Govt to award IT tenders worth $1.2b this year

IT SERVICE providers can look forward to securing $1.2 billion worth of IT contracts from the Government this year.

The contracts will let government agencies tap into cloud computing, implement IT projects in weeks and enhance the user experience of e-government services and apps.

Speaking at an annual industry briefing yesterday on the Government's IT plans for the year ahead, Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) assistant chief executive James Kang said two-thirds of the contracts are valued at under $1 million.

"That's good news for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises)," he said, adding that larger IT companies can also bid for bigger tenders - worth between $1 million and $5 million - that make up a quarter of the contracts.

The new tenders are comparable in value to those made by the Government last year, when 577 IT contracts worth up to $1.2 billion were awarded.

Mr Kang said cloud computing, which involves IT resources being made available through the Internet, has gone mainstream and will allow the Government to respond faster to changing IT needs.

For example, during the H1N1 flu outbreak in 2009, the IT capacity of the Ministry of Health website was beefed up by 10 times to handle the surge in traffic. With cloud computing, this could be done in minutes rather than weeks, Mr Kang said.

The Government's IT shopping list this year also includes resources and services that will allow agencies to build apps and websites quickly.

Mr Kang said this can be achieved via "agile software development". A design firm, for instance, could work on the user interface of a smartphone app, while another writes the software codes.

"The world is moving very fast, so we cannot wait for nine months to a year to put up a simple application," Mr Kang said. "We need it to be up in a month or two."