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How Going Digital has Transformed the Public Service



How important is it for digital government services to be user friendly? As far as the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) is concerned, we are committed to transform the traditional delivery of digital government services by keeping Singaporeans at the heart of our government services.


Often, people seek government services because they need to. Rarely, these encounters are driven by self-directed initiatives to make contact. And regardless whether the experiences are pleasant and productive or not, they have little choice but to return.




It is a fact that government services are quite different from commercial services. People are likely to log on to Netflix because they want to, whereas they are most likely to log on to government services only when the need arises. In order to ensure a seamless experience, it is therefore important to pre-empt user needs through data-driven insights, gain a better understanding of user behaviour and become more proactive in managing the user experience.


The OneService application that was launched by the Municipal Services Office in 2015 is one such initiative. Previously, Singaporeans had to direct their feedback to the correct public agency, with precious time wasted when feedback was sent to the wrong agency. With OneService, there is “no wrong door” as Singaporeans can just submit their feedback through the application, and OneService takes care of which agency to route that information to.




In spearheading the digital transformation within the public sector, a shift from an inside-out to an outside-in approach is inevitable. Recognising Singaporeans’ expectations for services to be seamless and anticipatory, GovTech has planned a line-up of mobile applications to not only make government services more accessible, but also more convenient. One example is, which allows drivers to calculate fees automatically, extend parking sessions remotely, and even get a refund on the unused balance of a parking session.


Another application currently under development, Moments of Life (Families), will eventually allow parents to register the birth of their new child, apply for Baby Bonus, view medical appointments and immunisation records, and search and register interest for preschools on a single platform. It anticipates the needs of Singaporeans based on life-events and ensures that relevant services are bundled for convenience.




Consistent with this principle is also the enhancement of the SingPass service to bring greater ease and control to Singaporeans. In the second half of 2018, GovTech will be launching the SingPass Mobile application, an alternative to the existing two-factor authentication (2FA) modes, SMS 2FA and OneKey Token, so that citizens can transact more conveniently online.


With SingPass Mobile, Singaporeans will no longer need to manually enter One-Time Passwords that are sent via SMS or generated through a separate token. Instead, a push notification will be sent via the application, and users will automatically be authenticated after entering a six-digit passcode, or by using their fingerprint. More features will be progressively added, as it becomes the one-stop touch point for Singaporeans to access digital services. In the near future, Singaporeans will be able to easily access their MyInfo data through the application, such as their Central Provident Fund account balance and passport expiry date.




In creating platforms where government services come together and are delivered as and when they are needed, it is necessary to reach out to users proactively to understand pain points and further enhance the ecosystem we operate.


With initiatives like Tech Kaki, passionate users (whether tech-inclined or not) can come together to preview and consult on new products, both online and in-person. Private developers can also use, which is constantly being enhanced and updated with new datasets and application programming interfaces (APIs), to create their own data visualisations and applications. There is also the Ideas! Portal where Singaporeans and businesses can participate in crowdsourcing activities to help shape solutions to problems they care deeply about.


This is just the beginning, as GovTech continues to explore ways of harnessing technology to improve lives. Working with users that we serve, GovTech will continue to build digital services for Singaporeans and create a technology-enabled future together.



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