Singapore is well known as being among the world’s leading nations when it comes to the use of cloud in the public sector. The country’s journey to cloud is well underway and the government has made commitments of every kind – regulatory, financial and technological – to ensuring that Singapore is truly a cloud-first nation.

Building the Government Commercial Cloud

The government has engaged with the major cloud providers , and invested more than $600 million in creating the Government Commercial Cloud (GCC). This brings the innovation and advanced capabilities of commercial cloud providers directly to government agencies.  But it is also augmented with the advanced security governance and systems that protect citizen data on cloud platforms. One major advantage? Agencies can harness the power of cloud computing as they develop their digital services, without having to start from scratch. The GCC offers a powerful, yet highly accessible and secure platform, from which to develop new applications, solutions and services.

A three-phase journey

We, at Accenture, see the journey to cloud as covering three key phases: migrate, accelerate, and grow and innovate.  Of course, this is not intended to serve as a precise, staged roadmap. Many public service agencies will be undertaking elements of each of these phases in parallel.  For Singapore, much of the ‘heavy lifting’ has already been done. For example, agencies can take advantage of real-time, automated application testing and deployment. That means faster time to market for new, high-quality citizen and business services. 

Now the imperative is to engage the wider ecosystem and onboard all agencies so each of them start to take advantage of cloud capabilities at scale. The benefits of cost, agility and delivery speed that are associated with cloud are of course crucial.  But it’s equally important to focus on what comes next in terms of the positive impacts that cloud-based services can have on citizens.

So despite Singapore’s  relatively advanced status on the journey to cloud, there’s plenty more to do. In particular, there’s a need to start thinking about the cloud in broader terms. It’s much more than just a technology shift. Because cloud enables the move from monolithic architectures to microservices that can deploy functions and services independently of each other, it enables greater scale, agility and reliability. And that offers the potential to change outcomes for citizens in a profound way.

A platform for positive change

What could that look like? There are implications across the whole of society and the public services that support it. The cloud and the innovation that it supports could be at the heart of breaking down barriers and addressing citizens’ needs across health, education, social care and many other areas, with shared data creating a 360-degree view of every citizen. One example? SingPass. This single digital identity can be used to access over 250 digital services from 60 government agencies, from filing tax returns to applying for public housing.  

For example, we could see entirely new ways of working emerge from a cloud-based ecosystem where all agencies are connected together, sharing data and tools to build more agile services around citizens’ and businesses’ needs. It could help senior citizens more easily access digital tools and services that can make their lives easier and more comfortable.  And as the cloud continues to make innovation more accessible and faster, there are few areas where it will not have a profound and positive impact.

Perpetual motion

It’s clear that the journey to cloud is one that all public service agencies must make. Singapore is well positioned to move forward at pace, with the investments, guidelines, security and know-how established to date giving all agencies a clear path forward.  But it’s crucial to bear in mind that the journey does not have a final destination. It’s not an end in itself. Instead, it’s a platform to constantly evolve and deliver positive change for citizens. So when we think about cloud, we should always keep one eye on the horizon – scanning forward for the chances we have to make a real difference to people’s lives.

To read more about the journey to cloud and the challenges and opportunities that it presents to public service organisations, take a look at our latest thinking here.

Mark Tham

Managing Director – Health & Public Service, Client Group Lead, Southeast Asia​

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