THE Employees Provident Fund (EPF) plans to invest about RM130mil in information technology (IT) over the next three years to provide better service to its 10.3 million members and 340,000 contributing employers, said deputy chief executive officer II Rusma Ibrahim.
Rusma did not provide further details on the IT investment plan, saying only the EPF was actively pursuing other IT initiatives to increase its efficiency and profit.
She was speaking after the EPF signed a RM2mil contract with Symphony Global Technologies Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Symphony House Bhd, in Kuala Lumpur, yesterday.
The agreement was for Symphony Global Technologies to set up a call management centre (CMC) in its training centre in Bangi, Selangor. Also present at the signing ceremony was EPF chairman Tan Sri Abdul Halim Ali, EPF chief executive officer Datuk Azlan Zainol, Symphony House chairman Tan Sri Asmat Kamaludin and chief executive officer Datuk Azman Yahya.
Rusma said the CMC, expected to be fully operational by August, would firmly put the EPF on track towards a quality customer relations management (CRM) programme.
The CRM was part of a customer-centric EPF Target Operating Model derived from EPF's ICT 20032006 plan.
Rusma also said the full implementation of the CMC would see 50 professional call centre representatives stationed at the centre, providing better customer service assistance to its members.
The EPF admits that there were times its members found it difficult to reach us due to congested telephone lines or calls being transferred to other departments.
With our current set-up, the EPF is also not able to track and monitor the level of member satisfaction towards inquiries handled over the telephone.
Hence, with the establishment of a CMC, the EPF will be able to be more efficient in discharging its services to its millions of members, Rusma said.
She also said the EPF would be upgrading the hotline service to CMC, which would be manned by agents who can better handle the phone calls.
Symphony Global Technologies chief executive officer Jasmy Ismail, meanwhile, said the company was upbeat about prospects for the IT business despite the sluggish outlook for the overall industry.
He said Symphony House, which is en route to a Mesdaq listing next month, expected contribution from the IT division to account for more than half the group profit in 2003, from about 50% last year as the company secured more projects in niche areas of outsourcing and business processes.
Symphony Houses current core businesses are IT and corporate services, with each contributing 50% to earnings. Jasmy said the two divisions had a clientele of more than 2,600 companies, including 150 listed firms.
For the six months ended June 30, 2002, Symphony House posted a net profit of RM2mil. In its listing prospectus, the company has projected a consolidated profit after taxation but before pre-acquisition profit of RM4.9mil in 2002, and forecast this to increase to RM11.5mil for the year to Dec 31, 2003.