IBM Malaysia to help small companies move towards e-business

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 16 (Asia Pulse) - IBM Malaysia wants to leverage on itsposition as the market leader in information technology (IT) to spur moreMalaysian companies, especially small and medium businesses (SMBs), tocapitalise on IT so that they can capture more business opportunities globally. Voon Seng Chuan, CEO of IBM Malaysia, said IT can actually help firms to bemore productive and competitive.

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 16 (Asia Pulse) - IBM Malaysia wants to leverage on its position as the market leader in information technology (IT) to spur more Malaysian companies, especially small and medium businesses (SMBs), to capitalise on IT so that they can capture more business opportunities globally.

Voon Seng Chuan, CEO of IBM Malaysia, said IT can actually help firms to be more productive and competitive. By having their IT infrastructure in place, these companies can also grow by leaps and bounds in a borderless world through e-business, he said in an interview with Bernama.

Voon, who was previously the sales and marketing vice president of IBM Asia Pacific (Business Partners), said e-business is a powerful medium that affords companies to break into potential markets in other parts of the world. Voon, who had taken charge of IBM's business activities from Australia to Japan and had seen successful businesses there tapping the power of IT, said given that IT technology and skills are already in place in Malaysia, local SMBs should make full use of IT because the way business is being done has changed with the advent of e-business.

In reaffirming his desire to spread the good word on the benefits of IT, Voon said he always wanted to tell Malaysian companies this: "Look guys, don't just wait, the wave of change has hit us. It's up to us to go out and adopt the technology, embrace the know-how, get out into the borderless world and make ourselves recognised." Saying that the paradigm in e-business has shifted, Voon said "almost everything we do at home, work and play have been influenced by e-business or the networked world." Voon, who started with IBM's small and medium enterprise division 18 years ago, said the IT solutions business in Malaysia is worth about US$1 billion annually.

"When you peel the onion on this, you will find that about 50 percent belongs to SMBs and this means that there are US$500 million worth of opportunities. When you analyse the market further, about 60 percent of this business or US$300 million come from companies which are actually very small in nature, with one to 15 employees."

With this in mind, Voon said IBM Malaysia sees a lot of potential to drive the use of IT even further. Asked how would IBM Malaysia overcome the misconception that its products are relatively expensive, Voon said it is for this reason that the company has established a "small business programme" to help more SMBs to migrate towards computerisation. The programme entails the provision of bundled hardware, software and implementation at a start-up price of RM6,000. Add-ons to as high as RM20,000 will enable SMBs to have the ability to undertake e-business through the Internet. Voon said IBM Malaysia's undertaking towards its customers in e-business would be to allow businessmen to use technology in e-business without having to worry about the technicalities.

For a company to go meaningfully into e-business, he said four basic steps have to be adhered to. They are the transformation of the company's core business processes and identifying the approach towards e-business, building the application solutions, running the application solutions and leveraging the data bank on customer profiles. In transforming the core business process, Voon said that this means that a company has to change the way it is doing business so as to allow its operations to leverage of various e-business applications.