings in the terms of establishing a data-driven culture with the organisations they work with.
“Data is indeed the new oil in this Digital Age,” Sam is convinced. “Even a naysayer will say that organisations need more data insights to make accurate decisions.”
NCS have practices focused on Data Analytics, Big Data and Platforms, Artificial Intelligence and Data Science. NCS’ teams in these practices are deployed to clients’ projects to solve various data issues and to obtain specific actionable information and derive intelligent insights.
NCS deploys a Digital Inside and Digital Outside framework to help clients determine their prioritisation goals and implement solutions to match specific requirements. Moreover, it is important to identify what data sets that organisations should be working from – for instance some data that tackle efficiency is more inward-looking, while other data is outward in driving expansion into new markets, new products, new sectors and new customers.
While big data, analytics and the generation of actionable insights, AI, Mohit suggests, even in Singapore, is still in its early stages of deployment and adoption. “How can we help Singapore become mainstream in that space?” he is eager to learn.
Sam shared that NCS is already embedding AI techniques into the work they do. NCS has several AI categories in which they develop their solutions: Anomaly Detection, Predictive Analytics, Resource Optimisation, Intelligent Processing to name a few. The premise of AI inclusion is to make unbiased decisions or generate intelligence based on data. Without AI, people will be making a decision based on experience rather than data-driven insights and predictive outcomes.
Steering the conversation towards the wider plans of NCS, Mohit inquired about strategies that NCS has to entrench the company as a regional force.
NCS does have a focused Pan APAC strategy to expand the Gov+ business, Sam acknowledges. In Australia for instance, they launched the NCS NEXT Cloud Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Melbourne. That was part of NCS’ regional expansion strategy into Australia, following the partnership with Optus Enterprise in December 2020 to bring integrated ICT and digital services to Australian clients across a wide range of industries and government sectors. The CoE will also facilitate expertise exchange and deepen collaboration between the teams in Singapore and Australia, helping both cities build cloud expertise in a competitive talent market.
Another strategy is through specific acquisitions to grow capabilities. Sam explained that NCS has recently acquired some companies which will accelerate expansion across Asia-Pacific:
- Riley – a leading Australian cloud-based solutions consultancy that offers a comprehensive portfolio of services in cloud-native transformation, data supply chain, and cloud operations.
- ClayOPS – a Singapore-based data analytics and consulting services firm that specialises in helping organisations improve enterprise performance through data and data analytics
- Velocity Business Solutions – a Hong Kong-based data analytics firm that provides a full suite of data analytics consulting and implementation services including design, development, support, and enablement.
- NCS also made a majority investment in Eighty20 Solutions – an Australian cloud transformation specialist.
Finally, NCS takes on regional expansion by leveraging the inherent advantages of a subsidiary under the Singtel Group. Through the partner ecosystem, they have accumulated knowledge from delivering numerous complex and large-scale government projects in Singapore’s digitalisation roadmap.
While technology and infrastructure are two pillars of digital transformation, Mohit opines that for digitalisation to achieve business objectives, it must involve people and culture. As Sam agrees with this, Mohit asks for his thoughts on how to make people more effective in terms of skills, collaboration, partnerships, both internally and externally.
Equipping people with digital capabilities to help enable economic development and growth is a must, believes Sam. People are the centre, drivers and ultimate beneficiaries of this journey; and as such, they must be equipped and prepared to both rollout and benefit from digital transformation.
At NCS, they create opportunities and training for employees to develop skills across any of the 53 specialisations or practices. Sam is keen to see employees go deeper and specialise in the domains that they prefer. To that end, he is prepared to facilitate and lead these endeavours.
NCS will bring people of different specialisations into the same team to deliver services to customers. The organisation is charting a course for growth through talent strategies to relentlessly attract, develop and retain the best people to lead and innovate for tomorrow.
He observes that today’s workforce want specialisation but do not want to be trapped in a particular role for too long. To address this, NCS has created a unique initiative that offers a transformative learning experience – DoJo. Taken from the Japanese, “Do” means a way or a pursuit and “Jo” means a place.
The vision for the platform is a place that people can:
- have an immersive learning experience
- pursue and practice: two-way interaction where our people can come together to “pursue and practice” the NCS way and learn together
- avail mentorship: employees taking lessons learnt from various projects and sharing, discussing and creating best practices so that both employees and clients can benefit
- offer (reverse) mentorship: senior leaders learning from the younger staff
To round up the conversation, Mohit brought the spotlight back on Sam, inquiring about his leadership, specifically his objectives and expectations of his team.
Developing a sustainable growing business in NCS is key to his vision, reveals Sam. A strong advocate of the digital industry, growing industry capabilities and nurturing talents is integral to its success. He “finds immense joy in mentoring talents, encouraging digital professionals to broaden their skills and keeping up to date on emerging digital technologies”.
Sam views expectations from two perspectives – his expectation of each individual and their expectation of him as their leader. As a leader, he believes in bringing out the best in his teams and the people he works with. This includes empowering and enabling them with the right level of autonomy to “reach for the sky”.
Apart from that, practising open communications that cultivate mutual respect and trust is something that he places great stock in and affirms. At the end of the day, he believes that every individual is accountable for their own goals and should all stay focused on achieving them.
