Ministry of Finance

The Problem

iBudget is the Singapore Ministry of Finance’s (MOF) new integrated budget system. Prior to the development of iBudget, MOF had five separate application systems (referred to as the budget systems) to support the preparation of the Government’s annual budget. These application systems were developed in the 1990s as standalone IT systems to meet MOF’s specific needs.

In 2004, three of the application systems were web-enabled on a single portal. This portal allowed the Ministries from across the entire Government to obtain or deposit their data more securely and efficiently. However, although the three application systems were put on the same portal, back end they remained as standalone systems with little information exchange between them.

Over time, MOF also introduced new budgeting policies, which the budget systems could not support effectively due to limitations in their scope and functionalities. Consequently, a significant proportion of the preparation of the annual budget had to be performed manually using EXCEL templates and also manually tracked.

The standalone budget systems had their own databases which could not be easily interfaced with the information captured in EXCEL spreadsheets. Certain data elements were common and repeated throughout the budget systems. But as information exchange between the budget systems was restricted, the data had to be keyed in manually multiple times. The result was a lot of inefficiencies in the system and higher likelihood of human errors. Data analysis was also hampered as data had to be retrieved from different data sources, each with their own data structure.

There was a need for an integrated budget system to improve efficiency, reduce errors and facilitate data analysis. This led to the development of iBudget – an advanced information technology platform for more efficient, effective, timely and accurate preparation of the annual budget, that also allows active tracking of actual expenditures against budgeted expenditures and cashflow management for better project monitoring. This has brought about significant cost savings as well as increased productivity at the Whole-of-Government level. With integration of the standalone databases, the Ministries are now able to mine the data easily to analyse and forecast trends more effectively to ensure fiscal sustainability.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
1) Streamlined and efficient business processes

iBudget enabled data to be captured at source and only once, to be re-used in any part of the system for downstream reporting and analysis. By leveraging on ICT and minimizing human intervention, iBudget has greatly reduced the risk of human errors creeping in the budget data. This not only ensures data accuracy and integrity, but greatly facilitated data sharing across the entire Government.

2) Speed of response increased

iBudget has greatly improved performance with a faster turnaround time. Because of iBudget, we were able to shorten the time needed to prepare the annual budget. This allowed for more accurate budgeting by various ministries and the MOF.

3) Data Standardisation

To integrate the standalone databases and data captured in EXCEL spreadsheets, data elements (including definitions) were standardized and common metadata standards established. Subsequently, all existing data were cleaned and migrated into iBudget. With a robust data structure supported by common metadata standards, data consistency was enforced across the entire Government.

4) New/Enhanced Functions/Capabilities of the system

The integration of the standalone databases enabled ease of manipulation and retrieval of data across the Whole-of-Government. For example, Ministries can slice and dice the data by (say) types of projects or map the data by their Whole-of-Government Strategic Outcomes. iBudget also offered new modules such as the Budget Analysis and Planning Module to support new budgeting policies. In addition, iBudget would also serve as a valuable repository for budget-related documentation for Knowledge Management purposes.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
MOF is the sponsor and owner of iBudget, and is the lead agency in the design, development, implementation and maintenance of the system. MOF engaged the help of IT consultants from the Infocomm Development Authority, Deloitte Consulting and SAP to develop the system. The other stakeholders are the users of the system, which includes all Ministries and Organs of States, and several Statutory Boards.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
Considering the scale of the project that covered the entire Government, MOF decided on phased approach to rollout iBudget. The modules critical for budget preparation for FY2011 were rolled out on 1st July 2010, and the remaining modules were rolled out on 28 October 2010. Critical modules include Budget Analysis & Planning, Budget Allocation, Revenue Estimates, Reporting & Other Common Modules and Auxiliary Modules (Budget Book Generation, External Interface). Less time-sensitive modules are Project Management, Fees & Charges, Dashboard & Other Auxiliary Modules

After the successful rollout of iBudget, MOF further sought validation by soliciting feedback from the Ministries. Many expressed that iBudget met their expectations and that the concerns over Change Management had been adequately addressed.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
iBudget was developed over sixteen months, from conceptualization to implementation. The main phases are:


The case for an integrated budget system to improve efficiency, accuracy of data, and to enable data analysis, was put forth to MOF senior management.


