SEA governments’ tech programmes stumped by lack of skills and infrastructure: EIU

  • Indonesia viewed as most effective at implementing new tech, Singapore lags
  • Organisational challenges overtake cybersecurity as biggest challenge to public sector
SEA governments’ tech programmes stumped by lack of skills and infrastructure: EIU

 
SUB-par hardware, manpower shortages and poor data-sharing are hampering the uptake of cutting-edge technology by the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, according to a report recently released by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
 
In a survey, 46% of respondents in government say lack of skills among public-sector workers is the top barrier to greater utilisation of technology, while 44% working in the technology sector point to organisational ICT infrastructure.
 
Regional variations show surprising gaps in perception. Only 20% of Singaporean respondents believe their government is ‘very effective’ at implementing new technologies, the EIU said in a statement.
 
READ ALSO: Singapore’s Internet cutoff (and the resounding silence from the industry)
 
This compares with 57% of Indonesian respondents and 33% overall.
 
This illustrates the challenge in fulfilling the ever-advancing needs of savvy users. Singaporeans, long used to near-unlimited Internet access and robust services, likely have far higher expectations of their government than users in less-developed markets, for whom mere connectivity is often a major leap forward, the report noted.
 
Given the number of high-profile cyber-attacks around the world, it is somewhat surprising that only a small minority (16%) of South-East Asian governments consider cybersecurity a barrier to public-sector technology adoption.
 
The research found that private clouds which isolate sensitive information from public clouds are one reason security concerns have been alleviated.
 
The report, High Aspirations, Stark Realities: Digitising Government in South-East Asia, is based on a survey of 300 technology-sector leaders as well as interviews with experts in industry, government, academia and the civic sector. It was sponsored by Microsoft Corp.
 
The report also found that better use of data, including cloud access and manipulation, is high on respondents’ list of priorities, the EIU said.
 
They also have high hopes for the Internet of Things, in which everyday objects communicate with each other and central servers, facilitating everything from traffic flows to flood control.
 
“Organisational challenges have overtaken security concerns for governments in South-East Asia as they seek to deliver more and more services digitally,” said Charles Ross, the editor of the report.
 
“Governments in the region have an opportunity to stand at the forefront of smart-government development, but only if it addresses real challenges related to employee and citizen ICT skills, and insufficient infrastructure,” he added.
 
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