Looking ahead, Sam offers three milestones that he is confident would define success in NCS: Growth in Financial Results (sustainable Revenue growth), Growth in People (expertise, engagement, sustainable careers) and High Customer Satisfaction (based on quality delivery).
Energised by the bold new vision of a Pan APAC expansion of Gov+, Sam looks forward to leading NCS into becoming a force of change in Singapore and beyond. Ultimately, he hopes NCS will grow to become a major regional IT services company that everyone loves to be associated with.
Information and communication technology (ICT) is used in a smart city to improve government efficiency, public engagement and the standard of living for its residents.
Advanced technologies and data analytics are at the heart of the concept of a “smart city,” whose primary goals are the enhancement of city services, the promotion of economic growth, and the betterment of residents’ quality of life.
The recent pandemic and other critical events have forced the citizens of the Philippines, as it has in other countries, to rely on their government for a wide range of services to be offered innovatively.
Agencies moved rapidly to digitalise services and set standards for data storage, security and workflow. Central and local governments have implemented a wide range of ICT strategies to lessen the impact of these catastrophes.
For instance, Makati City, the business capital of the Philippines, launched the Makatizen Card and the Makatizen App to offer financial help and services, such as online legal assistance, teleconsultations, and online learning, to its residents.
Challenges Turn Inspiration: Embarking on Smart City Projects
“We will be able to increase our revenue and service efficiency through innovation,” Charles asserts, citing the recently launched “MakaTurismo” website to underscore his point, which was made to help the local tourism sector.
The website is Metro Manila’s first travel website focused on attracting tourists into a post-pandemic environment. Apart from the lifestyle centres, eateries, and hotels, the City of Makati is home to numerous undiscovered treasures, such as special historical sites.
Since it includes details about the city’s tourist attractions, lodging options and free walking tours, the project could significantly assist businesses in attracting clients and customers.
While discussions of digital transformation typically centre on improvements to remote working capabilities, Makati City has instead begun investing in infrastructure upgrades. As a result, they are modernising their server infrastructure by switching from a physical to a software-defined network (SDN) and merging various data centres.
Charles noted that Makati City is concerned with project implementation and database consolidation. In addition, they integrate analytics into all projects and increase automation to improve their functional services.
Makati City opened the Makatizen Hub in 2021, to further assist its citizens in their transactions during the ongoing pandemic. The local government has set up satellite offices so that everything can be done online.
Charles emphasises that, as they integrate technology in a variety of ways, they are centralising a strategic approach to planning and managing the direction of the city government’s use of technology.
To accommodate its diverse population, Makati provides a wide range of publicly available services. In addition, there are services designed exclusively for residents, catering to their unique requirements based on factors such as age, health, education and overall satisfaction with life.
The city has been able to successfully manage these programmes, but officials are always looking for ways to improve efficiency. This is made possible in large part by technological advancements. As the population of Makati expands, so do the city’s needs and the hopes and dreams of its residents.
The responsibility of the administration lies in anticipating the wants and needs of the people. By bolstering them with cutting-edge tech, agencies can reimagine service delivery and foresee what people will need in the future.
As an example of a programme designed for the future but implemented today, the Makatizen Card is a useful tool. The Makatizen Card is an innovative programme that provides residents of Makati with access to a variety of new social, informational, identifying and financial services.
For more than half a million people living in Makati, this single government-issued ID card unifies access to a wide range of economic and social services.
Charles is one of the authors of IT Security – the Security 3.0 book, published by Mithra Publishing in London. It discusses the infrastructure framework’s fundamentals that underpin the city’s primary data centre and the local government information system that has recently undergone upgrades.
“The data centre’s IT capabilities can only be improved through upgrades. By upgrading ageing or inefficient IT assets, they improve reliability, performance, efficiency, cost, security, and uptime -which resulted in serving the public efficiently,” Charles explains, further elaborating on the steps taken by the municipal government to improve flood and earthquake early warning systems.
Makati was named the first-ever Resilience Hub in the Philippines and the Southeast Asian Region by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) in the third quarter of this year.
According to the UNDRR, a resilience hub is a city, municipality, or local authority with the political will and expertise to take action to reduce vulnerability to disasters and climate change. With the help of the Making Cities Resilient Campaign (MCR), which Makati joined in 2010, the city has successfully integrated disaster risk reduction into all its strategic plans and programmes. The region’s cities have joined several international networks to learn from and implement its DRR best practices.
Additionally, in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry – Board of Investments (DTI-BOI), Digital Pilipinas officially launched its Innovative Cities initiative to technologically advance one city at a time. It does this by bringing together local government agencies, academic institutions and the private sector to establish numerous centres of excellence.
In association with the Resiliency Innovation Sustainability & Entrepreneurship (RISE) Certification Programme, the City of Makati was selected as the programme’s pilot location. With a focus on making the Philippines relevant in digitalisation and Web 3.0 conversation, the Innovative Cities initiative seeks to increase the Philippines’ innovation and technology quotient to support local economies and expand their industries.
The city’s digital transformation journey in local government has been completed at minimal or no cost. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have been used to implement larger-scale projects and some solutions have been provided for free in exchange for Makati serving as a model for the adoption of these technologies by other LGUs and institutions. Even when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020, Makati was still able to serve its citizens efficiently without endangering their health.
