NTUC embarks on bold IT Transformation Project

NTUCBack in early September, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) of Singapore held a pre-procurement briefing to a conference room full of vendors to announce its upcoming tender for its IT transformation project. Chief Information Officer Kwong Yuk Wah gave the group of 70-odd attendees a brief presentation to set the context, and underlined NTUC’s key considerations that:
  • Infocomm and New Media are strategic enablers for the Singapore Labour Movement.
  • NTUC is (to be) the early adopter of the next generation of web and mobile technologies
  • Solutions must be cost effective and value for money (given that NTUC is not-for-profit)

This project (be it scope, or aggressive time line) is clearly a bold and strong push by NTUC to remain relevant in the face of real-time enterprises (which is sort of passe by now) and the new media culture. A quick visit to NTUC’s current website will show you the their existing (cluttered) web front-end. Going through the slides will reveal the disjointed state of their database (strewn across various databases and Excel/Access documents). Add to the above NTUC’s 6 associations, 9 cooperatives, 63 unions, members and 500-odd strong staff and you’ll soon realize why I’m worried both for Yuk Wah (no mean feat lady!) and her team, as well as the eventual group of vendors that are selected.

This project is two-prong – an IT transformation for NTUC’s backend IT systems (BPR, database migrations, Business Intelligence), as well as an all-inclusive front-end going by the name of U-Portal (Internet, Mobile). The back-end is pretty typical of most IT transformations – what’s more interesting would be the eventual model that NTUC decides to adopt for its U-Portal so as to encourage maximum buy-in while facilitating adoption and use by its diverse stakeholders (unions, staff, members, public).

Kudos to NTUC for embarking on such an ambitious project! As crazy as it seems, I think they’re on the right track.

Here’s an extract of their project scope:

  • Total outsourcing – creative, development, hosting, maintenance and operation
  • Architectures – Enterprise Architecture, possibly even SOA
  • Business Process Re-engineering
  • e-Services Infrastructure (for ease of building incremental and future web apps)

I do believe this is the first of its sorts in the world – nothing better than adopting the wisdom of the crowds for a project of this magnitude and complexity! I’ll try to scrounge for the tender document and post a link when I can.

About James Chan

James Chan is an entrepreneur, investor, geek, photographer and husband/father based out of Singapore. Apart from frequent travels to Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia for work, James can also be found online via his trusty 15" Retina MacBook Pro or iPhone 6+.