Insights derived from data can help healthcare providers understand
health outcomes not just for individuals but for entire groups of individuals
or populations. They can identify and predict high risk segments within a
population and help take preventive action, creating long term benefits for
patients, hospitals, governments and society at large.
To unlock the true potential of data for population health, data
from a range of disparate sources, including clinics, hospitals, pharmacies,
fitness centres and even homes and employment places, would have to be brought
together and analysed. However, traditional healthcare IT solutions tended to
be limited in scope and restricted to a particular source of data
This was the challenge being faced by Cerner Corporation (Cerner), a leader in the
healthcare IT space, whose solutions are used in over 35 countries at more than
27,000 provider facilities, such as hospitals, integrated delivery networks,
ambulatory offices, and physicians’ offices.
Cerner was expanding its historical focus on electronic
medical records (EMR) to help improve health and care across the board. To do
so, it aimed to assimilate and normalise the world's healthcare data in order
to reduce cost and increase efficiency of delivering healthcare, while
improving patient outcomes.
Mr David Edwards, Vice President and Fellow at Cerner
explained, "Our vision is to bring all of this information into a common
platform and then make sense of it — and it turns out, this is actually a very
The firm accomplished this by building a comprehensive view
of population health on a Big
Data platform that’s powered by a Cloudera enterprise data hub (EDH).
Management tooling, scalability, performance, price, security, partner
integration, training, and support options were key criteria for the selection
of a partner.
Today, the EDH contains more than two petabytes (PB) of data
in a multi-tenant environment, supporting several hundred clients. It brings together data from an almost unlimited number of sources, and that data
can be used to build a far more complete picture of any patient, condition, or
trend. The end-result is better use of health resources.
Building the data hub
The platform ingests multiple different Electronic Medical
Records (EMRs), Health Level Seven International (HL7)
feeds, Health Information Exchange information, claims data, and custom
extracts from a variety of proprietary or client-owned data sources,
It uses Apache
Kafka, a high-throughput, low-latency open-source software platform to
ingest real-time data streams. The data is then pushed back to the
appropriate data storage, HDFS
(Hadoop Distributed File System) cluster or HBase
(a noSQL database which enables random, real-time read/write access to data).
A blog post by Micah Whitacre, a senior software
architect on Cerner Corp.’s Big Data Platforms team, explains how Apache Kafka
helped Cerner overcome challenges related to scalability for the near real-time
streaming system and in streamlining data ingestion from multiple sources,
including ones outside Cerner’s data centres.
Cerner has also taken steps to ensure the security and data
integrity of its Big Data platform. A technical solution must provide a
mechanism for threat mitigation in order to be considered a viable data
management technology in the healthcare space.
Cloudera advised Cerner’s approach to encrypting data at
rest and on its Kerberos
(a network authentication protocol for client/ server applications) integration.
Mr Edwards said that their real aim to get the technology
out of the way so all that users see is the value that comes from their
"Our real aim is to get the technology out of the way
so all that users see is the value that comes from their efforts. We really
want the focus to be on the outcomes and results, not on what it takes to
deliver them. The Cloudera platform is the technology that’s driving the value
and it’s allowing us to build applications that help healthcare systems improve
how they manage the chronic conditions of their populations. We're now able to
aggregate the information, stratify it, and offer the opportunity to look at
this data in a way that has never been possible before,” he said.
The uniqueness of Cerner’s EDH is that it allows data to be
brought together from an almost unlimited number of sources, and that data can
be used to build a far more complete picture of any patient, condition or
The end result: better use of health resources.
Cerner’s EDH helps them understand the most significant
risks and opportunities for improvement across a population of people. Cerner
computes quality scores for managing a number of chronic conditions, and
analysts can see which conditions could gain the most by improving those
For instance, Cerner can accurately determine the
probability that a person has a bloodstream infection, such as sepsis.
