While many industries and regions across the globe battle to make sense of the Rubik’s Cube that is digital, others are making significant headway on their transformation journeys. Singapore, for one, is fast becoming a digital success story as the city-state rallies its private and public sectors around digital transformation (DX) efforts.

The country’s Minister of State Communications and Technology made the bold announcement recently that his government is preparing to take the lead in digital innovation in Asia and fuel the burgeoning transformations that are occurring across the country.

In an earlier article we covered the impressive progress India has made along its transformation journey, which demonstrated the importance of government support for and involvement in DX initiatives. It certainly appears that the rulers of the Southeast Asian island share an understanding of their role in pushing their country forward in the race for digital dominance.

Smart Nation: Singapore’s Vision for a Digital Democracy

Singapore’s Smart Nation Initiative is an ambitious project that aims to include the public in bringing about improved service delivery to its 6 million inhabitants. The project leverages data collected from millions of smart sensors and devices across Singapore’s 60-plus islands for analysis and insights on how to improve a wide range of civil services.

And the results have been impressive. Singaporeans now enjoy access to personalised health records, are able to declare and pay tax on imported goods, build online communities of first responders to medical emergencies, report crime and municipal issues directly to relevant authorities in minutes and even pay for city parking – right from their mobile devices.

The success of the Smart Nation project is hugely thanks to government and business collaboration, along with the involvement of Singapore’s digitally apt population. Shared initiatives between the two sectors have resulted in digital infrastructure projects getting off the ground faster and delivery of high value services to the end users.

This democratised effort has resulted in more efficient delivery of new services thanks to continued analysis from swathes of public data it collects as people interact with new touch points and provide feedback on their digital experiences.

“To be a truly Smart Nation, the government and GovTech cannot do it all alone. We will need all hands on deck, i.e. our citizens, industry, startups, institutions of higher learning etc.”

- GovTech

Partnerships Forged Through Digital

One of the key reasons Singapore is winning at digital is the fact the country is successfully including all chief players involved in getting it right. From large enterprises to the smallest retailers, companies are leveraging the power of Social Mobile Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) technologies to evolve existing business models and do away with archaic systems and processes.

You only need to visit one of  Pulau Ujong’s many famous Bak Kut Teh (Pork Bone Soup) establishments to see the effects of Singapore’s digital transformation on the ground. In collaboration with tech companies and government agencies such as GovTech, food retailers are learning to capitalise on digitised front and back of house systems to improve a range of business functions.

From stock control, to staff management, all the way to digitised menus in the form of iPads, ordering a good meal has become a seamless experience for both front of house staff and patrons. Further, retailers are embracing the move towards digital as the results of initial projects start to demonstrate business value. National surveys show that many retailers are seeing their overheads reduced and processes simplified thanks to transformation efforts and are willing to engage in further DX partnerships.

One such partnership is the collaboration between TIBCO Software and Nanyang Polytechnic to foster talent within the data analytics sphere. The software giant offers workshops, training and a range of classes to students and small business owners to support students and also empower business owners to use data more smartly.

TIBCO’s Regional VP, Nicolas Betbeder-Matibet, sees his company’s role in Singapore’s DX journey this way, “Digital transformation is no longer an option; it’s a necessity. It is vital for our workforce to be in tune with the rapidly evolving skill sets required for businesses. As a leader fueling digital businesses, it is important to help train and empower a new generation in the data analytics space,”

Taking the Lead Among Tough Competition

Unsurprisingly, Singapore’s collective drive towards DX has earned it pole position in many global transformation indexes. This in itself is no mean feat when considering that it faces stiff competition from the likes of Hong Kong, South Korea, China and Japan – countries that aren’t exactly laggards when it comes to innovation.

Yet, while it still lags behind countries like Japan and South Korea in the human capital category, this is set to change given the country’s continued investment in its people. The government’s announcement that it will commit nearly US$2 billion over four years towards DX initiatives is a testament to the country’s awareness and willingness to become a serious player in this new space.

“…it [Singapore] scores highly thanks to a supportive and coordinated set of government policies in support of infrastructure development, business use of technology and entrepreneurship more generally. Singapore also compares favourably with other Index countries in the nurturing of technology talent and in industry connectivity—firms’ innovation interaction with digital partners, networks and communities.””

- The Economist

Finance Minister, Heng Swee Keat, said the following during his 2017 budget speech, “Technology is reshaping businesses, jobs, and lifestyles across the world. We must spot the opportunities in the digital economy, and make the most of our strengths as a nimble, well-educated, tech-savvy society,” With such readiness to embrace the digital world with all its challenges and opportunities, it appears that the city-state is poised to lead the way as it continues to take bold moves towards meaningful transformation.

Define Your Picture of Potential

WWC’s offering as a Digital Transformation Advisory include facilitated processes to help you as a business in defining your purpose and setting your vision for digital transformation, a process that we like to call, defining your POP (Picture of Potential).

Joanne uses her wealth of customer experience and passion for service excellence to guide our clients towards truly transformative business solutions. Her understanding of what it takes to deliver tangible value to our clients, and theirs, gives Joanne a merited guru-like status amongst her peers and the clients she works with.

Joanne uses her wealth of customer experience and passion for service excellence to guide our clients towards truly transformative business solutions. Her understanding of what it takes to deliver tangible value to our clients, and theirs, gives Joanne a merited guru-like status amongst her peers and the clients she works with.

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