Singapore confirms SOE tender delay

Bid results of the government's Standard ICT Operating Environment project have been delayed a second time; to be revealed by February 2008.

SINGAPORE--The government has confirmed it is postponing, yet again, the much-awaited tender award of the Standard ICT Operating Environment (SOE) project.

Estimated to be worth some S$1.5 billion (US$918.3 million) over eight years, the project attracted four main bidders and the winners were expected to be announced today.

But, this "has [now] been revised from October 2007 to February 2008", a spokesperson from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) said today in an e-mail interview. Singapore's ICT regulator, the IDA manages the procurement and deployment of technology initiatives for the country's major government bodies.

This latest development confirms industry rumblings, highlighted in a ZDNet Asia report last month, which hinted the IDA was unlikely to be ready to award the SOE tender this week.

The holdup also marks the second time the award for the project has been delayed. Originally expected to be announced by early-2007, with deployment work to start by the middle of the year, the timeline for the contract award was later revised to October this year with full implementation of the SOE project expected to be completed by the end of 2010, according to an IDA statement.

On what is impeding the tender award, the IDA spokesperson said: "In view of the tender proposals submitted by the consortia, more time is required for a more thorough evaluation of the proposals."

She added that "the revision of tender award date will not affect the overall implementation" of the SOE project, which she noted is still on track for completion by the IDA's fiscal year 2010, which ends Mar. 31.

According to the regulator, the four consortia bidding for the SOE tender have been informed, namely:

  • One Meridian, led by Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and SCS;
  • One Team, led by NCS and IBM;
  • NexGenea, led by NEC and CSC Computer Sciences; and
  • InSpire, led by Hewlett-Packard Singapore and Singapore Technologies Electronics.

Responding to ZDNet Asia's query on the delay, Chong Yoke Sin, CEO of NCS, confirmed its One Team consortium has been notified of the revised date by the IDA.

Chong said: "We respect that the IDA requires more time for a thorough evaluation of the tender proposals, and we look forward to executing the next phase of the SOE roadmap with the IDA and Singapore's public [sector] in 2008."

Tan Lee Chew, vice president and managing director of HP Southeast Asia, said: "It is difficult to estimate the impact of this delay, if any, but HP and the InSpire team are committed to work closely with the IDA to ensure the SOE implementation is completed by fiscal year 2010."

Stephen Yeo, vice president of strategic initiatives for EDS Asia, said: "We believe that IDA has a good reason for the delay and respect that."

David Ng, senior vice president, enterprise business group for NEC Asia, said: "We respect IDA processes and will await their forthcoming announcement. NEC remains committed to the ICT market in Singapore, and will work with our partners to deliver the best solutions to our clients."

First announced in April 2005, the SOE project aims to create a common government infocomm infrastructure to enhance operational efficiency and reduce government IT spending by 30 percent. It will involve the standardization of desktop, messaging and network environment across public sector agencies in Singapore, with the exception of the country's Ministry of Defense.