Big data panel to direct country's digital transition

Big data panel to direct country's digital transition

Mr Pichet says all 20 ministries will be tasked with channelling data into a centralised system.
Mr Pichet says all 20 ministries will be tasked with channelling data into a centralised system.

The government has set up a committee for big data, data centres and cloud computing to steer all 20 ministries through the state-led digital transformation.

The move is to help the government handle the abundant data generated by state agencies, achieve optimal benefit in government decision-making and ensure the success of the country's digital shift under the Thailand 4.0 roadmap.

According to Pichet Durongkaveroj, the digital economy and society minister, the government will collate all data sets from state agencies into a centralised big data management system.

"When it is fully implemented, it will automatically reduce the operating costs of those agencies and weaken corruption, as the public can monitor the information of any projects they are interested in through the open data channel," Mr Pichet said.

Under the working structure of the committee approved by the prime minister last week, Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong will serve as chairman and Mr Pichet as vice-chairman.

Committee members will include the permanent secretaries of the 20 ministries, the National Economic and Social Development Board and the Electronic Government Agency.

Mr Pichet said all 20 ministries will be assigned by the committee to work on three main subjects: checking lists of their data sets, identifying data sets and defining focal points of usage for public benefit.

"Today, most data sets of state units in the country are traditional and unstructured, so it is a big challenge to shape them into electronic data in the course of a digital ecosystem," he said.

In addition, all 20 ministries have to act as tech startups in creating practical ways to develop services beneficial to users.

The first three assigned subjects for all ministries will eventually lead to data analytic processes, Mr Pichet said.

The data analytics system can help state agencies create a connected industry ecosystem, enabling them to address the right polices. It also becomes a tool to help the private sector invest and make strategic business decisions based on the data.

"Setting up the committee is a core part to drive the digital government transformation through three significant types of soft infrastructure, including big data, data centres and cloud computing," Mr Pichet said.

This soft infrastructure will link industries across different sectors and services as the digital transformation proceeds.

Mr Pichet insisted that the transformation would move fast, enabling public benefit from better services by the end of 2018.

Moreover, the committee will oversee the formation of a central data centre and central cloud computing complex this year.

It's too early to define exactly which agency will be responsible for the new data centre management because of the variety of data sets, Mr Pichet said.

The government has classified all state data into three categories: sensitive or national security data (8%), important data (60%) and general data (32%).

The sensitive and important data of the state agencies will be handled by the state agencies, while the general data can be arranged by the private sector through an outsourcing model.

Sak Segkhoonthod, president and chief executive of the Electronic Government Agency, said the government's urgent mission is to drive state agencies to develop digital content and services platforms to capture real consumer demand.

"Thai users access only 5% of websites of state agencies, compared with their overall access of content on digital platforms," Mr Sak said.

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