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Tuesday 19 August 2008

Asia's needs more open source contribution

By Victoria Ho, ZDNet Asia
Tuesday, August 19, 2008 07:59 PM

SINGAPORE--Open source software adoption is high in Asia, but the level of contribution from the region's open source developer community leaves much to be desired, says a prominent figure in the open source industry.

David Axmark, co-founder of the popular MySQL database, said during a media session here Tuesday that usage of open source software continues to grow significantly across the region.

However, not many Asian open source service providers have sprung up to match this interest, Axmark noted.

As a result, he added that enterprise users requiring software customization specific to the region, are unable to depend on the developer ecosystem. Instead, these businesses will have to rely on global open source vendors to build and package those features into their products.

"Supporting multi-region languages is something a small company can't [obtain] without spending a lot of money," Axmark said.

Urging the need for more open source vendors in Asia, he noted that these companies can rely on the global developer community to help translate and push out different languages more quickly.

Furthermore, open source vendors that are well-connected and closely attuned to the community are quicker to pick up on industry zeitgeist, compared to most closed-source software vendors that have to "spend money identifying trends in the market".

For instance, he noted, an individual developer from the open source community built an API (application programming interface) in Ruby for the MySQL database, even before MySQL engineers knew what Ruby was. "Someone made it and sent it to us," he said.

Axmark could not offer a reason for Asia's lack of participation in the open source developer community, but said the region does not lack relevant skills.

"I always thought it would be great for all the very talented engineers in the Asia-Pacific region to start [growing open source companies]," he said.

On his experience starting MySQL over a decade ago, Axmark said: "We didn't have a lot of support. We relied on a few computers and free bandwidth... We didn't have sales or marketing staff.

"To start an open source company, you just need to be good at what you do, and do good stuff. Keep costs down. It is possible to start extremely small," he said.

Software should also be user-friendly to boost its popularity, he added. "If you want people to adopt your software for free, you have to make it easy to use," he said.

MySQL was acquired by Sun Microsystems earlier this year, the company's open source database application is downloaded on average 70,000 times per day, Axmark said. According to Ovum research figures, MySQL held 49 percent of the open source database market in 2006.

Monday 18 February 2008

Asia to have world's largest IT spend

By Sol E. Solomon, ZDNet Asia 15/02/2008 URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/business/0,39044229,62037867,00.htm

Chief information officers (CIOs) in Asia are expecting strong IT budget growth in 2008, reveals a new Gartner survey which polled some 1,500 CIOs worldwide.

Global IT budgets are expected to rise by an average of 3.3 percent in 2008, but growth in Asia is significantly higher--with IT budgets projected to go up by an average 8.3 percent, according to the Gartner Executive Programs (Gartner EXP), a membership-based organization, which the research house said currently has over 3,600 CIOs worldwide.

Andrew Rowsell-Jones, Gartner EXP's vice president and research director for the survey, said the focus on growth in Asia is reflected in different technology priorities, as well as the impact of economic, social and other mega trends.

"Here, the focus is on building out IT infrastructure, rolling out new applications and finding the people and processes to make it all work," Rowsell-Jones said in a press release.

"IT budget growth is back and and almost at dot-com era levels," he said.

According to the Gartner survey, inflation topped the list of economic and social concerns in Asia, and government regulations came in second. However, these rankings were reversed in the global results, the survey found.

Concerns relating to staffing and skills are a universal theme among CIOs globally, noted Gartner.

"Everyone is suffering from resource problems," said Rowsell-Jones. "Only 27 percent of CIOs worldwide believe that they have the right number of skilled people to meet business needs, and the problem is slightly more acute in Asia. That is impacting both IT performance and IT's support for enterprise strategies."

CIO job stability The tenure of Asian CIOs has stabilized at an average of four-and-a-half years, slightly longer than their global counterparts of four years and four months. In addition, 43 percent of CIOs in the region report to the CEO.

Reflecting their enhanced business leadership position, 64 percent of Asian CIOs have responsibilities outside of traditional IT, where the most common additional responsibility is related to business process improvement.

