10 September 2009 - Opening Address By Mr Peter Ho, Head Of Civil Service, At The Launch Of The SOEasy Showcase, IDA Multi-Purpose Hall, Suntec Tower Three

Opening Address By Mr Peter Ho, Head Of Civil Service, At The Launch Of The Soeasy Showcase On Thursday, 10 September 2009, at The IDA Multi-Purpose Hall, Suntec Tower Three

1. Singapore's infocomm journey began with the Civil Service Computerisation Programme in the 80s. The objective then was to adopt technology to enable the government to provide a more efficient and effective service to the public. More than two decades later, the Singapore Government's objective remains the same - to harness technology and innovation to bring about a public service that can better meet the needs of citizens and businesses.

2. Today, infocomm technology is part of our daily lives. When you send an online query to a local government agency these days, you expect a prompt response, because you are accustomed to that level of service in your interactions with other service providers. Indeed, many people might even feel that a reply that takes anything more than a couple of working days is unacceptable.

3. What is not visible to our customers is the back-end processing that makes it possible to respond promptly. Public officers today operate in an increasingly complex and fast-paced environment, in which they are inundated with large amounts of information and e-mails every day. Infocomm technology helps them to better manage their work. This in turn significantly improves response times. Continuous investment in infocomm technology is thus as much a commitment to improve operational efficiency, as it is to achieve better service standards.

Importance of an Integrated Environment

4. The Standard ICT Operating Environment, also known as the SOEasy Programme, is a strategic initiative to better harness the power of infocomm technology for Government. It is based on a vision of building an integrated infocomm environment for all public officers. SOEasy will be an integrated system to manage the information flow and workload across the whole-of-government. It will empower public officers to find, use and share information quickly and easily, and in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

5. To achieve this vision, the SOEasy Programme will consolidate infocomm technology services within government agencies and harmonise them in a single operating environment. This single operating environment will enable public officers to work seamlessly within and across organisational boundaries, as "One Government", rather than as many ministries and agencies.

Challenges of SOEasy Programme

6. Of course, the scope of the SOEasy Programme is extensive and extremely complex. It is no trivial matter to develop and implement such an ambitious programme that integrates the ICT needs of 75 government agencies, involving some 60,000 public officers deployed over more than 800 locations. It demands a whole-of-government effort, and top-level management support and direction. In the course of more than a year, teams from the IDA and EDS, the leader of oneMeridian, have worked together to design the SOEasy ICT architecture and build the back-end infrastructure to support the delivery of SOEasy services to the agencies.

7. This is what they have achieved so far. The SOEasy Programme has revamped 12 existing service-wide infocomm infrastructures, and will soon roll-out 10 new central infrastructures in the areas of network infrastructure, desktop services, messaging and collaboration. As every agency has its own unique requirements, the SOEasy teams have had to understand them clearly before implementation so that there is no impact on business operations in the agencies.

8. As with any major undertaking, management of change is always one of the key challenges. Public officers have to adjust and familiarise themselves with the new environment. To ease the transition, a series of communications activities have to be conducted to engage the agencies. In FY2008, some 3,200 infocomm technology personnel from the agencies attended seminars, briefings and focus groups discussions. While the services are rolled out to the other agencies, oneMeridian will be engaging the end users - basically all public officers - through activities such as roadshows and user briefings.

Achievements of SOEasy Programme

9. The SOEasy Programme is on schedule. The roll-out to end users began in July, and will continue progressively over the course of this year and the next. In the meantime, the transition for other agencies is going well. Since the tender award in February last year, oneMeridian is now handling the management of infocomm technology infrastructure and systems at 62 out of the 75 government agencies. By the end of FY2010, all 75 government agencies will be connected under a common platform.

10. Another important milestone for the SOEasy Programme is the successful commissioning of the two Singapore Government Network Operations Centres, also known as GNOCs, in October 2008 and June 2009. This represents a big step forward in delivering SOEasy services to the agencies. The GNOCs are the heart of SOEasy. Round the clock, all central SOEasy services are delivered from the two GNOCs. These central core services include e-mail, remote access, Internet access, security management and account information. To ensure security and resiliency, the two facilities are built at separate locations. When SOEasy is fully implemented, the two GNOCs are expected to house servers which would connect more than 60,000 computers across the public sector agencies.

SOEasy Brings Value to All

11. Back in May 2006, the iGov2010 e-Government masterplan was launched. Its vision is of an integrated government that delights customers and connects citizens through infocomm. One of the key thrusts of the masterplan is to raise the capabilities of public officers in which their work experience will be enriched using infocomm in an innovative manner. What was a vision just a few years ago is now a reality right before us through SOEasy.

12. Some public officers have already had the privilege of being among the first to enjoy the SOEasy services. Feedback has generally been positive and encouraging. The SOEasy Showcase will give us a glimpse of the services that these public officers are enjoying in a seamless work environment. It also demonstrates how the SOEasy environment enhances agility, innovation and resiliency for the Singapore Government.

13. Public officers can also preview at the showcase new infocomm technology applications and tools that they can receive with the implementation of SOEasy. The showcase is one of the channels through which oneMeridian will demonstrate how new technology that can be included in SOEasy will bring benefits to the public sector. Indeed, innovation is a key feature of the SOEasy project. And it will be an on-going process. oneMeridian will work closely with IDA to keep an eye on emerging trends and new developments in infocomm technology, so that we can continuously tap on the latest and the best to further enhance the work environment for public officers.

14. The public sector must stay abreast of new technologies in order to remain competitive. We must be prepared to embrace and take advantage of digital technologies. The SOEasy Showcase which we will visit later will present some of the new innovations that may be included in the SOEasy project in the near future. It is an exciting new world that offers much to look forward to.


15. Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said in his keynote speech at the recent iGov Global Exchange that without the public service first embracing a whole-of-government mindset, the promise of integrated e-Government solutions for better service delivery cannot be attained. Indeed, infocomm will continue to be a key enabler for the public sector, and the SOEasy Programme is another step towards One Government. The implementation of this ambitious project indeed marks another significant chapter in the history of Singapore's infocomm journey.

16. Thank you.

Related Link:

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023