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CELEBRATING SUCCESS: How the Cloud Can Enable Digital Government Services – Lessons from Singapore’s GovTech

October 28, 2021
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Cloud computing enables governments to change how they build solutions for their citizen services. GovTech showcases how governments can move forward with cloud computing.

Credit: Photo by Stuart Breckenridge on Unsplash

The public sector needs to catch up. Citizens now expect a level of service that can match the digital native businesses they often interact with on daily basis. Consider e-hailing, e-commerce, and e-wallet players — they provide a comprehensive service completely through digital means. Coupled with the advancements in e-KYC for digital onboarding, it comes with no surprise; citizens expect the public sector to follow suit.

The governments of today recognise this trend. In order to meet their citizen’s expectations, many government agencies are adopting Cloud computing progressively to enable their digital transformation. Recently, more than 60% of the governments’ Cloud initiatives have been successful, proving the effectiveness of this strategy.1

Some of the key benefits driving Cloud adoption among governments are:

  1. The ability to leverage up-to-date technology
  2. Faster production, deployment, and time-to-market for government services
  3. The ability to streamline workflows, data management, and computing resources across ministries
  4. Reduces costs and improves the scalability of government services
  5. Allow ecosystem partners to collaborate with the public sector

By outlining the clear benefits of the Cloud, we want you to understand how governments are using it. Here, we will provide insights into how Singapore government agencies implement their Cloud strategy and share examples of services hosted on the Cloud.

GovTech Singapore

In order to understand Singapore’s Cloud transformation, it is important to understand the role of GovTech first. Established in 2016, GovTech is the main entity spearheading the digital transformation of Singapore’s government services.

Parked under the Prime Minister’s Office, GovTech oversees the digitalisation of all the ministries and agencies of the government. It plays a central role in the 5-year plan (initiated in 2018) to migrate the government’s IT systems onto the commercial Cloud. GovTech has since migrated nearly 600 systems to the commercial Cloud.2

The role that GovTech plays here is vital; it helps the country’s agencies and ministries to move away from the traditional silos that government agencies typically operate under. Moreover, having a centralised agency to implement the digital transformation ensures that all ministries advance consistently.

Building the Singapore Government Tech Stack

A very distinctive feature of GovTech’s role is the development of the Singapore Government Tech Stack (SGTS).

Here, GovTech built a centralised technology stack hosted on a commercial Cloud. This technology stack acts as the backbone of all the government agencies’ digital services. It consists of three (3) main components –

  • infrastructure (e.g., AWS)
  • middleware (APIs, application testing, DevOps)
  • microservices.3

All these components make it easier for Singapore government agencies to deploy and maintain applications.

For example, in the past, each government agency would typically build their applications on top of their dedicated infrastructure.

These layered steps severely limited the speed and scalability of building applications for the public sector. The agencies had to maintain each application individually with different sets of architectures. With time, this gets harder to sustain.

With SGTS in place, the base application becomes easily reproducible. Depending on the service that the agency wishes to provide, they can now customise the solutions on top of that base application.

As such, this substantially speeds up and eases the process for Singapore government agencies to provide digital services. More importantly, the agencies can focus primarily on delivering value without the need to manage its underlying infrastructure.

The benefits don’t end there. Here are some other key benefits of this approach:

1. Shifting from a monolithic model to a microservices model with SGTS

In simple terms, a monolithic model application works as a single unit. This means that the agency must make any updates and maintenance to the entire application’s codebase. The model essentially limits the scalability and agility for pushing out new services.

In contrast, a microservices model breaks down the application into smaller independent components. Hence, agencies can apply updates without the need to deploy a new version of the whole application.

The shift to a microservices model provides the much-needed agility for Singapore government agencies to develop digital services faster. Moreover, this approach is crucial; the public sector needs to adopt agile software development practices, similar to what the private sector is already using.

  • Ability to use up-to-date technologies

Running on legacy systems with outdated security practices may leave the government applications vulnerable to cyberattacks. SGTS ensures that all government applications come with modernised security practices and data protection policies.

This situation extends to services beyond security. For example, having a modern architecture with SGTS allows government agencies to adopt advanced analytics tools similar to those used in the private sector.

With the speed and agility provided by SGTS, the public sector can now keep up with technology developments. Moreover, this can also benefit the public sector by attracting and retaining top tech talents.

  • Integrating data across government agencies to improve digital services

Traditional application infrastructures meant that Singapore government applications operate in silos. Hence, they were not able to integrate data across agencies.

