(A*STAR) speaks to FutureGov about the drivers, challenges and successes of its enterprise and web content management projects.
Since last year, A*STAR started on a journey to create a central repository for all its databases across the entire organisation.
A*STAR oversees 14 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research institutes, and six consortia & centres.
“We have large volumes of data and many databases, residing in different forms and formats. We have data in hard disks, servers, storage area network, network-attached storage, even on portable USB devices,” explained Kan. “The databases spread across SAP, Oracle, SharePoint sites and could be in SQL or open source formats.”
A central repository will enable better and easier search of information. “We can easily search through past research works, correlate and check whether research patents or intellectual property rights have been breached, look for potential collaboration with other international research work, and more,” he said.
Day-to-day operation and processes could also become more efficient because a repository will allow searches, the creation of workflows, and collaboration across departments, such as HR, Finance, Logistics, Procurement and more.
There are many challenges in enterprise content management, according to Kan, such as establishing the single sources of truth. It is a critical step because his team plans to design platforms to extract information automatically on a daily or weekly basis which will be updated in the central repository.
Kan’s team has also started to align all web content management systems across A*STAR. Over the years, the organisation has a combination of web sites developed in-house and by external vendors, hosted externally and internally. This has caused security concerns, especially with many recent web site defacement incidents.
“We have started to consolidate our web sites, and have successfully reduced the number from 45 to 30 now. We plan to consolidate them further to 20 by the end of this year,” Kan said. “In addition, we are centralising management of the web sites to be hosted within A*STAR so we can better secure them.”
A*STAR has also set up web site defacement alert monitoring tools so that the IT team can be notified of any defacement within a set timeframe from the incident. “We have also started more regular penetration testing and security scanning of our public access portal and web sites,” concluded Kan.