A true and effective digitalisation strategy entails a fundamental rethinking of the traditional organisational structures of industrial activities and business models to make them significantly better.
With the help of Makati Mayor Abby Binay, who is very encouraging of digital transformation, these initiatives were able to come to fruition. Charles believes that the use of technology and innovations is merely a tool to accomplish this goal, so it’s critical to pick the approaches that can most effectively help an application achieve its objectives.
“Digital transformation is, at its core, a mindset. It is a long-term, ongoing journey rather than a single undertaking or endpoint. As the business changes and appropriate technologies become available, iteration is necessary.”
Data is not merely a significant component of the IT ecosystem; it is the cornerstone of operations in both the private and public sectors and expands and evolves rapidly. Hence, the strategies and strategies that organisations rely on to manage their data can generate new results, but they can also impede growth and innovation.
When it comes to modernising data infrastructure, organisations want to be sure that the technology they choose can produce value from their data while keeping it secure and compliant with regularly changing regulations.
Moreover, migrating to cloud-based platforms enables organisations to rapidly become data-driven, reducing costs and enhancing business outcomes.
Modern infrastructure is characterised by its adaptability and capacity to continuously and automatically assess and act on current, comprehensive data. It enables organisations to store any quantity of data at a minimal cost in open, standardised data formats.
It is not constrained by inaccessible data silos and enables users to conduct analytics or machine learning with their methods and tool. It also enables organisations to govern data access safely, thereby increasing public confidence.
Service providers can help organisations to achieve their goals through data infrastructure solutions. The flexible, contemporary architecture will increase efficiency, maximise security and streamline operations.
The OpenGov Breakfast Insight on 22 September 2022 at Mandarin Oriental Singapore offered the latest information management use cases to sustain trust in government and better serve citizens.
Citizen Engagement Builds Government Trust
Kicking off the session, Mohit Sagar, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, acknowledges that trust in public sector services must be developed through positive citizen experiences. It is essential for the government to upgrade its infrastructure systems to connect data, content and applications capable of enhancing the availability and security of information.
Organisations are struggling to capture and preserve the increasing amount of data that is being collected. In this context, a secure and private data management system that is interoperable and integrated is required by the government to collect data from all agencies as needed.
Concerns regarding the efficiency and productivity of the digital experience begin to develop as data volumes expand and information spreads across multiple systems. Because of obsolete technology and resources, governments struggle to improve their present systems and infrastructure.
Citizens’ services now require online forms of documentation as the norm. Public services save time and money by using a once-filled form since data is easily accessible and appropriately stored. In addition, citizens do not need to resubmit forms each time they require a service because they can reuse the e-form as is or amend data as necessary.
In the digital post-COVID-19 era, paper-based documents require a substantial financial investment and amount of storage. With the cloud movement of these papers, digital registers may be utilised more frequently. However, current government data handling poses several privacy concerns. Citizens are frequently unaware of how their personal information is handled and stored.
The government must consider proper data storage and avoid silos and repetitive data. Because of outdated technologies, data insight may be misinterpreted. As a result, the government must update its information management systems and protect the cloud.
To better all government services such as grants, permits, and licences, data management and storage innovation must progress. Advances in information management in the public sector help with decision-making. AI and other tools can analyse personalised data to create smarter, data-driven judgments.
The Information Advantage: Keeping Connected While Maintaining Data Security
According to Randy Goh, Regional Vice President, Southeast Asia, OpenText, because of COVID-19, the digital revolution has forced the world to alter at an unprecedented rate.
Organisations both in public and private sectors and the systems they are using are all tightly linked, requiring the management of massive amounts of data. As a result, verifying the quality, validity and legitimacy of all data has become more complex.
To address this issue, ICT must simplify the technique for obtaining “trust” in the digital world. Apart from the products and services with which customers have direct contact, trust in data, systems and those who handle them is becoming increasingly important.
People depend on how others process information and must be able to rely on how others process information, thus the information advantage is the competitive edge that comes from using the information to its full potential.
“Today, the cloud is where the information advantage resides. A new digital fabric that underpins all businesses,” says Randy. “ The information advantage offers organisations the ability to be intelligent, connected, and accountable.”
For 30 years, OpenText has been delivering trusted and quality solutions, “These two, simple, but powerful words are extremely important to us, and we know they’re equally important to the Fortune 1000 companies who use OpenText to manage information in their enterprise,” believes Randy.
OpenText, Canada’s largest software corporation is based in Waterloo, Canada, with regional offices in Germany, Tokyo, the United States, and Australia. With 53 offices worldwide, they provide global coverage for global enterprise customers. It has over 6000 trained and certified EIM professionals across customer support, managed services and professional services dedicated to unlocking information advantages for its customers.
Equipped with industry-specific best practices and seasoned delivery and consulting resources, as well as our global and local teams in Southeast Asia, we have assisted numerous clients in achieving tremendous success with their EIM projects.
The most precious commodity in the digital economy is information. It assists clients in enhancing efficiencies, redefining business models, and transforming industries.
Organisations must utilise new technologies to unlock the power of information, become more Intelligent and Connected through automation and artificial intelligence, APIs and data automation, and increase customer, partner and employee engagement.
“EIM solutions manage the production, acquisition, application, and subsequent lifetime of structured and unstructured data, hence, OpenText EIM solutions are intended to assist enterprises in extracting value from their information, securing it, and adhering to the expanding regulatory requirements,” Randy ends.
