Singapore Agency buys IT that it can’t use

The ministry didn’t evaluate compatibility prior to purchase.

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower spent US$320,000 (S$432,407) on an IT system that was incompatible with existing platforms and left it unused, the Auditor General Report revealed this Tuesday. MOM purchased a platform that creates documents based on given templates, but did not evaluate compatibility in the tender evaluation, the report stated. As a result it failed to incorporate use of the Document Generator System (DGS) into its foreign and domestic workers IT platform, costing US$20m (S$27.49m) since November 2014. The ministry “acknowledged that its evaluation should have been more robust” and could have sought other uses for the platform, it wrote. “Not doing so would result in a waste of public funds” as such assets have limited lifespans due to tech advances and licence expiry. To avoid such problems in the future, Singapore’s Government Chief Information Officer is prioritising workarounds that connect different systems and allow them to share data. “If you keep doing this enough, you realise that the back end systems become less and less relevant,” Chan Cheow Hoe, Singapore’s Government’s Chief Information Officer told GovInsider. “This is how we are doing it now: all the systems are done that way”, he added.