ALL three panellists for the ‘Technology – The Engine of Change’ forum at the recent SOBA LAB in Penang concur that small and medium enterprises (SME) must adopt technology to move forward.
SOBA LAB is held in conjunction with The Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2018.
The three panellists were Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd’s enterprise product marketing head Khairan Nasir, RHB Group transaction banking head Chung Chee Kai and PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Michael Tio.
The forum, held at the MSOGO Co.Workspace in Prangin Mall, Penang, was moderated by Branding Association of Malaysia president Datuk Eric Chong.
Khairan said many of the SMEs in the country were aware of the need to transform.
“However, they don’t know where to begin. This is why the adoption of technology is not happening as fast as we would like to see.
“Furthermore, the Internet penetration in the country currently is between 60% and 70%,” Khairan added.
Khairan said Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd’s mission is to be the preferred one-stop business solutions centre for its customers.
“Digi works with different partners to tailor solutions to meet diverse needs.
“There isn’t a single solution that can meet everyone’s needs.
“The top-selling solutions are related to enterprise resource planning (ERP) and transaction activities that cut across the needs of office administration, accounting, finance reporting and human resource activities,” he said.
Khairan added that it does not change its core products. Instead, new features are added to them.
“Fleet tracking management features and new capabilities to manage the ERP layer are introduced to enhance the product competitive edge,” said Khairan.
Meanwhile, Chung said about half of the SMEs in the country have gone cashless, as cheques are expensive and not cost-efficient.
“The country has the necessary IT and broadband infrastructure to go cashless.
“To go cashless, the regulators in China make it difficult for cheques to be used.
“In 1999, cheques had a five-day expiry date and used for inter-province clearance only in China. This was the push factor,” he added
Chung said over here, the regulators emphasise more on the pull factor, which is to lower the cost of electronic payment and make companies understand the benefits of going cashless.
“Maybe we need a little bit of both,” he added.
In the meantime, Tio said the adoption of technology could substantially reduce the time required to build up wealth.
“During my father’s time, it took 60 years to become a billionaire.
“Today, the goal can be achieved in six years if you embrace technology,” he said.
Facebook could also be used by a company to manage and communicate with employees to obtain instantaneous feedback, according to Tio.
Meanwhile, Penang Golf Club sales and marketing executive Mandy Yang said she learnt the importance of employing appropriate strategies to run a company from SOBA LAB.
“I am beginning to see the operations of a company from a different perspective and will be applying what I have learnt from the talks,” she said.
Wilchard Bah, a training provider, said he wished the session was longer so he could learn more.
“A longer session would give us the time to talk to the speakers and mingle with other participants,” Bah said.
The other speakers at the event were Chong, who is also Erican Education Group founder and managing director, Credit Guarantee Corp Malaysia Bhd SME advisory and marketing vice-president Jenny Hoh, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) northern region director Sharifah Nazreen Farhana Syed Marzuki, Lexis Hotels & Resorts president Mandy Chew, and Kalyx Consultants Sdn Bhd managing director Shirlyn Lim.
SOBA 2018 is organised by The Star with Digi, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd as main sponsors, Credit Guarantee Corporation as co-sponsor, Matrade as official trade promotion partner and New World Petaling Jaya Hotel as official venue.
It is endorsed by the International Trade and Industry Ministry, supported by Bursa Malaysia and audited by BDO with 988, SuriaFM and dimsum as official media partners.
For more information on SOBA 2018, call The Star Events Business Unit at 03-7967 1388 ext 1432 (Jasmine) / 1857 (Pei Wen) or visit its website, soba.com.my