Irene Tay-Leow, Assistant Director, Public Service Division, Singapore
Women in GovTech Special Report 2016.
How do you use technology to improve citizens' lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.
As an Assistant Director of the Information Technology Cluster in the Public Service Division, I work closely with many colleagues from PS 21 Office, Strategic Planning & Research, Public Service Commission on various public service wide projects. I provide leadership in project management, ensuring these projects are rolled out on time.
I work with the clusters within the Public Service Division to strategise on workplans and roadmaps using technology as enablers, and often initiate new technology research. I often share ideas of process improvements with the Organisational Development and Change Management teams too. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with Facebook on our recent Workplace project and be part of the team that engaged government agencies to help them come onboard.
What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2016?
This has to be rolling out the One Public Service Workplace, getting the Singapore Government to be the first civil service in the world to adopt Facebook Workplace. The new platform is not only accessible via browsers and mobile application, it also features a work version of messenger - Work Chat - to facilitate service-wide communication and collaboration between public servants. It allows co-workers to message each other individually, participate in group chats, share photos and videos, make voice calls, video calls and even use stickers! We expect to have all 143,000 public service officers on One Public Service Workplace by March 2017.
What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2017?
There are more discussions on cognitive analytics now and it will be interesting to see how cognitive technology evolves. Cognitive analytics is used to describe how organisations apply analytics and cognitive computing technologies to help humans make smarter decisions. I think it will be very interesting to use it to tap unstructured information for useful insights. This could help improve service consistency and quality, allow faster decision-making, and also enhance knowledge sharing by automating access to highly relevant answers.
If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2016, what would it be?
Never give up no matter how hard the situation is, and always believe there will be light at the end of the tunnel. It was not an easy task to bring One Public Service Workplace to fruition but I am beginning to see the light now.
Who is your hero and why?
Definitely my ex-Cluster Director, Mr Sivakumaran Sathappan. Whenever roadblocks appeared, he would hustle through the challenges and difficulties alongside the team.
And finally, if you could recommend us one place to eat, where would it be?
I would recommend Tendon Ginza Itsuki - located next to Orchid Hotel at Tanjong Pagar - which serves one of the best Japanese tendon in Singapore. They only serve two types of tendon in their restaurant – Special Tendon and Vegetable Tendon at very affordable prices. Both come with sides of chawanmushi and miso soup.