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AWS Public Sector Summit Online – Public Sector Innovations Leading Transformation
October 21, 2020 News



The AWS Public Sector Summit Online kicked off with Max Peterson, Vice President, International Sales, Worldwide Public Sector, AWS highlighting the lessons learned at AWS over the last couple of months and how they can be applied by organisations in their journey to the cloud.

“We’ve seen four key principles emerge from our customer’s experience that can help you transform your tech stack, deliver modern services and ultimately improve the way you serve your mission, your customers, your constituents and your students”, said Max.

They are:

  • Move fast.
  • Have an agile platform.
  • Keep innovating.
  • Think big.

Every public sector organisation needs to have the flexibility and the agility to respond to the next crisis before it arrives. The Selangor state government of Malaysia had already started the flexible, agile journey to the cloud when the pandemic hit. The work they completed allowed the state to quickly pivot and deliver new and important services specifically tailored to address the COVID crisis.

According to Dr Mohd Fahmi Ngah, Managing Director of the Smart Selangor Delivery Unit, their framework focuses on four smart domains that infuse technology and smart solutions, with citizen centricity at the heart of making a smart state by 2025 a reality.

“With a population of 6.5 million people, it is critical that our solutions are highly available, reliable and scalable at the same time. The cloud has ensured that services can be easily accessed by anyone within the state”.

The state first began working with AWS in 2018 in developing an all-in-one digital payment platform which enabled citizens to easily access paid government services through a central mobile and web portal, which presented a need for rapid scalability.

While the tech was available, Fahmi said that working across the state government, local councils and district offices was challenging because the cloud was new to them, with conflicting interests on innovation across the different entities.

For example, he said there was a lack in the depth of knowledge around digital security and privacy with some apps being built without proper security. Working with AWS allowed them to adopt security policies which have been proven to be effective across other governments and private organisations. This was key to enable intra-government agency and government private sector collaborations.

“We are currently developing a hybrid cloud data centre for the Selangor government that provides high availability to support our applications. This allows us to build more apps, more efficiently, as we are able to predevelop solutions which are then easily productised and scaled”.

He added they have also been able to conduct big data analysis using near real-time data from across the entire state through the central platform, which has helped to identify the trends and sensitivities that allow them to forecast and further optimise their services.

They were also able to roll out new solutions and pilots without a big upfront investment, particularly in responding to the pandemic. An operations dashboard was rolled out to provide the state with critical data to make real-time decisions and enforce containment measures quickly. This has helped to minimise the number of COVID-19 transmissions and also reduce fear in the public.

For businesses affected by the pandemic, the delivery unit was able to help over 1000 local traders shift their product selling online, at a time when in-person sales and gatherings were not allowed. The unit is also ensuring there are adequate skills in the future by training students with the right skills, with a target of 200,000 trained students and professionals by 2025.


Driving Innovations Despite the Pandemic

In her keynote session, Lee Chew Tan, Managing Director for ASEAN, Worldwide Public Sector for AWS pointed out how COVID-19 has redefined everything we do today, including accelerating digital transformation and innovation across the public sector.

“In coping with the pandemic, governments and citizens have seen first-hand the value of cloud technology and digital transformation, that it allows governments to quickly set up services, reach millions of citizens, enable remote learning and remote work as well as to adapt as users’ needs change”, said Lee.

She added that organisations have been driving initiatives for digital transformation and pioneering new paths with the cloud even before the global pandemic, enabling them to be able to adapt faster to the community needs currently.  This includes providing the right infrastructure and solutions in the region for the public sector and organisations to achieve their transformation goals.

“We want to enable customers to run AWS as a seamless extension to their existing on-premises infrastructure. This includes making AWS Outposts available in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia over the past months”, added Lee.

For example, Thailand’s CAT Telecom set up the first AWS Outposts in the region and is providing AWS cloud hybrid infrastructure to all state-owned enterprise and government customers. This is in support of Thailand’s 4.0 strategy in using machine-learning and big data technology.

As Lee puts it, “public sector organisations are responding swiftly in a time of need and improving resilience in continuing to drive the mission. And we are only scratching the surface of what’s possible”.