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Govt sets its sights on bringing 700 agencies into cloud system

Feb 04. 2015
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By Asina Pornwasin
The Nation

Application programming interface, new chat system also on agenda
The Electronic Government Agency this year will focus on building a complete cloud service, planning to bring 700 government systems into the cloud. 
Sak Segkhoonthod, president and chief executive officer of the EGA, said the agency would expand its cloud services to include infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (Paas), and software as a service (SaaS). It will encourage more government organisations to go on the cloud rather than investing in their own information and communication technology. 
A total of 500 government systems went on the government cloud last year. 
“Currently, there are more than 100 government organisations using the EGA’s IaaS cloud services,” Sak said.
He added that the EGA would promote its PaaS service, the Government API (application programming interface). The aim is to encourage more government organisations to use smart national identity cards to provide seamless and paperless services for people. So far, only a few government organisations are benefiting from the Government API service, including the Social Security Office, the National Health Security Office, and the Department of Provincial Administration. 
“We will encourage more government organisations to use Government API to provide services so people do not need to copy their national ID cards in paper form,” Sak said.
He said the EGA wanted to get those agencies that have a lot of services or have to provide services to a lot of people, such as the ministries of Labour, Public Health and Education, to get on to this system. This would allow the introduction of more innovative services that people could use easily and conveniently, saving time and effort.
The direct benefits of the Government API service include lower costs of operations and investment, while reducing the chances of human error.
The agency this year will also expand its SaaS services. It will work with the Software Industry Promotion Agency (Sipa) and Software Park Thailand to build up the software on the government cloud system. 
“We aim to get 12 main systems on the government cloud. We will work with Sipa and Software Park to get more software vendors to develop these kinds of software for the government on the cloud. The potential users include 400 government departments, 30,000 schools, 7,000 district administration organisations, and 800 [state] hospitals,” Sak said.
The EGA also plans to build up the government app centre, where government mobile applications are available for people. The EGA’s role is to encourage government organisations to develop mobile apps for their services. Sak said that as more and more Thais get smartphones, state organisations should make it easier for people to access their services via their mobile phones. 
Mobile apps are the most attractive choice.
The EGA is also launching an “access channel” platform to allow people to get government services easily anywhere and on any device. 
“We have many kinds of access channels [for the government’s services] including an e-portal site, the government app centre, kiosks, and a smart box,” Sak said.
Moreover, by April, the EGA will launch a mobile chat application for the government. It will work something like Line, but will be specifically designed as an official communication channel for state agencies.
“Around 2 million government officers are in the targeted group for this chat app. They are already familiar with such apps and use them as communication channels for their tasks. We will have an official chat app for their purposes. This app will be on the government cloud as well.” 
Meanwhile, the EGA this year will expand the Government Information Network to reach 3,500 agencies, up from 2,900 last year. 
“Last year, the EGA’s services were able to help the government save Bt700 million in technology expenditure. Besides helping the government save money, we also aim to make its services as easily accessible for people throughout the country,” Sak said.

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