The challenge for governments today is to keep up with the fast-paced, rapidly changing world”, stated James Kang, the Assistant Chief Executive of the Government Chief Information Office, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. “New innovations and swiftly advancing technology are creating an exciting but complex world. Citizens’ expectations are increasingly sophisticated, and public sector organisations must rise to the challenge of meeting them.”
Delivering the opening keynote address at FutureGov Forum Singapore 2013, Kang emphasised the need for collaboration to match the expectations and needs of citizens today. “We need collaboration both within government – amongst agencies and organisations – and between the government and citizens”, he said. “Government does not have the monopoly on good ideas.”
The tenth annual forum today brought together more than 100 senior civil servants from the Singapore government and thought leaders from around the region to discuss key issues surrounding the public sector, such as increasing citizen engagement and collaboration and adapting to new technology drivers such as mobility and cloud technology.
Kang discussed the three key thrusts of Singapore’s e-Government Masterplan 2011-2015 – co-creation, connecting with citizens, and catalysing from within. He mentioned the development of applications and services using open government data as an example of co-creation, and stated that to effectively engage citizens and encourage interaction, governments need to create social communities and act on the feedback received.
Vivek Puthucode, Industry Principal, Public Sector, SAP, discussed three rising technology trends he believes will impact government transformation – increasing adoption of cloud computing, availability of real-time data through in-memory computing, and the growth of mobile technology. Teresa Carlson, VP, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services, elaborated on cloud services. “The beauty of cloud computing is that you can use it in multiple ways”, she said. “For example, you can use cloud with on-premise data centres or as a stand-alone service”.
Delegates at FutureGov Forum Singapore also participated in interactive roundtable discussions on key topics such as cloud computing, big data, mobile technology and shared services. The discussion on cloud computing brought up several concerns, such as data sovereignty, cybersecurity, citizen privacy, and security during data transmissions.
Rosio Alvarez, CIO, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Department of Energy, United States, explained that to help different departments considering cloud, the government certified cloud vendors that met a set of basic standards. Different departments can add their own requirements to this list, but no longer have to assess the basic viability of a cloud service.
Participants also debated the pros and cons of programmes such as shared services, citizen engagement initiatives, mobile government, and information security.