Sepsis is an uncontrolled inflammatory response to an
infection. It is a complex condition which is difficult for a junior doctor or
nurse to recognise. From the time sepsis first takes hold, healthcare
professionals have only the initial 6 hours after the diagnosis to deliver a
group of interventions to the patient. These interventions require close and
rapid interaction between teams in the Emergency Department, in the general
ward and in Critical Care. For an individual patient, getting the interventions
right at the right time may mean a 20-30% better chance of surviving.
Cerner developed an evidence-based algorithm, called the St.
John Sepsis agent, allowing early intervention for patients at risk, and
preventing deterioration into severe sepsis. The algorithm continuously
monitors key clinical indicators and recognises a potentially septic pattern.
The integrated system, which was created in cooperation with Methodist North
Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., gathers patient information from many sources,
helping clinicians early identify patients at risk for sepsis and providing an
accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Ryan Brush, Senior Director and Distinguished Engineer,
Cerner, said, “Our clients are reporting that the new system has actually saved
hundreds of lives by being able to predict if a patient is septic more
effectively than they could before."
provides a comprehensive framework and related standards for the exchange,
integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information that supports
clinical practice and the management, delivery and evaluation of health
The Philippines is among the countries who were the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. It forced organisations, especially in the public sector, to adopt and deploy technologies rapidly to meet the demands of a post-pandemic world.
In this digital age and the new normal, there is increased dependence on cloud and service providers. However, these data storage and management models have wide-ranging and, often, unclear data security levels. This has become a big challenge for organisations today.
To help our digital executives address the constraints and complexities and simplify their data management systems, OpenGov Asia organised an OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight with delegates from the Philippines public sector on 20 November 2020.
The insight witnessed 100% attendance from the registered delegates who whole-heartedly participated with a high level of engagement.
Citizens are becoming increasingly tech-savvy with higher expectations
The session was opened by Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia, with a quick round of introductions and overview of the time ahead.
Mohit pointed out that the new normal and the rapid digital transformation of all sectors of society, citizens are becoming increasingly tech-savvy with higher expectations. As a result, the demand for efficient and quick citizen-service delivery from the public sector is on the rise.
Comprehensive and rapid transformation combined with greater demand poses significant challenges for the public sector.
With digital citizen expecting effective and reliable 24×7-services a mouse-click away, public agencies need to be able to continuously transform, upgrade and secure delivery mechanisms.
In conclusion, Mohit advised delegates to not try and do everything on their own as, often, this results in poor quality and limited outcomes. Public sector agencies would be wise to partner with the right people who can help them transform quickly and deliver effectively.
Transforming amid the pandemic was exceptionally difficult for the public sector
After Mohit’s presentation, Joshua Au, Head, Data Center, Agency for Science, Technology, and research shared his insights.
Joshua acknowledged that the pandemic took everyone by surprise – its magnitude was far beyond what people had imagined. No one was prepared to deal with the sheer scale and scope of COVID-19. None the less, organisations that were already on their digital transformation journey were able to tackle it better than the rest.
Furthering Mohit’s point, he agreed that this time has been exceptionally difficult for public sector agencies. They had to continue delivering normal citizen-services while catering to the additional needs the pandemic had created. Managing a wide range of stakeholders with limited funds and, often, with constrained digital infrastructure at their disposal, was a colossal undertaking.
Delivering urgent assistance, coping with stay-at-home orders and managing lockdowns while migrating online and simultaneously ensuring digital and physical safety and security was no small task. The public sector had to push itself to do something exceptional.
Joshua pointed out that making a rapid transformation, on any given day in the best of circumstances, is a herculean task for public sector agencies. Not only because they do not have sufficient infrastructure but also because they do not have the business savviness of an enterprise. Their primary goal is the serve the citizens and ensure their wellbeing.
He concluded his presentation by urging the delegates to think outside the box and go beyond what they have been doing to adapt to the new normal.
The rapid digitisation has led to more complexity in data centre ecosystem
After Joshua’s insightful and challenging presentation, Tony Kang’s, Business Vice President, Secure Power, Schneider Electric Philippines, offered his perspectives.
After briefly introducing the origins of Schneider, Tony reiterated that digital transformation must be the top and most critical priority of all organisations. This is closely followed by data security and customer experience.
