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Government e-services to be created more quickly, cheaply with common suite of software tools: PM Lee

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App developers across government agencies will be able to create e-services more quickly and cheaply with the introduction of a suite of common software tools to develop apps.

APP developers across government agencies will be able to create e-services more quickly and cheaply with the introduction of a suite of common software tools to develop apps.

Government systems will be also moved to the cloud over the next few years to benefit from economies of scale.

Announcing these moves on Tuesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said: "We will fundamentally transform how we develop government software and applications."

Government agencies need not have their own online licensing processes or web forms in the future, he said at the inaugural Stack 2018 Developer Conference organised by the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech).

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By tapping the Singapore Government Technology Stack (SGTS) - a suite of common software components used in application development that will be rolled out to government agencies progressively this year - developers will be able to create e-services much faster and at a fraction of the cost.

"Instead of every agency building their own bespoke website, at great expense, and often repeating the same coding errors and bugs, we can do it more efficiently, and get better results, by reusing technologies," said Mr Lee at the event at Suntec Convention Centre.

He also spoke about the need to revamp the Government's IT infrastructure to benefit from new technologies such as cloud-based systems. For instance, systems can operate round the clock without having to provide for expensive dedicated backups and standbys.

Today, nearly all government IT systems are located on site as they were built years ago when cloud systems did not exist. But over the next few years, the Government will start to migrate some systems onto the cloud.

"We have done a preliminary study, and concluded that many government systems can in principle exist in the commercial cloud," he said.

For systems that cannot go onto the commercial cloud, the Government will have to design and build its own government cloud so agencies can share resources and benefit from economies of scale.

Mr Lee acknowledged the risk of rising cyber security threats and internal weaknesses and lapses that led to the country's worst data breach,involving the theft of 1.5 million SingHealth outpatient medication and personal records in June.

"It was a harsh reminder that cyberspace is not a benign environment, and we have to do much better in keeping our IT systems and data safe and secure," said Mr Lee.

"We have to improve and put these right. We have to train up our people, institute robust processes, inculcate the right mindsets, and enforce accountability," he added.

THE STRAITS TIMES