The Information Advantage for Public Sector
Keith Nelson, Industry Senior Strategist, Global Public Sector, OpenText followed Randy’s presentation by elaborating more work the company does with the public sector using a diagram depicting a typical federal agency content flow.
The agency’s main office acts as a focal point from which formal agreements go to state legislatures, frequently via grants, and to other federal agencies via intergovernmental agreements. The agency employs both on-site office employees and remote workers in addition to operating regional offices across the nation.
Another content lifecycle is then focused on the grantees and contractors. The department’s regulated industry is also interacted with directly by citizens through benefit programmes or queries.
In 2023, it is anticipated that over 60% of governments will have tripled their digital services for citizens, but fewer than 25% would have integrated these services across organisational silos.
Improving Citizen Experience via the implementation of digital technologies appears to be the top objective for government organisations.
“Cybersecurity is inevitable. It is the determining factor in every data- and information-related decision made by government agencies. Without it, TRUST cannot exist, and without TRUST, citizen adoption of digital services cannot occur. It will affect both internal and external development and adoption,” says Keith.
He added that the future of government is changing and shared some statistics:
- Cloud: National governments spend 22% of IT budgets on Cloud
- Security: 39% of all data breaches target web applications
- Collaboration: Nearly half of the government employees will likely work remotely
- Digital Experience: New Visitors to Gov Portals Up 56%
“When you successfully utilise your information, you promote operational excellence and improved citizen experiences; you manage risk more effectively and produce greater insight,” Keith explains. “This is a cyclical pattern that returns increasing value as information management skills improve. You produce what we refer to as the Information Advantage.”
With dynamic citizen experiences, frictionless information interchange, streamlined risk management and process automation, cyber resilience, and a platform for innovation, OpenText provides the technology and skills needed for enterprises to anticipate and respond to change.
“When you connect content to digital business, you can remove friction from processes, boost employee productivity, and make governance and compliance easier. This gives your organisation a solid foundation for being resilient,” Keith explains.
Some of the works of OpenText such as: creating engaging omnichannel interactions by regularly testing, analysing, and reacting to new policies and customer feedback; providing many levels of protection to detect, prevent, examine forensically, and eliminate security risks; facilitating seamless information flow and compliance, and secure collaboration across the digital ecosystems of the public sector.
Horizontal technologies, like AI, analytics, the cloud, and automation, are used across OpenText to speed up transformation and make the company more resilient. “20 of 20 Federal Governments with the largest economies are OpenText customers including Governments of Canada, Japan, Germany, UK, Australia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
In conversation with: Enhancing Government Services by Modernising Data Infrastructures and Providing Value to Citizens
Citizens as customers are engaging with businesses that regularly reinvent themselves to anticipate the wants and needs of their consumers.
In addition, customers’ expectations for how they interact with the government will rise and change as they do in the business sphere. Hence, a digital government must transform to keep up with the change in expectations, and it must do more than simply add technology to existing systems and procedures.
Concerns regarding the effectiveness and productivity of the digital experience are fueled by the data’s rapid expansion. Due to obsolete technology and resources, governments struggle to update their current systems and infrastructure.
Organisations still struggle with gathering and keeping data, even though it is being collected in ever-increasing amounts.
Weng Wanyi, Director, Singapore Government Data Office, Smart Nation and Digital Government Office opined that the value of data from the public sector goes beyond the pandemic and into many other parts of society and the economy.
Since it typically relies on various registries with distinct goals, accessibility is a challenge for many governments, thus a more efficient information network can have a significant effect.
Customer-centricity is an essential indicator of digitally transformed enterprises. The leaders of such firms evaluate the customer’s perspective first and foremost, then coordinate internal and external procedures to alleviate pain points throughout the whole customer life cycle.
Governments can create an interoperable and connected data landscape where data collected by any government entity are accessible where needed, where security and privacy are protected and where sufficient measures such as legal, technical, and organisational prevent data misuse to fully realise the potential of their data.
Building digital public infrastructure may accelerate the delivery of the digital goals to benefit everyone while encouraging inclusion and sustainable economies. However, there are still some issues involving organisations and governments, as well as programmes, rules, rights, and cultural practices.
With this, a Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) with even greater potential for addressing existing societal difficulties and assisting in the mitigation of future ones can be created on the foundation of a Digital Public Good (DPG). These DPGs can be enhanced, altered and reused. They are versatile, resilient and easily shared.
These examples demonstrate the effectiveness of digital cooperation. Interoperable DPGs will combine and establish a safe, trustworthy, and inclusive infrastructure that facilitates the change of the entire society.
With a digital mindset of cooperation, sharing knowledge and finding sustainable ways to handle money, organisations already have the tools to build resilient digital inclusivity, while governments can improve their decision-making and exhibit accountability and transparency with the correct information management tools.
The public sector will be able to obtain insights from data to make more informed decisions for the economic and health benefits of citizens. Properly managing public sector information will assure its continued reliability and trustworthiness, as well as encourage the use and reuse of data by both public sector bodies and the public.
Enterprise content management solutions offer rapid access to information anytime it is required. Getting this actionable result will speed up and make clearer the decision-making process and add value to the data when it is turned into suggestions for change.
