of exciting, emerging technologies does not lie in the cool things that can be
done with them. Rather it lies in the
way these technologies can help transform and personalise government services
The Indonesia OpenGov Leadership Forum was held in Jakarta
on 22 March, attended by around 200 delegates from the country’s public sector.
The day saw
presentations on a range of topics from Fintech to design thinking, from artificial
intelligence to cybersecurity.
As part of OpenGov’s
Recognition of Excellence (ROE) series, four cities – Jakarta, Makassar,
Surabaya and Semarang – were awarded for their smart and sustainable city initiatives,
while three federal government ministries, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry
of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and KOMINFO (Ministry of Communication
and Informatics) were recognised
for innovative and disruptive use of technology in the public sector.
Technology is a tool
– not a purpose
Mr Mohit Sagar, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief at
OpenGov Asia kicked off proceedings, asking the attendees if their agency or
department was among the Disruptor or the Disrupted, whether they are following
He posed a question, “Are you actively rethinking the services your agency provides, and the
manner in which they are provided? Or do you have a sinking feeling that your
agency is struggling behind the curve, increasingly unable to deliver in a
networked, digital society?”
Mr Sagar said that knowing technology trends is not enough.
Neither is having the latest and greatest hardware. Exponential change brings
unlimited possibility, but here too, things often go wrong.
It is important to remember that technology is but a tool –
not a purpose. For governments, providing better services to citizens is the
purpose, but along the way, some governments forget this. All too often
governments drive digital initiatives dreamt up internally, and are largely
“Now we have unlimited possibility, recognise that so do our
citizens. THEIR expectations and requirements for the services we offer have also
exponentially risen. We need to get our eyes more focused once more on purpose,”
Mr Sagar said.
The unlimited possibility brings rising customer
expectations. So, governments shouldn’t be surprised if their first attempts
actually end up causing more angst to their citizens. Government attempts to
serve citizens have a long history of misunderstanding the individual, highly
personalised needs of those same citizens.
In the past, it was not possible to personalise services,
but now personalised services are what citizens expect today, and they are dissatisfied
when they don’t get those kinds of services.
technology has to be directed by governments towards fulfilling the needs of
individual citizens. No individual should ever be reduced to a number or
“It is not
an easy task, but it is the right one,” said Mr Sagar. One way to ensure that
eyes stay on the organisational purpose is to dedicate continuous efforts to
always having available the Right information, the Right people and the Right
went on to provide examples of how different exciting technologies can be viewed
in light of this principle. For instance, the beauty of blockchain, or
distributed transactional ledger technology, does not lie in the cool things that
can be done with it. Similarly, the beauty of big data, or predictive
analytics, does not arise from the amazing answers to questions that data
scientists can gain from mountains of data, which previously was impossible.
Rather it lies in the way these technologies can help
transform and personalise government services to citizens.
concluded, “Managing the risks of digital transformation is not easy, nor is it
for the faint of heart. It is also difficult for the pessimist, because all the
tools available to make digital transformation work – from the tech tools like
big data, IoT, blockchain and fintech and many others – to the organisational
change tools and methodologies designed to enhance and support purposeful
change – all these tools require an optimist in order to work properly. So, if
you are a half empty kinda guy, start filling that glass.”
Digital transformation in the financial sector
one of the sectors undergoing massive disruption today. There were two
presentations on digital transformation in the financial sector, presenting the
perspectives of a Fintech startup and an established bank.
Siregar, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at BTPN
bank talked about how the bank is leveraging technology and the ‘people’
aspect of transformation. BTPN aspires to be a leading mass-market bank,
powered by digital. The bank’s strategic priorities entail driving change along
four aspects. The first is become more customer-centric in designing and
launching new capabilities. Customers experience should be the primary focus
for every product decision making.
is to focus on increasing the speed of taking innovations to market by
promoting re-usability and adopting modern development practices. Iterative
Agile development and engineering practices, as opposed to the traditional
sequential waterfall methodology, have decreased time-to-market.
Agile and devops,
as opposed to the traditional sequential waterfall methodology. Devops makes continuous
delivery possible by
breaking down silos between development and infrastructure / operations and
enables releases every 2-6 weeks.
the use of agile and DevOps practices in tandem has helped the bank in
deploying solutions to production in less than 10 mins. Mr Siregar described DevOps
as the integrated Agile approach that makes Continuous Delivery possible by
breaking down silos between development and infrastructure / operations. DevOps
is enabling releases every 2-6 weeks.