The pressure to digitise everything at such a quick pace leads to a lot of complexity in the data centre ecosystem. Connecting all the devices in the local edge, regional edge and a centralised location can be cumbersome and confusing for organisations. The situation is exacerbated and complicated as the ecosystem expands further.
Schneider’s eco structure, an open IoT enabled system architecture platform for offices and data centres, helps connect and control apps and analytics.
In closing, Tony encouraged the delegates to reach out to the Schneider team to can help them overcome some of these challenges.
After the speaker presentations, Mohit engaged the audience in an interactive Q&A session.
On the first question about current plans for IT expansion and deployments in near future, most of the delegates voted that they plan to deploy hybrid IT infrastructure leveraging on cloud while still deploying on-premise data centres (75%)
A senior delegate from the Department of Health shared the sensitive nature of the data they collect does not allow them to store all their data on cloud. They have to maintain an on-premise data centre in addition to the cloud.
On the next question about the importance of data centre modernisation and local edge computing, a major chunk of the audience voted that it is very important to them and they are currently undergoing transformation (68%).
An executive from the banking industry shared that digital transformation is the topmost priority of banks today and, keeping that in mind, they are also undergoing digital transformation actively.
On the final question about the most important factor when choosing solutions for your IT physical infrastructure most of the delegates voted for product reliability and efficiency (72%).
A delegate from a government agency in the Philippines shared that factors like after-sale services, delivery time, price etc. are all important to consider but the primary factor of consideration is quality – and it should never be compromised.
After the interactive discussion session, Tony addressed the audience to bring the Breakfast Insight to a close.
He shared that Schneider is dedicated to rigorous research and development to produce the best possible products and solutions for its customers.
He thanked the speakers for sharing their insights and the delegates talking about their pain points and challenges. He was confident that such discussion and debate would go a long way in understanding and solving their problems.
Tony urged them to reach out to him and the Schneider team continue to talk through their digital transformation journey.
The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is launching the DataKITA initiative in conjunction with Malaysia Tech Month 2020 (MTM 2020) to catalyse a thriving national data ecosystem in Malaysia. The ongoing initiative will be inaugurated with DataKITA.Pulse virtual event taking place on 21-22 November 2020.
DataKITA is preparing Malaysia for a new world order of data, one driven by disruptive Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies that necessitate business openness and digital evolution. Through the initiative, MDEC will collaborate closely with enterprises and stakeholders within the nation’s data economy. They will do this to help businesses jumpstart their data transformation journey through a structured approach – leveraging data literacy, data analytics, governance, data sharing and artificial intelligence (AI).
Malaysia must gear up for a world beyond the new normal. To reach the next evolutionary level of our development, we must take charge of emerging 4IR technologies that will power the digital economy. As Malaysia transforms digitally towards Malaysia 5.0, businesses now must make the most of the ‘new gold’ that is data to better understand markets, increase revenues, gain new segments and raise their efficiency, the Chairman of MDEC said.
MDEC expects that, through DataKITA, it will empower digitally-skilled Malaysians, enabling digitally-powered businesses and driving investors in digital sectors to join this data-driven population, as it works with the ecosystem to realise the nation’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030.
The DataKITA initiative will raise the availability, accessibility and usability of data in Malaysia’s society and economy via four strategic pillars:
- Knowledge: Promote Data Literacy
- Infrastructure: Foster a Data-Driven Environment
- Talent: Facilitate Development of Data Professionals
- Action: Accelerate business enterprises to be Data Driven and AI Ready
By fostering holistic data transformation between the Malaysian people, businesses and the government, DataKITA will be the key vehicle to help Malaysia grow a data-driven digital economy to become an advanced market that sets a global example in leading the data proliferation within society and the economy.
It will also help Malaysia’s economic actors tap into the US$13 trillion (RM53.2 trillion) revenue projected to be added by data-fuelled applications in the global economy by 2030, thereby reinforcing the nation’s position as the Heart of Digital ASEAN.
