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Public Officers Get To Enjoy SOEasy Services

10 Sep 2009

The Singapore Government's vision of a consolidated and harmonised infocomm work environment for public officers takes another step towards fruition as the Standard ICT Operating Environment (SOEasy) - the largest Singapore Government infocomm project in scope and scale - has started rolling out services to the first batch of agencies. Since July 2009, the public officers in these agencies are enjoying working in a seamless environment that promotes communication, collaboration and knowledge-sharing.

Agencies included in the first batch are the Ministry of Finance (MOF), Ministry of Information, Communications and The Arts (MICA), Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and National Heritage Board (NHB).

Speaking at the launch of the SOEasy Showcase today, Mr Peter Ho, Head of the Singapore Civil Service, cited that the SOEasy Programme calls for a coordinated effort and support from the Whole-of-Government. "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," said Mr Ho.

Commenting on the SOEasy implementation, Mr Lim Hup Seng, Deputy Secretary (Performance), Ministry of Finance, said, "I am happy that SOEasy has commenced deployment. The SOEasy Programme is a major undertaking that will bring about many benefits for our public officers. SOEasy is conceived to make public officers more efficient and effective in their work. It is also a challenging project to implement due to the magnitude of the project, involving over 60,000 public officers across 75 government agencies at more than 800 locations."

Progress Status On Schedule Deployment

The $1.3 billion contract was awarded to the oneMeridian consortium1, led by EDS, an HP company, in February 2008. There are three key milestones in the implementation of the SOEasy Programme:

1) SOEasy Transition

The ground work for SOEasy first kicked off in April 2008. oneMeridian went through a learning process to take over the functions of incumbent service vendors. The management of ICT infrastructure and systems at 62 out of the 75 government agencies is now managed by oneMeridian. Planning and preparation to roll out SOEasy services to them are now in progress. oneMeridian is working on taking over the management of ICT infrastructure and systems for the remaining 13 agencies.

A series of change management activities and communication is being conducted to engage agencies as they go through the transition. These included seminars, briefings, focus groups and user training to prepare and better familiarise public officers to the new SOEasy work environment.

2) Development of SOEasy Central Services

A core aspect of the SOEasy Programme is the development of central services. The SOEasy Programme revamps 12 existing service-wide infocomm infrastructures and introduces 10 new central infrastructures in the areas of network infrastructure, desktop services, messaging and collaborations, all to be done without any impact on the daily operations of the agencies. oneMeridian needs to understand the unique requirements of each agency before implementation of SOEasy can begin.

Two Singapore Network Operations Centres (GNOCs) were also successfully commissioned in October 2008 and June 2009. They are the `nerve centres' of SOEasy as they deliver all central services round the clock and are equipped with monitoring capabilities to ascertain the general health and performance of the SOEasy network. When SOEasy is fully implemented, the two GNOCs will house servers connecting more than 60,000 computers across the public sector agencies. (Previously, different agencies had their own backend infrastructure. Now, all agencies are connected through the GNOCs. With the SOEasy common platform, there will no longer be compatibility issues between agencies.) The GNOCs provide central services such as file-sharing service for knowledge and document sharing, distribution of software and security updates to all connected computers, enabling of online collaboration and sharing of calendars.

3) SOEasy Deployment

Since July 2009, messaging, collaboration, desktop, network and common services have started rolling out to the first batch of agencies, namely MOF, MICA, IDA and NHB. The deployment of SOEasy services will take place in phases through "bite sizes" so as to minimise adverse impact on public officers and maintain service levels to the public. The common environment and utitlisation of the same set of applications and services translate into greater efficiency at work for the public officers. One example of these services is the automated delivery of software and security patches, applications and services to each individual public officer. Previously, such updating activities would interrupt workflow. With the automation, users enjoy non-intrusive and seamless updates.

SOEasy will roll out in three releases. Release 1 will replace the existing services. New services will be packaged into Release 2 and Release 3, and will roll out in October 2009 and February 2010 respectively. One example of the services to be rolled out during these stages is the Unified Messaging service. This makes communications much more efficient for public officers, by transforming the computer and the IP telephone into a single integrated tool. With Unified Messaging, public officers can send and receive email, voice mail, fax and SMS (Short Message Service) all via the same mailbox.

SOEasy Showcase

As part of SOEasy deployment, the SOEasy Showcase developed by oneMeridian is launched today to give public officers a preview of new applications and tools they will receive when SOEasy is deployed to them. The showcase also gives them hands-on experience on the new innovative solutions offered under SOEasy.

RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive of IDA, said, "The SOEasy Programme will foster a work environment that encourages innovative use of infocomm in the public sector. It will also enable faster access to the latest innovations from industry players and updates on technological trends. With the SOEasy Showcase, public officers can get to experience the possibilities to come, even as we roll out SOEasy to the agencies."

Please see Annex A (icon_pdf19 KB) for more details on the SOEasy Showcase.