TSTT embraces blockchain for E-tender systems

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Above: Keino Cox Vice President Supply Chain and Enterprise Portfolio Management at TSTT. Photo courtesy TSTT.

Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) continues lead by example in its adoption of new technology for digital transformation and the creation of value-driven products and services. This in turn has become a springboard for the company making important innovations available to the wider community of businesses, government and consumers.

One such success story is the integration of a cloud storage support service platform which is designed to enable blockchain technology to facilitate digital information and data sharing. A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed and public digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers. Its integrity comes from the fact that a record cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the consensus of the network.

Vice President Supply Chain and Enterprise Portfolio Management, Mr. Keino Cox says “This technology aims to provide both private and public sector businesses with opportunities to increase their revenue growth streams, raise their competitive advantage and realize greater efficiency in the daily operations of their businesses.” He says “blockchain sharing currently exists among many major corporations globally, many of which have reported a marked reduction in the cost of doing business, without jeopardizing security and trust in business processes.”

Mr. Cox was part of a team from TSTT attending CANTO’s 34th Annual Conference and Trade Exhibition in Panama which was held under the theme “Guiding digital adoption to lead the global market”. At the international conference, attended by regional government officials   as well as business leaders of private companies from various countries, TSTT shared some of its insights and expertise gained from deploying its home-grown E-Tender solution.

Mr. Cox explained “One of TSTT’s signature projects within blockchain technology is providing the E-Tendering Software Service.  The E-Tender Software as a Service (SaaS) facility is an online market forum for buyers and sellers, specifically to receive information on and respond to projects in the area of procurement for public or private tenders.”

The E-Tender online solution was created by TSTT in 2012 in a bid to transform the previous manual system into an automated system. However, recognizing its huge upside potential for expansion and its ability to assist in business optimization, TSTT made the E-Tender service available and accessible to local state and private companies.

Cox explains “Online procurement though relatively new to this country, has within its digital marker significant functional advantages which include but is not limited to assistance with optimization of time and facilitating ease or access of doing business. The online platform has evolved into negotiating and evaluating tenders, and facilitating contract management and administration.”

TSTT believes blockchain technology is bringing the online community closer to the realities of the information and data sharing age. According to Cox “The system has been set up to be able to receive any currency payment online across the world in order to procure transactions and online tenders.”

In preparing for the technologically driven future, Cox believes that the online platform is a step in the right direction as the system of having to visit a location to drop off and pay for tenders is quickly becoming archaic and counter-productive to business, with new media and technology revolutionizing the way business is done by eliminating geographical constraints and optimizing time for efficacy of operations.

The TSTT executive was careful to explain that security features are imperative elements within this E-tendering facility. He says while BlockChain technology shares information more freely among its customers, this does not apply to the E-Tender service facility.

Having invested millions of dollars in security infrastructure for this venture to ensure the platform meets international security standards, TSTT hired independent security firms to conduct vulnerability testing and assessments of this portal to ensure its integrity to clients and customers are maintained.

Cox states “There are stringent rules for the storage of data in the e-procurement platform within the E-tendering service. There are security encryptions in place to ensure privacy and data protection, for example when someone offers a tender it is automatically encrypted and secured in a lock box where it can only be accessed at the point of tender opening.” He explained that during the opening of tenders, only persons who are part of the tendering process will have access to view information.

In February 2018, TSTT signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding with IGOVTT to enable access to E-tenders throughout the country for ease of access to potential vendors wishing tender for government projects. In addition, TSTT has been in advanced discussions with other public and private entities locally, regionally and within Latin American on deploying its existing transformational E-tendering platform.

Persons wishing to access more information on TSTT’s innovative E-Tender Software as a Service (SaaS) can contact the E-Tender Hotline via email.