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S'pore: Resiliency is top IT concern

Singapore's move toward an integrated e-government system spells extra emphasis on resiliency, says government official.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Resiliency is the government's top priority as the country moves toward full integration of its online public services, according to a senior official.

Speaking at a CIO panel discussion at the e-Government Summit 2007 held today, Pauline Tan, senior director of the Infocomm Development Authority's (IDA) government chief information office, said system uptime is the government's "number one concern". The summit is a component of the Global Entrepolis @ Singapore 20007 conference.

"We're moving beyond the computerization of our systems, [and] to have those systems built over the last 25 years to be more integrated," said Tan. "As such, resiliency becomes critical because of how interdependent all the e-services [will be]."

Speaking to ZDNet Asia on the sidelines of the conference, the IDA official explained that this meant security would eventually become the domain of a central body.

Tan said: "As people get more reliant on [IT] systems, the need for failover and duplicated systems becomes even more real.

"A single agency can no longer take care of the security of just its own services, because it may not be aware that other services from other agencies are dependent on its uptime," she said.

Ensuring resiliency will eventually be the role of a centralized authority, so a concerted effort may be exerted to that end, Tan added, but did not give further details on this.

Eugene Chang, director of the chief information office at Singapore's Ministry of Defence (Mindef), said "IT systems are organized in a stovepipe manner". Chang, who was a participant of the panel discussion, added that an enterprise's legacy silos are its typical barrier to integration.

"Ideally, we should try and harmonize systems before we even build them," he said.

Establishing templates and duplicates, for example, can yield benefits when building IT systems system. Chang explained that the Singapore government was able to build systems "with minimal customization" for the Army and Air Force, by duplicating deployment work it had previously done for the Navy.

Tan agreed, saying that avoiding the duplication of efforts helps stretch the IDA's budget.

Establishing template models will help streamline processes, she added. "For example, [the IDA] has data reference models so that [it can] ensure better consistency of the data quality, and reduce the need to repeatedly gather information from the citizens," Tan said.

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