We chatted with Mr Philip Heah, Chair of SGTech’s newest Committee – the Digital Trust Committee. Philip is the CEO of Credence Lab.
The Digital Trust Committee was recently launched on 8 September 2021, witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.
Philip: Trust in data is a growing trend and an issue that will impact organisations.
When we talk about data trust, we want to see it more broadly, as an effort by Singapore and the region.
We have more than 7,000 MNCs based in Singapore. Many are looking at imbuing digital trust in their regional operations. We can better help these MNCs and our local companies who have gone regional if we can enable their trust factor to be recognised regionally.
Digital trust can create business opportunities for our industry. The industry can take an active role to lead this effort. Rather than wait for the government to take action from the regulatory standpoint, collectively we can create the conditions that facilitate this development.
Philip: Every country is setting their own rules for data privacy and trust. This will create challenges for consistent implementation across the region. SGTech can pull together regional industry players to collectively respond to the challenges with common models of assessments of trust and in best practices.
Companies can also create products and services that enable companies to comply with data regulations. In addition to the categories of enterprise software applications such as CRM and ERP, applications that support Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) are a growing area of need in the market. SGTech can encourage our members to develop products and services to help enterprises meet their GRC obligations.
Another role we can play is to educate consumers and enterprises about consumer rights with respect to data. Many enterprises are still unaware that consumer rights are written and protected under the law. If a customer asks if his data has been collected, they are legally obliged to reply and provide access to the information. This can form a potential digital divide. Through public education, we hope to reduce the gap.
Philip: Many companies are struggling to comply with the law, while innovating to create products and services to meet the needs of their customers. Although compliance represents a business cost, eventually companies must prove to customers, business partners and regulators that their processes, data governance and data protection practices are sound, in order to stay in business.
Philip: The topic of data trust and protection has been talked about for more than eight years. I see awareness of data trust now at a point of inflection especially with the major amendments to the Personal Data Protection Act last year, with new obligations introduced and penalties enhanced.
Whilst compliance is challenging and hits the bottom line, it also creates new business opportunities. We must catch this window of opportunity to be the first movers if we want to make Singapore and the region a key node for global digital trust. If the industry can take action collectively, the rewards can be significant – especially in exporting our expertise, products and services; and most importantly our enterprises are known globally for data trust.
Philip: There are opportunities that the industry can explore and lead. I’m delighted that several proactive leaders in forward-looking organisations have stepped forward to take the lead together.
The Executive Committee of the Digital Trust Committee includes the following members:
To better coordinate between industry and the government, a representative from IMDA will also participate as an observer in our committee.
The opportunity to be the first mover comes with its challenges. We are venturing into the unknown, and yet, we have to move fast. As such we are forming a team of prominent business leaders, which will form the Digital Trust Council, to advise the Digital Trust Committee. The perspectives of these experienced leaders can help guide the Committee and ensure that our ideas are coherent and represent the diversity of needs across the industry and market.
The founding Digital Trust Council comprises the following business leaders:
We are honoured to have the Minister of State for the Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry for National Development, Mr Tan Kiat How, as the Patron for the Digital Trust Committee.
We want to encourage IT associations in other countries to join our movement. To extend the outreach into the region, we will broaden our collaboration with SGTech’s existing participation in the Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organisation (ASOCIO) and discuss how we include digital trust in their upcoming work plans.
We are looking for like-minded leaders to lean forward. So please contact us to part of this exciting journey ahead of us.