Interview: Tan Boon Huat, Chief Executive Director, Peoples AssociationInterview: Tan Boon Huat, Chief Executive Director, Peoples Association

Filed under: Interview |

Leveraging IT for social cohesion

Prachi Shirur from CSDMS,  in her conversation with Tan Boon Huat, Chief Executive Director, People’s Association (Singapore) asked some questions about the initiatives and management framework of the People’s Association and also enquired about the change in their focus in modern, cohesive, politically and economically stable Singapore

The People’s Association was founded in 1960, when Singapore was a divided society, to help foster racial harmony and social cohesion. In the current changed scenario of Singapore, what is the vision and mission of People’s Association?

The People’s Association (PA) vision and mission remains the same. We bring people together to take ownership of and contribute to community well-being. We connect the people and the Government for consultation and feedback. We leverage on these relationships to strengthen racial harmony and social cohesion, to ensure a united and resilient Singapore.

We achieve our mission through our network of 1,800 grassroots organisations, five Community Development Councils, the National Youth Council, National Community Leadership Institute, Outward Bound Singapore and Water-Venture.

What is the strategy being adopted by the People’s Association to meet its mission?

Our task is to bring people of diverse backgrounds together.  Through our network of grassroots organisations, PA offers many courses and activities at the Community Clubs (CCs) and Residents’ Committee (RC) Centres and elsewhere in the community, to create opportunities for residents to come together, to make friends with people of all backgrounds.   These programmes serve to deepen social engagement among residents and helped to build a stronger sense of community. 

We also leverage on IT to help us customise and tailor our programmes to meet individual needs, so that we can be more effective in bringing people of all walks of life together.

The People’s Association provides a one-stop access to all People Association’s courses, activities, facilities, interest groups and memberships. Tell us more about this initiative?

  • onePA, a solution enabled by business analytics company SAS, serves as a planning tool that will allow us to carry out CRM efforts in a more systematic and holistic manner.

  • It allows us to know our existing customers in a more intimate way, thus allowing us to serve them better through fulfilling their needs.  As an analytical tool, SAS’ solution also provides a better overview of our potential customers and provides possible leads on how we can engage them meaningfully.

  • onePA enables us to cater to the needs of a better educated population; its user-friendly features will allow working adults to learn about PA’s offerings (courses, activities, memberships, interest groups and facilities) from the comfort of their homes/offices. 

  • onePA is also enhanced to allow easier online transactions through the portal.

  • With more transactions carried out online, the staff can then devote more time to value-added work like improving course content and attracting new users to the CCs.

What is the return on investment achieved through the Customer Intelligence system?

With a better way of managing customers’ information, information can be cascaded in a more efficient manner throughout the PA’s network using the SAS solution.  Staff and grassroots leaders can then be in better position to recommend new programmes and improve existing products that will cater to the needs of our customers. While decision-making used to lie at the HQ level, we believe that when such relevant information are shared with the PA’s  wider network, it will lead to ownership at the grassroots level.  Grassroots leaders can be empowered by such knowledge so that they can better reach out and deepen their existing relationships with their customers/residents.

More information at

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