Building Digital Capabilities within Our Army

Building Digital Capabilities within Our Army

"Continuous innovation is the only way to stay relevant." To further enhance Our Army's efficiency and productivity in this ever-evolving digital landscape, it is imperative for us to continue harnessing new technologies. With this mentality, the Army Mobile App Team from Headquarters (HQ) Signals and Command Systems took part in a two-week attachment with the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech), an organisation that plays a vital role in making Singapore's Smart Nation vision a reality.

During the attachment, the Army Mobile App Team had the privilege of visiting GovTech to understand more about the methodologies of software development, design research and engineering. The team also experienced first-hand, how GovTech conducts design research and learnt how the organisation manages their teams and projects.

Sharing by Mr Samuel Loh

Mr Samuel Loh from GovTech sharing with the Army Mobile App Team on how they conduct design research and manage their teams and projects.

Mr Samuel Loh, software engineer from GovTech, is optimistic about the use of technology to enhance operations within Our Army. "Just as GovTech seeks to build technology to improve Singapore citizens' engagement with their government and various agency functions, the Army can use technology, for example, to build applications that improve the experience of our NSmen and Regulars. I'm sure, with freedom to innovate, commanders and troops will have the tools to simplify tedious tasks and focus on more pressing matters." shared by Mr Samuel.  

Curious to learn more about the Army Mobile App Team which develops apps for Our Army, we spoke to LTA Pang Shi Hui Rachel, LCP Ong Li Han and LCP Tay Jonathan from the team about their journey so far, and how they plan to utilise the knowledge gained during the attachment to enhance Our Army’s operations.

How do you think this attachment will help Our Army in developing digital capabilities? 

LTA Rachel: During the attachment, we were exposed to different tools, technologies and techniques which helped us to better undertake and deliver higher quality digital products. We hope to eventually implement the methodologies that we learnt here, as well as some of the project management tools, research and product testing methods that our facilitator introduced to us. At the same time, the experience here shed light on many areas and processes that we need to tighten during the various stages of our product development. 

LCP Jonathan: I think this attachment really helped our team to gain insights into certain business processes and tools, thereby facilitating our own software development to better serve stakeholders and end users. Our team hopes to learn how to contextualise the business processes employed in GovTech to Our Army.

LCP Li Han: We were introduced to the Agile Project Management, a framework used by GovTech to foster innovation and improve efficiency. The GovTech engineers also shared with us how we can adopt the use of Agile Project Management in Our Army.

How did your team get the inspiration to create apps to enhance productivity and efficiency?

LTA Rachel: A large part of it is by putting ourselves in the shoes of fellow soldiers, and from there brainstorm and identify pain points that we usually face. We then pool our ideas, run these ideas through with others outside of the team and take their feedback into account. When we head down to each formation and division, we also take the chance to promote adoption of the new apps and encourage ground-up initiatives.

LCP Li Han: Units sometimes approach us with ideas that they have, we will then assess the potential of the idea and come up with ways to develop it further. If possible, we hope to develop apps that can be proliferated across different formations and services. 

How do you feel, being part of the team that develops digital capabilities for Our Army? What have you learnt from this experience personally?

LTA Rachel: The experience here was nerve-racking yet exhilarating. As we progressed further into the project, the more it opened up our world to other possibilities and challenges that we aim to overcome together. I find it a privilege that we are pioneers of the digital wave sweeping the SAF, paving the way for the future and developing more exciting products. 

LCP Li Han: I'm proud to be able to fulfill my duty to Singapore, and I feel especially privileged to be able to do so by being part of this team, as I am quite passionate about technology. Personally, I learnt a lot from this experience, and it was an eye-opener how organisations are changing their traditional workflows to create a conducive environment that fosters creativity and innovation.

LCP Jonathan: I feel quite fortunate to be part of the whole Army's move towards digital innovation. Personally, I've gained a lot of knowledge in various aspects, such as technical skills in coding and software development, as well as design and even communication skills in trying to manage both users and stakeholders' expectations.

Group photo of GovTech with Our Army

This endeavour is only a small piece of Our Army's move towards digital innovation. With insights that the team has gained from the attachment, we are confident that Our Army will be able to deliver higher quality digital products, thereby enhancing efficiency and streamlining processes.

Written by: LCP Gordon Goh
Photography by: PTE Felix Lai