SMIs, SMEs should respond fast to changes

SMALL and medium-sized industries (SMIs) and enterprises (SMEs) must respond quickly to meet new challenges brought on by changes in the local and international business environment. 

IBM Malaysia Sdn Bhd managing director Voon Seng Chuan said SMIs and SMEs were important to the Malaysian economy and their well-being and competitiveness were vital to the country's growth. 

“The SMI and SME market in Malaysia has tremendous growth potential and we will continue to optimise the potential of this market,” Voon said at the launch of IBM's Solutions for SMI initiative Kuala Lumpur yesterday.  

The initiative is focused on helping alleviate the current challenges faced by SMIs and SMEs via the collaboration of designated partners brought together by IBM such as independent solutions vendors, government bodies, financial institutions and independent associations to work out solutions with the SMIs and SMEs. 

Voon said the initiative would help SMIs and SMEs capitalise on the “on-demand era” and transform their business processes to respond with speed to customer demand and market opportunity. 

The four key areas they should invest in are integration of businesses, automation of core businesses, real-time collaboration and reliable on-demand operating environment. 

The issues confronting the SMIs and SMEs are limited capabilities to meet the challenges of market liberalisation and globalisation, a lack of capability in technology management and knowledge acquisition, low productivity and low quality output, and limited access to finance and capital due to infancy of venture funds. 

Voon said a significant number of chief executives of SMIs and SMEs were not information technology (IT) savvy and clung to the traditional “brick and mortar” concepts. 

IBM Malaysia senior manager Chin Siew Siew said SMIs and SMEs were run by businessmen who wanted technology which was practical to improving their processes. 

“By bringing solution providers and SMIs and SMEs together, they will be able to collaborate and work out practical IT solutions,” she said.  

Malaysia Debt Ventures Bhd (MDV) managing director Jiro Suzuki said the organisation had disbursed loans totalling RM450mil to 21 companies, including SMIs and SMEs, on a fast-track basis to accelerate economic activities.  

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