Digital Transformation Persistence, Substance and Efficacy

10:20:12 AM | 6/9/2024

Resolution 17-NQ/TU dated August 31, 2021 of the Standing Board of the Son La Provincial Party Committee on digital transformation states that digital transformation is an opportunity to make breakthroughs, an innovative solution to local socioeconomic development. With the participation of the entire political system, digital transformation has made a positive start and created a strong effect on the community. Ms. Pham Thi Doan, Director of the Department of Information and Communications, Son La province grants an exclusive interview on this content with our reporter.

2023 was seen as a "Digital Transformation Year" of Son La province with the participation of the entire political system. Could you please tell us about digital transformation achievements?

With the engagement of the political system, digital transformation has to date made a positive start. Digital infrastructure in Son La area has been developed on a large cale; 4G mobile network has been deployed everywhere; 100% of communes have fiber optic broadband infrastructure; 4G mobile information network covers 100% of communes; 98.5% of villages are covered by 4G mobile broadband; 94.86% of the population are accessible to 4G mobile coverage; 59.64% of subscribers are using mobile services with smartphones; 39.05% of households are fiber optic cable subscribers; and 46.34% have access to the internet.

In particular, digital government development has produced remarkable outcomes. The information system for handling administrative procedures in Son La province is interconnected and synchronized at all three levels of government, from province to district and to commune; connected and shared data with the National Public Service Portal, and at the same time fully, comprehensively and continuously connected to the system for monitoring and measuring the level of provision and use of digital government services (EMC) of the Ministry of Information and Communications. The system also connects Son La province's administrative procedure settlement information system with the national population database managed by the Ministry of Public Security to look up and authenticate population data in accordance with Project 06/CP of the central government; connects with the land management system of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment; connects with the interagency public service software system to launch two interagency public service groups joined by justice agencies, insurance agencies, labor - invalids and social affairs agencies, police and other agencies. Son La has also deployed digital channels on social networking platforms to provide information to people and businesses.

The digital economy has been initially formed in finance, banking, agriculture, healthcare and services, and tourism fields with many new business forms, driven by e-commerce and logistics. It has helped increase transparency and raise people's income and quality of life. Specifically, the province provides support for agricultural production households to bring their products to e-commerce platforms. Currently, more than 2,440 Son La products are listed on e-commerce platforms, with nearly 50,000 products being traded there. The province has also updated information of 112 OCOP products for 65 business entities on e-commerce platforms.

What difficulties and challenges has the province faced in digital transformation?

While garnering optimistic achievements, Son La province has also encountered certain difficulties in digital transformation and digital economic development like unsynchronized digital transformation infrastructure. Currently, 34 villages in the province have no access to 3G and 4G mobile services and there are many signal depression areas (over 600 areas); 4.6% of households do not have any mobile phone; 7.44% of households do not have a smartphone or an internet connection. Therefore, some of the population still has difficulty accessing and using internet services to search for information and use digital applications.

Vietnamese digital platforms that serve essential needs such as education and health care have not been promoted. The deployment of specialized digital platforms also faces policy obstacles.

Some online public services are still received and processed directly on the systems of ministries and central agencies and not synchronously integrated into the Provincial Public Service Portal such as planning and investment, medicine, transportation and finance.

Besides, the share of digital economy to GRDP and the share of digital economy to each industry and field in the province have not been determined. Some indicators of digital society remain low. For example, only 0.71% of adults have digital signatures, while not many people are getting legal, educational, medical advice through social networks.

Currently, civil servants in charge of digital transformation are inadequate and there are no preferential policies to attract human resources, especially good experts in information technology and digital transformation. The capacity to apply information technology and digital skills of people, especially those in remote areas, is still limited.

In 2024, Son La province will focus on mobilizing resources to speed up comprehensive digital transformation and developing digital government, digital economy and digital society. To effectively achieve its outlined goals, what key groups of solutions should Son La province carry out?

Son La province will focus on implementing six key groups of solutions as follows.

First, raising awareness and developing human resources: Enhancing the work performance of the Steering Board for Digital Transformation, agencies and localities; promptly issuing instructive documents on digital transformation at all levels, branches, agencies and units; determining digital transformation as an important political task and a criterion to evaluate the work performance of civil servants, especially for leaders; strengthening the training of digital transformation, digital skills and network information security for public employees at all levels.

Second, digital infrastructure, data and platforms: Accelerating the speed of covering fiber optic network and broadband mobile network to all villages in the province; rapidly increasing the rate of internet users; improving connection capacity and network service quality; developing digital platforms for governmental agencies to manage and operate data-based specialized operations from the province to the commune; reviewing and completing existing databases, ensuring connection and data sharing among provincial agencies and localities with the province's local government service platform (LGSP).

Third, digital government development: Deploying monitoring and operating systems at the Son La Intelligent Operation Center (IOC) to ensure that data uploaded to the IOC system must be right, enough, clean, usable and active.

Building the province's shared data warehouse to provide official data for leadership and direction of political tasks of Son La province to ensure accuracy, timeliness and efficacy.

Fourth, digital economic development: Further supporting digital transformation for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and traditional craft villages providing products and services on digital platforms; creating a favorable environment for digital startup businesses and forming a digital business community; speeding up digital transformation in such fields as natural resources and environment, urban planning, transportation and logistics, agriculture and rural development, health, education and training, culture, banking and finance, information and communication, and energy.

Fifth, digital society development: Promoting digital transformation and non cash payments in schools, educational facilities, hospitals and medical facilities as guided by the Ministry of Information and Communications; scaling up the application of digital social platforms to direct people to use essential digital services for life.

Sixth, information security and cybersecurity: Ensuring the safety of the province's information systems and databases; ensuring safety and security in electronic data exchange in the network environment, ensuring that the information system is checked and evaluated for network information security before being put into use, upgraded and modified periodically as prescribed.

Thank you very much!

By Duy Binh, Vietnam Business Forum