SGTS’s architecture loosens these barriers. Using a set of secured Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), the agencies can now share confidential data securely. Furthermore, GovTech complements this initiative with the development of the Application Programming Interface Exchange (APEX).4

APEX enables the secure transmission of confidential citizen data. It is a centralised API exchange that allows government agencies to tap into the wealth of data acquired across the government. This ability significantly improves the speed at which data can be shared and creates a more streamlined business process.

  • Ability to co-develop solutions with industry players

Another game-changing benefit is the ability to enable collaborations. The technology industry is a rapid race. Open-source tools are dominating the scene with innovations every day. Without access to these tools, the public sector may inevitably fall behind.

Having a common platform with SGTS creates the opportunity for the government to co-create solutions with the ecosystem players. In 2020, GovTech chose 17 companies to co-develop solutions using the SGTS platform.5

This was simply impossible in the past. The private sector typically worked as outsourced contractors but not as collaborators. This approach changes that dynamic by allowing the government to foster closer relationships with the private sector to build valuable citizen services.

Example applications hosted on commercial Cloud

Let us see how these developments have advanced Singapore’s citizen services. We cover the top three (3) applications that work on SGTS. This will give you an understanding of how impactful cloud can be for improving government services.

a. Singpass

Singpass is Singapore’s national digital identity system. Through this system, citizens can gain access to over 340 government agencies with over 1400 digital services. This singular platform eliminates the traditional customer experience of having separate logins for different government services.

Singapore citizens widely recognise Singpass as one of the best government services. It is ranked as the fourth (4th) most popular app in Google Play Store there, with an average rating of 4.8 stars. To date, there are more than 2.5 million users, with over 90% of them having at least one interaction per month.4

b. LifeSG (formerly known as Moments of Life)

 LifeSG consolidates the best of Singapore’s government services onto one common platform – like a super app. Previously named Moments in Life, the updated app personalises a citizen’s journey based on their life stage. The services include birth registration, school registration, job-seeking portals, parking services, taxations, etc.

LifeSG simplifies the citizens’ search for information on relevant services. In addition, the app also has a user-friendly interface, giving an easy overview of important information. The application is widely in use, with over 140,000 downloads and 7 out of 10 Singaporeans registering births via LifeSG.

c. Health Hub

Health Hub aims to make it easier for Singapore citizens to access their health information and services under one platform. Built in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Health Promotion Board, this service contains information like immunisation records, medical appointments, prescriptions, dental appointments, etc.

This was possible by integrating several systems, ranging from the National Electronic Record System, School Dental System, School Health System to the National Immunisation Registry. The integration of multiple systems is a clear feature of how Cloud services have enabled the government to build this service. To date, the application has over 730,000 downloads and scores an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars on the Google Play Store.6

Meeting the expectations of citizens

Ultimately, customer experience matters the most. For the public sector, results are not as quantifiable in comparison to the private sector. Hence, metrics such as delivery time, user satisfaction surveys, and application ratings are applicable in performance reviews.

Singapore conducts the Survey on Satisfaction with Government Digital Services (Citizens) annually. Its recent results showed that their citizens rated the government digital services at the highest since FY2012. 86% of respondents said that they were extremely satisfied with the digital services. In addition, over 90% of respondents rated the government digital services as one of the best digital services they have used.

Lessons from GovTech

The approach taken by the Singapore government acts as a prime example of how governments can move forward in this digital era.

Singapore placed a strong priority on truly understanding their citizens’ pain points, which takes precedence over tools. For instance, each application goes through several rounds of pilots and surveys. Based on the feedback, the government agencies then apply amendments.

This is where migrating to the Cloud becomes valuable. It is not merely a ‘lift and shift’ process, but it enables the government to change how they build solutions for their citizens. Initiatives such as SGTS, APEX, data sharing, and fostering collaborations with the private sector are vital components of this renewed approach of building citizen services.

References

  1. Gartner_Inc. (2021, June). 5 actions to bolster cloud adoption among governments. Retrieved October 07, 2021, from https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/how-can-governments-scale-up-cloud-adoption
  2. Increased ICT spending in FY2021 to accelerate government digitalisation. (2021, June 23). Retrieved October 08, 2021, from https://www.tech.gov.sg/media/media-releases/2021-06-23-increased-ict-spending-in-fy2021-to-accelerate-government-digitalisation
  3. Media Factsheet Singapore Government Tech Stack. (2018, September). Retrieved October 5, 2021, from https://www.tech.gov.sg/files/products-and-services/sg-tech-stack-media-factsheet-sep-2018.pdf
  4. Getting to know nectar and Apex. (2018, July). Retrieved October 07, 2021, from https://www.tech.gov.sg/media/technews/getting-to-know-nectar-and-apex
  5. GovTech Annual Report 2019/2020. (2020, July). Retrieved October 3, 2021, from https://www.tech.gov.sg/files/media/corporatepublications/GovTech%20AR%202019_MAIN.pdf
  6. Enriching – HPB. (2020). Retrieved October 7, 2021, from https://www.hpb.gov.sg/docs/default-source/pdf/hpb-annual-report-2019-2020.pdf?sfvrsn=9ae640ef_2
  7. Asian Development Bank. (2021.). Cloud computing as a key enabler for digital government. Retrieved October 7, 2021, from https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/707786/sdwp-077-cloud-computing-digital-government.pdf.
  8. Tham, I. (2018, July 27). GovTech launched to lead digital transformation in the public sector. Retrieved October 04, 2021, from https://www.straitstimes.com/tech/govtech-launched-to-lead-digital-transformation-in-public-sector

CELEBRATING SUCCESS – Getting Employee Experience Right – Lesson from Maybank, Accenture, and DBS Bank

November 30, 2021
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The pandemic has caused a seismic shift in our relationship with work. In this article, we share 3 best practices to give you inspiration on how to get your EX right.

The pandemic caused a seismic shift in our relationship with work. Past location-based practices made way for a remote, employee-centric model. However, with vaccination rates showing a glimmer of hope back to normalcy, how do we move forward with the future of work?

The answer here is clear. In fact, the Microsoft Global Work Trend Index found that over 66% of leaders say their company is considering redesigning their workplaces to suit a hybrid work model.1

Employees share the same aspirations, with over 73% showing interest in flexible remote work options. Consequently, your team must prepare for the hybrid work future.

Managing these demands is mission-critical as over 40 per cent of the global workforce are considering changing jobs within the next year – nearly double the amount from past years.

This situation places a lot of pressure on how you retain and attract talents. To help you, we believe your company should centre decisions across these three main questions:

  1. The culture question: Do your employees celebrate each other’s success?
  2. The technology question: Is technology helping your employees work better?
  3. The environment question: Is your workplace designed for upliftment?

There is no definite answer on how your company can answer these questions. It differs significantly from each industry and, most importantly, to each unique employee. A robust and enabling employee experience must cover your employee’s entire life cycle.

In this article, we share three best practices from three distinct companies to give you inspiration on how you can tackle these employee experience questions.

Maybank – Treating employees as customers

“Beyond the pandemic, the overall changing work landscape, in line with the global outlook, and the push towards being more inclusive, point towards a combination of the different work settings to adapt to the different needs of both the workplace and the workforce”2 – Datuk Nora Manaf, Group Chief Human Capital Officer

Maybank facilitated the transition of 82% of its workers to a work-from-home (WFH) setting within days when the lockdown struck. From this experience, Maybank took notice of the several groups of people in its workforce based on their nature of work.

In response to their staff and work nature, Maybank laid out a comprehensive hybrid approach to suit their employees’ lifestyle and career aspirations. This strategy included three main approaches to work:

  1. Work from home: Allows their employees to work from home for the long term, focusing on virtual interactions and engagements.
  2. Flexible working arrangements: Supports staff through different stages in their lives and careers. These include flexible hours, ‘phasing in and out’, various leave types and employee support schemes.
  3. Mobile work arrangements: A modern and tracked arrangement where employees are completely ‘mobile’ to discuss and agree on a model that works for them. This model focuses primarily on outcomes, rather than input.

Maybank seeks to complement these initiatives with new workplace designs and upskilling initiatives to support blended working arrangements.3

Apart from these employee-centric models, Maybank recognised that virtualisation of work could severely impact collaboration and communication.

It becomes easy for us to lose touch with our employees when we rarely meet them in person. As such, Maybank took proactive steps to counter this.

For example, Maybank initiated the Leaders Teaching Leaders (LTL) program, which held virtual sessions for the group EXCO to engage consistently with his employees. In 2020, over 630 sessions of LTL were participated by the Group EXCO.