Randy noted that each organisation had unique difficulties and solutions. He emphasises that information management is a critical method for alleviating the increasing constraints on governments to meet citizen demands.
Digital technologies may drive organisations’ growth; therefore, technology must fulfil the needs of organisations for them to reach a wider audience and build long-term relationships with their stakeholders.
By mastering information management methods, agencies will also be able to turn structured and unstructured data insights into actions and outcomes. Analytics and trends will hasten decision-making while producing information-driven, practical insights.
Randy appreciated the delegates for their helpful sharing and encouraged them to get in touch with him to discuss how OpenText could help them get started with their digital journey.
Mohit is convinced that many of the assumptions and tools on which organisations rely for decision-making have been shattered by the crisis. Yet for the restart, they will need to design a robust action framework in a highly uncertain environment.
“Digital and strategic collaborations benefit both the client and the organisation. The way they do business is changing, and new chances for creative cooperation are emerging,” Mohit asserts.
When it comes to dealing with digital transformation processes, a digital partner can be the pillar of strength. Partnerships will aid organisations, particularly the government sector, in a much broader and more sophisticated process since they possess the necessary expertise and experience. “Their assistance might prevent you from making avoidable errors, saving you time and money.”
A new class of wearable sensors that interacts wirelessly without the need for onboard chips or batteries has now been developed by American engineers -paving the way for wireless sensors without chips.
“Chips require a lot of power, but our device could make a system very light without having any chips that are power-hungry,” says Jeehwan Kim, principal investigator in the Research Laboratory of Electronics and a corresponding author. To remotely monitor the pulse, sweat, and other biological signals, it could be applied to the body like a bandage and coupled with a wireless reader on the cellphone, he explained.
The team’s sensor is a type of flexible, semiconducting material called “e-skin,” which adapts to the skin like electronic Scotch tape. Gallium nitride, a substance recognised for its piezoelectric capabilities, which allow it to both emit an electrical signal in reaction to mechanical strain and vibrate mechanically in response to an electrical signal, forms the sensor’s core in the way of an ultrathin and high-quality film. Gallium nitride has two-way piezoelectric capabilities that can be used by researchers to use the substance for sensing and wireless communication at the same time.
To enhance any incoming or outgoing electrical signal, the team created pure, single-crystalline samples of gallium nitride. They then combined these samples with a gold conducting layer. They demonstrated that the material’s vibrations produced an electrical signal that could be detected by a nearby receiver and that the gadget was sensitive enough to react to a person’s heartbeat and the salt in their sweat. The system did not require a chip or battery to wirelessly transmit sensor data in this manner.
A piezoelectric material would simultaneously convert the inherent, “resonant” vibration or frequency of a gallium nitride-based sensor bonded to the skin into an electrical signal, the frequency of which could be detected by a wireless receiver. The electrical signal that the sensor automatically provides to the receiver would alter if the skin’s circumstances changed, such as if the heart rate increased.
The scientists created a tiny coating of high-quality, pure gallium nitride, and then combined it with a layer of gold to strengthen the electrical signal to verify their theory. They placed the gold in a dumbbell-like pattern that repeated, giving the usually inflexible metal a lattice-like structure that gave it some flexibility.
Their “sample of electronic skin,” which they refer to as gallium nitride and gold, is only 250 nanometers thick, or approximately 100 times thinner than the breadth of a human hair. They strapped the novel e-skin to the wrists and necks of volunteers and used a small antenna held close by to wirelessly record the sensor’s frequency without touching the sensor itself. The device was able to detect and transmit variations in the surface acoustic waves of gallium nitride on the skin of participants that were related to their heart rates wirelessly.
The team also combined the gadget with a thin sodium-selective ion-sensing membrane, a substance that selectively draws a specific ion. This improvement allowed the system to detect and wirelessly transmit changing sodium levels as a volunteer gripped a heating pad and perspired.
According to the researchers, the findings constitute the initial step toward chip-free wireless sensors. In addition, they believe the current approach might be used with other selective membranes to track additional significant indicators.
The Mor Prom mobile application, which was originally designed to track Covid cases, is being transformed into a national online health platform. The app has grown in popularity and now has 32 million users.
The Ministry of Public Health is working with private companies to transform Thailand’s national digital health platform, Mor Prom, into a mobile application. The updated app will provide Thais with a convenient and easily accessible health platform that includes 12 new features.
The app was initially designed for COVID-19 case tracing and registering people for Covid vaccination appointments. The new features will transform the app into a platform that connects to drug stores and a plethora of other public health service units. Approximately 15,000 service units and drug stores are currently linked to the app.
The security of the new Mor Prom app will adhere to worldwide safety requirements for electronic transactions and health information. This component is supported by the National Cyber Security Agency and the Electronic Transactions Development Agency.
The first of the twelve new capabilities are the COVID-19 vaccination certification service, which displays a traveller’s immunization record. The second function displays Covid test results obtained by the ATK and PCR techniques.
The third function allows users to search for a Covid testing unit near them, and the fourth feature enables site check-ins through a “beacon” mechanism. A digital health certificate display, money, organ donation services, a chatbot feature, and information on health policies are further features. Health history display, health appointment scheduling, health insurance policy verification, and telemedicine are the remaining features. The app will begin to receive additional functionality in August and September.
