The Singapore government has received another big pat on the back for its continuing efforts to bolster citizen services through digital technology.
The latest Waseda-IAC International E-Government Ranking has placed Singapore right at the pinnacle again, for three consecutive years.
Since the first edition of the study by distinguished academics from Japan's Waseda University and member universities of the International Academy of CIO (IAC) in 2005, Singapore has been rated highly for key factors like network preparedness and e-participation.
In the international arena, the Republic has led the pack in e-government services in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. It took second spot in 2012 and 2014, behind the United States. But now, the US has slipped from second spot in 2016 to third this year.
The latest results show Denmark overtaking US to be in second position, with Japan in 4th. Tiny European nation Estonia, which has built a strong e-government, muscled to the 5th place, ahead of bigger countries like Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, United Kingdom and Taiwan in the Top 10 list.
A key development of the survey for this year's ranking of 65 countries shows its focus shifting from e-government to digital government as the world moves towards digital innovation and digital economies.
EMBRACING AI, IOT
The survey also observed the emergence of AI (Artificial Intelligence), IoT (Internet of things) and cloud computing last year, which would have made some impact on the work of digital governments this year.
But it noted that only few countries such as US and Denmark have embraced both AI and IoT to improve their services.
However, there is no letting up for Singapore, which has already identified AI and IoT as well as immersive media and cybersecurity as key areas for further development.
Boasting some of the fastest broadband services and smart digital services that deliver seamless transactions, the Republic has always been held up as a model for connectivity in the digital world.
Demonstrating the government's firm commitment, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, which operates from the Prime Minister's Office, will harness emerging technologies to manage public services of the future.
In a recent Accenture survey, 86 per cent of Singapore's public-sector agencies said they have made important structural changes to their workforce in order to implement new technologies. This figure is far higher than the global average of 40 per cent.
Revealing new initiatives like AI and IoT at Infocomm Media Business Exchange last month (July), Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, gave one important reason for the government wanting to develop a powerful digital economy: "A key priority is ensuring that our people can continue to be gainfully employed."
Now, that's what we call a good...digital government.