South Korean Government Starts Making Preparations for Digital Transformation

Oct 30, 2019

South Korea’s e-Government had boasted world’s best system by being placed first during UN’s e-Government evaluation, which takes place every other year, three times in a row starting from 2010. However, limitations of e-Government system are starting to show as digital transformation centered on AI and cloud starts to take place on full-scale. Because South Korea’s e-Government system that is optimized for PC environment lacks ability to respond to mobile environment, many have been pointing out the need for restructuring.
‘Digital government’ surpasses limitations of e-Government and is an important project for South Korean Government that is preparing to start a new transformation. Just like e-Government had played a role of priming water for the growth of IT industry within South Korea in early 2000s, South Korean Government is hoping that ‘digital government’ policy will have a same effect for it become a powerhouse in AI and cloud industries. South Korean Government will take the lead and introduce advanced technologies and it expects that it can be a positive example for private companies and other major countries to carry out their own digital transformation.
◊South Korean Government to implement public smart working environment
Public institutions currently use two desktops for security purpose. Ministry of the Interior and Safety (MOIS) is going to have discussions with National Intelligence Service (NIS) and Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) and push for logical network separation that will replace two PCs with one laptop starting from next year. When that happens, it will be much convenient for public workers to use their computers for work. Virtual PC environment (Device as a Service) will be introduced so that public workers can also work outside. DaaS manages important documents within the cloud and allows workers to download documents by accessing a system through a mobile device and take care of work. Open OS (Operating System) will be introduced to virtual PCs. MOIS and MSIT will be the first departments to apply virtual PC environment and gradually spread virtual PC environment to other departments.
Security wireless network (Wi-Fi) will be set up within public institutions. When wireless network is set up, public workers will be able to leave their fixed seats and enjoy flexible working environment (expected to be enforced starting from 2021). Public workers will be allowed to carry their work laptops outside starting from 2022 and this will vitalize field-based administration and remote collaboration.
Software (SW) for implementing smart working environment will also be introduced. Cloud-based Web Office that allows one to formulate and process documents through an internet browser without having to install separate software will be introduced. This Cloud-based Web Office will be enhanced as it will be connected to various collaborative tools such as messenger, video conference, and G Drive. New working environment such as ‘mobile administration’ that allows a public worker to take care of administrative work on the field without having to return back to office will be laid out by the end of the first half of next year.
◊South Korean Government to introduce many new technologies
It is expected that adoption of a cloud service by public institutions will gain momentum. South Korean Government is going to drastically expand range of use of private cloud services. Currently, private cloud services cannot be used for security and investigation, information on privacy impact assessment (PIA), and internal systems of the central government and local governments. MOIS is going to discuss with NIS and MSIT and expand range of use of private cloud services to entire public systems excluding security and investigation and internal systems. Internal office systems can also use private cloud services after going through a discussion with a ministry concerned.
Although South Korean Government has announced its plan to expand adoption of cloud services within the public sector, it has been difficult to actually introduce cloud services to the public sector as a system for contracts has not been established yet. Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF), MSIT, MOIS, and Public Procurement Service (PPS) are going to prepare a ‘digital service contract system’ in 2020. By revising State Contract Act’s sub-law, they are going to prepare a clear basis for introducing cloud services to the public sector. Based on this system, the public sector can choose information necessary for a contract for using a cloud service and sign a contract with a private company. A guideline for calculating the cost of using a software (SW) company will be revised sometime during the first half of 2020, and a standard for calculating the price of introducing innovative digital services such as the cloud will be prepared. Ministries are going to prepare a digital marketplace (distribution platform) so that infrastructures to software can be purchased freely.
South Korean Government is also pushing for a system that will vitalize data economy and it is going to prepare a standard on introducing and using private data (credit card information) within the public domain in 2020. It is going to define how private data should be collected and provided and prepare an appropriate cost for providing private data and induce purchase and use of private data within the public sector.
After carrying out a complete enumeration last year, MOIS saw that the number of public data was 419,525 and that only 6.8% was opened to the private sector. South Korean Government is going to convert public data that has high usage by the private sector into an open API (Application Programming Interface). It is going to open various measured and observed data from weather, environment, traffic, and safety as well as data that will support the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies such as autonomous-driving and smart city. It is also going to make personal information that has high public value anonymous and open such personal information as a sample database.
It is expected that relevant markets will also grow at the same time as South Korean Government applies various technologies in various areas.
“When South Korean Government established e-Government in early 2000s, industries grew at the same time and other foreign countries also started to adopt e-government.” said Chairman Park Jin-guk of Korea IT Service Industry Association. “We hope South Korean Government to create references at the same time as other countries that are preparing for digital transformation and we expect our government to create a positive example once again by spreading digital transformation to many major countries.”
Staff Reporter Kim, Jiseon | river@etnews.com

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