Maybank shows us that a large corporation in a highly regulated environment does not limit a company to treating its employees with empathy. It recognised the changing demands from employees, and responded flexibly.

Accenture – Prioritising employees’ learning and development

“Our unwavering commitment to inclusion and diversity unleashes innovation and creates a culture where everyone feels they have equal opportunity” – Julie Sweet, Chair and CEO

The growing need for digital skills can sometimes get too overwhelming for our employees. Coupled with the need to balance work, employees can find it challenging to match technology’s pace.

To help their employees, Accenture introduced the Future Talent Platform – a digital upskilling platform. The aim was to ensure that its workforce had the channels it needed to bridge skill gaps with ease and affordability.

This program is highly customisable and provides recommendations for upskilling based on an employee’s role. The platform hosts over 2,400 courses on the Accenture Academy platform and over 8,000 courses from content partners.

In 2021, Accenture reported an increase in training hours by 46% from fiscal 2020 to over 31 million training hours.4 They managed to average approximately 60 hours of training per person.

In addition, since March 2020, the company trained more than 70,000 employees on highly sought-after skills, such as cloud computing and remote collaboration tools.

These initiatives are vital today, where employees may feel threatened by technology replacing their jobs. Investing in our employees shows that we care about their growth and development. In return, companies can ensure they can retain their talents for the long term.

DBS Bank Ltd, Technology as a catalyst for employee engagement

“Conventional wisdom is that it is difficult for a legacy company to transform at scale. So, in embarking on change, some organisations keep the old and new organisations separate. My view is that to drive transformation at scale, you must attack the core — and make it mainstream. Even though it’s daunting, I am a firm believer that one needs to create change in the company-wide culture.”5 – Piyush Gupta, DBS Bank CEO

Keeping employees engaged with their work can be difficult within a remote setting. Communication lines may weaken, and employees may feel disconnected and alienated. DBS shows how technology, when used effectively, can drive coordination, efficiency, and collaboration.

DBS Bank initiated the “TOGETHER” movement to help its employees navigate through the pandemic as a team.6 The bank wanted to make sure that its employees remained connected and engaged by encouraging open communication throughout the pandemic. The three main initiatives of this movement are as follows:

  1. Communication program: DBS created guides on how employees can have a smooth transition into work-from-home settings. This included practical guides on how to organise work corners and create productive routines.
  2. Encourage social connections through digital platforms: DBS ensured teams remain connected via the bank’s video conferencing platform. DBS introduced team leaders methods to make sure teams connected through initiatives such as daily check-ins.
  3. Care packages for personal wellbeing: DBS held several healthcare and wellbeing webinars to help its employees pave their way through the pandemic. Confidential counselling and mental wellbeing programmes were also readily available.

DBS also uses digital tools to encourage transparent communication across the workforce. Digital tools with empathy are a powerful combination. For instance, DBS initiated the “Ask Piyush” to create a direct communication channel to the CEO himself.

Employees can ask questions, comment, and give suggestions to the CEO directly via this digital tool. This channel helps to break the traditional hierarchies and encourages more open communication across the bank. Consequently, such initiatives helped DBS create a conducive environment for its employees to thrive.


References:

1 Microsoft. (2021, March 22). The Next Great Disruption Is Hybrid Work—Are We Ready? Retrieved 28 October 2021, from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/work-trend-index/hybrid-work

2 Lee, J. (2021, July 25). Maybank goes flexi. The Star. Retrieved 29 October 2021, from https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2021/07/26/maybank-goes-flexi

3 Surviving The Impact of Covid-19: WFH is here to stay, looking more hybrid. (2021, January 14). The Edge Markets. Retrieved 25 October 2021, from https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/surviving-impact-covid19-wfh-here-stay-looking-more-hybrid

4 Accenture. (2020, October 21). Accenture’s Annual Reports. https://www.accenture.com/my-en/about/company/annual-report

5 “At DBS, we act less like a bank and more like a tech company.” With DBS Bank CEO Piyush Gupta. (2018, October 12). DBS Innovates. Retrieved 25 October 2021, from https://www.dbs.com/innovation/dbs-innovates/at-dbs-we-act-less-like-a-bank-and-more-like-a-tech-company-with-dbs-bank-ceo-piyush-gupta.html

6 Sustainability Report 2020 Stronger Together | DBS Bank. (2021, March 2). DBS. Retrieved 26 October 2021, from https://www.dbs.com/sustainability/reporting/sustainability-report

DEMYSTIFY TECHNOLOGY – Supporting Your Employees in Their Digital Transformation Journey – Suhaimi Sulong

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Not all employees found it seamless to transition into the new digital workforce. Here's how we support Warga TM into this new paradigm.

