Data flow advances head wish list for year of the database

January 16, 2023 | 10:23 am GMT+7

Domestic and international businesses in Vietnam are expected to enjoy more favourable data sharing and integration in 2023, as the country plans to make new moves to promote data flows and facilitate business.

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has announced that 2023 would be the year of the digital database.

“Developing an integrated platform and sharing national data on the national scale will be a task to increase connectivity and efficient data sharing among state agencies to exploit national databases in compliance with Vietnam’s e-government framework,” said MIC Deputy Minister Pham Duc Long.

“The other tasks are to develop a database for development of digital economy and society, while studying and developing mechanisms and policies for the sharing of infrastructure among post and telecoms operators.”

Moreover, the ministry will give guidelines and urge ministries, agencies, and provinces to develop national databases and share local databases with stronger connections.

The industry aims to have at least 860 million transactions made through the national data-sharing integrated platform reached by the end of this year, while 60 per cent of state agencies will provide open databases. The rates will be increased to over 860 million transactions and 80 per cent in 2024.

Data sharing is an issue of concern among domestic and international companies in Vietnam, including CMC Telecoms and FPT.

According to Nguyen Trung Chinh, CEO of CMC, Vietnam should encourage investment in digital infrastructure such as data centres and cloud computing to develop the digital economy. Last August, the company opened the CMC Data Centre Tan Thuan, the country’s most modern facility of its kind.

“The country should have the highest possible incentive policies on land, tax, capital, and procedures for businesses and investors to attract domestic and foreign investors in digital infrastructure,” he said.

Alain Cany, chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, said last year that Vietnam should facilitate the growth of European and global digital businesses and their integration with Vietnam’s digital economy.

“This can be achieved through legislation, regulations, and industry standards that allow for the free flow and exchange of data. These regulations should comply with international digital business practices, including removing data localisation requirements,” Cany said.

Similarly, the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham) said Vietnam had already experienced strong growth in e-commerce, fintech, edtech, and the creative economy. To reach its full potential, Vietnam must ensure an enabling regulatory environment. “The free flow of data is critical to continue the rapid development of Vietnam’s digital economy,” said Adam Sitkoff from AmCham in Hanoi.

As issues remain in data sharing and flow, industries cannot tap into their full potential. The VBF associate chambers cited an example in telemedicine services as an example.

To support telemedicine services, it is essential to build a Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources patient/health database with necessary data protection methods, accessible by all medical establishments – whether public or private, or domestic or foreign-invested.

The lack of such a database makes it difficult to share patient data across hospitals and requires patients repeating the same diagnostic and/ or imaging tests when visiting a hospital, said the VBF associate chambers.

According to the MIC, last year it submitted a directive on data development for socioeconomic development and national digital transformation to the prime minister.

It also organised the implementation of data sharing integration platform on a national scale. The data-sharing integration platform has connected with a network of 90 agencies, organisations, and businesses.

The ministry, however, admitted that the connection and sharing of a 2-year database from the information system of ministries, agencies, and provinces with national databases remains problematic due to different readiness levels. As a result, sharing of databases among state agencies remains somewhat ineffective. The rate of state agencies providing open databases remains low, at 9 per cent.