Speeding Up National Digital Transformation

11:36:05 AM | 2/4/2021

In the past year, social awareness of digital transformation has changed dramatically. Some priority areas in digital transformation have made a strong start. Vietnam is also one of the countries that has employed the Digital Transformation Program, on par with advanced countries in the world. Our reporter has an interview with Mr. Do Cong Anh, Deputy Director of the Authority of the Information Technology Application (AITA) under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), in this regard. Thu Ha reports.


2020 was considered the year of national digital transformation, a strong starting year of digital transformation toward a digital Vietnam, with the Covid-19 pandemic seen as a centenary boost. What do you think about this statement?

As we know, on June 3, 2020, the Prime Minister signed Decision 749/QD-TTg approving the National Digital Transformation Program to 2025, with a vision to 2030. To date, five ministries and more than 30 provinces and cities have issued digital transformation programs and plans. The remaining ministries, branches and localities are also drafting their digital transformation programs and plans.

In 2020, some priority areas of digital transformation made a strong start. The health sector deployed more than 1,500 remotely connected clinics and applied medical management software in 12,000 clinics. The education and training sector had databases of 53,000 schools, 1.4 million teachers and 23 million students. 80% of students joined online learning during the raging time of the Covid-19 pandemic.

2020 was also the year when many important platforms for digital transformation were formed and launched: 38 “Make in Vietnam” digital transformation platforms were launched in a variety of fields (Government, healthcare, education, tourism and commerce); 14 platforms won the Make in Vietnam Award and three platforms won the Viet Solutions Competition.

The digital transformation needed a strong push and the Covid-19 pandemic served the purpose. The Covid-19 pandemic posed substantial challenges when many activities were delayed. But, Covid-19 represented a rare opportunity to accelerate digital transformation. In the context of the complicated Covid-19 development, we provided online public services of Category 4 to reduce physical contacts. We deployed information technology applications for the prevention and control of Covid-19. Currently, there are more than 20 information technology (IT) applications and systems officially used for Covid-19 pandemic prevention and control. Vietnam is one of the countries taking the lead in applying IT to universal pandemic prevention. Typical applications include two medical declaration applications, including NCOVI for Vietnamese people and Vietnam Health Declaration for people entering Vietnam; and Bluezone for detecting close contacts of infected patients.

Thus, Vietnam had a strong kick-start to gear up digital transformation in most sectors, industries and the whole society in 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic was considered a centenary boost for digital transformation.

What are the opportunities that digital transformation brings to businesses? What are the advantages and limitations that Vietnamese businesses have in pursuing digital transformation?

Following the trend, Vietnamese businesses can move straight to smarter solutions that integrate better with digital transformation. They can speed up more economical and more efficient digital transformation through the use of digital platforms.

However, the biggest difficulty of digital transformation is changing habits. The biggest challenge of digital transformation is having the right perception. Digital transformation is a cognitive issue rather than technology, whether their leadership dares to do or does not dare to do. Besides, their investment in technology research, innovation and creativity is not much. The rate of enterprises that know and use information technology - telecommunications is still low, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises.

Digital economy is an inevitable development trend. So, how do they need to prepare for a successful digital transformation? What support does the Ministry of Information and Communications provide for businesses?

First of all, businesses need to be aware of the necessity and urgency of digital transformation. The leadership of businesses is committed to innovation, allowing testing new things, and applying new technologies for sustainable development.

They need to actively build plans and conduct digital transformation in their business in order to improve operational efficiency and competitiveness; promote the role of digital transformation between authorities and enterprises; innovatively apply new technologies to production and business activities; carry out training programs on leadership skills and digital transformation management for executives; organize training courses on digital skills improvement for employees; and allocate funding for digital transformation.

The Ministry of Information and Communications has announced its digital transformation support program for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and prepared the launch ceremony of supporting digital transformation platforms for SMEs. In addition to preferential commitments of digital platform providers, the program will regularly assess their performance and survey their needs to make necessary changes to the set goals. The ministry will coordinate closely with ministries, branches and localities to scale up the program. It is also developing a digital transformation support project for SMEs to 2025, with a vision to 2030.

What should be focused on to realize Vietnam's digital transformation?

In order to realize the desire for digital transformation to develop the country, Vietnam must quickly seize opportunities and speed up more comprehensive digital transformation. In 2021, we must accelerate digital transformation in all industries, fields, organizations, businesses and localities.

First, completing basic targets of e-Government, providing 100% of Category 4 public services in an online format to step toward a digital government; completing and operating two major national databases - population and land - in 2021.

Second, gearing up the digital transformation support program for SMEs. In addition to preferential commitments of digital platform providers, the program will regularly assess their performance and survey their needs to make necessary changes to the set goals. The ministry will work closely with ministries, branches and localities to scale up the program.

Third, each priority area of digital transformation will identify important country platforms for national construction and deployment. In 2020, the health and education sectors defined their national platforms. The Ministry of Information and Communications will coordinate with other ministries to implement the platforms.

Fourth, the core platforms for the digital economy and digital society need to be further upgraded, including digital identity platforms on mobile devices; e-commerce and logistic platforms; and mobile money payment platforms. Each citizen will be identified, authenticated through a mobile device, paid through a mobile account and carry out commercial transactions online. These platforms help bring Vietnamese people to a faster and safer digital environment, especially helping people in rural and mountainous areas escape poverty.

Fifth, each commune will universalize some digital service for their residents. If an online medical examination is more convenient, selling online is more profitable, people will seek to use more other digital services.

Sixth, implementing open initiatives to develop and master digital technologies set out in Vietnam Open Summit Forum 2020.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum