Singapore govt tweaks standardized ICT direction

After 8 years with a single vendor for its US$1 billion Standard Operating Environment, the government will turn to a multi-vendor approach to allow more flexibility for agencies to make their own decisions on some services.

The Singapore government is taking on a multi-vendor approach for its ICT infrastructure services, moving away from its current single vendor-based Standard ICT Operating Environment (SOE).

It has called for a series of tenders for the provision of government infrastructure services in order to provide for a smooth transition before the end of the current SOE contract expiring in February 2016, according to a press release on Monday.


Singapore's SOEasy 

- The standard operating environment (SOE), dubbed SOEasy, launched in 2008 as part of a tender worth some S$1.3 billion (US$1.05 billion).

- 75,000 suites have been deployed to 96 government agencies. 

- The SOE contract expires February 2016.

An Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) spokesperson told ZDNet that with the objective for the Standard Operating Environment was for the infocomm infrastructure and processes within government agencies to be consolidated into a single operating environment to allow staff to work seamlessly within and across agencies.

"Even with the move from a single vendor to a multiple-vendor environment , this objective remains the same," said the spokesperson.

Services, such as e-mail, will be common, whereas for PCs and printers, multiple-providers can be appointed to provide more options for agencies. For Agency Facilities Management, agencies will have the flexibility to decide on the services they require and the associated service levels.

The new direction was in response to feedback from government agencies and takes into consideration future needs, according to the press release.

It explained the new tenders were structured to allow greater flexibility so that agencies have more options to manage their IT infrastructure for optimal efficiency.

Multi-vendor approach for more flexibility

The first set of tenders will cover the following areas:

  • Central core infrastructure services
    This seeks providers to deliver, migrate and operate (with maintenance support) the IT infrastructure within the data center in order to provide the base IT building blocks required for other internal end users facing IT services to leverage (such as e-mail and collaboration services, remote access services).

  • Messaging and collaboration services
    This is for messaging and collaboration services, including e-mail, instant messaging and conferencing services which will be offered on a monthly subscription basis.

  • Desktops, notebooks and printers
    The PC Bulk tender will serve all government agencies and statutory boards.

  • Agency Facilities Management (AFM)
    This tender is for the supply of AFM support services. AFM support services will enable each agency to manage its end-user computing devices and IT infrastructure and simplify its day-to-day IT operations support.

The remaining tenders will be issued in the months ahead.

The SOE project, launched in 2008 as part of a tender woth S$1.3 billion (US$1.05 billion), faced a few bumps in its roll out. Initially due to be complete by March 2011, the SOE project missed its deadline by nearly two years. This was speculated to have been delayed by HP's 2008 acquisition of EDS, which had led the winning consortium for the 8-year project.

The latest tenders announcement also come just a month after government agencies suffered an e-mail outage which lasted over five hours, which IDA had blamed on a "technical glitch".