The aim is for organisations to recognise the importance of data transformation and to take the first crucial steps to embark on the data journey, such as training, using data for decision making, investing in technology or the cloud and setting up data roles within their organisation.
This is what MDEC’s DataKITA initiative is all about and we are calling on Malaysia’s businesses and tech talent to embark on this data journey at our DataKITA.Pulse event,” said Dr Karl Ng, Director, Data Ecosystem Development, MDEC.
DataKITA.Pulse – Jumpstarting data transformation journey for businesses
To be held on 21 to 22 November 2020, DataKITA.Pulse is a 25-hour non-stop virtual event that will inspire digitally powered businesses on their data transformation journey by connecting them to like-minded ecosystem stakeholders and industry thought leaders. The event is the first initiative under the broader DataKITA initiative. It will facilitate closer data ecosystem collaborations between society, businesses, governments as well as private- and public-sector entities to help more organisations in Malaysia embark on a structured and sustainable approach for their data transformation.
Held in cooperation with a global software engineer and data community seeking to empower and support with job opportunities across the world – DataKITA.Pulse will feature workshops, forums, business matching opportunities, product showcases by MDEC’s Data Technology Partners as well as one-on-one sessions with MDEC’s Chairman and the COO (Note that the recent leadership restructure at MDEC which abolishes the COO role is effective 1 December 2020). All of these are designed to help participating businesses link with leaders of Malaysia’s growing data ecosystem and better understand the value of data to power their respective data transformation.
In addition to encouraging data adoption between businesses, MDEC has also invited talented individuals to DataKITA.Pulse to take part in the Data Visualisation & Storytelling Challenge. Through this challenge, participants will create data visualisation based on the problem statements about data application in selected industry sectors. They will then work on the challenge overnight before presenting their submission to the judges the next morning.
The pandemic has accelerated the process of digital transformation for governments, banks, and enterprises at a rate that we could never imagine. While this rapid digital shift has led to a data deluge in organisations, there is a lot of uncertainty about how to draw useful insights from it.
Looking to empower enterprises and agencies in Malaysia on secure and effective data management, OpenGov Asia organised an OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight on 19 November 2020. The session witnessed an overwhelming level of attendance and engagement from the audience.
Make data management a priority in this evolving digital landscape
The session was opened by Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at OpenGov Asia. Mohit pointed to the fact that the volume of data being generated has increased exponentially over the past few months. But he was quick to note that the data would only be valuable if we organisations could to draw actionable insights from it.
He urged the delegates to make data management a priority in this evolving, and often, daunting digital landscape. As they chart out their data management strategy, it is imperative to keep in mind certain considerations, specifically – security, compliance and governance, cost, automation and performance monitoring.
Mohit acknowledged that providing access to all data to remote employees from anywhere and, at the same time, ensuring the security of data is an incredible balancing act that is vital for organisations to get right in the current context.
In the same vein, he also cautioned the audience to not let security concerns limit or block possibilities for them.
In conclusion, Mohit exhorted the delegates to incorporate a robust and scalable data management system. Rather than trying to do it by themselves, he advised them to partner with experts in the field who can support them on this journey.
Ransomware and cyber threat trends in the current Digital Landscape
After Mohit’s opening, Andy Ng, VP, Managing Director, ASR Sales shared some very insightful findings from research recently commissioned by Veritas. The study was conducted across 21 countries globally with a very strong representation from SEA.
The objective of the survey was to gain insight into organisations preparedness against ransomware attacks. Key findings from the survey indicated that:
- 64% store their data and applications in the cloud
- 61% use more than 5 different cloud services (data complexity/visibility)
- 70% of corporations who suffered a ransomware attack took more than 24 hours to resume normal business operations
- The third biggest concern occupying organisational time is how to fend off risks from external and internal risks and data loss
After shedding some light on the current cybersecurity landscape, Andy revealed how Veritas Enterprise Data Service Platform could help delegates better manage, protect, and simplify your data landscape.
Cloud is the biggest enabler of business agility today
After Andy’s presentation, Rueben Athaide, Head, Cloud Customer Engagement, Standard Chartered Bank offered his perspective to the delegates.
