Yu Ling Mah, Director, Procurement, GovTech, Singapore

By Medha Basu

Women in GovTech 2018 Special Report.

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

I am responsible for leading the transformation for ICT procurement approach and processes for the whole of government, where adaptive procurement processes are used to balance agility, cost and risk when government agencies procure and implement ICT solutions and services to accelerate the implementation of digital initiatives that will benefit citizens, with steps of competency in commercial skills for government to be a smart buyer.

What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2018?

My team and I are working on how to better streamline government procurement to better facilitate government agencies’ digitalisation initiatives.

What are your priorities for 2019?

My key focus for 2019 is to support the agility required for technology procurement to support public sector digital transformation, adaptive sourcing and procurement approach, enabled by competency development of commercial skills in GovTechies to partner with the industry to find cost effective solutions.

What is one skill that has helped you the most throughout the course of your career?

Be passionate about what you do. It has helped to push my limits and find capabilities within that I was not aware of before. It has fuelled me to weather through difficult situations, challenging projects and failures throughout my career. It helps especially as my areas of responsibilities evolve constantly, where I need to leave my comfort zone as I embark on a new journey with each new opportunity of change.

What advancements do you predict will happen in your field in the next ten years?

AI will be a disruptive impact on procurement technology. The new wave of procurement Virtual Assistant will improve user experience by guiding people to use the appropriate procurement approach, while Cognitive Procurement Advisors will be capable of providing summaries, recommendations and advice ranging from supplier assessment and performance management to risk management and compliance.

AI technology will help to achieve a greater level of trends analysis, including future pricing patterns and maybe risk assessment as well. But to utilise AI well to solve challenges faced, we need to ensure there is access to skills and data to be built up so that we can leverage new capabilities.

Coffee, yoga, music... what powers you through your day?

Music, as it helps me to clear my mind. New ideas and thoughts are facilitated when there is music in the background.