The prolonged pandemic puts the resilience of nations and cities around the world, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to the test. In these unprecedented times, governments are called to face the new realities and to break with the tradition of taking a “wait-and-see approach” on emerging technologies.
In these trying times of history, a lot of government leaders’ attention is focused on heightened IT strategies and deployment best practices, multiple digital initiatives that span various stakeholders across and outside the agency, and programs and services that need to engage and effectively meeting more personalized constituent needs.
International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Government Insights survey showed that government spending on digital technologies is set to reach new heights. The public sector will benefit from investing in technological innovations and tools to drive productivity and value creation as governments announce their range of economic measures to help their economies.
It includes developing manpower skills in newly desired digital enterprises, workspaces, supply chains, and operations as part of their long-term plans to build digital resilience for faster post–COVID-19 socioeconomic recovery.
According to the research, by 2021, 30 percent of agencies will embrace the organizational skills and technological innovations impacting the future of work to enhance their ability to recruit, train, and retain key personnel.
IDC’s survey found that 55.8% of Asia Pacific public sector organizations expect a slow and difficult recovery rate, post-COVID-19. By 2023, 20 percent of governments will issue blockchain-enabled identities from birth certificates to drivers’ licenses to passports and beyond.
Fifty percent of the ASEAN governments will deploy industry practices like “technology business management” to quantify acquisitions, transitioning from purchasing hardware to software outcomes by 2022.
“With strategic planning and governance of algorithms, ethics, and change management, by 2023, 35% of agencies will prevent misuse of artificial intelligence (AI), the transgression of rights, and ensure worker engagement,” the ICD research survey read.
Digital government funding commitments and initiatives to help stabilize and strengthen their economies. The Philippine government has committed about US$23 billion in funding — or around 5% to 6% of its gross domestic product — for health and economic activities, with plans to increase more over the coming months.
“Its key for [the] government now to prepare on what we call is the next normal, right? As we all know from the economy… starting to open up, (the) new shape is starting to build up. Hopefully, the pandemic side or the COVID situation will be the reverse side,” SAS Philippines Manager Ryan Guadalquiver said. The country has been receiving medical technology support from Singapore and China as well as other countries.
In preparing for the new normal, digital resiliency is a prerequisite to ensuring business continuity in a time of major disruption.
“I guess, that is where probably you know as what they are saying, getting ready for the futures, very very much important, and not just for technology aspects but also for people on process,” Guadalquiver said.
The research also said that the socioeconomic resilience of a country is directly linked to the resilience of its health system.
“Efforts must be focused on the swift deployments of acute care centers, with ICU capabilities and working ventilators, disinfected hospitals, geographic information system (GIS)-enabled app-based contact tracing, and the nationwide adoption of digital health and digital social welfare (e.g., education, housing, social insurance, etc.) initiatives all deployed seamlessly,” it read.
“In addition, the enhanced fiscal monitoring of a paralyzed economy, the strengthening of access and ability to secure essential goods and services (e.g., food, medical supplies, etc.), and additional all-hands-on-deck government administration capabilities will be key,” it added.
Up-leveling the status quo in government
The research also reiterated that up-leveling the status quo in government to create digital ecosystems will require improved access to more complete information. To enhance the digital government services, it suggests to ensure robust data usability and security practices, identify the right solutions to meet the right requirements, establish cross-functional collaboration across the entire AI ecosystem, and ensure a transparent and well-trained AI algorithm.
“It is important for government agencies to be ready as we start recovering. This is really also a big lesson learned not just for the government but for everyone that digital is already here. It should not be just on the planning stage that digital resilience is very important,” Guadalquiver said.
“I guess, that is where probably you know as what they are saying, getting ready for the futures, very very much important, and not just for technology aspects but also people on process,” he added.