How do you use technology to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.
I lead the Government Infrastructure Group of GovTech which oversees whole-of-government ICT infrastructure that provides systems and services to public service officers across all government agencies, as well as central hosting environments to support agencies in delivering services internally as well as to the public.
Infrastructure is not often seen or heard. People tend to take for granted that infrastructure always works, but if there is insufficient attention and investment in keeping infrastructure up to date, incidents can cause great inconvenience for officers and affect the delivery of government services.
As a member of the GovTech senior management team, I take an interest in ensuring that the organisation continues to evolve and is positioned to meet the longer-term needs of the Government. In this respect, we have in recent years emphasised building up engineering capabilities within the organisation and made some progress.
Today in the area of infrastructure, my team undertakes the design and architecting of these central infrastructure systems and services so that expertise remains in-house. We are actively involved in the development and operation of this infrastructure to ensure that new features are incorporated in line with the technological trends. We still need continue to institutionalise the expertise and build up the necessary capacity to meet the growing demand for such deep skills, be it within GovTech or across the entire government.
What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2016?
One of the initiatives that our group embarked on in 2016 is a project to transform and modernise the application hosting environments. This initiative will enable us to leverage on new technologies and meet the diverse needs of agencies from traditional hosting to virtualised solutions using the latest cloud technologies. The past few years of capability development provided a good foundation for us to tap on a broad range of internal expertise from infrastructure, security, application development, operations, financial and governance to embark on and succeed in this project.
What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2017?
At GovTech, machine learning, natural language question answering and artificial intelligence are new technologies that excite us. There are many useful scenarios where these technologies can be applied to enhance the user experience and enable us to deliver more with less.
On a personal note, I look forward to the mass availability of electric cars and autonomous vehicles. It would be so much easier to get home after a long day in the office!
And finally, if you could recommend us one place to eat, where would it be?
I enjoy the Teochew Porridge at Goodwood Park Hotel, which serves one of the best braised pork. It also has a nice dessert buffet spread to round off the meal. But good food is incomplete without good company. A nice leisurely weekend meal with my family or a catch-up with friends makes the meal a lot more satisfying and meaningful.