Organisations across different sectors are rapidly transitioning to cloud platforms as a business-critical strategy. Cloud is, without doubt, the linchpin to digital transformation. Not merely a cost-saving mechanism, it is critical to deployment of innovative and disruptive applications such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics and automation.
Benefits of Cloud
The public sector, always needing to be current and future-ready, moves to cloud infrastructure because it resolves age-old challenges of data storage and alleviates pressing concerns like data management, analytics and security. Moreover, it allows governments to save time and money.
From a citizen point of view, users benefit from the significant reduction in errors, duplication and even oversight.
Above all these, cloud services have the potential to deliver seamless services, thereby raising citizen satisfaction.
The Singapore Government model
As an early adopter and an aspiring leader in digital transformation, the Singapore Government is expected to move most of its IT systems to commercial cloud services over the next five years.
This is part of ongoing efforts to deliver citizen services more efficiently, at the same time, reducing the costs required to deliver them.
One of the government’s key multi-cloud enabled approaches is to utilise data hubs that support seamless integration between cloud services and providers.
Public sectors continuously explore strategies for the betterment of their respective departments and a great way to determine available options is through collaborative learning.
Learning from other agencies and understanding their journey can save a lot of time, energy and resources.
On 17th January 2019, senior executives from a wide range of key public sector agencies in Singapore gathered for an insightful discussion on the innovative and practical ways of leveraging cloud to procure, design and deliver services seamlessly while striking a balance between security, accessibility and usability.
OpenGov Asia’s Breakfast Insight: Making Digital Transformation a Reality – Are you Ready? gave delegates the opportunity to learn, discuss and share challenges associated with cloud migration.
The discussion focused on how they can fully utilise their cloud infrastructure, deriving benefits from its efficiencies and economies of scale.
Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia, set the tone of the day by speaking about cloud being the enabler of digital transformation and how cloud-based infrastructure is key to delivering flexible, agile, and on-demand access to the services.
Mohit reminded the delegates that digital transformation is not a buzzword but a key word. Cloud deployment is critical and instrumental in accelerating these digital efforts.
He stressed the importance of data classification and the criticality of having educated teams equipped with the required skill sets to guarantee success.
Matthias Zastrow, Senior Director Software Sales & VMware APJ, Dell EMC, created the context for discussion by sharing his European experience. He shed light on some of the challenges faced by the German government in its infrastructural projects.
Consolidation of data centres, according to him, does not equate to modernisation as it is more akin to housekeeping. Governments need to set a different and bold course to innovation and modernisation.
He complimented the Singapore government for its efficient procedures, using his efficient and seamless experience of obtaining an employment pass as a positive example.
Taking the discussion forward was Cheong Yen Niap, Go to Market Lead – Cloud Services, Singtel, who spoke about cloud being the platform and the fundamental enabler of beneficial citizen services.
Emphasis was given on collaboration and partnerships in ensuring the success and agility of these projects.
Yen urged agencies to explore how they access, secure, manage, integrate and govern across hybrid environments.
International expert speaker, Bas Wilson, Chief Technology Officer from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australia, shared an inside preview of the Australian government’s monumental journey of building digital platforms, utilising cloud infrastructure, challenges they encountered and the road ahead via a teleconference.
The key take-away for the Australia journey was that there is no getting it right the first time.
Australia, according to him, is concerned with classification and jurisdiction. The offering in the country is not as rich and the cultural challenges are more real.
Successful implementation meant getting agencies and security officers to understand it as a risk analysis.
An agency in Australia, for instance, had their database compromised. Later on, they discovered that the compromised data was actually published data.
This reinforces the need to consider data classification, access and jurisdiction beforehand.
Government agencies are reluctant to risk, especially with the added dimensions of culture and skill sets playing a major part.
However, Bas opined that on-premises are no longer an option, stressing that the move to cloud is a must.
Large legacy migrations entail a lift and shift scenario wherein the need to scale the migration is quick and requires a cloud-based SAAS approach.
The rise of DevOps is a major factor driving the move to a cloud-first approach.
Bas concluded by noting that there were a lot to learn from the Singapore government agencies and their approach toward a smart nation transformation.
Delegates of the OpenGov Breakfast Insight: Making Digital Transformation a Reality – Are you Ready? left the session with a far more comprehensive and pragmatic understanding of cloud migration.
They learned that ambitious plans have the potential to succeed only with supporting talent, right partnerships, and the continuous upgrading of skills and required technical tools.
The genuine sharing of real journeys, robust discussions and insightful interactions provided not only food for thought but a better idea for a way forward.