S'pore SOEasy to roll out this month

Mega project to standardize desktop, network and messaging elements across government agencies begins in July, but authorities are sketchy on details.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

The first phase of an ambitious program to standardize desktop, network and messaging components across 74 government agencies in Singapore is set to kick off this month, but authorities in the island-state remain tight-lipped on project details.

Reiterating its timeline for the initial rollout of the SOEasy program, Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) said in an e-mail interview that the first batch of public-sector agencies "will start enjoying the new SOEasy services from July 2009".

"Key milestones of the SOEasy program are on track," said an IDA spokesperson. "Among the first batch of agencies to enjoy the SOEasy services are the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, the IDA and National Heritage Board.

The S$1.3 billion (US$891 million) project was awarded to the oneMeridian consortium in February 2008. The consortium is led by HP-owned EDS and includes Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Systems, Microsoft and SingTel.

An EDS spokesperson for the Asia-Pacific and Japan region told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail there are currently over 700 personnel from the oneMeridian consortium involved in the SOEasy project. "The consortium regularly evaluates project requirements, and will continue to do so to ensure optimal [resources] at all stages of the project," she added.

According to the IDA, the rollout of SOEasy services "will consolidate ICT services within government agencies into a single environment", with the aim of enabling them to work seamlessly as a single entity. SOEasy is also expected to introduce collaborative tools such as instant messaging, desktop video conferencing services and whiteboard sharing for multi-user collaboration.

The IDA spokesperson could not confirm if public officers from the agencies involved in the initial phase would be able to, for example, hold virtual meetings using the collaboration tools.

The IDA added that it was working on change management, including helping civil servants adjust to the new ICT environment. "By and large, the transition has been smoothly executed.

"Regular communication sessions are being conducted with the government agencies involved to keep them constantly updated," the spokesperson added.

The full implementation, which is expected to impact at least 60,000 public officers, is scheduled to complete by the end of IDA's fiscal 2010, or Mar. 31, 2011. SOEasy does not include the Ministry of Defence, which has its own system. A separate system will also be implemented for schools under the Ministry of Education.

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