Nearly 9 in 10 (86 percent) government agencies in Singapore have made significant structural changes to their workforce in order to implement emerging technologies.
The top three emerging technologies piloted or implemented by the republic are biometrics (68 percent), machine learning (57 percent), and advanced analytics/ predictive modeling (56 percent).
These findings are part of Accenture's Emerging Technologies in Public Service report, which polled 774 public service technology professionals from Singapore, Japan, Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, UK and U.S.
The report also found that the primary objective when considering intelligent technologies is to transform the experience of citizens and employees. For instance, 48 percent of those who deployed advanced analytics and predictive modeling said the move aims to improve and support the work of their employees.
Globally, public service technology professionals said emerging technologies will augment existing roles instead of replacing them. Since intelligent technologies can automate repetitive tasks and enable other processes to be more aligned to citizens' direct needs, 80 percent of the respondents believe such technologies can help improve employees' job satisfaction and aid staff retention.
According to Accenture, 89 percent of the respondents globally expect a return from their investments in intelligent technology within two years. Investments in some areas have already shown results: 51 percent of those piloting or implementing emerging technologies said the technologies have helped them develop new services and applications. Half of them also said those technologies have enabled them to automate processes, thus improving their efficiency.
Hurdles to implementing intelligent technologies
Legacy systems, lack of leadership support or understanding of potential, and lack of internal skills or ability to hire were cited as the top barriers to implementing intelligent technologies.
Respondents said that even though senior management are often willing to support the deployment of emerging technologies (83 percent), their lack of understanding of the benefits and implementation challenges can delay the implementation process. As such, senior leaders need to be educated on the potential applications and bottom-line benefits to speed up the adoption of intelligent technologies, according to Accenture.
More than half (60 percent) of the respondents across the nine countries said that they need to reskill existing employees in order to implement projects using emerging technologies.
Specific to Singapore, respondents said they are currently looking for professionals with the Internet of Things (21 percent), video analytics (29 percent) and biometrics / identity analytics (21 percent) skills. Fifty-four percent of them will also be hunting for machine learning specialists in future.
Globally, intelligent process automation is cited most frequently (60 percent) as the skill most likely to address technological and data skills shortages.
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