SAP Philippines in talks with LGUs for smart cities

Font Size

By Denise A. Valdez

A GLOBAL provider of enterprise application software is eyeing to tap local government units as a strategy to encourage the national government in starting a digital transformation of its systems.

SAP Philippines Managing Director Edler R. Panlilio said in an Apr. 12 interview they are now talking to local government units as part of developing smart cities in the country.

“We have a smart city initiative, and smart city is more geared towards local government units…. Because (local government units) are the units in government that are more agile to take digital transformation. They will be fastest because mas controlled ‘yung process nila (because their processes are more controlled),” he said.

“[I]f we can transform many of these local government units, our belief is it’s a catalyst for the bigger government to also transform. Kasi when they see that all of these units that we are governing nag-transform na tayo hindi pa (When they see all these local government units have transformed and they still haven’t), they might be forced to do it,” he added.

In its 2017 white paper “Transforming Government for the Digital Era To Improve Citizens’ Lives,” SAP said governments must “radically transform” to enable itself to spur growth in its respective economies.

“Successfully embracing the opportunities from new technologies and implementing the right initiatives will be the foundation of staying competitive and to become more efficient and effective in the future of government,” it said.

The company cited Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, blockchain and augmented reality as concrete examples of emerging technologies the government could tap to improve management of infrastructure, business processes, health-care, and activities such as elections.

It also said the efficient use of data readily available and accessible could be vital in helping leaders come up with informed decisions based on data-driven predictions and simulations.

In the case of the Philippines, Mr. Panlilio said “political will” from the President could be an effective way to drive digital transformation in more government agencies.

“Whether you’re a private organization or you’re a public agency, what’s important in this transformation journey is executive sponsorship. If there’s no executive sponsorship from the top, then nothing will be cascaded down, nothing will fly,” he said.

“What are the outcomes that you want to see? Basic services being rendered in an efficient way. Proper governance of public funds. Proper visibility of every government regulation as it flows down from that agency to citizens. If you want to have improved basic services, then that’s where the transformation within that particular government agency should happen,” he added.