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

Singapore has been a pioneer in applying technology to improve the quality of lives for citizens and businesses. We implemented TradeNet® in January 1989, the world’s first National Single Window to process whole-of-government trade regulatory requirements. This enables businesses to apply for trade permits in one submission and obtain approval from all agencies involved within minutes.

Till date, TradeNet is still one of the most efficient nation-wide trade documentation systems in the world, contributing greatly to Singapore’s reputation as a competitive trade hub. In 2007, we implemented TradeXchange® to help businesses exchange their trade documentation across the value chain. This has helped businesses achieve greater efficiency.

My role as a CIO from GovTech seconded to Singapore Customs enables me to collaborate with many stakeholders from public and private entities, to mold and deliver such critical systems to keep Singapore ahead of the competition. This is simply awesome!

What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2016?

We are in the midst of developing our next generation National Trade Platform (NTP), that will eventually replace the current TradeNet® and TradeXchange®. The journey is exciting as we collaborate extensively with the industry to better understand their challenges and co-design a solution that works for businesses.

To encourage the continuous flow of innovation, NTP will be designed as an open platform to enable developers and ICT solution providers to build new applications and offer their solutions on NTP to help businesses.

What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2017?

NTP will be leveraging various proven technology products to improve resiliency and connectivity. Examples of these are the use of APIs (application programming interfaces) to help businesses and ICT solution providers to plug into NTP easily and securely; PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) for developers, and analytics tools to help businesses draw deeper insights from their data.

If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2016, what would it be?

We need to continue to transform ourselves to stay relevant, and not just to stay abreast of the technology development and industry landscape, but the way we deliver our digital services as well. Hence, in NTP and in other developing systems we have, we adopt user experience design and an agile development approach.