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EXCLUSIVE - MAMPU’s journey towards structuring government online services around Life Events

EXCLUSIVE – MAMPU’s journey towards structuring government online services around Life Events

Many governments around the world today are attempting to
radically change digital service delivery, shifting from a traditional focus on
government agencies to meeting the needs of the public at important junctures
in their lives, the ‘life events’. The principle is simple, but the
implementation is often complex and challenging.

The Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management
Planning Unit (MAMPU) has also embarked on a journey towards citizen-centric
services. OpenGov had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Kathirrasan K Kupusamy,
Principal ICT Consultant, ICT Consultancy Division to learn where Malaysia is
on this journey now. Mr. Kathirrasan is the project director for the Government
Online Services Gateway project (GOSG), a whole-of-government service portal,
intended to serve as a one-stop point for the public to access any government
service.

The journey started in November last year. Back in August
2011, MAMPU had implemented its own portal, called MyGovernment Online Services
Portal (MOSP) to facilitate
public to access government information and online services.

“From that we migrated to the MyGov portal in Mei 2017. When
we migrated to MyGov portal, we made a lot of changes to the content and the
way the content is presented. Right now, whatever was in the original MOSP, has
been transferred to MyGov portal, where the information or content is richer and
displayed in a manner that is in tune with what the citizens understand or the
way they speak” Mr. Kathirrasan said.

At the same time, the team is working on introducing life
event content and services into MyGov portal. That is work in progress. The first
area is formal education. For that MAMPU is working with the Ministry of Higher
Education (MOHE) and the Ministry of Education (MOE).  MAMPU working together with these agencies is
coming up with a prototype now.

But what do life event services look like in practice?

At the moment, the Malaysian national government offers
around 11,000 online services. They have been migrated from MOSP to MyGov
portal.

Mr. Kathirrasan said, “Those online services that I am
talking about were developed and made available for use by our clients, the
public­­­­, is not based on the life-event concept. It was more like this
particular online service is for this, and if you want to do this, go here. So,
the language that we are using is different”.

Telling a story

To understand the difference, we can look at the example of
finishing higher education, which MAMPU is working on at the moment.  Secondary education ends with what is called
Form 5. After finishing Form 5, students have to make a decision, choosing
among multiple options. They could go on to do Form 6, or their A-levels or
enrol for a diploma programme or undergo some vocational training or even enter
into business. That is a major life-changing event for that particular student.

MyGov portal through the GOSG project is going to talk to
the public in that language. It will tell that story, guiding the student
through the different avenues open to him/ her. While they are browsing this
content, they can decide what they want to do.

For example, if the student decides to pursue a diploma
programme, then he or she will be taken into the details of diploma programmes.
It will also allow that student to directly ‘transact’. The student will be
able to apply for a diploma programme of his or her choice in any of the public
institutions of higher learning.

“If I compare that with what we have now, it doesn’t tell this
story. After I finish Form 5, I have to look for an application that will
enable me to apply for a diploma programme, which the student may or may not
know where to find. We are revamping this whole thing, so that we would be able
to better reach out to the public,” Mr. Kathirrasan said.

End-users involved
through the whole development and delivery process

We asked how MAMPU is obtaining user feedback in the
process.

Mr. Kathirrasan replied, “In this new way of doing things,
we will be engaging the actual end-users. Currently we are working on students
finishing formal education and intending to continue with Form 6. We are going
to get the actual form 6 students to come on board and participate in the whole
development of this service. Not only that, we will also be engaging the
teachers, lecturers, and parents”.

A team has been set up, comprised of Subject Matter Experts
on Citizen Centric Design, IT vendor, MAMPU (both the IT people and the
business people). People from the Ministry of Higher Education have also been
brought on-board. And if there is a need, people from the Ministry of Education
will also join. This team will work on identifying the ‘pain points’ in the
current delivery of the service.

Once the pain points have been identified, they will be
presented to the end-users who are members of the public, selected on a random
basis for validation. So, the end-users will actually be engaged in the identification
and validation of the pain points. They would be able to tell how they would
like the services to be rendered.

After that, an alpha version will be developed. Again, the
end-users will be called to have a look at it and provide their inputs. The
next step is the beta version, followed by production. Throughout this whole
cycle of development and delivery, the actual end-users or citizens are
involved. In other words, it’s citizen centric i.e. real time engagement of the
citizen. It’s about innovative solutions with shorter time to market at reduced
risks. As opposed to the previous way of doing things where the government
agencies decided what is relevant for the public and made it available to them.

One big expected advantage of this approach is increased
take-up of the digital services. By taking the previous approach, the take up
of these services is not very high.

“But with this approach where the citizens are involved you
find that they are part and parcel of this whole delivery of services, we are
confident that the take-up rate will be high. Since this is students
themselves, the parents and the teachers, the lecturers, these people
themselves will be able to speak to their own circle of friends, their own networks
and automatically the whole thing will start to sell on its own,” said Mr.
Kathirrasan.  

Overlaps among
clusters

MAMPU is tackling the MyGov portal implementation in a cluster
by cluster
fashion. Four clusters have been identified: education,
business, welfare and health.

But Mr. Kathirrasan explained that something interesting
happened when they started with formal education. 

Once all the options post
Form 5 are explored in-depth, it starts overlapping with other clusters. For
instance, if a person wants to go into business, it becomes connected to the
business clusters and opens up a whole new world. If the person wants to go for
higher education, but is from an economically disadvantaged family, it gets
connected to welfare.

Mr. Kathirrasan said, “Right now our focus is on finishing formal
education, but our expectation is to at least touch these 4 clusters. I would
think that as we go deeper and deeper into finishing formal education, it will
start to touch the others.”

Working with
multiple agencies

All of the 11,000 online services mentioned earlier are
based on certain technologies and platforms. With integration through the MyGov
portal, changes would have to be made. The amount of tweaking or changes
required would depend on input from all the stakeholders in the ecosystem.

Mr. Kathirrasan said that this is one area of concern, “If
there are a lot of changes, then it will take some time for us to fix that. If
there is going to be an overhaul on the actual service that is being rendered
now, then we might need extra budget. That is one aspect. Timeline is another. We
have also got to look into the commitment from the agencies to embark on this
transformation journey.”

That’s why MAMPU has started reaching out to all of the
other government agencies and organisations, to make them aware of this pending
change, helping them to prepare for the transformation. This engagement has
started with the highest levels of the organisations, the Secretary Generals of
ministries, the Director-Generals of departments, and Head of agencies.

The MyGov portal can be truly transformative for the way the
Malaysian government interacts with its citizens. But to get there, all
stakeholders will have to come on-board.