IT and microservices architecture has helped the bank innovate fast and
integrate capabilities. Core systems for which resilience is a priority have
regular release cycles, while microservices are on short release cycles.
Mr Siregar concluded saying that transformation is tightly interconnected
with people and culture in the organization. For instance, having self-driven,
accountable, adaptive and feedback driven workforce rather than managed and
instructed individuals who are reactive and situation-driven is essential to
create nimble, responsive bank.
Spiese talked about linking entrepreneurship to national development, in order
to improve quality of life. Mr Spiese built and launched Timo, Vietnam's first digital bank, in one year,
and then ran Timo for one year with rapid customer acquisition, deposit taking,
and product development, and led a successful Series A fundraising round.
Thereafter he joined the BOD and focused on regional expansion.
said that whenever he is asked what advice might he have for the regulator to
support development of Fintech in developing countries, he dodges the question.
CEO, he focuses on understanding the regulatory environment and where it’s
going, and build product and services accordingly, rather than lobbying for
change. He follows the same approach with customer preferences and behaviour.
when asked by OpenGov about the essential building blocks for linking
entrepreneurship to national development, he couldn’t dodge the question. He
said that enterprise Law, which makes it easy and cheap to set up, change
ownership, scale up, scale down, and shut down small businesses, with minimally
prescriptive business activity licensing, would help.
having tolerant regulation and regulatory enforcement, instead of “official,
permanent, approvals” which often give “unofficial, temporary non-objections”
would be a positive.
of Artificial Intelligence
intelligence (AI) is a transformative technology, which is impacting all
industries and apsects of our lives. Assistant Professor Lu Wei, from the
Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD)
talked about unlocking the power of big data and artificial intelligence.
that AI can currently play computer games, drive cars, and perform speech
recognition, face recognition, translation, information extraction and anomaly
detection. In the future, we might have AI which can perform human-level
reasoning, undertake complex design and planning, understand intentions and
Professor Lu Wei also mentioned a few case studies. A Singapore government
agency is interested in using natural language processing for converting
manually typed text into tables based on their in-house machine learning tool.
The team is
also working with DSO natural laboratories in Singapore for building models to
understand malware behaviours based on cybersecurity reports. The researchers
are also working with Alibaba on models for automatic understanding of
semantics in text in the e-commerce domain for improved customer experience.
A holistic approach to cybersecurity
and organisations undergo digital transformation, they could become increasingly
vulnerable to cyber threats.
Dr. Haji Amirudin Abdul Wahab, Chief Executive Officer, CyberSecurity
Malaysia (CSM) shared
Malaysia’s experience in approaching cybersecurity from a holistic perspective.
This consists of identifying potential threats to organization and impacts to
the national security & public well-being and developing the nation to
become cyber resilient, having the capability to safeguard the interests of its
stakeholders, reputation, brand and value creating activities.
among the earliest nation in Southeast Asia that undertake to design a National
Cyber Security Policy. Malaysia was also among the earliest nations in the
region to enact cyber related laws.
was ranked in third place in the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)’s
Global Cyber Security Index (GCI) 2017.
The GCI is a survey that measures the commitment of Member States to
cybersecurity in order to raise awareness.
the Malaysian Government is reviewing all cyber-related laws in to ensure trust
in networks and promote the development the Internet Economy in the country.
Amirudin also said that the traditional approach to cybersecurity leaves
significant gaps in cyber defence. Most APT (advanced persistent threat)
malware lies dormant and remains undetected. A new approach is required to
address APT and new breed of cyber attacks. Intelligent & automated threat
detection and response is absolutely critical moving forward.
the importance of building partnerships. As cyber threats become more diverse, persistent
and sophisticated, there is a need for bi-lateral & multi-stakeholders partnership
in cybersecurity capacity building and create a competent cyber security
workforce both at national and regional levels. Domestic and global cybersecurity
has to be strengthened through inter-agency cooperation and Public-Private
prepared is the key to prevent bigger cyber security problems,” Dato’ Amirudin
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