The Gartner EXP report, Making the Difference: The 2008 CIO Agenda, encompasses more than US$132 billion of IT spending and the insights from more than 1,450 enterprises across 33 countries and 23 industries, according to Gartner. The survey included 121 CIOs from 11 countries in Asia, excluding Australia and Japan.

Thailand unveils five-year RFID roadmap

By Sasiwimon Boonruang, Bangkok Post 15/02/2008 URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/communications/0,39044192,62037858,00.htm

The National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (Nectec) has rolled out a five-year radio frequency identification (RFID) technology roadmap to promote the local RFID industry and to serve potential business sectors.

The five-year roadmap (from 2008 to 2012) focuses on RFID use in Thailand for tracking animals and food, logistics, transportation and in the financial sector.

Between 2007 and 2008, RFID applications in Thailand have been used for access control and for animal tracking, according to Nectec's research team. The technology will be expanded to cover supply chain management and logistics, as well as industrial and manufacturing automation. In the near future, RFID in Thailand is expected to be used in the transportation, financial and healthcare sectors.

Nectec noted that the basic technologies where development should be accelerated in the short term included wireless, embedded systems, micro controllers, microwave, multi-readers and software, such as databases, as well as developing an RFID knowledge base.

Currently, companies here that use logistics RFID applications include Western Digital (Thailand), PTT and SCG Logistics Management. However, no company is running RFID actively for wholesale and retail as they are studying the return on their investment.

RFID technology, meanwhile, has been used for electronic toll collection using dedicated short range communications.

The first-stage expressway has run an active tag system at 2.4GHz and expects that over the next two years, it will transfer to a passive tag system at 5.8GHz and would expand this to the second stage expressway.

In the future, RFID will be used in transportation for such applications as advanced traveler information, near-field communications and for non-transit payments.

Phaophak Siriruk, adviser for Nectec's roadmap development project, said the goals of the five-year roadmap include having more RFID use in animal tracking and food traceability for export within three years, more RFID use in logistics and supply chains within five years, to have at least an additional 10 projects involving RFID R&D and to have a bigger proportion of local RFID products and services.

Citing a report made by technology market researchers VDC, Drew Nathason, from the company's RFID practice, said that in 2008, RFID would grow to be worth over US$5 billion (157 billion baht) worldwide by 2008. The market's compound annual growth rate was estimated to be approximately 34 percent, of which software and services have the highest growth. The total services market by 2008 is over US$2 billion (62.7 billion baht).

Tuesday 29 January 2008

Top 10 Asian telecom predictions for 2008

By Lynn Tan, ZDNet Asia 29/01/2008 URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/communications/0,39044192,62037124,00.htm

IDC has revealed its top 10 telecommunications predictions for the Asia-Pacific region excluding Japan (APEJ) in 2008. These include greater demand for Web 2.0 and unified communications applications such as collaboration tools within the enterprise, as well as increasing awareness in IP-surveillance products.

In its report released earlier this month, the research house also identified green communication technologies as a priority among businesses in the region. As a result, products and services that are environmentally friendly, such as videoconferencing, are expected to gain traction.

Top 10 telecom trends in APEJ for 2008

1. Multimedia applications Enterprise adoption of WLAN (wireless LAN) is expected to grow when the 802.11n standard is ratified in 2008, IDC predicted. This is because the 802.11n standard will "remove obstacles that have previously impeded" enterprise-wide adoption of WLAN and is expected to pave the way for larger scale deployment.

In addition to improved security, bandwidth and range, the standard is likely to enable the "seamless delivery" of unified mobile applications--which the current combination of wired and wireless networks has problems tackling. As such, its technological strengths will drive greater usage of multimedia applications such as videoconferencing, IPTV (Internet Protocol TV), video-on-demand, multiroom DVR (digital video recorder) and voice over WLAN.