In the meantime, the collaboration between the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) marks a new milestone in the nation’s EV industry, as EV chargers are a vital part of the EV ecosystem.
The test ensured that the equipment used to service electric cars for both land and water transportation was safe. The test technique is based on the IEC 61851 standard for conductive charging systems for electric vehicles.
For electric buses, electric tractors, and electric ferries, the laboratory enables the testing of high-power DC chargers up to 150 kW. The availability of testing services in Thailand will significantly increase the competitiveness of local manufacturers, as they will no longer need to obtain testing and certification services from outside, hence reducing operating costs and development time.
In addition to EV charger testing, PTEC provides a variety of testing services to help the EV sector, including testing of lithium batteries, electric motorcycle battery modules, EV battery packs, electrification efficiency testing of electric motorcycles, and EV EMC testing.
Furthermore, for the sugarcane production industry, “Field Practice Solutions” (FPS) was developed as a precision agriculture system. FPS utilises drone footage for plantation area measurement, crop health monitoring, and weed/disease detection.
In addition, the system employs data processing to aid users in making educated decisions and effectively managing plantations, including fertilizer/chemical application and harvest schedules. NSTDA managed the public-private cooperation that led to the development of FPS.
On the other hand, the team created a data analytics system to estimate Brix content in sugarcane fields by combining multispectral images captured by drones with weather and sugarcane physiological data. With data on Brix and yield prediction, crops can be picked at the optimal moment for the most yield at the lowest cost.
With FPS, a harvest schedule may be properly scheduled to ensure that sugar mills receive sugarcane of optimal quality and quantity. This method has the potential to lower sugar production expenses by 20 per cent, or approximately THB 50 million per sugar mill annually.
It is difficult to conduct business in today’s world without a dependable website, which is where professional web creation services come in. Developing an online presence for a business or corporation does not end with the creation of a basic website for a company or organisation.
Developers can use Web Development Tools to deal with a range of technologies and should be able to deliver faster and less expensive mobile development. Responsive site design will improve the online surfing experience while also allowing for better SEO, decreased bounce rates, and less upkeep.
The tools that an organisation have selected should be able to give a good RoI. Hence, Cost-effectiveness, Ease of use, Scalability, Portability and Customisation are the factors that should be considered when choosing a Web Development Tool.
With his proven track record of entrepreneurial leadership in the open-source domains, cloud, SaaS, big data and analytics with both early-stage technology firms and large public companies, Kay is an authority on the topic.
On-Premise vs Cloud
The location of the data is the key distinction between cloud-based and on-premises (prem) versions. Cloud software is hosted on the vendor’s server and accessed using a web browser, as opposed to on-premises software, which is locally installed on the company’s PCs and servers.
When making a choice, a variety of factors must be considered in addition to accessibility – software ownership, cost of ownership, software upgrades, and additional services like support and implementation.
Kay explains that the cloud database as a service (DBaaS) market is one of the fastest-growing markets in enterprise software. “We need to make sure that we are being able to be where our customers want us to be, which is in the public cloud.”
As an example, he cited the use-case of Levis – one of their longstanding customers. Levis had been running on-prem for a long time and wanted to switch as part of their digital transformation strategy. They had eight different applications across various business units which were running on-prem and wanted to move all the services into a cloud service, running on Amazon. Neo4j helped them with the migration in about 3 months.
“That was an excellent example of how the Neo4j AuraDB Enterprise aided in the execution of Levis’ digital transformation,” Kay enthusiastically stated. “For Levis’ Neo4j became one of the main motivators for the enterprise to experiment and try new ideas, which accelerated their transformation quite quickly.”
Neo4j counts both start-ups and established companies in their fold. Their largest customers include the likes of Siemens and Dun and Bradstreet. They also have customers like PwC Australia, PwC U.S, BMW, Walmart and a neo bank in the U.S, Current Bank runs their core database system on Neo4j. The biggest healthcare insurance provider in Brazil, Qualicrop runs its mission-critical database systems in Neo4j.
Speaking of their journey, Kay shared that they started as a database company where most of their customers use the Neo4j database for transactional workloads. Now, interestingly, about 90% of their customers use either a public cloud or a cloud managed by Neo4j.
“We’ll soon cover all the major cloud service providers, so customers can choose where to deploy their apps and where to use the service. This will bring us closer to where our customers are growing,” says Kay confidently.
Graph Data Platforms: The First Choice for Application Development
According to Kay, their graph database promises data consistency, performance, and scalability. It can search for patterns and connections in data’s interconnected relationships. “Neo4j now includes a graph data science platform. Both data scientists and developers can use this platform to meet their demands. And I believe it gives us an extremely attractive product to the market at large.”
When governments had to locate community infections due to the pandemic, the benefits of the Graph Data Platform were most evident. The Graph Data Platform with AI has shown to be a great tool for data management in real-time, from tracking connections via complex social networks to understanding linkages.
On the other hand, graph data science assists organisations in addressing some of their most challenging and complicated problems. “Neo4j Graph Data Science is a platform for connected data analytics and machine learning that enables you to better anticipate the future by understanding the relationships in huge data.”
He shared that those two key strategic products under the Neo4j Aura portfolio of cloud products are AuraDS (built for data scientists) and AuraDB (built for developers).
