Setting out to change the SME IT landscape

TECHNOLOGY has changed the approach of small and medium enterprises in Malaysia.

The cost of starting a business has dropped significantly thanks to the many tools made available by software companies.

Seeking to lead the change in Malaysia is SAP, a world leader in enterprise software and software-related services.

SAP helps companies of all sizes and industries run better.

From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device — SAP empowers people and organisations to work together more efficiently and use business insights more effectively to stay ahead of the competition.

SAP applications and services enable more than 253,000 customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably.

Headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, with locations in more than 130 countries, the world’s third largest independent software manufacturer is looking to boost its operations among SMEs in Malaysia with the appointment of a new business head to run the operations here.

New hire

SAP Asia Pacific & Japan recently announced the appointment of Bernard Chiang as managing director for SAP Malaysia.

Based in Kuala Lumpur, Chiang will be responsible for driving SAP’s strategy, business and operations here.

Chiang has more than 25 years of experience in the ICT industry across Malaysia and the rest of South-East Asia, recently serving as the country general manager for the Imaging and Printing Group at HP Malaysia.

Previously at Nortel Networks, he led the operations of the channel and enterprise businesses for Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Chiang started his sales career at IBM Malaysia and helmed the company’s global financing division in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and India.

He led the PC division and subsequently became the first Lenovo Malaysia country manager before moving on to Microsoft Malaysia as general manager for the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) business.

Talent development

Chiang’s first role as the head honcho is to increase SAP Malaysia’s headcount.

“The business is growing and we need the talent,” said Chiang.

With 866 customers, Malaysia is one of the fastest growing SAP subsidiaries in the region. The company is also looking to develop talent through its MSC Malaysia MyUniAlliance — SAP University Alliance Programme (SAP UAP).

An instructor working with a student on a SAP course. Bringing knowledge to universities is one of the key pillars in the company's corporate social responsibility initiative
An instructor working with a student on a SAP course. Bringing knowledge to universities is one of the key pillars in the company's corporate social responsibility initiative. 

Bringing SAP knowledge to universities is one of the key pillars in SAP’s corporate social responsibility initiative, SAP UAP is a global programme with over 1,000 educational institutions around the world teaching SAP courses.

Currently, the programme has 150 universities across Asia-Pacific that are members of this programme and the company will provide access to its world leading business software for teaching in disciplines like business, IT, computer science and engineering.

Students under the UAP programme will gain hands-on experience and valuable SAP skill sets which allow students to understand how SAP systems enable businesses to run more efficiently.

In the cloud

Cloud computing investments in Malaysia are expected to reach RM2.8bil by 2020, a significant rise from the RM140mil recorded in 2012 and according to a Forrester Research Forecast spending on cloud computing services is expected to grow to RM509bil globally by 2020.

This area of focus was highlighted in Malaysia’s ICT Roadmap and in 2011, the MSC Malaysia Cloud Initiative (MMCI) was launched, which is focused on stepping up the development of the cloud ecosystem in Malaysia, by driving the adoption of cloud-based services

The programme enabled MSC Malaysia Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to deploy cloud software and services as a utility, while catalysing demand by local enterprises for “Made in Malaysia” cloud software and services. This created 3,000 jobs in 2012.

“SAP is the cloud built for business. Our market-leading solutions deliver the innovation and agility companies need to extend existing infrastructures to enable new processes and insights and quickly adapt to keep pace in today’s fast changing world,” said Chiang.

Chiang said business in Malaysia is growing and  the company needs more talent.
Chiang says business in Malaysia is growing and  the company needs more talent.

“With SAP, customers get the flexibility to consume the cloud when and how they want it — with the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of public, private and hybrid Cloud offerings,” he added.

Malaysian SMEs also have access to SAP’s latest offering, SAP Hana. As the first business management solution for SMEs running on the in-memory computing platform SAP Hana, the application helps businesses supercharge application performance and analyse growing volumes of data in real time.

Available on site or in the cloud, it is designed with flexibility and choice in mind to help SMEs innovate and achieve scalable growth.

The new version of SAP Business One for SAP Hana offers features that are only possible with the use of in-memory technology, enabling analysis of structured and unstructured information within seconds instead of days.

With deep insights from the predictive analytics capabilities of SAPHana, SMEs are able to optimise business planning, operations and decision-making while simultaneously gaining insight into new consumer trends and behaviour.

MAN Truck & Bus Polska, a Polish subsidiary of leading international supplier of commercial vehicles and transport solutions, has integrated the application with its service partners to improve overall customer satisfaction and service partners’ businesses.

The application offers them better visibility into service network operations and a fuller understanding of customer behaviour, as well as instant advanced prediction capabilities.

“With cloud computing the perception of security changed fundamentally. It makes trust the key asset and brand value in cloud computing,” said Chiang.

“SAP invests heavily in security, especially for the cloud, in most cases more than an IT organisation inside a large company is able or willing to do. All companies, not only smaller ones without access to such resources, definitely benefit,” he added.

Urban matters

Around the world, rapid urbanisation presents unprecedented challenges. The SAP Urban Matters programme which was recently launched in Malaysia is an initiative to help urban businesses, governments, and people create best-run cities.

The core aspect of Urban Matters is its ability to monitor and measure what it manages, to bring about efficiencies in its processes, and improvements in its productivity.

“Cities are fast becoming an identity by themselves and giving rise to newer concepts of life, work and recreation. It is just a matter of time when cities will emerge and establish themselves as independent brands and identities,” said Chiang.

SAP has been working with city councils, municipalities, urban administration agencies across the globe in helping them achieve these objectives.

Maybe someday, with the help of SAP, our cities would also be one of the best cities to live in.

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