2. Streaming services IDC noted that although data streaming has been around for a while, its performance on GPRS (general packet radio service) and 3G networks has been "too slow and too inefficient". However, the arrival of HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access)which could deliver speeds of 3.6Mbps or greater"breathes new life" into music and video streaming, as well as "bring mobile TV into reality".

Streaming services are expected to enhance operators' revenues as long as tariff plans are simple and content has appeal, said the analyst firm.

3. All-IP mobile core network According to IDC, there will be more APEJ mobile operators migrating to an all-IP mobile core network in 2008. GSM operators that do not have a 3G license and are looking to roll out the next-generation wireless data services are expected to migrate their mobile switching center, base-station controllers, customer care and billing systems, SMS (short messaging service) and other value-added voice services to an all-IP core.

This is because an all-IP mobile core network provides operators with flexibility in scaling up to new bandwidth-hungry applications while preparing for a future 4G-network design at the same time, the report noted.

4. Mobile 2.0 applications The introduction of HSDPA, coupled with the rise of Web 2.0 technologiessuch as blogging and video sharingwill help create opportunities for mobile operators, IDC noted.

"Mobile versions of various Web 2.0 applications will accustom subscribers to use their mobile phones for communications and social networking purposes," the research house said. "As users become more comfortable and more compelled to use their phone to access the Internet, operators are posed to gain from greater data usage."

According to IDC, most Asian carriers recognize that creative content development could lead to enhanced revenue, and as such, mobile operators are expected to be "very active" in developing and pushing mobile 2.0 applications in 2008.

5. Opportunities in verticals As "highly customized service brings higher premium", the telecommunications industry has been placing great emphasis on delivering tailored products for various industry verticals, IDC said.

The study predicted that the gaming, healthcare, hospitality, off-shoring and retail sectors in APEJ will hold great revenue potential for telcos over the next few years.

6. Eco-friendly communication services While server and datacenter consolidation will be one of the immediate focus points of making IT environmentally friendly, videoconferencing is another area that will become increasingly popular as it "resonates well with "green IT", the report said.

"Enterprises will increase pressure on their partners and suppliers to provide 'green' solutions, not only for the purposes of meeting environmental compliance regulations, but also from genuine concern for the environment," IDC said. It expects more green initiatives in 2008 and beyond.

Wireless communication networks Wireless communication networks will become more popular in certain markets as mobile operators use the technology to offer unlimited voice call that resemble fixed-line services, IDC predicted. It added that fixed-line penetration remains low in a number of emerging markets such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

8. IP surveillance With IP-surveillance tools currently being deployed in Beijing, China, as part of the 2008 Olympics security plan, 2008 is set to be a "big" year for the technology. "Businesses will be receptive to IP surveillance due to increased security concerns, as well as IP surveillance's cost effectiveness," IDC said.

The emerging technology will become popular in the gaming, financial services and retail industries, the study noted, citing physical security as a primary concern for these vertical industries.

9. Unified communications and Web 2.0 As the gap between personal and business communication narrows, there is an emerging focus on Web 2.0 and unified communications (UC) offerings for the enterprise, IDC noted. "Enterprises will move beyond UC and start embracing Web 2.0 with a focus on collaboration, customer analytics and targeted smart search applications in 2008."

According to the report, the need for constant presence, information and more effective communication and collaborative workflows are factors driving the adoption of UC and Web 2.0 applications at the workplace. IDC predicted that 2008 will be the year where these services will gain traction in the enterprise space.

10. HSDPA and mobile WiMax HSDPA and mobile WiMax will "cooperate and compete" for market share in the APEJ wireless broadband markets--where HSDPA will be the "winner" for 3G carriers and mobile WiMax the "winner" for 2G carriers as well as fixed-line providers, predicted IDC.

It noted that wireless broadband technology is a cost-effective offering that could address the demand for connectivity in markets that have moderate to high broadband household penetration, as well as households that are still not connected to the Internet or even the analog telephony POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service).

Thursday 17 January 2008

Asia's SaaS CRM market heating up

By Victoria Ho, ZDNet Asia 16/01/2008 URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/software/0,39044164,62036677,00.htm

The SaaS scene has been heating up with the introduction of new, larger entrants, but market leader Salesforce.com says it is not feeling threatened.

