More digital support for Singapore business. Source: Shutterstock

More digital support for Singapore business. Source: Shutterstock

Singapore announces new digital transformation initiatives

DIGITAL has always been a priority for Singapore. However, the government understands that new and young companies might struggle with building a digital infrastructure aligned to the country’s larger goal.

To help such companies, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore have just announced a new project dubbed Start Digital — an initiative of the ‘SMEs Go Digital’ programme.

Start Digital will enable new SMEs to get a head start with two foundational digital solutions, with costs waived for a minimum of six months, to accelerate growth and scalability.

New SMEs can select any two free foundational digital solutions from five categories of core business functions:

  1. Accounting
  2. Human Resource Management System & Payroll
  3. Digital Marketing
  4. Digital Transactions, and
  5. Cybersecurity.

The SMEs will need to commit to a minimum period of 18 months, with costs waived for the first six months and priced affordably for the remaining period. They can approach DBS, Maybank, OCBC, Singtel, StarHub, or UOB to take up the Start Digital pack.

“A digital-first mindset is essential for businesses that want to stay relevant and competitive in the Digital Economy. I am heartened to see the industry coming together to offer innovative digital solutions to help our businesses on their digital transformation journey,” said IMDA Chief Executive Tan Kiat How.

Two other initiatives announced alongside the Start Digital program to accelerate the digital transformation journey of businesses in the country are:

# 1 | Nationwide E-Invoicing Network

In May 2018, IMDA became the first National Authority outside of Europe to join OpenPEPPOL.

Over the next few months, necessary infrastructure to implement the Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line (PEPPOL) e-invoicing standard have been created and the network is now live.

Companies in Singapore can now start exchanging e-invoices via the network with other similarly-connected parties, boosting productivity and ensuring faster payment collection cycles.

To encourage early adoption, support is being provided to companies in the private sector as well as to key government agencies — all to ensure a smooth transition to the new network.

This initiative not only seeks to help local businesses rapidly climb the digital maturity curve but also showcases Singapore’s ability drive digital projects quickly and seamlessly.

“With IMDA as the first PEPPOL Authority outside of Europe, the official launch of the PEPPOL eDelivery Network in Singapore is a big milestone for OpenPEPPOL.

“We appreciate that Singapore now serves as an example for other countries outside of Europe that are considering strategies to support domestic and cross-border E-Invoicing,” said OpenPEPPOL Secretary General André Hoddevik.

# 2 | Data Protection Trustmark (DPTM)

IMDA and the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) launched the Data Protection Trustmark (DPTM) to help organizations, including SMEs, build consumer confidence in their data protection policies and practices, thus enhancing business competitiveness.

Data Protection Trustmark logo. Source: IMDA

Data Protection Trustmark logo. Source: IMDA

According to IMDA, DPTM will be a visible indicator that an organization adopts transparent and accountable data protection practices, as assessed by independent third parties.

DPTM-certified organizations not only have to demonstrate good practices but also an effective system to monitor and detect incidents, along with ready plans to manage and recover from incidents.

The DPTM is expected to benefit organizations in the following ways:

  • Increases Business Competitiveness: Obtaining the DPTM demonstrates to consumers that an organization has robust data protection policies and practices in place to safeguard their personal data. This will strengthen its reputation, build trust and foster confidence in the business, thereby raising its competitiveness both locally and overseas.
  • Provides Assurance to Customers and Business Partners: Third-party assessment validates an organization’s data protection regime. The DPTM will increase its data governance and protection standards, uncover potential weaknesses and enable the organization to take steps to mitigate risks.

Certification fees associated with DPTM range from SG$500 (US$369) to SG$10,500 (US$7,372), although Enterprise Singapore might support eligible organizations to cover costs for certification and consulting services.