Becoming the Giorgio Armanis of Singapore's ICT industry

Singapore's ICT vendors should not be seen as just tailors in the business of product distribution, but software developers akin to top-notch designer labels, says one industry observer.

SINGAPORE--If Stephen Lim could have his way, Singapore's infocomm technology vendors will not be seen as just tailors in the business of product distribution and system integration. Rather, product and software developers should be akin to top-notch labels such as Giorgio Armani.

According to Lim, who is chairman of the Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF), greater collaboration and better brand recall might just be what is needed to further boost the sector.

"I feel that the starting point is to create a branding, and that branding must be anchored on quality… anchored on a statement or a commitment to deliverables, to superior products, on awareness. And thus, we can then generate the form of collaboration that we are looking for among our industry members," he said.

The SiTF currently has some 600 members, from MNCs (multi-national corporations), large local companies and SMBs (small- and medium-sized businesses), who collectively account for over 80 percent of the local industry's revenues. The federation acts as a voice for the members, develops the capabilities of member organizations and assists in the development of the ICT industry in Singapore.

Innovation weighs heavy at iX2005
On the agenda at this year's iX2005 conference will be lively discussions on innovation and the need to be quick to adopt successful business models.
According to Lim, both are "very good strategies", and he hopes that IT companies in Singapore will consider the implications and embark on a strategy that works for them.
"I'm not saying one is better than the other--they are both very reasonable business models," he explained.
Held from June 15-16 this year, the iX2005 is one of the events under the imbX.

Lim and his fellow SiTF council mates are also looking at rolling out a quality-mark framework, and pushing made-in-Singapore products to markets beyond the shores of the island-state. The opening of the Singapore Solutions Centre last year in Shanghai was a step toward helping IT companies establish their presence in China.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Lim offers his take on the industry, highlights what can be done better and shares his views on the value of innovation.

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