Four bidders vie for second SOE phase

Four bidders vie for second SOE phase

Summary: Those keen on the Singapore government computing standardization project for schools include bidders from the first round as well as new entrants.

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Four groups and companies have submitted bids for the second phase of the Singapore government's Standard ICT Operating Environment (SOE) project.

In response to queries from ZDNet Asia, Singapore's Ministry of Education (MOE) said late Wednesday the four had submitted proposals by the close of the pre-qualification tender deadline on Apr. 29.

According to the MOE, the bids came from:

•  Ednovate@SG led by SingTel, with partners Getronics Solutions, Microsoft Singapore, library management software provider Civica and NEC;
•  Team AdVance led by Singapore Technologies Electronics with partners Hewlett-Packard and SingTel;
•  A consortium led by Civica with partners Datacraft, Microsoft Singapore, Cisco Systems and Lenovo; and
•  NCS.

A spokesperson from the MOE said the results for the pre-qualification tender will be announced in July, with the final tender targeted for April 2009.

The Ministry expects work to commence in 2010, covering at least 60,000 seats with the potential to expand to 120,000, "as schools increase their staff strength and improve on their computer-to-student ratio", said the spokesperson.

First announced in 2005, the SOE project is an initiative by the Singapore government to standardize desktop, network and messaging components across the public sector. The first phase, renamed SOEasy, involves some 60,000 officers in 74 government agencies.

The earlier phase attracted six consortia that later whittled down to four. oneMeridian, led by EDS, won the tender at S$1.3 billion (US$956.7 million) in end-February.

In an e-mail Wednesday to ZDNet Asia, NCS CEO Lim Eng confirmed that the company intends to assume the role of a primary integrator, and will be supported by various technology partners. NCS, however, did not name the partners.

NCS had partnered IBM for the first SOE phase, but ZDNet Asia understands that the partnership has ceased.

NCS, noted Lim, has a track record of partnering the education sector in Asia, and is also "involved in many of the backend facilities management, applications development and maintenance for governments in the region". It developed and implemented a Web-based administration and management system for 1,200 primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong in 2006, and has provided IT support for Singapore schools for over 10 years.

"We are confident that we have the ability and expertise to support the Ministry’s focus to provide schools with a robust, connected, innovative and agile infocomm infrastructure while at the same time creating an interactive, collaborative and participative learning environment," said Lim.

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