The SaaS (software-as-a-service) CRM (customer relationship management) market, a space long dominated by Salesforce.com, is now gaining the attention of large software houses looking to capture a piece of the lucrative small and midsize business (SMB) segment.

SAP last September introduced Business ByDesign, its SaaS offering for mid-market customers. Designed for companies with 100 to 500 employees, the hosted offering encompasses a CRM application and other tools, such as business analytics and human resources management.

Previously, SAP offered a standalone Web-based CRM product called CRM On Demand, but the software vendor touts Business ByDesign as an offering that is tightly integrated into its business suite.

Another software house Oracle, coins its SaaS offering CRM On Demand. After acquiring Siebel in a move to broaden its CRM portfolio, the company last August launched a new release of the platform. Last week, Oracle added social networking features to allow its users to share data with their business partners to facilitate joint sales and marketing campaigns.

Microsoft also joined the fray late last year with its hosted CRM offering, Dynamics CRM Live.

The AppExchange factor Despite the increasing competition, Salesforce.com remains confident its AppExchange plug-in database will keep its customers happy.

Jeremy Cooper, Salesforce.com's vice president of marketing for Asia-Pacific and Japan, said in an e-mail interview that there is "phenomenal demand" for AppExchange", which currently boasts some 35,000 customers and 300 independent software vendors (ISVs) worldwide. "Over time, yes, we will move 100 percent to SaaS." -- Steven Guggenheimer Microsoft

The popularity of the plug-in database, which extends the functionality of Salesforce.com's platform, stems from the variety of applications available and that many of the applications are available for free, Cooper said.

Sau Lam, an analyst with AMI-Partners, said in a research note released October 2007 that SAP will need a similar approach to make its Business ByDesign a success.

Lam said: "SAP needs to woo developers that can add vertical and other niche functionality to its base offering... SAP faces stiff competition from rivals, all of whom are heavily courting these kinds of high value-add partners."

Asia's growing SaaS appetite And the appeal of SaaS CRM looks set to continue growing in Asia.

AMI-Partners' Lam said: "Market demand for SaaS is snowballing... Spending on SaaS applications will outpace spending on packaged software by as much as three times over the next five years."

According to Springboard Research figures, the Asia-Pacific SaaS CRM market, excluding Japan, grew by an estimated 68 percent in 2007, and is expected to reach US$460 million by 2010, up from US$69 million in 2006.

Balaka Baruah Aggarwal, Springboard senior manager for emerging software said in a statement last month: "The market is set to witness unprecedented growth in the SMB sector as the vendors promote their CRM offerings.

"Springboard Research believes that a substantial portion of the growth in Asia-Pacific's SaaS CRM market will come from the SME segment. We expect SMBs to go for simpler CRM solutions that are not too complex," said Aggarwal, adding that this momentum will drive traditional licensed software companies to offer stripped-down, SMB-specific SaaS applications.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Salesforce.com president and CEO of Asia-Pacific, Steve Russell, explained the interest Asian SMBs has on its SaaS CRM product.

Asia has "very little legacy", Russell said, which means companies in the region have not invested in on-premise software and are therefore not compelled to use such products.

"Asian companies are also risk-averse and conservative," he noted, adding that SaaS's subscription-based model lowers the barrier to entry for SMBs. Two-thirds of Salesforce.com customers globally are SMBs.

Steven Guggenheimer, Microsoft's general manager for application platform and development marketing, said in an interview that for smaller businesses, "it is just easier for everything to be hosted.

"New expectations are going to challenge CIOs," he told ZDNet Asia. Businesses will look to their IT heads to better utilize the company's existing resources, and this is where Web-based offerings can be a viable replacement for packaged software, said Guggenheimer.

"Over time, yes, we will move 100 percent to SaaS," he said.

According to Salesforce.com's Russell, the next wave driving the hosted software market will focus on the ability to access applications via mobile devices.