Graph Database Technology is specifically designed and optimised for identifying patterns and hidden connections in highly interconnected datasets. Graph data stores are easy to use because they mimic how the human brain thinks and maps associations using neurons (nodes) and synapses (relationships).
A graph database stores and queries connected data in a node-and-relationships format efficiently. As a result, graph technology excels at problems where there is no prior knowledge of path length or shape by efficiently finding neighbouring data using graph storage and infrastructure.
Kay listed some of the most typical graph usage cases:
- Fraud Detection & Analytics
- Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
- Real-Time Recommendation Engines
- Knowledge Graphs
- Network & Database Infrastructure Monitoring
- Master Data Management (MDM)
All of these have one thing in common – to be successful, an enterprise needs to use datasets that dynamically change over time and are connected to each other.
Neo4j offers four benefits of using graph databases:
- Natural and easy data modelling
- Ability to adapt to changing data structures
- Support for real-time updates and queries running simultaneously
- Storage and a natively indexed data structure
Connected data in property graphs enable the enterprise to illustrate and traverse many interactions and find context for the next breakthrough application or analysis.
Kay encourages businesses to choose a cloud strategy that fits their needs and look for a provider that lets them move their assets whenever they want as many enterprises themselves to have evolving cloud strategies. This is because flexibility is very important.
“With us, Neo4j, you find value. It was predicted that by 2025, all smart applications would use graph technology in some way. So, graph databases are a natural fit for any new application that is being built today. This is because it is much easier to get insights from them,” Kay believes.
Neo4j Graph Database Platform has developed into a common form of information technology and has benefited businesses in a variety of ways. Numerous corporate game-changing use cases in fraud detection, financial services, life sciences, data science, knowledge graphs, and other areas have been made possible by the Neo4j Graph Database’s speed and efficiency advantages.
In the current VUCA environment, data security is crucial, challenging and fluctuating, particularly when dealing with sensitive data and the laws that govern it. Neo4j offers both safety and compliance, and frequently updates, enhances and expands its platforms. They can secure data in a variety of methods, including access control, user roles, protected environments, and system design, among others.
Neo4j Graph Databases has emerged as a critical technology for hundreds of companies, government agencies, and non-governmental organisations and will continue to be there. Kay is optimistic about the future and confident that Neo4j will always be placed to offer the best services for both the public and private sectors.
Business not as usual
COVID-19 has affected everyone; it is a global phenomenon that has forced all sectors to rethink and strategise, prompting many businesses to implement emergency work-from-home plans and the use of various digital platforms.
Simultaneously, many organisations are looking for a solution that offers content design and development with data analytics that would speed up software adoption and serve clients more effectively.
A low-code software platform has been developed to enable organisations to measure, drive and act to maximise the efficacy of their digital transformation and accelerate the return on investment in software applications. This low-code software is a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) that enables teams to add on-screen navigation hints to websites and apps without recoding them.
Because of the numerous intricacies involved, digital transformation used to be a lengthy process that could take months to complete for businesses. Nowadays, the transition can be completed in a couple of weeks or even days.
“The goal of technology is to help people. Instead of you trying to understand systems and know-how to run systems, you would tell the programme what to do and the platform would walk you through the process and do it for you, making you much more efficient and focused on your task,” said Rafael.
WalkMe guides end-users through business applications used in today’s workplace, identifying pauses and hesitations to provide real-time assistance onscreen without having to toggle between interfaces. Rafael shared that digital adoption has three main objectives: 1) Data – we must unlock visibility into the tech stack and into the workflows required to complete a business process through the use of software, 2) Action–take action right on top of the application to automate mundane tasks, allowing end-users to focus on their most valuable work, and 3) Experience – Data and Action will drive the perfect experience for the end-user, no matter where they sit within the organisation.
Trends that drive the next normal
In his article – Focus on the Future: The Dawn of the Next Normal is Brighter Than You Might Think – Rafael discusses the transition from crisis to a new era. Long-term, he sees four significant shifts that will alter corporate conventions.
First is the new paradigm of business continuity planning (BCP). Continuity was typically done keeping in mind a short-term crisis, such as a data leak or an accident. Most businesses did not plan for an event on the scale of COVID-19.
The pandemic has altered the current context of planning, pushing organisations to accept and deal with a new reality. Most leaders, now, agree that BCP must address long-term type possibilities as well, ensuring that a company is agile and adaptable to any situation.
Second, remote capabilities are now an essential component of businesses to remain functional in any situation. When the pandemic began in 2020, most businesses were forced to implement a work-from-home policy, regardless of their readiness. Organisations quickly recognised that their reliance on technology was growing, and to assist their staff, they required the appropriate digital tools.
However, companies will need to examine their technology to enhance communication, onboarding and training, productivity, and employee engagement as the trend toward permanent remote work continues.
Rafael feels that the third major change is in corporate culture and that it will continue to evolve. Across the board, companies acknowledge that employees are their greatest asset. The more the investment and care for employees, the more likely the chances that a company will prosper in the next normal.
Undeniably, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a major and swift impact on the workplace, with companies making significant efforts to build a distinct culture that reflects their views and keeps the employees content, engaged, and feeling supported.
The fourth change, Rafael proposes, is that digital offerings will drive revenue in the future. Industries are entering into a contactless era where all goods and services can be obtained through technological means. To that end, companies will have to invest in digital offerings that are easy for their customers to navigate and their employees to use.
