How government agencies can make full use of the cloud

By Salesforce

Ng Seng Ping, Regional Vice President, ASEAN Public Sector, Salesforce, shares how government agencies can take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the cloud.

In the 1930s, a professor of education designed a keyboard that reduced finger motion, and promised to increase typing speed and comfort over the standard QWERTY keyboard. However, the QWERTY keyboard has persisted as the standard simply because it was introduced 60 years earlier, despite its flaws.

When agencies migrate their systems to the cloud, they risk maintaining outdated systems instead of taking the opportunity to review their processes to better serve citizens, shares Ng Seng Ping, Regional Vice President, ASEAN Public Sector, Salesforce.

Instead, agencies should use this opportunity to re-evaluate their processes and make full use of the cloud. Ng shares how government agencies can benefit from the cloud by adopting pre-built public sector services and securing citizen data by storing data locally.

Cloud public sector services

First, government agencies can adopt pre-built public sector applications hosted on the cloud, shares Ng.

Government agencies should focus on delivering outcomes for citizens, rather than spending time and resources on technical tasks, shares Ng. When agencies spend most of their time patching, upgrading, and maintaining applications, there is very little time left for innovation, he notes.

Rather than just moving existing applications to a cloud infrastructure, agencies can take the opportunity to review whether their applications are delivering the best possible outcomes. Moving to the cloud “removes the need for hardware refreshes but doesn’t address the fundamental issue of outdated software,” Ng explains.

Once on the cloud, government agencies can access pre-built public sector applications, Ng suggests. This way, agencies can benefit not only from the increased computing power of the cloud that lets them scale quickly. They can also adopt flexible applications that are continuously being upgraded, he explains.

Salesforce announced the availability of Hyperforce in Singapore in December 2021, as an offering for government agencies to access Salesforce on public cloud services, running on Amazon Web Services, securely. These include applications that support governments in digitally servicing citizens, such as managing grant applications for businesses and residents.

Government agencies can also build their own purpose-built applications on these platforms. For instance, Transport for New South Wales replaced a range of disconnected systems when it moved to the cloud. Instead, it pooled together all its transport and citizen feedback channels into a feedback system designed on Salesforce.

Transport for New South Wales captures customer feedback and other real-time data, such as journey times, to improve its services. This can help them quickly identify busier areas and provide more bus services, or send engineers to address issues within a particular train service.

Storing data locally

Government agencies can secure data stored on the cloud by keeping data within national borders, highlights Ng.

Government agencies around the world have put in place national data sovereignty measures when adopting the cloud. For example, all public agencies within British Columbia have to ensure that personal information is only stored in and accessed from inside Canada.

This is to protect sensitive government data, since data may be subject to foreign laws if hosted in other countries.
Government agencies “quite reasonably want to know exactly where their citizens' data will be stored,” notes Ng. As such, all software providers “should be able to give a definitive statement as to who can access data under what circumstances and where that access occurs,” he explains.

As Hyperforce allows agencies to access Salesforce solutions on public cloud services, agencies can ensure that sensitive data remains kept in local data centres and within national boundaries.

Hyperforce also includes a host of built-in security features, shares Ng. These include multi-factor authentication and roles-based access to limit who can access sensitive data. Hyperforce also ensures data is encrypted, both at rest and when being shared.

When agencies transfer services to the cloud, this provides an excellent opportunity for them to review their processes. They can adopt public sector solutions or even build their own custom solutions. They may also choose to store data locally to remain compliant with national data sovereignty measures.