SINGAPORE: There are opportunities for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore to be had as the Singapore Government revealed a S$2.4 billion to S$2.6 billion IT spending budget for the new financial year.
According to the Government Technology Agency’s (GovTech) press release on Thursday (Jun 7), these SMEs accounted for almost two-thirds of the total number of ICT contracts awarded by the Government in Financial Year 2017. In dollar value, they were awarded about S$800 million of the S$2.4 billion set aside for that period.
The agency added it expects this trend to continue in the FY18 cycle of procurement tenders.
Of the forecasted budget, 33 per cent will go towards keeping the lights on for existing IT systems such as a PC bulk tender for leasing of personal computers and buying of printers, GovTech said.
There will also be a bulk tender to qualify a panel of companies to provide resources to support co-sourcing of projects with GovTech.
The bulk of the budget, or 44 per cent, will go towards supporting transformation projects such as the National Digital Identity system as well as smaller scale projects like the Singapore Tourism Board’s Singapore Visitor Centre system. The latter empowers frontline officers with visitor information and services and the ability to provide tourists with tailored recommendation, GovTech said.
Another 23 per cent will go towards growing the ecosystem, such as through a bulk tender for robotic process automation. This tender will support the implementation of such automated processes in Government agencies via a panel of companies qualified to provide the software tools and professional services needed, the agency explained.
The plans were revealed just days after Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean launched the Digital Government Blueprint that, among other things, spelt out the key performance indicators public agencies should work towards to in the next five years.
Some of the initiatives include having electronic payment and digital signature options for all digital services provided by the Government.
CUTTING DOWN CLUTTER
GovTech cited the example of cutting down the number of times a business will have to transact with the Government in order to create and start a business.
For instance, in the food and beverage (F&B) industry, a new entrant would have to go to eight agencies and apply for 14 different licenses such as fire and safety and hygiene ones just to get their business off the ground. These applications are across different agencies and websites, which makes navigation - especially for first-timers - potentially daunting.
Adopting a service journey mapping approach, GovTech’s intention is to consolidate these transactions and enable aspiring F&B entrants to submit the data once for all the licenses instead of the numerous times currently.
While the initial focus will be on the F&B sector, this approach would subsequently be widened to other fields as well, Channel NewsAsia understands.
Within the public sector, GovTech said public officers can look forward to better IT services through the Digital Workplace programme.
With the Digital Workplace mobile app, civil servants will be able to access corporate services such as booking meeting rooms and car park lots on the go. They can also synchronise and view their calendars - which was previously only available on their work PCs and laptops - on their personal mobile phones, the agency said.
This app is meant to just be another way to enhance the capabilities of public servants and is not mandatory for all to use. There are already other services to aid in collaboration internally, such as Workplace by Facebook, within the public sector.
“We are excited by the many opportunities to collaborate with the industry, and are currently engaged on many project discussions with them,” said GovTech chief executive Kok Ping Soon.
“We look forward to working with the industry in using technology to improve the lives of citizens, serve businesses better, and provide effective and convenient public services.”
Mr Kok had joined the agency in May this year, taking over from his predecessor Jacqueline Poh.
The announcements were made at GovTech’s annual Smart Nation and Digital Government industry briefing, which was attended by about 1,000 from the industry, academia and public agencies.