"This is where the market's going," he said. "Mobile presents the best opportunity in the region."

Thursday 10 January 2008

Singapore's 40 Richest

Wanna see who really run Singapore ?

Check out http://www.forbes.com/lists/2007/79/biz-cz_07singapore_Singapores-40-Richest_Rank_print.html

Cheers, Make

Tuesday 27 November 2007

Red Hat gets all charged up in Asia

By Victoria Ho, ZDNet Asia 26/11/2007 URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/software/0,39044164,62034857,00.htm

Gery Messer, Red Hat President APJ newsmaker For Gery Messer, the people factor is key to success.

In a role created for him in February this year, Red Hat's president for the Asia-Pacific region is vocal about the power of "talent attracting talent" which, he believes, is vital to growing the business.

"Since I joined the company earlier this year, we've brought in some executives who are veterans. We want this leadership to attract high-profile executives, to inspire, set the direction and to talk with key clients," Messer said.

An industry veteran with more than 20 years of management consulting and sales experience, Messer has held several senior executive positions at EMC, SAP and Deloitte Consulting.

ZDNet Asia sat down with Messer recently to discuss the rate of Linux adoption and his vision for Red Hat in Asia.

How is the adoption of Linux in the region's server space from your perspective? If you look at the major organizations, more and more are running mission-critical applications on a Linux platform, because its reliability is not disputed anymore. With open source, we've gone through the emotional phase, about innovation and building a strong community. Then the next phase benchmarked its performance to show it was proven and scalableand safe. Now we're leveraging that. CIOs are telling us that open source is becoming mainstream and isn't deemed risky anymore. There's so much more technology available from when we started, like virtualization and data storage managementnow all integrated into the operating system.

Gartner recently predicted that 80 percent of all commercial software will include open source standards and solutions by 2011. It was a US$18 billion market in 2005, and we're looking at US$41 billion by 2010. With the CIOs today, it's not a question of whether they'll use Linux or open-source solutions, but more of how quickly they will adapt, and what percentage of their overall IT structure will be on open-source platforms.

How do you see Linux on the desktop shaping up? Internally, we're running operations on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, of course, and personally, coming from a background working with a popular proprietary operating system, I can tell you that the experience is almost the same. People don't seem to have problems adapting to its look and feel.

The trend we're seeing is toward having different desktops for different users. Linux's flexibility means that we see it on a variety of devices like thin clients or the OLPC, for example. I'm expecting widespread deployment of Linux on the desktop fairly soon.

Red Hat recently hired several members of its top management in the region. Are you looking to grow your staff further? Absolutely. We're focusing our efforts on building a strong management and support team, to attract talent in the region. We have a strong presence here, in nine different countries. And since I joined the company earlier this year, we've brought in some executives who are veterans. We want this leadership to attract high-profile executives, to inspire, set the direction and to talk with key clients. Eventually, we hope these people can go out and be thought leaders in the community.

I really believe in hiring people to grow and retain them. It's a great passion of mine.

What are your plans for Red Hat's business here? For our growth strategy and plans, we're looking to expand our partner ecosystem: channel partners and those with middleware skills, too. We want to pose a value proposition not just to customers but also our partners, so that they can build a sustainable business model around our partnership, providing extra work and support.

Companies spend 60 percent of their budgets on support and maintenance. This is where we can come in and offer a price comparison.

Globally, Red Hat is seeing 40 percent of revenues coming from outside of the United States. In two years, we're looking at raising that to 50 percent, with the aim of eventually hitting 60 percent. The Asia-Pacific region is a significant contributor to our international revenue stream, and it's just a matter of time before we go into more markets in the region.

Thursday 18 October 2007

Asia warms up to IT as a service

By Lynn Tan, ZDNet Asia 17/10/2007 URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/business/0,39044229,62033422,00.htm

SINGAPORE--Technology as a service is emerging as an alternative IT delivery model, offering businesses in the Asia-Pacific region a strong value proposition, according to Gartner.

