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Singapore’s HDB takes initial steps into social media and mobile apps

Jack Loo | March 29, 2012
HDB’s IT director notes that one in four visitors to the corporate website access it via mobile devices.

Mobile apps and social media apps remain a fairly new area for government agencies to explore. But many are looking at how these two can be used to engage citizens. Computerworld Singapore speaks to CIO Award winner Leong Chin Yew, director, information services, Information Services Department, Housing & Development Board (HDB), on his organisation's approach and initiatives.

HDB Leong Chin Yew

1) Would you say that social media tools and mobile apps are the new form of e-government?

The increasing penetration of social media tools and mobile apps into our daily lives has definitely led to increased consideration for government agencies, including HDB, to engage its citizens through non-traditional platforms. In particular, the prevalence of social media and mobile apps has picked up speed following the arrival of smartphones in 2007.

Coupled with the growing availability of free public wi-fi and 3G network in Singapore, the need for information and enhanced communication while on the go has resulted in greater efforts taken by the government to embrace the concept of e-government and e-governance. It would be mutually beneficial for governments to try to go where the customer touch points are.

We have also noted that one in four of those who visit our corporate website (HDB InfoWEB) do so via mobile platforms, thus giving us the impetus to embrace and leverage mobile apps to increase our reach and customer touch points

2) And how do these solutions compare to the traditional Singpass-password powered Web portals? Do you see the Web portals being replaced by the tools and apps?

Different tools serve different needs. On one hand, social media tools and mobile apps serve to fulfill the demands of our customers while on the go. On the other, Web portals provide users with high depth of information and security (in the form of secured access) that mobile platforms and apps are perceived to lack.

Depending on the need and requirement of the customer, the two will complement each other to provide a complete and holistic suite of information and services for the population.

3) Can you describe your social media strategy?

Social media is relatively new ground for government agencies, unlike mainstream media engagement. We are scaling up in baby steps our engagement so that our presence on social media can evolve smoothly. Currently, our corporate website, HDB InfoWEB, is equipped with social sharing tools, making it easier for visitors to share the required information on various social media platforms. We also tweet selected HDB-related news and information via our corporate Twitter account (HDB.sg) on a regular basis.

4) How do you measure your strategy?

 

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