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Government Invests In The Digital Age For The Public Sector

26 April 2007 - Opening Address By Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore At the 2007 Industry Briefing Business Opportunities for Infocomm in the Public Sector, Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Opening Address By Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore At the 2007 Industry Briefing Business Opportunities for Infocomm in the Public Sector on 26 April 2007, Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning.

1. Thank you for joining us this morning at our annual Industry Briefing. This is the fourth Industry Briefing that IDA has organised since 2004. I am happy to see that there is strong interest among the infocomm industry on the business opportunities in infocomm for the public sector.

Importance of Infocomm for Government

2. Many of you who are veterans of the infocomm industry would know that the Singapore Government started its infocomm journey in a big way from the 80’s with the aim of transforming our government into a world-class user of information technology. The Civil Service Computerisation Programme was first initiated to automate work functions and reduced paperwork for greater operational efficiencies within the government.

3. The convergence of information technology and telecommunications in the late 90’s transformed the way services were delivered. This paved the way for the launch of the e-Government Action Plan in 2000, the e-Government Action Plan II in 2003, and the latest, iGov2010 in 2006. Through these plans, many public services were made available 24/7 online and presented a new and positive dimension to government’s interactions with citizens and businesses. These plans have helped to sharpen Singapore’s economic competitiveness over the years. The strategic importance that the Government attaches to infocomm is clear. The infocomm sector is among one of the very few privileged economic sectors that has a dedicated government agency, to promote and develop it into a vibrant and competitive industry.

4. Singapore has come a long way and done well in exploiting infocomm. This is reflected in the many worldwide accolades and top tier international rankings bestowed on Singapore in the last few years.

Singapore Tops in International Rankings

5. For example, for five consecutive years, Singapore has maintained in the top three in the World Economic Forum’s Global IT Report. In the latest ranking, released in March 2007, Singapore was ranked third globally, and the only Asia Pacific economy in the top-ten ranking. We continue to lead in Government Readiness and Government Usage sub-indices. These rankings are testimony to the commitment and efforts put in by the Government, with the help of the industry, to transform the public, private and people sectors through the innovative use of infocomm.

Government Leads in Innovative Infocomm Adoption

6. To maintain and enhance our competitive edge, the government will continue to encourage exploration and innovation in the public sector, leveraging infocomm technologies.

7. In the area of infocomm innovation, IDA has been working closely with government agencies and the private sector to proactively identify new technologies for experimentation and trial.

8. Among the initiatives include the Government Technology Experiments And Trials Programme. In short, we call it the TREATS Programme. Last year, we carried out 23 technology trials under the TREATS Programme alone. An example of a successful technology experimentation trial is the Centrally Administered Desktop Firewall for the government, or CAFÉ. The project deployed a centrally administered desktop firewall solution that enhanced the security of government desktop systems against cyber threats. The trial was a success and resulted in a government-wide rollout of CAFÉ in April last year. Within a year, 33,000 public officers have subscribed to CAFÉ.

9. In addition to CAFÉ, we have achieved various successful trials leading to either a procurement or inclusion as part of SOE offerings. Another example is the Token-Assisted Login (TAL) Service. This trial explored a single-sign-on to multiple applications using a token and a single password. The trial saw a total of 44,000 subscribers since it was commissioned in July 2005.

10. Other trials in the pipeline include the Google Proof-of-Concept using the Google Search Engine. This will enhance users’ experience in searching for information on all government websites.

Government Invests in the Digital Age

11. Infocomm will be even more critical as a key enabler in the Digital Age. To ensure Singapore is well positioned for the digital future, IDA has launched several initiatives, such as the Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure and Wireless@SG. It is also essential for the public sector to be ready.

12. The government will continue to invest in infocomm. Partnership with the industry is vital, as you have the technical domain knowledge and expertise. A case in point is the SOE or Standard ICT Operating Environment. It involves building a robust and agile infocomm infrastructure for the public sector. By 2010, public officers will enjoy new capabilities and technologies to do their work better. Operational efficiencies will be improved when agencies share a common infrastructure to work as One Government. Public officers will be able to work seamlessly and access government resources and their work data securely from any agency, even in public places, at home and overseas.

13. Agility, efficiencies, cost-effectiveness, security and innovation are therefore important features for the SOE solution. I am pleased to announce that the SOE tender for the public sector opens today. The four pre-qualified consortia from the pre-tender qualification stage can now submit their proposals to bid for the tender. In addition, a second chance for pre-qualification for the SOE tender is now also opened. This means new companies or consortia interested in bidding for the SOE project can apply for pre-qualification and have a chance at tendering for the project. The government will award the SOE tender by October this year.

14. Excluding the SOE project, the government estimated that it would call S$620 million worth of contracts last year. By end of the financial year 2006, it actually awarded S$850 million worth of contracts for infocomm products and services. This represents 37% more than what was initially projected. In this new financial year 2007, the government is expected to call more than 340 new infocomm tenders worth about $730 million. The speakers from various agencies will later give details on the key infocomm projects that the government has lined up for this financial year.

Industry's Participation

15. The active participation of industry is critical, to develop innovative infocomm solutions for the public sector. I look forward to your ideas and collaboration as the government pushes ahead in harnessing infocomm.

16. Finally, I would like to thank my colleagues from the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs, National Environment Agency, and Singapore Land Authority, who will be sharing their procurement plans for FY07 with you. I wish you all a fruitful session.

17. Thank you.

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