How do you use technology/policy to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.

I work as a Senior Data Analyst at Jabar Digital Service, a digital task force formed by the West Java Governor to help foster technology and data-driven policymaking processes. As a data analyst, I analyse and visualise data to support accurate decision-making that will impact a lot of people. Since joining this organisation, I am working to pursue the same vision: data transparency for better policies.

Among my priorities is bureaucracy transformation, where I use the top-down approach to explore what the government needs that might be answered through data. The challenge is that the government is unaware of their role as data producers. I solved this by providing analysis prototypes from their data; as a result, they are encouraged to collect more data.

I am happy to see that West Java’s governance is now more effective with my support. The first dashboard we developed was the Regional Budget Monitoring Dashboard to help with budget optimisation. This dashboard also got a nod in 2019 from the Home Affairs Ministry.

In managing West Java’s Covid-19 data, I utilise various tools such as Business Intelligence tool Tableau and the R programming language to build dozens of dashboards and generate hundreds of graphs to maximise West Java’s Covid-19 data management and provision. My team’s data analysis is then published in our one-stop pandemic response application, Pikobar, as daily case statistics, case spread map, and trends. I can say with confidence that West Java is among the country’s provinces with the best and most effective data management.

What was the most impactful project you worked on this year?

This year hit the world hard in every sector, including in governance. The Covid-19 pandemic had forced the government to quickly respond to this global outbreak. Ensuring accuracy and swiftness in data management is in my opinion mine and Jabar Digital Service’s biggest achievement this year.

Early in March, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil established the West Java Covid-19 Information and Coordination Center (Pikobar) as the province’s one-stop Covid-19 response platform. The case spread map that the governor posted on his Instagram account was my first pandemic-related product. That map was the origin of Pikobar’s daily case dashboard that made West Java one of the country’s pioneering provinces that provide Covid-19 citizen’s dashboard. Pikobar has now become the West Java public’s primary resource in monitoring the province’s pandemic response development. By the first two weeks since launched, it has been visited 8 million times. During the same timespan, people’s mobility was down by 60 per cent, predictably due to rigorous data-backed social distancing campaigns.

My involvement in Pikobar was a turning point for our heightened Covid-19 related response data analysis. We analysed citizens’ mobility to support the province’s social restriction policy. The policy, which was imposed in May 2020, was supported by our analysis of the previous, smaller scale restrictions in West Java’s pandemic epicentrums. This analysis was especially challenging due to lack of available data, complex structures, and short span of time. There were certainly sleepless nights, but that analysis generated recommendations that helped the governor make more accurate and relevant social restriction policy.

What is one unexpected learning from 2020?

I spent 24/7 helping the government to tackle the pandemic in my own way: I collected and analysed data to generate—maybe not the best—but the most suitable policy recommendation related to pandemic response.

I believe my personal and professional development have skyrocketed amid more tasks and a fast working pace. In the time of pandemic, learning how to find quick solutions in a short span of time wasn’t only encouraged: it was demanded. Work, emotion, and health management were the new skills I gained in this stressful 2020.

As a wife and a mother, I feel that this mission to “save the world” seems to demand a lot of sacrifice from my family: less time together, messy home, and take-out orders. I am lucky to have my “superhero” family; they are willing to cover my burdens and support my “mission”. The world owes their big hearts.

What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2021?

I am excited to keep supporting the government to fulfill their responsibility of ensuring public transparency. It might be true that the government has snail-paced progress in their digital transformation these past three, four years; but they can be pushed to do better. After all, it is better late than never.

As an agent of change in the data field, I will keep pursuing the mission of promoting data-driven decision making processes in any environment I am working in now or in the future; more importantly in the public sector which, however challenging, brings more collective impact.

What are your priorities for 2021?

I wish to find the most suitable work-life balance “system” for me. In 2020, it was certainly difficult to find the “equilibrium” of personal, social, and work life. Next year, I hope I am able to harmonise them better.

What advice would you give to women looking to start a career in GovTech?

Find and value your life mission, so that no matter how bumpy the road you are taking, you will always remember your purpose: to be helpful to others. A woman is a source of life; that is why we were created wholesome. We are here for the sustenance of our children, our family, our friends, the community, and most importantly ourselves.

Write a message for your future self.

Be grateful for what you have gone through. Being the best version of yourself in this world does not mean being perfect. Be the best for yourself; that alone will make you wholesome. Thank you for always coming through and becoming better.