“When you love what you do, wonders will happen.” – Suhaimi Sulong

In hindsight, Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation for better or worst. Nonetheless, not all employees found it seamless to transition into the new digital workforce.

As the dynamic of this new era of work requires employees to be tech-savvy and agile with minimum supervision, on the receiving end, our organisation need to embrace the open culture and look beyond digital tools.

Being the enabler of Malaysia digital transformation, here are three essentials on how we at TM ONE support our employee digital journey.

1. Wolf leadership: Leading from the pack

The battle cry for new ways of working in the digital age must start at the top. At TM, GCEO Imri Mokhtar signalled the company’s digital transformation when he introduced ‘Ini Cara Kita’ to set in motion NEW TM initiatives.

This initiative will equip ‘Warga TM’ with the right culture, talent and necessary skills as we re-invent to catapult TM and TM ONE towards a Human-Centred Technology company.

We had set in stone a talent management framework to support Warga TM, where we will have a one-on-one career conversation and individual development plan with each employee at every level to support their digital journey.

Being the forefront of Malaysia digital enabler, Warga TM is forged with future skills in 5G, Software Defined Networking (SDN), Network Function Visualisation (NFV), IoT, Robotics and AI to act as the national execution engine.

True leaders make leaders, or in our case, ‘Digital Leaders’. TM Elite graduate programme and other leadership programme is structured not only to provide a holistic overview of the new digital era but to hone the next digital leaders. Our employee will get the chance to get involved in high priority projects while being exposed to the new digital workforce culture.

2. Building the right culture

Why does most legacy organisation suffer from slowness and drudgery that come with unnecessary bureaucracy?

And what make start-ups so effective? Was it the bean bag at Google office? The free sneakers and bottomless coke at Facebook? or the unlimited vacation policy at Netflix?

These are part of the perks, but certainly not the differentiating factors. Start-up biggest competitive advantage is their agility. It’s how fast they attack problems and mobilise talent to address client issues without waiting for layers of approval.

Start-up agility often contributed to the employee versatility to take on multiple roles, which required them to understand how other business units function. As most employees have this peripheral vision and ride on the same wavelength, employees are often empowered to take an executive decision, thus trust comes as a natural selection.

Nonetheless, a tayloristic hierarchical structure is needed when an organisation expands to a certain size and often carries the legacy DNA along with it. Just as DNA can mutate and adapt to its surroundings, organisations can model a start-up’s to ‘Agile at Scale’ by adjusting its structure.

‘Ini Cara Kita’ is our cultural statement in addressing the issue.

3. Collaboration tools

Like an athlete who needs more advanced equipment to reach new heights, organisations need to equip their employees with the proper collaboration tools to keep up with these new business imperatives; speed to market, mobility and globalisation.

Since the pandemic, platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams saw a significant increase in daily meeting participants and daily active users. In fact, both IDC and Forbes see 50% of global businesses expect to increase spending on collaboration software in 20211.

According to a survey done by Harvard Business Review, 63% of 315 respondents rated Cloud and file sync/sharing as the most effective collaboration tools while videoconferencing and content management portals come second at 58% each2.

These services enable integration across departments which supports a more open, trust-based culture. We see varying advantages of supporting employees with these tools, from better work productivity and project management to stronger cross-border networking and employee relationships. Ultimately, the objective is not more collaboration but greater collaboration efficiency.

For an organisation to run successfully, every team member has an assigned role, just like every wolf in the pack has a role to play where each role is crucial to the team success. While entering this new paradigm, organisations need to be cognizant of their employee pace as some will require time to settle in.

TRENDS & DIGITAL STRATEGY – 5 Employee Experience Considerations for a Successful Digital Transformation

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Merely a shift towards serving your employees better, can be the key to unlocking more DX wins. Here are the 5 EX dimensions to ascertain a successful digital transformation.

The world of business is seeing an important shift from shareholder capitalism to stakeholder capitalism. 181 CEOs from the Business Roundtable (Association of CEO’s of America’s leading companies) committed to this new approach in the Business Roundtable’s Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation.

For a stakeholder economy to thrive, digital transformation is key. Leveraging the potential of change will not only benefit shareholders but offers new opportunities to employees, customers, government, suppliers and the planet.

