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CODEX: Singapore’s Smart Nation Vision

October 10, 2018

CODEX (Core Operations, Development Environment, and eXchange) is the digital platform that will enable the Singapore to deliver better digital services to citizens faster and more cost efficiently. CODEX will also better allow the public and the private sector to work together to develop more user-centric services for the public.

2. The Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) has embarked on five Strategic National Projects (SNPs) that provide the key building blocks to realise Singapore’s Smart Nation vision. As a critical enabler for the Government’s digital transformation, CODEX has been designated as the sixth SNP for Smart Nation.

Benefits of CODEX

3. Currently, most Government ICT systems are designed and built independently, with agencies each building to meet their respective requirements. This limits economies of scale, interoperability and agility. CODEX is a foundational shift away from this silo approach.

4. With CODEX, re-usable digital components, including machine readable data flows, middleware and micro-services, will be shared across agencies so that developers can plug and play into these resources and focus their time and energy on building products to serve the public better. The adoption of common tools and standards, within Government and by our vendors, will reduce bugs and raise the quality, reliability and security of our services. CODEX will also enable the Government to tap into what the commercial cloud can offer in scalability and reliability, as well as software services and tools.

Components

5. CODEX comprises the following:

a. A Government Data Architecture for common data standards and formats that better enables seamless data sharing between agencies;

b. A systematic shift of less sensitive Government systems and data onto the commercial cloud, enabling the use of leading-edge private sector capabilities to develop digital services; and

c. A Singapore Government Technology Stack (SGTS) comprising a suite of shared software components and infrastructure to enable more efficient and focused building of digital applications.

6. Some components of CODEX have already been built, or are being trialled at a small scale. They have produced concrete benefits and capabilities for the Government, such as:


a. Business Grants Portal. The portal was one of the first large-scale Government digital services developed with an Agile methodology, which breaks a project down into incremental builds and concurrent phases. This requires constant automated testing using a component named HATS (Hive Agile Testing Solution). With HATS, the code quality was higher due to the faster and more frequent deployment of code, and the overall development time was reduced.

b. MyInfo Bank Pilot. The pilot uses GovTech’s Application Programming Interface Exchange (APEX), a component of SGTS, to allow banks to on-board new customers using Government verified data. The pilot was developed and delivered in four months using SGTS, when it would have typically taken a year to complete.

c. MyCareersFuture.sg. The portal was similarly built on NECTAR, and uses a central communications gateway called Application Programming Interface Exchange (APEX). Use of NECTAR and APEX lowered the development cost of the portal by at least 40%, and shortened the development time from about two years to eight months.


Enabling Transformation

7. The building of “common digital and data platforms” is one of six strategies identified in the Digital Government Blueprint (DGB) to harness digital technology to transform how the Singapore Government serves the public. CODEX will enable the public service to (a) better serve the public as a whole-of-Government; (b) turn ideas into reality at a faster pace; and (c) sustain the pace of digital transformation through resource sharing. 

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