Businesses that cannot serve their customers digitally have suffered greatly and are struggling to recover. The Next Normal involves increasing the digitalisation of operations and the virtualisation of communication.
It is undeniable that technology priorities have shifted, Rafael opines. Companies may have dabbled with “nice to have” technology before COVID-19, but everything that isn’t critical to core business must go now. Budget cuts will affect all firms, requiring the need to make the best software options possible to maximise ROI. Companies that can find the best technology for their purposes will prosper.
Navigating the New and the Next Normal
Digital transformation is made up of several applications that must collaborate and focus on the outcomes rather than the implementing technologies. Rafael explained that most businesses fail to complete their digital transformation journey because they define it primarily by changing many software or platforms and they begin digitising everything simultaneously.
“Consider the bottlenecks, obstacles and financial opportunities. Then define success, act on it, start working on it, and evaluate whether you met your goal,” he advises.
Because there is a possibility of multiple outcomes, an organisation does not have to worry about just one transformation. Think about, as an alternative, the tasks that need to be completed and the aspects of their firm that they wish to alter.
Businesses employ new strategies and processes to stay relevant as technology rapidly evolves. This modification may need to be implemented promptly for the company to reap the benefits and it must constantly adapt, and experiment with new technology.
“We could help them manage the complete cycle, beginning with review and finishing with benchmarks identifying friction and detailing project action, among other things,” Rafael offers confidently.
WalkMe apart, he says, if businesses want to be more successful in their digital transformation, they must focus on outcomes rather than systems implementation.
Without a doubt, WalkMe is a highly successful option. Close to two thousand organisations around the globe utilise the system, from both the public as well as the commercial sector. Product managers and application owners can make use of the software and feature adoption tools, as well as the change management solutions, that this platform provides for internet, desktop, and mobile applications.
The platform aims to empower business leaders to achieve the potential of their people and technology investments, which he considers to be the most valuable assets of an organisation in the digital economy.
The enterprise-class guidance, engagement, insights and automation platform of WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform enables businesses to maximise the full value of their digital assets by providing executives with greater visibility into digital usage and making employees more efficient and productive.
“The Next Normal is different. We can’t ever ‘go back’, but we are being offered incredible opportunities for better business processes, better work experiences, and stronger companies and products. Jump on, the time is now,” Rafael advises.
The Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) an agency under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), has establishing its second LokaLTE Base Station in Looc Integrated School, Castillejos, Zambales. Project REIINN, or Resilient Education Information Infrastructure for the New Normal, is a project that focuses on the creation of application frameworks and infrastructures to enable the shift to remote learning and close the digital gap in the Philippines.
“In a nutshell, the LokaLTE component focuses on the local development and deployment of community LTE networks in the Philippines. Meanwhile, the RuralCasting component exploits the use of data broadcasting mechanisms in distributing educational resource materials in remote communities,” said Franz de Leon, Director, DOST-ASTI.
The LokaLTE Base Tower is one of the Philippines’ national government’s efforts to bridge the country’s digital divide. This tower will provide Internet connectivity and will aid in the continuity of learning in the Zambales community.
Project REIINN is funded by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) and includes two initiatives: LokaLTE and RuralCasting.
The initiative is just the start of the project’s long-term goals, which include connecting everyone and making it easier for policies on spectrum management and community networks to be adopted.
It is anticipated that Project REIINN will reduce teachers’ difficulties, particularly in terms of communication between students and their parents – it can explore other avenues for the advancement of children.
In addition, the first LokaLTE Base Station was erected in Tanay, Rizal in May 2022. DOST-ASTI began Project REIINN in 2021 with the belief that access to the internet and information in unserved and underserved areas will become the norm because of technological interventions and appropriate policies.
The creation and deployment of small-scale, community-operated LokaLTE towers is one of the project’s objectives. This initiative is anticipated to have more groundbreakings in unserved and underserved regions in the Philippines until all students, regardless of location, have equal access to digital learning and reap the same benefits.
DOST-ASTI Strengthens the SARwAIS Project
Researchers from DOST-DATOS ASTI’s and Synthetic Aperture Radar and Automatic Identification System for Innovative Terrestrial Monitoring and Maritime Surveillance (SARwAIS) Project conducted an Introduction to Radar Remote Sensing training series in order to broaden the use of Remote Sensing in processing earth observation data and automating the detection of features from SAR satellite images.
The training was designed to further grow what DOST-ASTI has started in the race for space technology, and it was planned to do so with the normal backing from the Philippine Space Agency. In addition, the training was intended to acquaint the partner agencies, and the security sector, with the utilisation of SAR data to supplement their mission and efforts, particularly in marine domain awareness and resource monitoring.
Participants were informed, with a particular emphasis on the utilisation of SAR data, of the ways in which the available satellite resources (NovaSAR, Sentinel-1, and ICEYE) could potentially assist in the monitoring and asset deployment initiatives that they are engaged in. The programme lasted for four days and was filled to the brim with lectures and hands-on exercises that further armed them with abilities in remote sensing and GIS, which in turn enhanced their awareness of geospatial concepts.
Representatives from each agency presented their results at the conclusion of the training course, debating at length how to utilise this information in their individual offices. Participants also toured the DOST-ASTI facilities to examine infrastructures such as the ground receiving station and data centre.