Indonesia's president orders government to stop developing new applications

Nation of 17,000 islands operates 27,000 bits of software

Indonesian president Joko Widodo on Monday ordered government officials to stop developing new applications.

According to the president, Indonesia's central and regional governments together operate a fleet of 27,000 apps, many of which overlap or aren't integrated. New platforms often get developed every time a new minister, governor or official takes office. One ministry stands accused of operating over 500 different applications.

The application sprawl is more than just confusing and bureaucratic – it's expensive. This year alone, governments requested Rp 6.2 trillion ($386.3 million) in the budget for the development of new applications.

"The presence of bureaucracy should serve, not complicate things and not slow them down" declared the president as he told officials they must integrate both applications and data.

"There can be no more excuses for this and that because I feel that the data belongs to me, the data belongs to my ministry, the data belongs to my institution, the data belongs to my regional government – that's no longer allowed," he commanded.

The battle cry against application sprawl was made at a launch ceremony for INA Digital – an integrated platform for government services expected to help contain the problematic platform proliferation when it commences in September.

INA Digital is one of the projects managed by a category or division named GovTech. Its integration of national digital services will start with nine areas of focus, according to local media: health services, education, social assistance, digital identity based on population data, One Data Indonesia services, financial transactions, portal service integration, state apparatus services, and online drivers' licenses.

Its ultimate goal is one observers of digital government services will find familiar: offering citizens a single login that accesses government services through a portal, while agencies all share access to a single set of personal data. ®

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