Thursday, April 15, 2021 - 08:58


If you had told this team a year ago that they would be developing digital solutions, they would have laughed in disbelief. But look at them now.

L-R: Michelle Sim, Murni Mastan and Kajal Parikh


When asked if she considers herself a “digital native”, Ms Kajal Parikh breaks into laughter. “I couldn’t be more un-digital; when we used to go into meetings, I was always the one with a notebook and pen, while my colleagues usually had laptops or tablets,” she says. But today, she is part of a team developing software for the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC), a subsidiary of the Singapore Academy of Law.

A meeting earlier last year sparked this: here, Kajal, a senior executive at SMC, learnt of a new digital project she would be embarking on with three colleagues from SMC. Together, they were tasked to co-create an IT programme that would help SMC digitise some of its manual workflows and services. SMC had sought such solutions from the market but these were often unable to meet its specific needs, prompting it to try developing a solution itself.

“When we first heard about the project, we were a bit anxious,” explains Ms Michelle Sim, also a senior executive at SMC. “We’re in business development and communications, not IT development.” Their concerns eased when they learnt that they would be using a no-code tool to develop the IT programme. This means they would be creating solutions by specifying tasks and workflows, rather than working with programming codes. All they had to do was tell the app what they wanted it to do in plain English and flowcharts, rather than relying on Python and the like.

And if at any time the team needed support, they knew just where to go. “There was support all around,” recalls Ms Murni Mastan, a manager at SMC. “We looked forward to twice-weekly check-ins from SAL’s Group Tech team. It was also useful to work in a team because each of us brings something different to the table and that gives us a holistic picture.”

The team’s solution is currently being fine-tuned and will be rolled out soon. The trio says they would do it again if they had the chance to. “It’s about learning something new and a great chance to, so why wouldn’t you?” concludes Murni.

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