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Illustration from GovTech facheet (goo.gl/3U1KpM)

Illustration from GovTech facheet (goo.gl/3U1KpM)

Centrally-managed platform being developed for Singapore government agencies to build digital applications

The Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) is developing a centrally-managed platform, called the Singapore Government Technology Stack (SGTS), for public sector agencies to build their digital applications. The SGTS is a redesign of Government’s digital infrastructure, to achieve greater interoperability and agility.

At the moment most government agencies develop independent services and infrastructure to meet the needs of the specific citizen or business group that they serve.

The SGTS will make available common digital services and infrastructure to all Government agencies. This reduces the time and effort needed to introduce new digital services, as well as enhance and maintain existing ones. It allows agencies to focus on designing solutions that best meet the needs of those they serve, without worrying about the underlying infrastructure.

With SGTS, government agencies would be able to tap on a suite of tools and services hosted on a common infrastructure to ensure consistency and high quality of their applications. Citizens will be able experience a more seamless, consistent and connected user experience across the spectrum of government digital services.

SGTS will also enable easy exchange of data across the government, aggregating data collection for richer insights that would help with policy development and monitoring of operations and reduce overall costs to the agencies.  

The SGTS is a platform comprising layers of software and infrastructure components. These common assets are scalable, reusable and interoperable, allowing agencies to quickly launch services and dynamically scale in accordance with citizen demand. SGTS is comprised of the following components:

  1. Library of microservices – This consists of common services that agencies utilise to build their applications such as agency APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for authentication, notifications or payment
  2. Application Infrastructure – This includes software services, such as API Exchange (APEX) and NECTAR, that allow users to quickly develop and deploy applications. APEX is a centralised data sharing platform for agencies to share data conveniently and securely through the use of APIs, while NECTAR, a Platform-as-a-Service, provides cloud-level flexibility and enables agencies to develop, run, scale and manage applications without the complexity of building and maintaining infrastructure.
  3. Infrastructure – Scalable data centre service and secure connectivity
  4. Data – Various government data sources

GovTech is making SGTS available for the whole public sector progressively from 2018 to facilitate Singapore’s national digital transformation initiatives. The SGTS is expected to be integral towards the development of high-quality and citizen-centric digital services, the rapid development of services, as well as optimisation of resources by the Government.

One of the early uses of SGTS was for the MyInfo bank pilot, launched in May last year, to enable people to use their registered profile on Singapore government’s MyInfo service to apply for new banking services. The pilot was developed and delivered in four months using SGTS, instead of what would typically take a year.

Another example was the building of the Whole-of-Government citizen engagement portal, Ideas!, on SGTS. This allowed the team to focus on building a scalable web service with a good level of security provided by SGTS, without the need to develop its own infrastructure.

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