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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Continuing the Pace of Government Innovation in a Post-Pandemic World

Thuy Nguyen

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The unprecedented disruption the world faced during the past two years forced governments to rewrite the rulebook on how they serve their citizens. During the COVID-19 pandemic, public sector organizations across Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) had to act quickly to find digital solutions to everyday challenges to keep citizens safe and productive. Eric Conrad, Regional Managing Director Worldwide Public Sector at AWS ASEAN, shares his insights on how digitized government agencies became better equipped with cloud technology to offer citizen, educational, and healthcare services, which helped improve and even save lives.

“As we emerge from the crisis, the experience, momentum, and lessons learned have heightened potential for leaders to drive digitization as a priority to deliver their national agendas. Public sector organizations across APJ are pivoting from the pandemic and looking ahead to how digital transformation enabled by cloud can help to seize opportunities to deliver faster, more innovative, and modernized citizen services,” said Eric.

Scaling Digitization for Public Sector Organizations

According to a Gartner survey in 2021, digitally advanced government organizations realize more benefits of modernization, including higher efficiency, cost reductions, greater workforce productivity, compliance, and transparency. Research by Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud Economics shows that AWS customers in ASEAN – across commercial and public sectors – who migrated to AWS are seeing an acceleration in innovation, with an approximate 29% reduction in time-to-market for new features and applications, about 41% increase in employee efficiency, and an improvement of about 37% in operational resiliency through less downtime of services.

In the last year, AWS has signed six government cloud services agreements across APJ to boost digitization, supporting these governments with our network of local partners as they move their customers and themselves to the cloud, including Malaysia, and Thailand in ASEAN. These initiatives help governments save lives, provide critical citizen services, and support learner outcomes – ultimately changing the way society engages, educates, and does business for good. They also enable opportunities for local businesses on the AWS Partner Network to work closely with public sector customers to solve some of the biggest community challenges.

Enabling Security, Resilience, and Continuity through the Cloud

Aside from accelerating the speed and scale of digitization, leveraging the cloud also ensures security, resilience, and continuity. This creates a safe and reliable environment for students to learn, employees to work remotely, and citizens to access government services and healthcare.

In Indonesia, when the Bali Provincial Government launched its Smart Island initiative to transform the Indonesian island into a digital province, the Communication, Information, and Statistics Agency of Bali (Diskominfos) migrated its data to AWS cloud from an on-premises infrastructure. Launching an attendance system using machine learning technology, it enabled 19,820 public service employees to sign in to the office virtually, saving almost 69% in monthly costs for its attendance system. Many of Bali’s other critical applications are also built using AWS solutions, including a traditional village census system, a health facility oxygen monitoring system, and an asset management system.

By digitally transforming on the cloud, the public sector can rapidly scale services to meet spikes in demand, wind-down operations to reduce costs, and innovate widely using the latest cloud technology.

More Digital Skills Needed to Support Digitization

As the digitization momentum accelerates, governments across APJ will also need to prioritize digital skills training for their workforce in order to unlock the cloud’s full potential. The recent “Building Skills for the Changing Workforce” report produced by AWS and AlphaBeta shows that Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea will need to train an estimated 86 million more workers in digital skills collectively over the next year to keep pace with technological advancements – equivalent to 14% of their current total workforce. The report also noted that three of the five most demanded digital skills by 2025 will be cloud-related.

In Thailand, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society is collaborating with AWS to train more than 1,200 public sector employees with cloud skills, so they can implement cloud technologies at scale, make better data-driven business decisions, and innovate new services to drive improved outcomes for citizens. In Indonesia, its Information and Communication Technology Training and Development Center (BPPTIK Kominfo) worked with AWS to get its employees up to speed on cloud knowledge, in support of Indonesia’s goal of creating a pool of about 9 million digital professionals by 2030 as part of its national digital information agenda. And in Malaysia, AWS has worked to provide cloud training for the Malaysian Administration Modernization and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) to help accelerate their cloud use and fulfil mission-critical needs.  This is in addition to the training of over 3.5 million users across Asia Pacific since 2018.

“Looking ahead, we will need to move beyond business as usual to close the skills gap and create conditions for successful digitization. Governments, educators, and industries across APJ will need to collaborate more closely than ever to give all individuals the opportunity to build and deepen their digital skills that will support digitization momentum now and in the future,” insisted Eric.

Closer Collaboration Needed to Unlock the Potential of APJ

As societies and communities across APJ continue to evolve, organizations of all kinds – from governments to industries to non-profits – will need to come together to solve some of the biggest issues we are facing, from helping marginalized communities to addressing climate change.

This is why AWS launched Cloud Innovation Centers (CIC) to serve as a platform for public and private sector organizations to collaborate, solve challenges, and test new ideas with AWS’s technology expertise. In Singapore, AWS is partnering with East Coast Town Council and Accenture on a six-month pilot to deploy cloud-powered sustainability solutions in municipal estate management, to support Singapore’s move towards its net zero carbon emissions goal by 2040.

“We encourage collaborations between governments, industry, and cloud services providers to enable long-term scaling of digital programs. The momentum has been established, so let’s continue to ride the wave and work together to keep digitization at the forefront of the region’s push for progress as we pivot from pandemic to prosperity,” concluded Eric Conrad.

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