Reuben explained that cloud today is the biggest enabler of business agility in three key ways:
- instilling a culture of innovation
- reducing the cost and speed experimentation
- enabling taking advantage of external opportunities by connecting to ecosystems
He further shared that at Standard Chartered, the cloud service models are designed to support business strategies. Today, almost all the products and services of a bank are digitally enabled. Based on the classification of these products and services, Standard Chartered uses a combination of SaaS, IaaS and PaaS cloud service models.
Reuben expanded on the four key areas of cloud transformation for Standard Chartered. They include application migration from on-premise to hybrid, virtual workplace and end-user tools, security and network transformation.
He elaborated on how their cloud strategy helps enhance operational resilience. They have two on-prem data centres in two different geographical locations with a pair of data centres to enable disaster recovery. They have coded everything into their cloud operations to avoid any misunderstanding and miscommunication.
To ensure the security of data, they have laid down specific guiding principles and a broader approach based on the different categories of classified data.
Reuben concluded his presentation by emphasising the importance of data security.
Data explosion and rapid digital transformation have exposed the organisation to a lot of external risks
After Rueben’s information-rich presentation, John Abel, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Veritas Technologies shared his observations with the delegates.
John agreed that many organisations had to rethink the way they were operating and change their business models in light of the pandemic and the anticipated post-pandemic new normal. He acknowledged the rapid transformation and the increased digital footprint of doing everything online.
The data explosion and rapid digital transformation have also exposed organisations to a lot of external risks. All these factors together have increased the IT complexity making even more challenging for the organisations to stay resilient.
John concluded his presentation by showing the delegates how the Veritas Enterprise Data service platform can help them overcome these challenges. Their platform is built on 3 major pillars which include making data easily available, keeping it protected and enabling deriving insights from it.
After the presentations from the speakers, it was time to engage in discussion with the audience through polling questions.
On the first question about the requirement that is shaping your landscape to be agile with the business needs, a majority of the audience voted for adapting to changing customer demands (42%).
A senior delegate from a public sector agency shared that incorporating the needs of the citizens is of paramount importance as their primary goal is the serve the citizens in the best way possible.
On the next question about the biggest challenge faced by organisations when looking at digital transformation, the delegates were equally divided between skill shortage to implement and operate technology (36%) and dependency on the need to integrate with legacy systems and/or technology (36%).
Another delegate noted that they are seeing a lot of demand among citizens/customers to incorporate digital transformation in their processes. But there are a lot of legacy systems in place and integrating them into the new digital platforms is a very challenging task.
On the final question about the biggest consideration for your organisation when evaluating new technologies, the audience was once again split between cost optimisation (33%) and support for new and modern technologies (33%).
A delegate said, when looking for a new solution in the organisation, they ensure that it supports the latest technology to bring the ease in operations and processes.
After the interactive polling session, John addressed the delegates to bring the session to a timely closing.
As data is going to explode, complexity within organisations is going to go up. In line with Mohit’s advice, he advocated partnering with a stable and reliable organisation that can assist and support in the area of data classification and protection.
John encouraged the delegates to engage in conversation with the Veritas team and share with them their data management challenges so that they can assist them along their journey.
A multinational technology company headquartered in Shenzhen announced plans to invest THB700 million in establishing its third data centre in Thailand next year, as part of its support for Thailand to become the digital hub of ASEAN.
The amount is equivalent to the total investment in its first data centre, in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in 2018, and the second in Bangkok, in 2019. The announcement was made by the chief executive of the Thailand branch of the tech powerhouse, in an address to the “Powering Digital Thailand 2021: Huawei Cloud and Connect” conference at Centara Grand at CentralWorld on 11 November 2020.
He stated that the company has its mission, which is to grow in Thailand and contribute to Thailand. With its end-to-end solution technology and global experiences and expertise, the firm believes it can contribute more to try to support Thailand to be the regional hub.