Today, we will focus on a key stakeholder, “the employee” and how their experience must take centre stage in all digital transformations (DX). Merely a shift towards serving employees better, can be key to unlocking more DX wins. Asmadi Md. Saleh, Chief Strategy Officer, TM ONE shares with us his view on the 5 key strategies in ensuring a successful Digital Transformation.

Here are five (5) employee experience (EX) dimensions to ascertain a successful digital transformation.

1. Building tech talent

Digitally transformed companies often come out the other end of the change process with renewed capabilities and an economic moat. That’s because executing a digital strategy requires companies to integrate technology platforms and talent into existing business processes.

The latter is harder to build and develop but provides essential support for long-term digital growth aspirations. This is why companies with gaps in skills and expertise either collaborate with key partners or build capabilities in-house. Notably, 44% of top companies are already prepared to spend more on attracting, managing and improving their tech talent pipeline.

For companies with existing capabilities, being able to retrain and upskill employees is a blessing in disguise (reskilling is cheaper than hiring). Treat talent as scarcer than any new technology stack or capital injection and leverage the greatness in people to champion a successful digital journey.

2. Democratising innovation

As the industry-wide shift towards digital continues, organizations need to scale up their digital transformation efforts to get ahead. Most CEOs start their digital roadmaps with priority on developing or adopting next-gen technologies. This traditional mindset creates a top-down approach to innovation that only ever looks good on paper. With research suggesting that nearly 90% of all innovation labs, teams or projects fail, companies need to ‘go outside the box’ to rethink and drive innovation success at scale.

A powerful first move must enable the decentralization of creativity and freedom to experiment. Empower every division, department and employee with the willingness to innovate and automate their legacy work processes. Innovation across horizontals, but practiced within governance and compliance parameters, is emerging as a crucial factor for successful digital transformations. As the Marissa Mayer saying goes “when you need to innovate, you need to collaborate”.

3. The digital employee

With lockdowns closing office doors, the workplace has been forced out of shape and employees are adapting to new ways of work. Several global studies have shown that remote work is a sustainable solution to the overwhelming stress faced by younger generations.

Millennials and Gen Zs are piling into the digital workforce and are bringing along with them, new sets of skills and values that need to be acknowledged. In fact, companies are starting to see the positives of operating a remote workforce, with lowered business expenses being the most prominent. Aiming to build a strong foundation for digital transformation, companies need to prioritize the provision of necessary tools for remote workers. Only with a mobile workplace that is safe, secure and compliant can they thrive and produce results to fuel the digital transformation strategy.

4. Employee as a customer

Similar to how customers drive organizations to do better and deliver value, employees are increasingly recognized as stakeholders in the business. We see organisations implementing the same 360o approach of analysing customer engagement in utilising employee data and analytics capabilities. A more robust approach towards improving employee experience will evoke a greater sense of belonging and drive employee retention. Studies have shown that increases in employee engagement leads to better customer service, revenue growth and sustainable business performance. Apart from improving KPIs, treating employees as customers will create an attractive organisation that prioritizes connection and collaboration. Engage in those two-way conversations with employees and the success of digital transformations will come naturally.

5. Reimagining employee journeys

Employees are the heart and soul of every organization. It is essential that all organizations envision and map out the employee journey from the point of the interview stage all the up to being an alumni. Better yet, companies now have that golden opportunity to reimagine and redesign those employee touch-points. Organizational silos can now be torn down and replaced with agile remote teams, working towards a common goal. One good place to start is the onboarding process. Done well, new employees are greeted into the company as a whole, not within a departmental island. Aligning individual success to a collective success will help create a community of high performers. Effective nurturing and development of employee journeys will open a floodgate of innovation opportunities and successful digital transformation.

TM ONE Experts Reveal Three Critical Keys to Counter Cyber Security Threats

November 10, 2021
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Cybersecurity is a major concern in today’s world. Organisations need to rethink their approach to cybersecurity and go beyond just protecting their network.

Recent attacks on two major companies in Singapore – real estate group OY Group and Starhub, a telecom provider – were instances of an alarming surge of cyber-attacks around the globe. A mid-year 2021 global report from UK based cybersecurity specialist Acronis highlights that the average cost of a data breach was around US$3.56 million. The average ransomware payment increased by 33 per cent to more than USD100,000.

