Catherine Goh, Deputy Director, Government Business Management Division, GovTech, Singapore
Women in GovTech Special Report 2017.
How do you use technology to improve citizens' lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.
I oversee a Business Operation team in the Government Management Business Division that is responsible for the design and execution of cost recovery models and pricing strategies for Whole-of-Government (WOG) services.
What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2017?
In 2017, I introduced automation and data analytics to billing processes and these have helped to increase overall efficiency for the Whole-of-Government (WOG). For example, we saved about 12 man-days per month in validating and auditing the billing reports. This translated to immediate improvement to billing accuracy and better financial controls. In addition, we are now empowered with new insights to better analyse WOG’s buying behaviours. This has helped us to improve product offerings in future government bulk tenders to better meet changing needs and business requirements.
What technology particularly interests you for 2018?
As I am trained in finance, I am naturally interested in Fintech. This is particularly in line with my ethos to constantly challenge the norms to introduce value into my team’s operations. For example, I am keen to explore peer-to-peer micro financing, and in recent months have been exploring the possible use of Blockchain technology.
Blockchain is an open decentralised database that uses math and cryptography to record every transaction on a public distributed ledger for verification by everyone. Blockchain can potentially increase efficiency by removing middlemen and bureaucracy, provide greater transparency and enhance security.
If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2017, what would it be?
Know who are your stakeholders and collaborate to achieve mutual win-win outcomes.
What was the greatest challenge that you overcame in 2017?
Getting government agencies to adopt the automated payment service. The system triggers a direct deduction from the agency’s designated bank account whenever an invoice is due for payment. Agencies were initially reluctant to move away from the previous process in which we collected payment.
In order to get buy-in from agencies, my team had to listen to and work with them to resolve operational challenges or system issues that they faced. The process of trying to understand our agencies’ concerns has led to greater collaboration and teamwork.
What book did you read in 2017 that most interested or inspired you?
“Life in Motion”, a memoir by a history-making ballerina, Misty Copeland. As an African-American from an underprivileged and complicated family background, she overcame injuries and family issues to fulfil her dream of being a ballerina at the elite American Ballet Theatre. She calls to my mind this quote of Confucius, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”. Misty Copeland has inspired many to dare to dream bigger than they could imagine, and has proven that determination and hard work do pay off.
Who inspired you in 2017, and why?
Singapore is a renowned food paradise and food connects people. Baking and cooking require concentration and give me a break from my work. Personally, I get inspiration from the food or recipes that I come across, and I try to make them at home and share them with my family and friends. Recently, inspired by Goodwood Park Hotel’s famous pastries and cakes made from the ‘Mao Shan Wang’ and ‘D24’ durians, I baked durian puffs!