The tech giant has seen the tremendous progress made in the growth of the digital economy in Thailand, starting with Thailand’s 4.0 policy, which reflected the country’s strong ambition to become a digital leader in the region, Mr Deng said. However, Thailand’s digital economy currently contributed less than 20% to GDP, and there was still a big space to promote digital technology adoption and development in the country.
The digital economy could also help with the country’s economic recovery, especially now it had been further damaged by the pandemic. Thailand’s digital infrastructure is now ready to be empowered into a leading position, thanks to the government’s efforts to accelerate the adoption of 5G through 5G licence auctions in February 2020. The company is confident of Thailand’s potential to become ASEAN’s first digital hub, and this will help the country’s digital economy contribute to 30% of the GDP by 2030.
The data centre market
OpenGov Asia recently reported that Asia Pacific data centre and cloud providers are among the fastest-growing in the world, with cloud revenue far outstripping data centre revenue. In particular, forecasts by the firm pegged cloud revenue in the region at four times more than data centre revenue over the four years to the beginning of 2025, with cloud revenue projected to increase by 87% and data centre revenue by 22%.
The report looked at the market landscape for data centres and cloud services in the region, namely Southeast Asia countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as Australia, China (and Hong Kong), Japan South Korea, and Taiwan.
According to the report, there is one sq m of data centre space for every 522 people in the Asia Pacific region, with hubs such as Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore having a notably higher data centre floor space “per head” than the rest of Asia.
China has the largest data centre space in the APAC (and second-largest globally), accounting for 43% of data centre space in the region with 1.7 million sq m of space forecast for 2021. Elsewhere, the next largest data centre market in APAC is Australia and Japan with 11% each, with Singapore in fourth place with 10%. Singapore is understood to be under a moratorium on new data centres that could last until 2021, though it is unclear if it is still in effect.
Smaller data centre markets are poised for further growth – with South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam forecast to have the highest increase.
The New Zealand government is investing $84.7 million in innovative research projects including those focusing on health, climate change, astronomy and the impact of big data on social equality said Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods.
This year’s Marsden Fund will support 134 new projects including explorations of the connection between heart failure and diabetes, the financial risks of climate change and the complex interplay between Maori settlers and ecosystems through the history of mahinga kai (traditional foods).
The minister said that they have designed the funding so it can address real-world problems, while also giving researchers the freedom to innovate and come up with new ways to solve problems. problems. Health issues like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease are wide-ranging problems and require innovative thinking. Healthtech is the biggest secondary technology sector in New Zealand, generating NZ$1.8 billion of revenue and a five-year compound annual growth rate of 10% in 2018. With deep scientific and commercial expertise, New Zealand’s healthtech sector is strong and will continue to contribute world-leading technologies to address the health needs of citizens across the globe.
Research needs to look at these issues from different angles to ensure that the best is being done for the future of the country. She felt that successful applicants were doing significant work in their areas of science that would benefit New Zealand’s long-term future.
Marsden Fund research benefits society as a whole by contributing to the development of researchers with knowledge, skills and ideas. The Fund supports research excellence in science, engineering and maths, social sciences and the humanities. The Marsden Fund was established by the government in 1994 to fund excellent fundamental research. It is a contestable fund administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the Marsden Fund Council. The research is not subject to the government’s socio-economic priorities but is investigator-initiated.
New Zealand has an established and clear data strategy and roadmap for the nation. The strategy and roadmap are intended to provide a shared direction and plan that organisations within and outside government can collectively work towards and align their efforts to generate maximum impact. It acknowledges that there is a need for greater alignment and coordination of effort across the system. The government understands that global data growth enables innovative data uses that are transforming the world and that In New Zealand is uniquely positioned to maximise the value of data
The government agrees that it has a unique role to play in laying the groundwork for the future data system. The roadmap envisages a future where data is regarded as an essential part of New Zealand’s infrastructure and where data use is underpinned by public trust and confidence. As such, greater data use needs to be balanced with the protection of privacy rights and ethical use.
