Massive computer upgrade underway for Singapore's gov't

SOEasy is the largest government IT project yet undertaken in the city-state

A massive upgrade to computers and networks used by government agencies in Singapore is underway and on schedule, according to the agency that oversees the program.

The S$1.3 billion (US$888.6 million) Standard ICT Operating Environment (SOEasy) project is the largest IT project yet undertaken by the tech-savvy Singapore government and is intended improve efficiency and cut costs by standardizing the computers, messaging infrastructure, and networking equipment used by government bodies in the Southeast Asian city-state.

"Key milestones of the SOEasy Programme are on track. The first batch of agencies will start enjoying the new SOEasy services from July 2009," a spokeswoman for the Infocomm Development Agency of Singapore (IDA), which is supervising the project, wrote in an e-mail.

IDA expects the SOEasy project to save S$500 million in IT-related costs for the government, according to a previously announced estimate.

Implementation of the SOEasy project is being handled by oneMeridian, an industry consortium led by Hewlett-Packard's EDS division that also includes Microsoft, Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Systems, and operator Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), among others. The group was awarded the SOEasy contract earlier this year.

The first government agencies to get the SOEasy upgrade are the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, IDA, and National Heritage Board. These agencies will move to the SOEasy platform this month, with other government agencies to follow in the months ahead. The project rollout is scheduled to be completed by 2010.

In total, 74 government agencies with around 60,000 employees will be using the SOEasy platform when the rollout is complete. Singapore's Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Education are not included in the SOEasy project, as they have developed separate systems for their respective needs.