The Power Of Infocomm For Businesses

23 November 2007 - Speech By RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore At The E50 Day Awards, Raffles Convention Centre.

Speech By RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore, At The E50 Day Awards on 23 November 2007, Raffles Convention Centre.

Mr Seah Chin Siong, Country Managing Director, Accenture,
Mr Alvin Tay, Editor, The Business Times,
Mr Sng Seow Wah, Head, Enterprise Banking, OCBC,
E50 and e50 start-up Entrepreneurs,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Opening Remarks

Good morning.  I am delighted to join you for this year’s Enterprise 50 or E50 Day awards.

1. I would like to first thank the organisers for inviting me here and also for the opportunity to meet and get to know our entrepreneurs.

2. The E50 and e50 start-up awards are now into their 13th and 6th year respectively. This event will continue to highlight enterprises who have shown exceptional performance and growth, many of whom have grown their business overseas. For instance, last year’s E50 winners, APS Asset Management and Lipico Technologies have expanded further and gone on to set up global offices in countries across Asia.

3. Enterprising winners like you have demonstrated key traits that are critical for success in the business world. It is your vision, commitment, determination and true entrepreneurial spirit that have brought you success today.

4. Providing employment to more than 7,000 employees with an annual revenue contribution of S$2.9 billion, the E50 award winners this year are indeed playing a significant role in Singapore’s economy.  

5. For all of the E50 winners today, your recipe for success must surely include a sound management team with clear business vision, talent attraction plans and a continuous pursuit of new ways to expand your business locally and overseas.

Leveraging Infocomm Technology for Productivity and Efficiency

6. We all know that infocomm technology is so pervasive today and it is increasingly used for information exchange across companies and countries, enhancing operational efficiency and productivity in the process. Our companies are becoming more sophisticated in their use of infocomm technology as they embrace it to create new business models and optimise their business strategies and operations.

7. One company that has harnessed the potential of infocomm technology is ‘Hong Lian Gim Kee’, a local rice and sugar importer and exporter of the “Golden Pineapple" brand of Thai Fragrant Rice.

8. Hong Lian Gim Kee implemented a system that automated its goods delivery schedules, and along with it, its sales and invoice functions too. The result was encouraging because its lorries now take less than two hours instead of four to prepare for delivery. That’s not all. The company also extended the use of infocomm technology to enhance its back-end system to provide the company with good visibility of its stock levels. This helps to ensure that it maintains appropriate levels of stock, enabling it to always fulfil its orders, and in good time. It certainly makes for very happy customers.

9. I understand that Hong Lian Gim Kee has recently also gone on to communicate with its Thai suppliers using Skype. This saves the company the hundreds of dollars it used to spend each month on its bill for overseas phone calls. 

Leveraging Infocomm Technology for Growth and Differentiation

10. Infocomm technology indeed has the potential to generate economic and business benefits. In many instances, it is a key differentiator for many companies, giving them that competitive edge in today's global business environment.

11. Apart from embracing infocomm, constant innovation in product, service or business model is another key for companies to differentiate themselves.   

12. One of this year’s E50 award winners, Sunauto Pte Ltd, adopted a web-based inventory management system for its car import and export business four years ago to monitor the quantity, location and status of  its inventory, as well as its related shipping processes. Sunauto’s online portal allows its customers across the globe to have access to its product information and contact the company for purchase. Its staff can also access product information anywhere and close deals without being physically in the office. The company has since enjoyed a five-fold increase in profit sales turnover.

SMEs to Embrace Infocomm Technology

13. While such successes in using infocomm technology to enhance business growth are most encouraging, companies can embrace infocomm even further. In IDA’s 2006 Business Infocomm Usage survey, we found that while the Internet continues to be a valuable tool for companies to reach their customers, many smaller companies are not leveraging enough on infocomm for business advantage. We also noticed that infocomm usage and adoption fall as the number of employees decreases. 38% of companies with fewer than 10 employees still do not use the computer.  56% of these companies do not use broadband while 77% do not have a Web presence.
14. That is why the Government is committed to help companies embrace infocomm and migrate to the digital age.  By 2010, we aim to have 80 per cent of SMEs adopt broadband usage and establish an online presence. Toward this end, under IDA’s Infocomm@SME programme, SMEs who need more help to get started on adopting infocomm can visit the newly set up ‘SME Infocomm Resource Centre’ at the Singapore Polytechnic. There, they can attend workshops or get help in installing or configuring commonly used software, including operating systems, anti-virus and IP telephony applications, and learn how these can make a difference for their business. The centre also helps SMEs pilot innovative solutions before embarking on full scale implementation.

15. That’s not all. If an SME has an innovative idea on how infocomm can better your business, it can apply for a grant under the ‘Technology Innovation Programme’ which is jointly administered by IDA and SPRING Singapore.  We can help defray up to 50 to 70 per cent of the qualifying cost for the implementation of any infocomm related plan or idea. And of course, you would have heard by now that by December this year, SMEs will enjoy up to $30 discount when they register for their first domain name.

16. In the future, companies can also look forward to lower costs for their computing, storage and software needs.  In June this year, IDA announced our intent for a “National Grid” that will make high performance computing, software and huge storage capabilities available on a pay-per-use basis. This means that companies need not worry about hefty upfront investments in computer servers as they can leverage these infocomm resources for their needs.

17. Toward this goal, IDA is launching a Call-For-Collaboration today, to invite Grid service providers and independent software vendors to submit collaborative proposals on co-implementing the “National Grid”.

18. Moving forward, Singapore is planning for the Next Generation National Broadband Network to be ready over the next few years. Businesses can tap on the new ultra high-speed network to enhance operational efficiencies and realise greater growth opportunities far beyond those available today. I would like to therefore encourage all businesses together with your partners to explore and harness the potential of infocomm to stay relevant and competitive. 


19. Once again, congratulations to the winners of this year’s E50 award. I hope that winning the award will help spur you to soar to even greater heights, so that you and your company will eventually become role models and serve as a benchmark for other home-grown enterprises. I wish all of you continued success in all your endeavours. Thank you.