Funding was sought and approved based on the need for a new integrated budgeting system.


The requirements were crafted and an open tender was called on 19th March 2009. After extensive evaluation of the tender bids, the system development was awarded to Deloitte Consulting Pte Ltd on 29th June 2009.

Requirement Gathering:

Requirements gathering was carried out immediately after the tender was awarded to Deloitte Consulting Pte Ltd. Many face-to- face sessions were held with various stakeholders to establish the requirements. The requirements were further analysed and documented.

Development and Data Migration:

After requirements were gathered from the various stakeholders and system design was decided, the system underwent rigorous testing (SIT and UAT) as it was developed. Existing data from the standalone databases and Excel spreadsheets were also cleaned before they were migrated to iBudget.


Extensive and rigours testing such as SIT and UAT were conducted at various stages during the development of the system followed by Quality Assurance checks to ensure the desired standards and performance of the system were met prior to the deployment. Testing and validation were also carried by the IT developers to ensure that the system was being designed according to specifications.

Implementation and rollout:

a) Transition Phase: At this phase, the system was placed in the hands of the end users. This phase involved training, production system setup and production rollout, etc.

b) Deployment Phase: This phase involved deployment of iBudget to all the Ministries as well as the 34 Statutory Boards. It included comprehensive training to all users and also frontline Helpdesk support, and also a new Business Continuity Plan for continued operations in the event of disruption to normal business operations.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
The main obstacles encountered were in soliciting requirements from the different stakeholders and de-conflicting and reconciling their differences as different stakeholders had different requirements. Moreover, some of the requirements changed as the project progressed. It was a massive exercise and extensive effort and resources were deployed by MOF to coordinate and gather and consolidate the requirements from the various stakeholders while managing their expectations and addressing their concerns.

The other major obstacle was the deployment of iBudget to the entire Government and several Statutory Boards as there were different IT environments and setup. Besides engaging the stakeholders, MOF IT team had to also separately engage the IT teams of the Ministries and Statutory Boards to help them understand and support the rollout of the new system. During the rollout, MOF also hosted an iBudget iClinic to further provide support to users.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
iBudget was developed at a total cost of $8,753,900, with an operating start up cost of $200,000, and an annual operating cost of $ 1,500,000 and an annual non-cash cost of $2,169,474. This is fully borne by MOF on the basis that iBudget will facilitate the annual budget preparation.

To substantiate the need for the project, an extensive and rigorous evaluation process was conducted. The benefits derived from having the iBudget were carefully weighed against feasibility and cost. The project was also aligned with the strategic thrust of ‘Enhancing Capability and Synergy in Government’ in the Singapore iGov 2010 Master plan.

The development, implementation and maintenance of the system requires expertise in many domains such as SAP Business Objects on the technical side and familiarity with budgeting processes and data structure (eg Chart of Accounts) on the requirements side. The number of staffs involved in the development, implementation and maintenance of the system included project sponsors, user project managers and coordinators, module owners IT team and vendors. In MOF alone, more than 25 staff were involved in the development of iBudget.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
iBudget was successfully rolled out to the entire Singapore Government.

The iBudget team has been actively sharing its experiences within Government as well as with visiting delegations from overseas.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
iBudget has radically transformed the entire budgeting process and the way that data is captured, used and shared. It is a comprehensive and integrated budgeting system that allows for more effective and efficient preparation of the annual budget in a timely manner. Furthermore, by integrating the standalone databases and supporting them with a robust data structure and common metadata standards, iBudget enables data analysis and forecasting. while facilitating data sharing across the entire Government. In addition, iBudget serve sas a valuable repository for budget-related documentation for Knowledge Management purposes.

The important lessons learnt are that to ensure its success:

• That strong support is needed from all stakeholders;
• Extensive engagement is required during the project so that there is a sense of ownership by all stakeholders to ensure its continued success.
• To place greater emphasis on Change Management to address the concerns that arose as the project progressed.
• To continue with post implementation support for new officers who would need some time to gain familiarity with the system.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Finance
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Guat Eng Tan
Title:   Head (BSA) Ministry of Finance  
Telephone/ Fax:   63327346
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   tan_guat_eng@mof.gov.sg  
Address:   #10-01 The Treasury, 100 High Street,
Postal Code:   179434
Country:   Singapore

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