30% increase in FY2020 ICT spend to accelerate digitalization & support businesses

To boost the economy and support businesses recovering from COVID-19, the Singapore Government will spend an estimated $3.5 billion on ICT procurement in Financial Year (FY) 2020. An increase of 30 percent from FY2019's projected spend of $2.7 billion. 

The increased spending will help the Government accelerate digitalization as technology becomes increasingly vital in enabling citizens and workers to resume normal activities, and businesses to reopen safely after the COVID-19 “Circuit Breaker” (CB).

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be eligible to participate in 80 percent of these potential procurement business opportunities. COVID-19 has accelerated the push for digitalization within the public and private sectors. 

Five key focus areas for Govt's projected FY2020 ICT spending

The projected Government ICT expenditure will be in five key focus areas:

  • development of new tech tools to respond to COVID-19;
  • development of citizen- and business-centric digital services;
  • development of ICT systems on the cloud;
  • modernization of government ICT infrastructure; and
  • use of data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and sensors within the public sector.

It has led to the delivery of citizen- and business-centric digital services. GovTech engineers were able to build the TraceTogether digital application for contact tracing quickly. Roll out SafeEntry as the National Digital Check-in System, and launch the MaskGoWhere and SupportGoWhere websites to help citizens find their designated location points for mask collection and COVID-related government support schemes respectively. 

GovTech engineers developed several AI-based temperature scanning solutions – such as VigilantGantry and SPOTON – for government buildings and community facilities. They piloted the AI-powered SPOT robot to support safe distancing operations at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and the delivery of essential medical supplies at the Changi Exhibition Centre community isolation facility. 

Sport Singapore's ActiveSG Circle launched in April 2020 aims to elevate the sporting industry in Singapore via technology. Envisaged as the virtual super sport club, the ActiveSG Circle offers a rich repository to inspire and enable citizens to live better and maintain their active lifestyles beyond this COVID-19 period.

By modernizing its ICT infrastructure, the Government enabled many public officers to continue to serve the public by working from home seamlessly, aided by digital tools.

For FY2020, the Singapore Government will continue to invest heavily in technology to carry forward the impetus for digitalization. These include the development and delivery of crucial Strategic National Projects such as the National Digital Identity (NDI) and Moments of Life (MOL) for citizens and businesses; continual migration of eligible ICT systems onto the commercial cloud as part of the five-year (2018-2023) Government on Commercial Cloud initiative; 

The modernization of ICT infrastructure to empower public officers under the Digital Workplace Programme, and developing more applications and uses within Government and across the industry for AI and sensors.

Helping SMEs to participate more easily in Govt ICT procurement

In FY2019, SMEs awarded nearly 70 percent of the total ICT contracts. GovTech has continued to work with the Ministry of Finance to streamline and introduce new procurement methods to improve SMEs' access to Government ICT procurement opportunities. These include incorporating more bulk tenders and dynamic contracting to shorten the ICT procurement process.

For FY2020, the Government will put up bulk tenders for services such as User Experience Design, Agile Development, Application Development, Data Science, and AI, among others. With a projected value of $1.2 billion, these Bulk Tenders will broaden SMEs' opportunities to participate in and win ICT contracts with government agencies.

One of the SMEs to benefit from the bulk tender is SimplifyNext, awarded a robotics process automation (RPA) bulk tender for the Government. Mayank Gupta, Managing Director, SimplifyNext, said: “We help our customers deploy software that automates their business processes. Unlike larger companies, SMEs like us have limited resources, and we used to spend more time trying to win contracts than to deliver them. The Government's initiative of pooling demand for new services into bulk tenders has helped us. We went through an extensive and rigorous evaluation process to secure the RPA bulk tender, and it has opened many doors for us to do business with government agencies.”

Strengthening the nexus between Govt, Industry and Tech Community

As part of its community-building efforts, GovTech has soft-launched the Singapore Government Developer Portal (developer.gov.sg), a centralized resource to help industry and developers learn more about the tech products developed GovTech and how they can work with GovTech to co-create digital solutions. The portal will be a platform for the tech community to engage and share ideas on technology and their possible applications for the public good.

Complementing the Developer Portal, GovTech will continue to organize more STACK-X meet-ups to strengthen engagement and co-creation with the industry and tech community. GovTech has organized more than 10 STACK-X meet-ups since August 2019 on topics such as Agile Development, Cybersecurity, Cloud Strategy, and Data Science for over 1,000 participants from the tech community.

The meet-ups have moved online with a COVID-19 themed webinar to crowdsource ideas on COVID-related problem statements such as contact tracing and ways to reopen the economy safely. More virtual STACK-X events on topics such as User Experience Design and Software Engineering are planned over the next few months.

Active recruitment to accelerate digitalization

To strengthen the Government's internal engineering capabilities and accelerate digitalization, GovTech is actively recruiting fresh graduates and experienced tech professionals as part of the SGUnited Jobs initiative. There are more than 400 vacancies in software engineers, digital business analysts, cybersecurity specialists, data scientists, AI engineers and infrastructure specialists, etc.

GovTech has launched a five-week recruitment drive – a virtual “TechHunt” – from 21 May to 21 June. Interested applicants who believe in tech for the public good can visit go.gov.sg/techhunt for more details and to register their interest.

Mr. Kok Ping Soon, Chief Executive, GovTech, said that “As we take on the new normal of COVID-19, we are re-engineering our back-end digital infrastructure which underpins the delivery of front-end government digital services to citizens, businesses and public officers. 

COVID-19 has illustrated the importance of digitalization and the need to accelerate it within and beyond the public sector. We hope that businesses, especially the SMEs, will benefit from the larger pool and higher value of ICT procurement opportunities, work with us to build a Smart Nation and Digital Government, and emerge stronger from this crisis together.”

The Government's ICT procurement and digitalization roadmap announced at the Smart Nation and Digital Government Industry Briefing held annually. In light of the CB measures, GovTech is rolling out an online multimedia package – comprising long-form articles and videos – with more details on the Government's essential digitalization focuses and areas of projected spending, beginning from 10 Jun.

Source: Media Release By
Communications & Marketing Group
Government Technology Agency of Singapore