During its annual industry briefing, the Singapore government projected that $1.63 billion worth of ICT tenders will be launched in 2015, focusing on digital services, data services and ICT infrastructure. “There are many ways in which the Singapore government can lead the world in terms of innovation,” said Jacqueline Poh, managing director of the IDA.
One example: the OneService mobile app, introduced to provide a convenient way for the public to provide feedback on municipal issues. Bringing together seven government agencies on one common platform, citizens can snap photos and send feedback on any municipal issue, and the app will automatically route each feedback to the relevant agency. A geo-tagging function will also help agencies to identify the exact location and resolve issues more quickly.
Cybersecurity is another critical area of focus as Singapore develops its digital government. “Cybersecurity, privacy and data protection are huge issues we are dealing with not only in Singapore, but around the world,” said Poh.
Singpass, a personal identification system which allows citizens to access hundreds of public e-services, will be enhanced with stronger security capabilities, such as two-factor authentication for e-transactions. For the corporate sector, a new authentication system known as Corpass will be rolled out next year, segregating personal and corporate login IDs. It allows companies to manage employee access to government e-services, providing greater data protection, convenience and control in transactions with public agencies.
“Corppass is a quantum improvement in terms of security and convenience for companies,” said Poh. “They no longer have to rely on that individual employee who may well leave them one day and still be able to access and transact on behalf of the company they left.”
To build up the government’s agile software expertise, the IDA will be launching a new Software Design and Development Centre of Excellence this year. The research and testing lab will provide facilities for user research, user experience testing and consultancy services to government agencies.
The establishment of the center signals a change in the way ICT projects will be procured by the government. Instead of outsourcing entire projects to vendors, IDA is looking to build its own internal capabilities and co-source projects with the industry.
“We do not believe that it is feasible to have an extensively outsourced approach to government procurement in IT,” said Poh. “There is a need to build a certain amount of internal capabilities within the government, to do some of the architecting, software engineering and data analytics work. It is because a digital government needs to be nimble, it needs to be citizen-centric, it needs to be able to change things quickly.”