The strategy is designed to unlock the value of data for the benefit of New Zealanders. It will start by directing activity in focus areas to deliver the most impact:
- Focus area 1: Invest in making the right data available at the right time
- Focus area 2. Grow data capability and support good practice
- Focus area 3. Build partnerships within and outside government
- Focus area 4. Implement open and transparent practices
In other data-related developments, the Open Government Information and Data Programme ended in July 2020. However, this did not signal the end of the government’s commitment to open data. Instead, it marked the transition from a time-boxed programme into on-going government-wide coordination of efforts, led by the Government Chief Data Steward.
The programme is a cross-government programme designed to accelerate the release and reuse of open government data to maximise the value of that data.
At the closing of the Open Government Data Programme, Stats NZ commissioned an independent reviewer to produce an Independent review of the Open Data Programme. The report focused on two key things:
- an assessment of the programme’s operation and performance against its expected outcomes
- recommendations based on lessons learnt that may inform the work of future cross-government data programmes.
The closure report is an output from direct comments and feedback from the interviews and analysis from the independent reviewer.
Even though the public sector was well on the path of digitisation and moving to the cloud before COVID-19, the pandemic has forced governments to rethink their cloud strategy. To delve deeper into the rapid cloud transition and its impact on the public sector, OpenGov Asia spoke with Peter Moore, Regional Managing Director, Asia Pacific and Japan, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services.
Peter began by tracing the public sector’s cloud journey to the time when the public sector was both intrigued and sceptical about adopting cloud systems in day-to-day functioning. Since then, he has seen a tremendous move to cloud among public sector agencies. This was well before the world was hit by the pandemic and remote work became the norm.
Peter opined that the primary driver behind this shift in the pre-COVID era was citizen demand for effective service delivery. Education, healthcare and civil service institutions started putting a web backend to enhance citizen service delivery and better capabilities for government employees.
This led to a major attitudinal change towards cloud and a realisation of its advantages like high performance, agility, and security. Such pioneering public sector institutions started experimenting with cloud solutions in their backend functions as well.
Today, there is a wide spectrum of readiness for cloud in the public sector across the Asia Pacific region depending on policies, procurement, training and internal readiness.
Explaining AWS’s role in this move to the cloud, Peter shared that training and educating both users and developers of cloud and helping them overcome fears and doubts have been their major goal. AWS is all about supporting its customers at every step in their cloud journey. They don’t consider a job (well) done till their customers get the services they signed up for.
Peter, jokingly, said that users have had a love-hate relationship with cloud historically. But they are gradually coming to realise the ease of securing, monitoring and analysing data on the cloud that they never had at a data centre.
The cloud journey took a sharp turn when the pandemic hit. The compulsions of lockdowns and remote working paved the way for moving to cloud for everything at a pace faster than it had ever been in the last 6 years. Peter also shared that public sector organisations that had already made the transition to cloud and established the capabilities to work remotely had a huge advantage when the world was locked down.
This spiked demand for cloud is a trend that will not slow down as the world recovers from the pandemic. In fact, it will likely continue to accelerate and further deepen the realisation of security, agility, and reliability that cloud brings.
On being asked about how cloud can help the economy on its road to recovery from the pandemic, Peter believes that cloud helps enhance efficiency in service delivery by the public sector. Cloud assists governments in providing financial and healthcare services to their citizens remotely.
Today people are hungry to learn the skills and use solutions that help them remain relevant in these times. And cloud is a very powerful tool that can help entrepreneurs run businesses, doctors reach patients and teachers teach their students without being in physical contact with one another.
For the citizens, services have become more cost-effective and they can interact with their family, friend and colleagues without leaving their homes. Countries all across the Asia Pacific are seeing these advantages of cloud and utilising it to recover both economically and socially.
Peter spoke about the future of cloud and the role that AWS will play in the crucial period over the next six months. The shift of unclassified data to the cloud has already happened and there is an ongoing attempt to move the most valuable applications and workflows to cloud among public sector organisations. The focus for AWS will be to maintain this trust in cloud and strengthen the processes further to ensure the safety of data.
Another goal of AWS will be to rapidly scale up the capabilities of pivoting to cloud irrespective of the availability of policy, money, capabilities and concerns about cloud technology across different levels in the public sector industry.
