The Straits Times says

Lessons for all from digital disruption

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The roll-out of far-sighted Smart Nation plans that make use of the transformative power of technology has seen a significant change in the way businesses, services and other activities have been carried out here. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has also accelerated the digital transformation for businesses, individuals and institutions in ways faster than many had planned for, becoming a significant enabler for commerce, connectivity, business transactions, and for working and learning from home. Yet as recent incidents have shown, there can be severe disruptions too when systems are overloaded or hit with a sudden, albeit temporary, surge in demand, such as when bookings for travel jump, or when faults in servers bring banking and related transactions to a crashing halt.

The resumption of DBS Bank's digital banking services, after a disruption that prevented customers from accessing services through its website and app for about two days last week, for instance, came as a relief to its customers, the bank and the many businesses that relied on its services for transactions. That the outage was not caused by a cyber attack was good news too of course. Still, episodes like this that affected banking operations, and the recent surge in bookings for travel between Singapore and Malaysia, and previously too when vaccinated travel lane flights were launched, highlight the vulnerability of systems to disruption, and raise questions about the capacity of the systems in place, especially in the light of the steps being made here to increasingly go cashless and paperless.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2021, with the headline Lessons for all from digital disruption. Subscribe