Digital transformation must integrate with real life: deputy minister

February 15, 2023 - 07:19
Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyễn Huy Dũng speaks to Nhân Dân (The People) newspaper about the outcomes of national digital transformation over the past few years and orientations to make breakthroughs in the future, especially in developing the digital economy.
Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyễn Huy Dũng. — VNA/VNS Photo

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyễn Huy Dũng speaks to Nhân Dân (The People) newspaper about the outcomes of national digital transformation over the past few years and orientations to make breakthroughs in the future, especially in developing the digital economy.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution brought opportunities and challenges to every country’s development. Technological breakthroughs help liberate human labour and increase labour productivity but simultaneously push millions of people to risk losing their jobs. What do you think about this problem?

On the first days of the new year, I came across information on a report saying that since September 2022, more than 630,000 workers in our country have had their working hours reduced due to a decrease in foreign orders.

There was even a wave of workers quitting their jobs before the Lunar New Year in some sectors due to the risk of a global recession.

These issues are not as worrying as the country’s general economic growth situation but show the huge risks that traditional manufacturing economic models may face in the fluctuations of the world’s market.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution brings opportunities and challenges to development in every country.

Manual workers, who make up the majority of the labour force in our country, are the most affected.

This is one of the anticipated downsides of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, especially in light of the recent world events.

What are the solutions for Việt Nam to address those problems?

Việt Nam has accelerated the digital transformation so that we can 'take a shortcut' and seize the opportunities brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

I think that the real value of digital transformation is to create new jobs and new sources of income and help unskilled workers change jobs through digital economy development to diversify business models. Therefore, the Government, businesses and people all need to invest in digital transformation.

Over the past, there has been a remarkable change in public awareness about the concept, role and importance of digital transformation. The digitisation trend in production, shopping and consumption activities is becoming increasingly popular.

However, we need to accelerate digital transformation urgently. In 2022, the Ministry of Information and Communications focused on making a national strategy for every field. In 2023, the ministry will focus on concrete and substantive results to integrate digital transformation strategies into life, becoming a daily habit of civil servants, entrepreneurs, and other people.

At a recent meeting to review the Ministry of Information and Communications work, Minister Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng emphasised that 2023 will be the year of digital data. How do you evaluate the role of data in developing Việt Nam’s digital economy?

Việt Nam has two advantages; a large population (ranking 3rd in Southeast Asia, 15th in the world) and a high internet access rate (over 70 per cent of the population having access, ranking in the top 10 of the world).

Every day on the internet, Vietnamese people create millions of new pieces of content and interactions. This is a huge amount of data.

If data is a new resource, Việt Nam is a rich country. We can use this new resource to master digital economic models with higher added value than outsourcing, helping Việt Nam overcome the middle-income trap and become a developed country.

The digital economy will also create many new jobs, helping farmers and workers in remote areas to switch to jobs with higher incomes and suffer from fewer local limitations.

In the digital era, data is undeniably a huge resource and holds an important role, but taking advantage of this resource is not simple.

Although digital transformation and the digital economy are great opportunities for Việt Nam to take off, it should be recognised that digital transformation is not easy.

Statistics from many organisations worldwide show the same number; at least 70 per cent of digital transformation efforts worldwide fail! And one of the leading causes of the failure of digital transformation projects is the lack of strategic vision and the ability to execute well enough on data.

Data is an important resource in the digital economy. Still, like oil, it takes a whole system of rigs, refineries, distribution networks, transportation and engines to transform data from raw materials into added value.

What are the key plans of the Ministry of Information and Communications in 2023 to exploit the values of data, serving digital economic development?

2023 has been identified as the year of digital data in Việt Nam, focusing on building the foundation for digital transformation starting from data.

The ministry will promote several data-related activities such as measuring and publicly publishing indicators and data development levels of agencies, organisations and businesses; promoting the formation of personal data stores when handling administrative procedures in the network environment so that people only have to provide information once when using online public services.

The ministry will accelerate the commercialisation of 5G, creating infrastructure for popular IoT devices.

When we have quality digital data sets of Vietnamese people and the main and important activities of State agencies, businesses and people are accurately measured and quantified, we will have a new force and tool for economic breakthrough; the digital economy. — VNS