Helping Businesses Take A Digital Leap (VIDEO)

Assistant Chief Executive Jane Lim of the Infocomm Media Development Authority provides businesses in Singapore with the tools needed to kickstart their digital journeys.

AsianScientist (Nov. 6, 2020) – Nearly a year into the coronavirus pandemic, and it seems like most of the world has become used to the new normal. While border restrictions and public health protocols are still in place, digital tools like the now-ubiquitous Zoom and QR codes have allowed life to go on as usual. In fact, according to McKinsey, COVID-19 has fast-tracked digitalization by at least five years. Digitalization, however, is easier said than done.

Even in leading technology capitals like Singapore, some businesses are hesitant to go digital. For the past few years, annual surveys have shown that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) based in the city-state continue to resist digitalization due to the perceived high costs. As the Assistant Chief Executive for Sectoral Transformation of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), it’s Ms. Jane Lim’s responsibility to encourage businesses in Singapore to finally take that digital leap.

“We help companies of all sizes, whether they are SMEs looking to take their first digital steps or larger companies seeking to be digital champions,” explained Lim.

Her group is particularly interested in SMEs for several reasons. SMEs not only employ two-thirds of the local workforce, but also account for nearly half of Singapore’s GDP. However, as Lim pointed out, such companies often lack dedicated IT departments.

In hopes of making digitalization more accessible to SMEs, Lim and her colleagues at IMDA’s Sectoral Transformation Group run a national initiative aptly called SMEs Go Digital.

“We provide step-by-step guides to SMEs to help them identify suitable digital solutions,” she said.

Her team ensures that SMEs are continuously supported throughout their digital journeys by pre-approving digital solutions and even lowering the cost of adopting such solutions through grants.

Now, Lim is setting her sights on 5G. Similar to how 3G introduced the world to on-the-go Internet browsing and 4G enabled the rise of smartphones, Lim is excited for 5G to unlock new possibilities in frontier technologies like the Internet of Things and virtual reality.

“Singapore is on track to have two nationwide networks with full-fledged 5G capabilities by 2025,” she shared. “We’re developing a vibrant 5G ecosystem to help companies realize the commercial possibilities of the technology. This will create more innovation and job opportunities, as well as position Singapore as an international digital metropolis.”

Aside from her day job of driving digital transformation in various sectors, Lim is also a passionate advocate for gender diversity in technology. In Singapore, women in technology are a rare breed, with only 30 percent of infocomm media roles occupied by women. Given the anticipated boom in tech opportunities due to digitalization, Lim is keen to introduce more women into the pipeline of talent.

To achieve this, the Singapore Women in Tech initiative was launched in 2019 along with industry, government and community partners to attract, retain as well as develop talented women in the tech workforce. As a pioneering woman in tech herself, Lim was recently recognized on the inaugural Singapore 100 Women in Tech list for her contributions in developing Singapore’s digital economy.

Though it’s only been two years since Lim joined IMDA, she’s certainly made a big impact in a short amount of time. Amidst all the rapid technological changes, Lim is determined to ensure that everyone has a place in the digital future.

“If we were to fast-forward to the next decade, I would imagine that our lives would be very different,” Lim said. “The only constant is going to be change. We will need to be agile, bold, curious and make sure no one is left behind.”


Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

A molecular biologist by training, Kami Navarro left the sterile walls of the laboratory to pursue a Master of Science Communication from the Australian National University. Kami is the former science editor at Asian Scientist Magazine.

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