Govt making it easier for SMEs to adopt data analytics and AI: Yaacob


THE government is addressing barriers to get local companies to adopt technologies such as data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), said Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim in Parliament on Tuesday.

A study by the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) showed that about a third of businesses have not adopted data analytics and 80 per cent have not adopted AI, due to factors such as a lack of awareness or expertise, or concern about breaching data protection regulations.

Dr Yaacob said: "We are making it easier for SMEs to deploy such solutions. The SMEs Go Digital programme gives SMEs access to proven digital solutions to grow their businesses. Over time, the Info-Communications Media Development Authority intends to raise the standards of these solutions with new technological capabilities such as AI."

Currently, it provides access to solutions with capabilities such as cybersecurity and data analytics.

Dr Yaacob said it is important to prove to local companies that adopting such technologies will benefit them, such as enhancing profitability.

This was in response to questions from MP Saktiandi Supaat (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC), who asked about the prevalence of local businesses leveraging big data to increase competitiveness as well as the measures that will be introduced to get more local businesses to integrate big data into business strategies.

Dr Yaacob also said efforts are being made to bring companies together to foster partnerships where businesses identify common problems and share data to resolve them.

He added: "We're reviewing regulations on data sharing. There appears to be a misconception among businesses that the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) prohibits the sharing of personal data. This is inaccurate."

The PDPC had in fact released the guide to data sharing on July 27 this year to provide clarity on how businesses can share personal data within and between organisations.