At the AWS Public Sector Summit, Singapore’s Chief Digital Technology Officer shared lessons learned from the country’s cloud migration efforts. Image: Amazon Web Services (AWS)
“Going into the cloud is almost like being a youngster leaving home for the first time to go to college or overseas… It’s full of excitement, freedom and everything. But at the same time, it’s also fraught with risk,” said Chan Cheow Hoe, director of government digital technology at Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Office. He was speaking at the AWS Public Sector Summit 2022, held on October 6 in Singapore.
During the summit’s keynote speech, Chan talked about the progress of cloud migration in Singapore and said that the government has migrated nearly 60% of workloads to commercial cloud and is on track. achieve its target of 70% by the third quarter of 2023.
The country had previously set a goal of moving 70% of less sensitive government systems and data to the commercial cloud by 2023, such as corporate services for finance and human resources, in a bid to modernize government ICT systems. With the cloud migration, the country aimed to enable the use of cutting-edge cloud tools and reap the benefits of the commercial cloud, such as cheaper hosting and continuous improvements, according to the country’s digital plan.
During the keynote, Chan emphasized that the cloud is not necessarily more risky than on-premises systems, but it is essential to understand the risks associated with the cloud and to address them explicitly. This is one of the reasons Singapore’s Government Technology Agency, or GovTech, has prioritized building a strong cloud engineering team with deep capabilities to understand the risks and chances of failure. , he explained.
He also highlighted the importance of becoming cloud native and adopting the tools available on the cloud, rather than building new services from scratch. While creating bespoke services may sound enticing, businesses should keep in mind that the cloud is evolving at breakneck speed and maintaining bespoke services is a challenge.
However, he added that as agencies adopt more cloud-based services, it becomes more difficult for them to switch to another cloud service provider and access different services in the future. So it’s important for agencies to find the right balance for themselves between becoming cloud-native and being able to move, he said.
Finally, he discussed the emergence of new cloud strategies, such as multi-clouds and sovereign clouds.
Multi-clouds can be harder to manage than the marketing language suggests, according to Chan. He warned of ending up with a hard-to-manage ‘Frankenstein’. He also warned that over-reliance on the sovereign cloud could negate cloud benefits, such as access to an ecosystem of services and options. Sovereign cloud can also be expensive, he added.
Building talent in the cloud
But as ASEAN governments migrate to the cloud, they will need a workforce trained in cloud skills, both in the public and private sectors. A panel on the ASEAN workforce looked at this topic, where speakers from the Singapore government shared the opportunities and challenges facing the development of a skilled workforce in the cloud.
Patrice Choong, director of the school of infocomm technology at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said infocomm technology is changing at breakneck speed. As such, the education sector needs to keep pace in order to produce talent who possess the relevant skills and are able to work in different industries that require ICT professionals. He explained that’s why Infocomm’s School of Technology works closely with a panel of industry representatives to ensure the curriculum stays current.
Ian Choo, CEO of Singapore Code Campus, pointed out that although the Singapore-based school of coding started as an education provider for students aged 7 to 18, the popularity of their coding program for adult learners has grown. actually surpassed the children’s program a few years ago, and continue to grow.
They also discussed the value of industry certification. Chong Rong Hwa, Director of Advanced Cybersecurity Capabilities Division, Cybersecurity Group at GovTech, said that while industry certification can endorse a candidate’s understanding of a topic, it must be assessed holistically. . Applicants must also show they possess a continuous learning mindset, he said.
In Singapore, AWS has co-developed a cloud technology skills program with the Singapore government organized for Singaporeans of different demographics, from recent graduates and early-career workers to mid-career professionals.
Since 2017, the company has trained more than 700,000 people in ASEAN with cloud skills, said Eric Conrad, regional general manager, ASEAN, AWS, during the keynote. It is also helping the Indonesian and Thai governments train public sector employees in cloud skills.
The State of Public Sector Cloud Migration in ASEAN
During the keynote, Conrad explained how the large-scale cloud provider is helping public sector agencies in the ASEAN region accelerate adoption of cloud services and drive digital modernization.
He shared that during this year, AWS signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society to support the Thai government’s digital cloud transformation. The memorandum will allow Thai government agencies to access more than 200 AWS solutions and services, according to a report by Channel Asia Tech.
In March, the company signed a cloud framework agreement with Malaysia’s Administrative Modernization and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) to accelerate cloud adoption and drive innovation in the public sector, a- he declared. With this agreement, it will be easier for Malaysian government agencies to procure AWS solutions and services, Tech Wire Asia reported.
Following this agreement, AWS awarded its first contract with the Department of Polytechnic and Community College (DPCCE), a department of the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education, said Peter Moore, Regional General Manager, Asia Pacific Japan, global public sector, AWS. The department worked with AWS to migrate its learning management system to the cloud, supporting over 150,000 active users with access to its digital learning curriculum and activities.
Moore announced that Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University in Thailand selected AWS as its strategic cloud provider in October 2022, as part of its vision to become a digital university. After moving its entire IT infrastructure to the cloud in 2020, the university was able to transition to 100% online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic, providing online services to its 200,000 users in 64 countries.
Conrad highlighted AWS’s new Smart City Competency program, which aims to grow a community of AWS partners who deliver scalable smart city solutions on AWS to optimize city reforms. One such partner, Elitery, is supporting the government of West Java, Indonesia with a traffic monitoring and analytics solution to reduce traffic congestion.