SME Go Digital Program has been the focus of discussion for many technology vendors and solution providers. It is an effort by Singapore to spearhead the digital transformation efforts for Small and Medium Enterprises (“SME”).

Launched in April 2017, IMDA aims to enhance the digital readiness of SME by providing subsidies for their digital purchases. This scheme is meant to replace the seven-year-old iSprint scheme and Innovation and Capability Voucher (“ICV”) for Integrated Solutions.

On a side note, ICV has been extended to 31 December 2017. However, we notice that many providers have been taken off the list and the application check has become more stringent.

In this article, we would like to share some key takeaways from last Friday’s session.

More transparent but stringent approval process

One of the biggest barriers for solution provider is the lack of clarity on the pre-approval process. However, transparency could also result in more complaints and less flexibility for the government agency.

However, IMDA mentioned that the team is ready to take this risk and be transparent about their pre-approval process. While feedback could be expected, they will take them positively and use it to improve the internal process.

The solutions will be evaluated based on SME’s requirements, user friendliness, and price affordability. Unlike current schemes, the accreditation will only be valid for a year. The bar will be set higher over time, and present board-based criteria would be further refined. However, IMDA will give ample time for the solution providers to adapt to the requirements.

SME Digital Tech Hub

ASME has been awarded the operator rights for SME Digital Tech Hub. In partnership with IMDA, it will provide more specific advice for SMEs with more advanced technology needs.

Advisors at Tech Hub will help to diagnose their business needs, prescribe the right solution and guide them on the implementation. This approach could smoothen SMEs’ transition to adopting the technology.

The Tech Hub is expected to be launched later this year.

Focus areas – Cyber-security, Personal Data Protection and Data

Cyber-security, data analytics, and personal data protection are three priority areas mentioned during the briefing.

As part of Singapore’s push towards advanced manufacturing and a digital economy, these focus areas will be increasingly important. Critical systems will have to be protected as the country embarked on our digital transformation journey.

Data is also a key focus as we strive to be more data-informed. We need use these data to make critical decisions and remain a competitive edge. However, with more data collected, this also explains the growing importance of personal data protection.

Industry Transformation Map

IMDA will work closely with industry leaders to develop Industry Digital Plans (“ICP”). This ICP will be aligned to the Industry Transformation Maps (“ITM”). Industry consultations will be held with industry players and solution providers.

Two industry consultation sessions have been announced during the briefing:
Logistics: “A Nationwide Federated Locker network transforming the future of last mile deliveries in Singapore” – 16 August 2017 (Wednesday)
Retail: “Emerging digital technologies and innovations for the Retail Industry” – 18 August 2017 / 25 August 2017 (Friday)

The sessions will be by invitation only.

Digital platform

Data-driven innovation and artificial intelligence have been identified as the key growth enablers for companies and Singapore economy. IMDA has also called for submission for a commercially managed digital platform that will drive the adoption of these technologies.

The call for submission document can be requested on IMDA website. The deadline for pre-qualification proposals will be on 8 September 2017, 12 pm.

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