Covid-19 has further exposed multiple unauthorised excursions into an organisation’s information and processes. It is commonly asserted by experts that a cyber-attack is now a question of when and not if. Despite their best intentions, every organisation is continually at risk and is susceptible to such attacks, warned cybersecurity experts from TM ONE, the enterprise and public sector arm of Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM), during the CYDES 2021 summit.

With the focus on diving deep into how public and private sectors can strengthen their cybersecurity preparedness, experts from a variety of fields gathered to openly share various insights, tools, tricks and approaches. A common consensus is that complexity is one of the real challenges to effective cybersecurity implementations in today’s hybrid Cloud era. Here are three critical keys to counter cyber security threats.

Securing faster ID authentication

Combining blockchain and biometric recognition offers a more robust and secure method of authenticating a user’s identity, said Rahmah Isahak, Assistant General Manager, Digital Identity Cluster, Innovative Solutions at TM ONE during the summit.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced more organisations to find ways to complete transactions remotely and enable remote access to systems. As this trend is expected to continue, identity authentication of users is of vital importance to an organisation’s security and to drive seamless operations.

“A blockchain system allows data to be held collectively, which prevents any malicious tampering. Users can register their identity details into this system, and a cybersecurity organisation or service provider such as TM ONE will then ensure that it is impenetrable to hackers,” she explained.

TM ONE offers Blockchain Secure Authentication (BSA) as part of its Cyber Defence Centre’s (CYDEC) Digital Identity pillar, focusing on digital identity protection. It is a password-less authentication technology to avoid credential attacks, a condition when cybercriminals bypass organisational security measures and steal important data. This solution has its use cases in various verticals, such as in banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), healthcare, social media services and retail sectors.

“Not only blockchain verification is secure, it is also fast. It is able to authenticate users in less than three seconds,” she said. “Combining a system with biometrics will enable the authentication process to be entirely password-less for employees.”

“Biometric technology, such as facial recognition systems, do not require users to memorise passwords. There are many cases in the media that show hackers accessing passwords, whereas biometric authentication helps organisations to sidestep password theft,” she added.

The future of security is automation

The second key highlight was automated cybersecurity systems. “Automation allows IT teams to optimise resources while reducing human error in security responses,” explained Dr Azman Ali, Head of Information Security Services, Professional Services at TM ONE, when he spoke at CYDES.

Automation and increasing digitisation are features that both include and go beyond cybersecurity systems, Dr Azman shared. “Mobile apps, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI ) and automation can be used to replace the repetitive manual tasks as part of the government’s digital transformation efforts.”

“One example of this is data collection in the healthcare industry sector. A vast amount of new personal information is being generated that could potentially help to enhance pandemic handling,” said Dr Azman. He pointed out that: “Digital transformation initiatives will help better manage this huge stream of data and assist in extrapolating actionable insights, but let’s not forget, that this need to be done securely while making privacy a top priority.”

Partnering with cybersecurity experts

Many businesses do not have the required tools and skills to protect themselves in today’s highly complex and rapidly changing threat landscape. In light of this, the option of working with a security partner is rapidly becoming another key solution. TM ONE offers a subscription service that includes world-class tools to uncover vulnerabilities in organisations and, additionally, helps to upskill an organisation’s internal security team.

The cyber squad at TM ONE comprises architects, consultants and analysts. Architects focus on designing security systems, which the consultants help to enhance. Meanwhile, analysts will provide critical security information by continually assessing upcoming threats, explained Dr Azman.

As part of its world-class cybersecurity portfolio, TM ONE provides 16 products, which include identity access, IoT, Cloud, and others, to secure systems from today’s threats and breaches. Global communications firm Telefonica, which works directly with TM ONE as its global Security Operations Centre partner, helps to actively consult and also advises on cybersecurity matters. Leveraging on the expertise of both companies, Malaysian organisations can be assured of fortified cybersecurity solutions to build their cyber resiliency and trust in the digital era.

As experts in Cloud services, TM ONE was appointed as one of the cloud service providers for the Malaysian government in April 2021, said Dr Azman. “TM has played a huge part during the pandemic with its work with healthcare organisations and in creating internet infrastructure.”

Moving forward, connecting the digital dots requires a holistic stance in today’s highly challenging environment, with cybersecurity as a foundational part of the mix, said TM ONE’s experts during the summit. Their positioning of three keys — authentication, automation and assistance – will help organisations to greatly strengthen their cybersecurity preparedness.

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