At a Gartner seminar held here Tuesday, Rolf Jester, Gartner's vice president and distinguished analyst of global IT services research, highlighted several new ways to deliver IT. They include software as a service (SaaS), storage as a service, grid computing, and business process utility.

Jester described these as examples of technology as a service, where the technology asset, such as the hardware and software, is owned, housed and managed by a service provider who charges on a usage basis.

He noted that while the best known example of technology as a service is SaaS, which has been adopted by large enterprises, as well as "many small companies", storage as a service is starting to emerge, particularly in the area of backup.

"Everyone knows they need to do it (backup), but many people don't have good processes for backup, and they haven't really invested in that," Jester said.

While companies today may want to own their storage products, a backup and archiving service provider can offer greater security, the Gartner analyst noted. For example, businesses can tap on the storage service for archiving e-mail, which is important for certain compliance regulations.

Hoping to tap on this emerging opportunity are HDS and Symantec which announced this year their storage as a service strategies, dubbed Services Oriented Storage Solutions and Storage United, respectively.

Jester also noted the emergence of other technologies being delivered as a service. "We have witnessed some companies providing a server environment across the Internet to small and midsize businesses (SMBs), as well as companies providing a hub for transaction processing," he said.

"Business processes are already available as a utility in some cases," he added.

Looking beyond the short-term potential, Jester said "just about every business" will be attracted to some of these models in the long term.

According to Jester, the Asia-Pacific region and Eastern Europe are the early adopters of these alternative delivery models, particularly countries with high economic growth.

"High growth countries, such as India and China, will adopt the model for their own domestic markets, but not for their export markets," he noted.

"In China for instance, retailing, transportation, banking and insurance are going through such rapid growth that the companies investing in those businesses don't have the time nor the inclination to worry about building a lot of customized IT," Jester said. "If they can find it, they would very happily adopt technology as a service in many cases."

Monday 1 October 2007

Asia finds security in open source

By Victoria Ho, ZDNet Asia 28/09/2007 URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/software/0,39044164,62032771,00.htm

Better security protection tops the list of buying criteria for open source software, reveals a new study conducted on Australia, China, India and Korea.

According to IDC's latest study released Friday on open source trends and challenges, security was the top reason for deploying open source technology, followed by budget constraints and the availability of better management tools and utilities.

"The results indicate that organizations perceived open source technology as providing better security compared to proprietary products," said Prianka Srinivasan, a market analyst for IDC Asia-Pacific.

The study also concluded that more SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) were using open source compared to large businesses, while India and China seemed to be the bigger adopters of open source compared to Australia and Korea.

Although cost-efficiency remained a key decision factor, Srinivasan said, the results also suggested that organizations looked to primarily fulfill their requirements for specific functionalities.

The study also revealed a growing interest in the adoption of open source versions of "higher-end" software beyond the current infrastructure and database applications.

According to Srinivasan, survey respondents showed an interest in open source versions of CRM (customer relationship management) and BPM (business performance management) tools. This, she said, suggested that "organizations will increasingly incorporate open source technology in more mission-critical applications".

The analyst firm also advised commercial vendors of open source software to focus on support services and ensure interoperability between their products and others in the market, so as to take advantage of the growing market.

Thursday 27 September 2007

Singapore ranked among least corrupted in global index

By Channel NewsAsia's Catherine Drew | Posted: 27 September 2007 1801 hrs

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/302430/1/.html

LONDON: The global anti-corruption group Transparency International has released its annual report, which grades 180 countries for their perceived levels of corruption.

The report concluded that the divide between developing and wealthy nations remained sharp.

Singapore came in joint fourth place with Sweden while Finland dominated the chart.

However the outlook for the region was mixed, with Myanmar coming joint last, and the Philippines, Cambodia and Bangladesh also near the bottom.

This year's report says persistent corruption in low income countries needs to be tackled internationally, and draws a strong link between poverty and corruption.

Huguette Labelle, Chair of the Transparency International, said: “There is no question that countries like Singapore, New Zealand and Australia have to play an increasing role in the region by supporting those countries that require a lot of assistance.”

