Digital transformation for Singapore’s small and medium-sized businesses

 |   Singapore News Center

When it comes to pulling your weight in business, size doesn’t always matter. Did you know small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) collectively make up 99 percent of registered companies in Singapore, contribute close to half of the gross domestic product and employ 70 percent of the local workforce?

With a future anchored upon the success of enterprises – whether small, medium or large – SMBs have an important role to play in driving continued growth for the nation. And amidst the challenging economic environment, innovation and productivity will be more important now than ever before in the quest for growth on the road ahead.

Here’s a look at how two local SMBs are harnessing Microsoft cloud technologies to transform business processes and operations, and drive productivity in their respective industries.

Transforming Richport Technology’s Electroplating Business with Microsoft Azure

Worker handling the electroplating process at Richport Technology’s facility

Richport Technology is a traditional family-owned enterprise that started in 1995, specialising in providing a wide range of electroplating services for companies in the semiconductor, medical, pharmaceutical and aerospace industries. Quality of service is the top priority and a long-standing goal for Richport Technology’s 60-strong workforce, and this mooted the need for the company’s management to look at how they can harness the power of technology to provide better service to their clients.

“For us, quality is the most important thing. Many of our customers have very stringent requirements, and we wanted to up our level of service to meet their needs better. Before working with Kloud-Soft (Microsoft’s Open Source on Azure Partner of the Year 2016) to implement this new solution, our processes were very paperwork-heavy and require more time for us to look through the documentation to retrieve the details we need to complete a customer order. Hence the first thing we had in mind when we started this project with Kloud-Soft was the need for traceability of our customers’ parts, to save time and reduce duplicate efforts in the business processes,” said Chew Kian Zi, Director at Richport Technology Pte Ltd.

Richard Chong, Managing Director of Kloud-Soft (left) and Chew Kian Zi, Director at Richport Technology Pte Ltd (right) working on customizing an ERP solution on Microsoft Azure, to cater to Richport Technology’s needs

“When looking at selecting a technology partner and provider, we had three main criteria – the first is to make sure that the technology doesn’t change the way we work and is customised to fit into our current work processes. Secondly, we have to ensure security of our customers’ information, for example if the data is being kept on a server within the plant and an accident happens, then this data would be lost, hence we leveraged Microsoft Azure in partnership with Kloud-Soft to keep our data in the cloud and ensure that this data will always be safe. Lastly, we need good after-sales service, where Kloud-Soft has been a great help in assisting us to troubleshoot and maintain the system after implementation,” added Kian Zi.

With a strong and reliable partner in Kloud-Soft, Richport Technology eventually implemented the solution successfully, and this helped to streamline their business processes, paving the way for the company to take on new initiatives and customers to grow the company.

Sample interface of the customised ERP solution for Richport Technology

Richard Chong, Managing Director of Kloud-Soft, said, “With data being hosted on the enterprise-grade Microsoft Azure, this helps SMBs like Richport to keep their staff strength lean without the need for dedicated IT personnel, keeps their business data secure, and enables them to scale easily according to their business needs. For them, this also helps to save time and costs, and enables them to be able to grow in a more agile manner.”

“As a Microsoft partner, we have reaped many benefits including getting strong support from Microsoft in the technical, marketing and business development side of things. They have been helping us to look at how we can prioritise our products better, and reach out to customers beyond Singapore, to the broader region and even the US. Additionally with ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certification, we hope that this will pave the way for us to grow the company further, and with Microsoft’s support, make our mark regionally and globally,” added Richard.

Transforming FranklinCovey’s Regional Operations with Microsoft Office 365

Corporate training session in progress at FranklinCovey’s office premises

FranklinCovey is a global consulting and training company that specialises in performance improvement, helping organisations and individuals achieve results that require a change in human behaviour. FranklinCovey’s clients include 90 percent of Fortune 100 companies, 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies as well as numerous small and medium-sized businesses, government entities and educational institutions.

In 2016, when the company established offices in Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Taipei as part of its organisational transition, FranklinCovey’s Vice President for Singapore and Greater China, Veronica Tan, went on a search for the right IT infrastructure for its operations. Majority of the IT vendors that Veronica spoke to recommended them to use Microsoft Office 365, and this sparked off FranklinCovey’s digital transformation journey using cloud-based productivity tools.

“We had a checklist of considerations – first of which is cost. We didn’t want to invest in servers for all locations, and we didn’t have resources to cater for an IT personnel onsite. Office 365 suited our needs perfectly, as it did away with server investment and enabled us to scale according to our needs. Our second consideration was communication – Skype that came with Office 365 enabled us to save cost on international calls, making communication across geographical boundaries much easier for our employees,” said Veronica.

Using the Skype Meeting function on Microsoft Outlook to organise regional calls with other FranklinCovey employees

“The third consideration was email on-the-go. With Outlook being really easy to add to our employees’ phones, our sales people could stay connected even when they are out of the office, and we’ve seen productivity rise as a result of having email on-the-go. The last consideration was back-up – with Office 365, all your emails and data are securely backed up in the cloud, making disaster recovery easy for us. This is definitely a big plus for us,” added Veronica.

FranklinCovey employee checking their emails on-the-go with the Microsoft Outlook app on mobile

“Now that we’ve gone through the entire migration process and used Office 365 for some time, we understand that being on the cloud is about having your data managed completely by Microsoft. This gives us a great sense of security to know that our data is in a safe place, as well as the confidence to try out other innovative products by Microsoft in the future,” added Veronica.

For more information on how you can get started on the digital transformation journey with Microsoft, visit the Microsoft Azure and Office 365 pages.

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