Hanissull Jalis bt Md Yusof, Deputy Director, Application Development Division, MAMPU, Malaysia

By Yun Xuan Poon

Women in GovTech Special Report 2019.

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

The Malaysian Public Sector Open Source Software (OSS) Blueprint was launched on July 16 2004 to promote the use of open source software in public sector agencies. The Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) in the Prime Minister’s Department is responsible for leading the implementation of the OSS in the Public Sector.

There are three phases under the Public Sector OSS Master Plan. Phase 1 from 2004-2006 was when we provided the basics: pilot projects, infrastructure, governance and environments. Phase 2 from 2007-2010 was when we led accelerated adoption – meaning multiple enhancements in agencies implementing OSS. Phase 3 from 2011-2020 is helping agencies achieve self reliance, where they are more independent to develop and implement OSS.

In July 2017, our Open Source Development and Capabilities Program (OSDeC), a continuation of the Public Sector Open Source Software Blueprint, was developed under Phase 3. OSDeC will be the hub of open source software system development, focusing on the development of application systems in developing the capabilities of public sector ICT services. Services rendered under OSDeC include coaching, technical trainings, change management, providing open source-based infrastructure and capability development.

As the project manager of this programme, I am responsible in ensuring OSDeC implementation and enhancing open source software implementation in Public Sector agencies so they become more self-reliant. This can reduce the agency’s dependency on vendors.

I also hope to improve the capabilities and expertise of the Civil Sector system developers. Through coaching, developers are trained in a practical way to ensure full development of the system. System developers’ capabilities and skills will be expanded by providing exposure to the latest tools, software, techniques and technologies.

Next, we also want to save the cost of system development and licensing costs. OSDeC provides open source infrastructure such as hardware, software, tools and databases that will be shared by public sector agencies. The cost of licensing can be saved by adopting the software provided by OSDeC.

Finally, we hope to avoid lock-in and dependence on vendors. The developed system will be the property of the agency and the government. Therefore, any improvements and system upgrades can be made at any time when necessary, at no cost. The expansion of the system to public sector agencies can also be done quickly with minimal cost.

What has been the most exciting that you worked in 2019?

The coaching services in the OSDeC programme aim to guide and instruct public sector ICT officers in improving their capability, knowledge and potential in application and software development.

Moreover, coaching services are not limited to the development of application systems only. They can also be implemented for infrastructure maintenance services, system improvements and other requirements related to open source.

From 2017 until November 2019, OSDeC has successfully implemented 1,330 coaching man days involving 22 government agencies with 294 participants in developing 40 new applications. Through this hands-on coaching, the participants were able to increase their knowledge and skills by 74%. As a result, the OSDeC programme has proven success in enhancing officers’ ability to become more self-reliant.

What is the best thing you have experienced in your career?

One of the most notable achievements in my career was receiving the Prime Minister’s Department Special Excellent Service Award in April 2018. This award was an initiative by the department to display recognition to the top performing officers for the year 2017.

If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2019, what would it be?

To have passion in whatever that we do and not be disheartened by challenges and criticism.

What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2020?

Implementing DevOps culture in public sector application development. In moving faster and being more agile in application development without sacrificing security or reliability, DevOps methodology needs to be adopted.

DevOps will help the development, operations and other groups within the organisation to collaborate around a set of shared goals, and to deliver software faster and more reliably to customers and end users. Key technical practices that underpin a DevOps initiative include getting dev and ops teams to standardise on a common set of agile processes and tools for software delivery.

DevOps is a cultural perspective on how everyone should be engaged in working the right way.

What are your priorities in 2020?

OSDeC has three main objectives; to develop public sector ICT services capabilities, to provide centralised open source system development and information sharing with public sector agencies; and to promote and provide technology exposure in open source products.

Therefore, in 2020, the priorities are to achieve the objectives and complete the OSDeC project as the project will end its 40-month implementation in November 2020.

What is one challenge you would like to take on in 2020?

Producing qualified and capable coaches from Public Sector ICT officers in guiding the application development.

What has been your fondest memory from the past year?

My fondest memory is meeting with friends and reminiscing on the experiences faced together.