Over the last two years, digital transformation has become critical for survival. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology, making it necessary for the workforce to adapt to new tech.

With Malaysians increasingly accustomed to seamless online experiences, they also expect to access government services in a fuss-free way. Reimagining how citizen services are delivered is now a priority.

The Malaysian government recognises this importance – the 12th Malaysia Plan and the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDigital) highlight a digital drive towards improving service quality. In fact, our research shows that more than 80 per cent of citizens are open to allowing the government to share their data across agencies for better and more convenient services.

Empowering public service agencies to provide a truly connected and citizen-led experiences is key to elevating standards in today’s digital climate. A fully digitalised government with data and analytics at its core confers the agility to respond to the shifting needs, mindsets, and behaviors of citizens in the new normal.

This data-driven future is not a pipe-dream – we believe there are four concrete areas that will benefit both the public services agencies and the rakyat.

A shared data ecosystem

Accessibility to holistic citizen data is a cornerstone of a shared data ecosystem. But this needs to be complemented with a culture that embraces data sharing across agencies in a secure manner. Malaysia is already in full swing, expanding services in the Malaysian Government Data Exchange (MyGDX) to increase end-to-end government services to 80 per cent by 2025.

What this means is that public service agencies will be able to carry out their duties in an integrated manner. Having an open data environment connects every node within the government to offer a smooth customer journey - where relevant data from multiple agencies are one a single page for seamless application to approval.

And as data gets more integrated, a network effect will bring even greater gains. In the United States, Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services and Arizona’s Department of Public Safety used Accenture’s Reach platform to connect departments across multiple agencies and improve workflow processing efficiency. Citizens can now request for records, apply for benefits and even submit documents which draw accurate data from a central user profile from a single platform.

This interconnected ecosystem of services would be a game-changer that will reimagine how our citizens live and work in Malaysia. For example, pensioners or persons with disabilities will not have to constantly verify their eligibility for specific benefits as readily available shared data can ensure an intuitive and pleasant online experience for them.

But the shift to an open data policy must be supported by a robust governance framework that incorporates internationally recognised legal guidelines. Not only will this safeguard sensitive data and provide clarity on regulatory compliance, these regulations establish trust between the rakyat and the government.

Data-BACKED Policies for quick decision-making

With data and analytics easily accessible, developing evidence-based policies will be second nature for public service agencies. They can make informed and, more importantly, transparent decisions with a “rakyat first” mindset through a plethora of comprehensive insights.

Governments in other parts of the world have encountered success in leveraging data and analytics to address poverty.  

One agency is the Office of Child Support (OCS) in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which worked with Accenture to use predictive analytics to ensure children receive the necessary financial support. The pilot identified how regional, demographic, racial and socio-economic differences contributed to delays. Beyond that, the analytics-driven insights revealed opportunities to redesign how OCS interacts with various members within the child support ecosystem.

Through real-time data and analytics, governments can rapidly roll out policies as they shift from crisis management to prevention. In Malaysia, such a system can make the subsidy distribution more accurate, where the B40 (bottom 40% income group) receives more relevant or targeted subsidies as compared to the T20 (top 20% income group).

Scaling with cloud

Housing all this data in a secure location is crucial. Cloud utilisation provides a means to address this problem. In fact, the MyDigital Economy Blueprint outlined the Digital-First programme, which aims to increase federal and state-level use of cloud services with centralised data storage.

Cloud enables public service agencies to scale their services and solutions for citizens while ensuring that the public data is protected. Migrating to the cloud also gives public sector employees a twin boost: better workplace satisfaction as repetitive tasks can be automated and providing more opportunities to give a human touch to the citizens they serve.

We found that 82 per cent of public service leaders agree that cloud-based tools have made technology approachable, by giving employees human-centric experiences and aggregating across different applications. In line with that, Malaysia’s goal is to have 80 per cent of cloud storage across the government in 2022.

But cloud is more than just a place to store data. For instance, Accenture’s cloud-powered Intelligent Public Safety Platform (IPSP) helps to prevent crime and optimise the use of resources. It harnesses the cloud to turn data from a potential risk into a strategic asset, evolving with people’s needs and technology to allow law enforcement to keep pace with future challenges.

These solutions equip public services with more capabilities to provide new experiences in the line of duty.

Empowering employees

But for the public service to fully transform, its people must continually upgrade themselves to prepare for changing roles. While our research from around the world showed that 86 per cent of public service agencies are reskilling employees as part of their transformation journey, new skills are always on the horizon.

Data and analytics could well play an important part for Malaysia in this aspect. Through an integrated platform, public service agencies can use data to identify reskilling opportunities and anticipate future skills needs based on current demands. This ensures that civil servants will be equipped with the right skills and knowledge to serve the rakyat better.

And with greater insights, public service agencies can use them to reward top performers as motivation to deliver consistent high standards for the people.

Be it everyday decisions or evidence-based strategic planning, data and analytics solutions can help the Malaysian government to work smarter and faster. As public service remains central to the government’s mandate, we can expect the integration of data and analytics to yield key benefits for a seamless citizen experience within the public sector.

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Disclaimer : This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our professional advisors.

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Veleswaran Nallaiah

Managing Director – Applied Intelligence, Southeast Asia

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