The way society lives, as well as how businesses and governments operate, has changed dramatically in recent years, with much of this change impacted by people’s use of technology in their daily lives. In reality, for both the private and public sectors, digital transformation is not just a competitive advantage, but also a necessity for long-term growth and resilience.

Sheikh Manzoor

On the public sector front, the World Bank created GovTech, which is a whole-of-government approach to public sector modernization that emphasizes citizen-centric and universally available public services while fostering simple, efficient, and transparent government.

With this in mind, the Malaysian government created the MyDigital plan, which outlines specific goals for transforming Malaysia into a digitally-driven, high-income nation and a regional digital economy leader. In addition to upskilling the rakyat and modernizing businesses, the blueprint includes goals for accelerating public sector innovation.

Among the targets include:

  • Ensuring 100% of civil servants possess digital literacy
  • Achieving 80% end-to-end online government services
  • 80% usage of cloud storage across the government in 2022
  • All ministries and agencies to provide cashless payment options in 2022

Microsoft’s mission is to help the government meet these goals by working with them to provide trustworthy cloud services supported by the technology skills and industry expertise required for the country’s successful digital transformation and increased competitiveness. This was the basis of the Bersama Malaysia pledge, which Microsoft made with the Malaysian government last year.

Microsoft teamed with the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) as part of the Bersama Malaysia commitment to help them achieve their goal of moving the country’s administration to the cloud. Microsoft signed the Cloud Framework Agreement (CFA) with the partner Enfrasys Solutions to bring reliable cloud services to public sector organizations and achieve the MyDigital blueprint’s digital economy goals.

The CFA’s significance cannot be overstated, as it allows for the development of a complete cloud network through a strategic collaboration between the private and public sectors. This connects the government’s cloud with public clouds like Azure, resulting in a hybrid cloud ecosystem that gives public sector organizations access to cutting-edge technologies like AI, data analytics, and virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR), among others.

It is worth noting that while the CFA will make it easier for public sector agencies to access transformative cloud-based solutions, some organizations like SIRIM and Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), have already embarked on their cloud transformation journey:

  • As the leading organization for technology and quality solutions in Malaysia, SIRIM has had a strong emphasis on innovation, having begun its digital transformation journey back in 2018. They are now utilizing Microsoft Azure to not only alleviate data storage limitations but also to increase cost efficiency by investing in cloud infrastructure rather than on-premises infrastructure. SIRIM was able to automate business procedures using Azure, which was important to their business continuity and resilience when the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020.
  • Another example is PNB, which began its digital transformation journey in 2021 and used Microsoft 365 to help its workforce migrate to a remote working environment. PNB was successful in ushering in a timely transition into the modern workplace, creating a highly efficient and collaborative digital workspace for its employees, by leveraging cloud solutions like Microsoft Teams, which enables secure teamwork and collaboration and is integrated across multiple platforms.

Although Microsoft is still in the early stages of Malaysia’s cloud journey, progress is being made. Microsoft needs to look at two main topics of interest if the public sector is to be at the forefront of GovTech innovation and drive transformation: Cloud Infrastructure and Talent Development.

Cloud infrastructure

The establishment of Microsoft’s first data center region in Malaysia was one of the major announcements made in 2021. This will establish the basis for a secure and reliable cloud ecosystem in Malaysia, boosting capacity to provide better performance on Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform, among other solutions.

The presence of a local data center area enables faster access to cloud data while also encouraging the use of the cloud to foster innovation. According to IDC research, the investment in Malaysia will produce up to USD 4.6 billion in new revenues over the next four years for the country’s ecosystem of local partners and cloud-consuming customers. According to the study, Microsoft, and cloud-using customers would together create over 19,000 jobs, both direct and indirect.

Skill-building an imperative

Even if the most modern technology and facilities are in place, without a skilled workforce, no benefit can be achieved. This is true of any transition or industrial revolution because people are the ultimate agents of change.

Having the right skills in place is important for digital transformation to thrive. Microsoft’s commitment to upskill 1 million Malaysians by the end of 2023 as part of Bersama Malaysia remains a priority for us. Microsoft’s goal is to provide persons with digital and technical skills so that all Malaysians may thrive in a digital economy that is inclusive.

Microsoft are committed to developing the skills of civil servants and equipping them with the latest digital and technical skills to develop digital-native policies and effectively utilize new cloud solutions to accelerate cloud adoption within the public sector, in addition to working with institutions such as MyDIGITAL Corporation, HRD Corp, SOCSO, MDEC, TalentCorp Malaysia, PETRONAS, Grab Malaysia, Biji-Biji Enterprise, and several local and international corporations and universities.

Malaysia’s future in the digital economy

As Microsoft reimagines how you communicate with people, empower employees, and digitally alter operations and services, it is critical that the nation’s public sector adopts cloud technology. The rakyat is the most significant renewable resource, and in the post-pandemic world, skills are the new currency.

Microsoft will continue to engage with and alongside the government in order to provide Malaysians with skilling, upskilling, and reskilling opportunities so that they may thrive in the digital era.

Microsoft will mobilize the entire nation’s efforts and promote more collaboration between the private and public sectors to ensure the resilience of our infrastructure and skills.

Kami Bersama Malaysia.

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