Transparency International says the main responsibility for fighting corruption must rest with developing countries themselves but the developed nations also have a major role to play.

Dr Cobus De Swardt, Managing Director of Transparency International, said: “We cannot have a situation where the north continues to point a finger at corrupt countries in the south or Africa in particular when its companies as well as financial markets from those countries continue to facilitate money laundering."

At the bottom of the list jointly are Somalia and Myanmar. Transparency international officials say the current demonstrations led by the monks in Myanmar are a textbook example of what happens when a country's civilians protest against corruption and repression.

Dr Cobus De Swardt said: “The events that we see unfolding now (show that) corruption is most definitely one of the important aspects as you continue to see the wealth of that country being located in the hands of the few and the system being maintained through processes that are not accountable, that are not open, and transparent and that benefit the few."

He added that while much work still has to be done, Transparency International is heartened by some of the aspects of the report as well as global efforts to recover monies taken out of the countries by corrupt leaders and businessmen.

The index is important for private and public sector inward investment opportunities. -CNA/vm

Singapore ranks as best place to do business for second year

By Pamela Almeda, Channel NewsAsia

Date        :       26 September 2007 1751 hrs (SST)

URL : http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporebusinessnews/view/302172/1/.html

SINGAPORE : Singapore has been named the easiest place in the world to do business for the second year running.

The annual rankings were released in the 'Doing Business 2008' report by the World Bank. A total of 178 places were surveyed for the report.

Singapore has kept its top spot, followed by New Zealand, the United States and Hong Kong.

"This Doing Business report by the World Bank is meant for foreign investors and enterprises who are interested to enter these countries, and invest and do business in these countries. Singapore, by being number one, shows that it is number one destination for businesses to come here," said Ryan Ang, Liaison Officer, World Bank Group Office.

The rankings are based on 10 indicators that track time and cost to meet government requirements in business start-up, operation, trade, taxation and closure.

Singapore outshone the rest with its efficient business processes, many of which are online. The availability of one-stop shops also spells out low-cost and significant time savings for businesses.

Other factors in its favour include the secure credit environment and high level of protection for investors. But Singapore also continues to improve its business processes.

Ang said: "The one minor reform that we did was the number of days or number of procedures to start a business. Singapore reduced that from 6 to 5 from 2006 to this year, so that is a significant improvement for Singapore."

The 'Doing Business' report also studied efforts by economies to simplify their business regulation.

Egypt emerged as the economy which had made the most progress in this area. China also stood out - with its new private property rights and a new bankruptcy law.

The World Bank's annual 'Doing Business' report was first released in 2002. - CNA /ls

Asian SMB telecom spend to hit US$50B

By Victoria Ho, ZDNet Asia 25/09/2007 URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/communications/0,39044192,62032629,00.htm

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, will spend over US$50 billion on telecommunications this year, according to a new AMI-Partners study.

In a statement released Tuesday, Prasannavadan Gaitonde, an AMI analyst, attributed the increased 5 percent spending over 2006 to companies upgrading equipment to IP-based telephony.

"The market is witnessing a transition from traditional PBX to IP-based PBX," Gaitonde said.

According to the study, Australia, South Korea, China and India make up 70 percent of the spending. SMBs are defined as companies with up to 999 employees.

However, the study also noted that sales of end-point IP devices are moving slower than that of their digital counterparts, due to the former's higher price tag.

To encourage adoption, the study suggested SIP- (Sesssion Initiation Protocol-) enabled phones would provide a more attractive cost option for companies, based on lowered call costs.

" have tighter budgets and need high quality, low-priced telecom solutions and services," Gaitonde said.

He added that SMBs will continue embracing new technologies to remain competitive, and advised telecom equipment vendors, operators and service providers to offer products and services using "the right model and price points" to tap this growing market.

Over the next four years, AMI projects the volume of hosted communications services to dwarf premise-hosted equipment amongst SMBs by over three times.

