Revolutionising Defence with Digitalisation

25 May 2023

Let’s get digital! Our Digital Factory and the team of technologists behind it were recognised for their continued excellence in innovation and digitalisation at the Singapore Business Review Technology Excellence Awards 2023.

Held on 25 May 2023, the award ceremony is a prestigious awards programme for technological innovations, recognising exceptional companies in Singapore that are riding the digital disruption wave and leading the technological revolution and digital journeys of their respective industries. The team received the Digital – Non-Profit or Government Organizations Award.

Hear from the team on how they innovated to transform the way we collaborate and drive business transformation with this smart workplace!

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The DSTA team, joined by Deputy Chief Executive (Information) Gayle Chan (fourth from left), at the awards ceremony.

Tell us more about DSTA’s Digital Factory.

Director (Digital Factory) Koh Jin Hou: The Digital Factory is a set-up that provides an open collaborative environment for industry experts and technologists to experiment with commercial tech and scale prototypes to products in the shortest time possible.

We developed it with three key features in mind.

First, the Digital Factory has a vibrant environment that encourages users and developers to come together to collaborate and co-create digital solutions.

Second, it’s about partnerships. We don’t want to just do ad-hoc engagements with academic experts and industry players. Instead, we used Digital Factory to form a community that includes them, so that we can facilitate a greater exchange of ideas and perspectives to further our tech build-up.

Third, we implemented tech platforms within the Digital Factory to support product teams, so that they can be more efficient and focus on their product development.

This ecosystem approach we took for the Digital Factory allows people, processes, policies, and technology to converge and achieve the best results in our journey to accelerate digitalisation.

How did the Digital Factory come about?

Jin Hou: Across the world, we have seen how digitalisation can be the key to business transformation. Therefore, we are always looking for new ways to digitalise and innovate, while tapping tech to transform defence and security.

At the same time, we also noticed that NSmen are becoming increasingly tech-savvy. We need to transform and digitalise our solutions to ensure that they continue to be intuitive and useful for the new generations of NSmen.

The motivation to innovate through digitalisation and the need for more user-centric solutions that would suit today’s NSmen prompted us to develop the Digital Factory.

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How does the Digital Factory enable agile development?

Jin Hou: Every digital initiative that comes through the Digital Factory is funnelled through an innovation lifecycle, from pilot to full-scale development. We adopt industry best practices such as design thinking to enable business process re-engineering, while also applying agile methodologies in the development cycle.

Concurrently, to support the whole lifecycle, we built an underlying digital highway packed with tech platforms and established processes. This approach enables a faster time to market, and allows us to better respond to user requirements and refine the product iteratively.

What do you think is the key to Digital Factory’s success?

Head (Cloud Common Services) Ng Boon Wee: It’s definitely the team’s shared vision with our partners: to drive collaboration and business transformation. In some ways, you could say that the Digital Factory is the physical embodiment of this vision. We work together and tap each other’s expertise to strive for excellence and co-create the best digital solutions we can.

How does your team feel about winning the award?

Boon Wee: We are immensely grateful for the award, and it is a recognition of our efforts and work. It motivates our team to continue empowering each other to contribute in our own area of expertise, and as a team, to push for greater innovations through the Digital Factory.

Jin Hou: We are extremely honoured to win the SBR Technology Excellence Awards, and it is an affirmation of our efforts in enhancing MINDEF and the SAF’s digitalisation journeys. It also encourages us to continue exploring new and different approaches. We look forward to more opportunities to collaborate with our partners and create more exciting innovations!

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