Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development, IDA Singapore - Opening Address 4th Internet Commerce Conference, Mandarin Hotel

Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development, IDA Singapore - Opening Address
4th Internet Commerce Conference, Mandarin Hotel
Singapore, 25 July 2000


1. The annual Internet Commerce Conference, jointly organised by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, has become an important conference for local enterprises to gather knowledge on the latest updates in e-commerce practices and technologies.

2. I am glad to see that the number of delegates has almost doubled from last year and this is a clear indication that the local enterprises are taking a keen interest in e-commerce activities.

Challenges for Local Enterprises

3. It is said that in a couple of years from now, there will be no more 'online business' because by then, all businesses will be online.

4. The emergence of the Internet economy, often referred to as the "new economy", has created a totally new business environment where traditional business rules no longer apply. The new economy is characterised by instability and uncertainty that creates uneasiness among companies, especially the traditional brick and mortar companies.

5. In the past five years, the Internet has changed the world. In the next five years, we can expect an even faster pace of change. Companies that are quick to change will survive whilst it would be extremely difficult for those who are late-adopters in this new technology space.

6. Furthermore, companies are no longer constrained by their physical size. While smaller companies can now compete with the bigger industry players, they also face competition from startups with revolutionary business models. The rules of competition are constantly being redefined.

7. The e-commerce transformation for any enterprise must be developed in a holistic manner. It is important to realise that e-commerce is not limited to shopping over the Internet or building your own web site. It goes beyond e-mail and search engines. It is not confined to supply-chain transactions between large trading partners.

8. E-commerce is about doing business electronically in all aspects of the business processes. It embodies the entire business process - from advertising and marketing, to sales, ordering, manufacturing distribution, customer service, after-sales support, and replenishment of inventory - managing the entire customer and product life cycles.

9. It is in this context that the Internet offers local enterprises vast opportunities to improve their internal business processes and customer interfaces to create a sustainable, competitive advantage. If local enterprises take up these challenges quickly, they will have the opportunity to leapfrog over their competition.

10. As such, local enterprises should not see e-commerce as a threat to their existence, but to seize the opportunities and exploit new technologies to innovate and create new business opportunities for themselves.

11. Many of you are keen to embrace e-commerce but are faced with a fundamental challenge, namely, how do I identify e-commerce opportunities? What does the Business Model look like? How do I create value in my own business today?

Thought Leadership

12. In a traditional brick-and-mortar business model, value is measured based on accumulation of assets and resources using financial models such as Returns on Investments (ROI) and Economic Value Added (EVA). Value is perceived as stand alone assets that are tangible and quantifiable. A Company makes its business investment decision using such financial models.

13. The truth is, in the new economy, these yardsticks break down with the speed of change and development of e-commerce. The ROI model is no longer an appropriate and adequate model in determining values, and the values we are talking about here, are no longer static values.

14. Values in the new economy are created by speed, knowledge and adaptability - all of which are assets that are not easily quantifiable.

15. The new measure of Electronic Business Value is based on three main indicators. Firstly, future opportunities and growth potential, secondly, it focuses on value creation and finally, on intangible assets, such as customer relationships and knowledge management. As you are aware, the value driver is based on growth targeted at generating future business opportunities.

16. You might then ask, how could a company achieve Electronic Business Value in the new economy? The ability of a company to create Electronic Business Value is essential to generate future business opportunities for long-term business growth potential.

17. There are three very important traits that are essential to create Electronic Business Value. They are Innovation, Flexibility and finally, the ability to execute.

18. Innovation is important because as competition gets more intense and extends across industries and countries, a company must strive to innovate to differentiate itself from its competitors. This is a key source of Electronic Business Value that drives a company's growth potential by creating new market-space and long-term customer benefits.

19. Besides being innovative, it is crucial for a company to have the flexibility to change its organisation and business model to adapt to market demands. Flexibility is demonstrated by a company's ability to withstand changes and adapt market conditions to create new opportunities.

20. Finally, the ability to execute is the capability of a company to bring the products to market. As the new economy is moving at Internet speed, to compete and stay ahead of its competition, a company has to constantly create Electronic Business Value for its organisation by implementing appropriate e-business initiatives.

E-Commerce Adoption

21. Today, adopting e-commerce to constantly creating Electronic Business Value for the local enterprise is easier than before. There is an abundance of varied IT services available. Many applications such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), financial packages, and business intelligence tools, Call Centres, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are offered as bureau services and we see a mushrooming of many Application Service Providers (ASP)in the industry today.

22. The Internet brings about this array of business services, which were previously not possible. Many local enterprises can now tap on the latest technology regardless of their size and embracing e-commerce is easier for them today. The variety of ASPs services offers the local enterprises a vehicle to outsource part of your core services, if not most of their business functions so that the businessman can concentrate on their core business.

23. Under the SME21 plan, IDA will team up with the Productivity and Standards Board (PSB) to build up SMEs' capabilities and enhance their contribution to Singapore competitiveness and economic growth. PSB and IDA will work together to meet the targets of quadrupling local enterprise with E-commerce transactions capabilities from 8,000 to 32,000 by year 2003. With the array of ASP services available to local enterprises today, I am confident that this is an achievable figure for all in the industry.

Launch of Business Events@Singapore

24. Knowledge is the life-blood of the new economy. Businesses like yours are always on the look out for interesting and educational events and networking sessions to keep up with the latest advancements.

25. IDA has created a one-stop online business calendar of events targeted at the local and overseas business communities. Today, I am pleased to launch the Business Events@Singapore online business calendar of events at this Internet Commerce Conference.

26. In the Internet world today, there are many event calendars around. This makes it difficult for businesses to find the right seminar or event. Hence it is important to create a one-stop calendar that lists all the business events or seminar organised by the various business chambers and associations in Singapore.

27. Business Events@Singapore is a one-stop online business calendar that is accessible to anyone who is interested in business events held in Singapore. Users can enquire about events and register for the event online.

28. I am also glad that in its initial phase, four Chambers and associations have already given their support and parked their events with Business Events@Singapore. They are the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI), Singapore Confederation of Industries (SCI), Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) and Singapore Information Technology Federation (SITF). More chambers and associations will be invited to park their events with Business Events@Singapore. Users can access the Business Events@Singapore from the IDA website.


29. I hope that what I have shared with you this morning has inspired you to think further on how you would want to create new electronic business value for your company, to strategize and to seize opportunities brought about by e-commerce to propel your business into the new economy.

30. Thank you.