Speaking at the inaugural GovTech STACK Developers Conference on 2 October 2018, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed the government’s plans to migrate its systems onto commercial cloud technology over the next few years.
He cited benefits such as giving developers open access to tools that help them work on systems more easily, and significantly lowering operating and maintenance costs.
As private sector organisations are largely adopting cloud technology, PM Lee said the question is no longer whether the government should, but “to what extent we can use the cloud, and how we can overcome the problems and minimise the risks.”
He mentioned that security and data protection will be major considerations in using cloud technology, especially after the recent SingHealth cyberattack in which hackers stole the data of 1.5 million Singaporeans.
Singapore Government Tech Stack
PM Lee also explained the function of the Singapore Government Tech Stack (SGTS) developed by GovTech in his address.
“The SGTS will help us to deliver better public services to citizens through reusable software, much faster, and at a fraction of the cost,” he said.
The SGTS is a suite of common software components used in application development, comprising 3 layers.
They enable all government agencies in Singapore to make use of the same tools and programming languages, centralised API gateways, and lets developers “plug-and-play” common micro-services like payment and authentication.
One example of how this can benefit citizens is by creating pre-filled forms to remove the need of repeatedly providing personal information which the government already has records of.
Plans To Nurture Engineering Talent
Highlighting that IT cannot be an afterthought for any ministry or government agency, PM Lee wants to nurture a “deep engineering culture”, which means we could see more opportunities and resources to support those seeking a career in IT.
“We want talented IT professionals to consider the government as an employer just as seriously as they would any of these companies,” he said, referring to tech players like Google, Go-Jek, and Netflix.
He also made reference to Silicon Valley, saying “that’s the quality we’re aiming for”.
Featured Image Credit: Prime Minister’s Office Singapore