Max Peterson, Vice President of International Sales for Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services, delivered a keynote at AWS Public Sector Summit Online highlighting four guiding principles that can help public sector organisations overcome COVID-19 challenges while remaining focused on delivering their missions.
Peter shared some highlights that online summit hosted by AWS which earlier used to be a physical event. The summit covered ground on how to move forward in the cloud journey, have an agile platform, how to keep innovating it and how to think big. Apart from expert speakers, the online summit brought together a number of AWS customers who shared their stories with the audience, strengthening belief in the power of cloud technology.
Peter exhorts governments and public sector enterprises all over the world to respond to their citizens’ needs effectively and efficiently, especially in unprecedented times like the last six months.
He is a strong advocate of digitisation of governments; considering it to be the biggest asset a nation could have in ensuring the overall wellbeing of its citizens. He validated this with the examples of Japan and Singapore who have done an exceptional job at keeping their countries resilient over the last few months.
The Japan Government Common Platform was launched on AWS on October 8. The Japanese government will be using AWS to modernize IT and strengthen governance by integrating disparate applications and data across the cabinet office, thirteen ministries and agencies to centralize management, enhance security, and reduce operational costs. This will allow government ministries to move quickly in innovating and delivering digital citizen services.
In Singapore, the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) has been pioneering the use of cloud services to drive the Singapore Government’s digital transformation. Over a five-year period till 2023, the Singapore Government will systematically shift less sensitive Government ICT systems onto the commercial cloud, to allow public agencies to use leading-edge private sector capabilities to develop digital services. Most recently, in response to COVID-19, GovTech has used AWS cloud technology to quickly build the SafeEntry application, Singapore’s national digital check-in system, to prevent and control the spread of the pandemic.
As Regional Managing Director, Asia Pacific and Japan, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services, Peter has been intrinsically involved in building and growing the public sector business for AWS and he has seen trends rapidly change for cloud adoption. Paradigm shifts in perceptions of what cloud can do, its advantages, agility and security have driven organisations, agencies and institutions – be it government, education, healthcare or non-profit organisations – to make cloud a cornerstone of their strategy.
Amazon is committed to becoming a trusted partner for the public sector in moving to public commercial cloud for increasingly complex and mission-critical workloads. He firmly believes that they pave the way for change and development by offering disruptive innovation, agility, twenty-first-century capability, new skills and efficiencies.
Peter assured us that AWS is set and eager to support the public sector on their future cloud journeys. Dedicated to their mission and their clients, Peter believes they have fun and simultaneously, create history every day– making the world a better place by enabling world-changing projects, driving economic development, facilitating citizen services and engagement and through cutting edge research and education.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced today the launch of a S$35 million Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) for the financial services sector to help smaller financial institutions adopt digital solutions for more streamlined data reporting to MAS.
The grant is currently applicable to banks and will be subsequently expanded to include insurers and capital market intermediaries.
Support for smaller financial institutions to adopt regulatory reporting solutions
The PSG provides funding support for smaller financial institutions to adopt regulatory reporting solutions from pre-approved managed service providers.
These technologies will facilitate more efficient processes for the preparation and submission of data, in line with regulatory requirements.
Mr Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS, said, “The co-funding support for the adoption of regulatory reporting solutions will help smaller financial institutions leverage technology to better meet regulatory obligations. There are now a range of grant schemes specific to smaller financial institutions. Together, these schemes provide strong support for these financial institutions to adopt solutions that improve their operational capabilities in various domains.”
Productivity Solutions Grant to co-fund 30% of cost of digital solutions
The PSG will co-fund up to 30% of qualifying expenses for the adoption of digital solutions from the pre-approved managed service solution providers, capped at $250,000 per project for banks. Eligible banks can now apply for funding via the Business Grants Portal.
Smaller financial institutions that wish to adopt digital solutions outside of regulatory reporting can consider the Digital Acceleration Grant (DAG).
This grant is part of MAS’ recent initiatives to support smaller financial institutions in their efforts to improve productivity.