As ASEAN countries transition from being low to middle income countries, ASEAN citizens expect better public services and greater involvement in public services delivery. Public services like electricity, transport, environmental services, healthcare, etc are the basic provisions for the people. Key principles of public service delivery include transparency, citizen participation and accountability. Citizen ownership and experience have become key priorities of public service providers.
Today at AIBP Insights: Powering Data-driven Public Services, we addressed themes in user experience for public services, foundational role of data and cybersecurity in digitalisation and innovation, and partnerships to drive change.
AIBP Insights is a series of discussions held online which brings together a focus group of ASEAN stakeholders to discuss topics related to enterprise technology adoption in the region.
Finalists of the 2021 ASEAN Enterprise Innovation Awards from Alam Flora Sdn Bhd, Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) and Sarawak Energy Berhad also showcased their innovation projects at the session.
The Enterprise Innovation Awards was established in 2017 by AIBP with the key objective of giving recognition to organisations who have embarked on projects to digitally transform their business through the adoption of innovative technology. The awards are held annually for ASEAN countries; Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
User experience in public services
With their core business in providing public services like electricity, waste management, water services, et cetera, utilities and public services providers have been focused on enhancing customer experience in addition to maximising operational efficiency.
MERALCO has initiated customer centricity transformation powered by technology and tradition. According to Julius Perry Dominguez, Head, Innovation Lab, MERALCO, the electric utility provider’s customer-centricity framework requires holistic transformation for the customer and for business operations and processes. Likewise at Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB), modernising their core business involves operational, network and customer service excellence.
Technology like AI and automation will support customer service capabilities like chatbots and customer applications, billing and transactions.
To minimise service disruptions, MERALCO and SEB have both adopted technologies like data analytics, smart metering and remote monitoring detects outages, power theft, and allows predictive management of distribution lines.
Foundational role of data and cybersecurity in digitalisation and innovation
The data strategy was highlighted by both power providers SEB and MERACLO, as well as environmental management service provider Alam Flora. Sim Ko Sin, Senior Vice President, Information & Communications Technology, Sarawak Energy Berhad, mentioned the use of data as a strategic asset, although ensuring the cleanliness of data is something the organisation will have to work on. At MERALCO, a data management team works to ensure data governance, and an operational dashboard will give top management teams visibility of organisational data.
Helme Mohd Yusop, Manager, Digitalisation Department, Alam Flora Sdn Bhd, shared how spatial data is obtained from geographic information system (GIS) mapping to track inventory and assets, as well as to optimise operations. Helme also mentioned how digital solutions are developed in-house, and Alam Flora is able to innovate and make adjustments based on their business requirements. Data will also be a key enabler for Alam Flora’s digital journey towards artificial intelligence by 2025.
Partnerships to drive change
Two key areas of collaboration were mentioned at the session – the role of public utilities in smart cities and collaboration among public utilities.
Perry mentioned that, as an electric power distributor, MERALCO will play a role in enabling the creation of smart cities in the Philippines. Public utilities providers will have to work closely with the government and adjacent services to provide the best public service delivery.
Smart metering, for example, is considered one of the smart city components. As mentioned by Michelle Fam, Digital Innovation Team Lead, Sarawak Energy Berhad, smart grids enable distribution automation and remote operation. SEB’s target is to have distribution automation in 50% of their substations by 2025. In addition, Ko Sin mentioned that remote monitoring and diagnostics are fairly new areas of digital transformation for their industry, and that collaboration and knowledge exchanges among utilities to share industry best practices will be helpful.
We are into the last week of our AIBP Insights series, where we will host focus groups on enterprise digitalisation in ASEAN featuring enterprises from the region.
Feel free to drop us a message if you would like to view the full session replay, or if you wish to find out more about upcoming focus groups!
22 November 2021