With increased connectivity, medium-sized businesses will spend significantly more on wide area networks (WAN). WAN spending is projected to rise by 24 percent this year over 2006 amongst medium-sized businesses, which are defined as having 100 to 999 employees.

According to AMI, currently more than one in four medium-sized businesses has a WAN.

Thursday 2 August 2007

30% of Singapore companies use shared services: SAP

"According to business solutions provider SAP, about 30 percent of Singapore companies are using shared services in their operations to reduce cost."

That is the way of future people. Software as a Service (SaaS) is winning on the software market's all the time and companies seem to be really happy about it.

It was not very long time a go when I was selling software for companies and they insisted that it had to be installed to their premises. Unfortunately that usually costs a lot because of the software maintenance costs and installation fees and etc.

Nowadays companies do not need to invest on hardware, installation or anything extra but only start paying based on the usage. It is easy, cheaper and you get what you want in blink of an eye.

:Markus:

Tuesday 31 July 2007

Audio, audio, audio...

the_adelphi.jpg

If you are into audio devices and I mean real audio devices like tube amps and like that not those canned plastic speakers with funny noises. Go to 1 Coleman St, The Adelphi building (Singapore). You got 4-5 floor building fully of audio shops... Me like it :-)

Friday 20 July 2007

Old goes hand in hand with new in Singapore

19072007113.jpg Greetings from Arnora Singapore ! Sun is always shining as you can see from this picture ;-) Anyway, this is a typical scene here where old houses go hand in hand together with skyscrapers.

Friday 25 May 2007

It is official now. Arnora established Singapore office.


Now it is time to let the secret out of the closet !
We actually formed Singapore based office during February but decided to keep the information from general public for a while until all arrangements where really done.

I am moving permanently to Singapore during July and that has taken a lot of time to prepare everything beforehand and at the same time do the real work for our customers.

There has been a lot of paperwork to get all the permissions but somehow it has been very educating to see how efficiently the government of Singapore works.

So now we have offices in Finland, Hong Kong and Singapore. Finland is going to stay as a EU HQ and Singapore will be our Asia HQ. More to come so stay tuned...

//Markus

Tuesday 24 April 2007

Govt support crucial for RFID growth in Asia

By Lynn Tan, ZDNet Asia
24/4/2007

URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/communications/0,39044192,62007812,00.htm

SINGAPORE–Radio frequency identification (RFID) will grow
alongside the barcode technology in the Asia-Pacific region over the
next few years, where government support is crucial in driving the
adoption of RFID, says an analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

Speaking to ZDNet Asia today on the sidelines of an RFID seminar
organized by Intermec, Jafizwaty Ishahak, industry manager of smart
cards and auto ID group for Frost & Sullivan Asia-Pacific, said
RFID will continue to coexist with barcodes for the next five
years–unless there is a government mandate to change that.

Jafizwaty noted that price remains a primary factor, where barcode is still a cheaper technology compared to RFID.

Malaysia, she added, is as an example of where the government’s
commitment to drive the use of RFID had led to the successful adoption
of chip-based credit cards in the country. A government mandate pushed
banks in Malaysia to migrate from magnetic-striped to chip-based credit cards.

In addition, the Malaysian government made considerable efforts
to drive the growth of RFID in the country, said Jafizwaty. These
include the “positive development” of the Malaysian Microchip, which
was recently re-launched by the Malaysian Prime Minister, the
establishment of an RFID center of excellence and training center, as
well as plans by the country’s Veterinary Services Department to tag
all of Malaysia’s 2.5 million livestock animals with economic value
such as cattle, goats and pigs, by 2008.

Jafizwaty added that Malaysia’s Home Ministry will soon be
rolling out the first government application based on the radio
frequency technology to combat piracy. It plans to deploy RFID-enabled
holographic security labels to verify the authenticity of CDs and DVDs.
In addition, the ministry is also looking to embed RFID chips into
marriage and birth certificates to counter forgery, she said.

Governments in other countries across the region, such as
Australia, Singapore and Thailand, have also been “driving the market
for RFID”, said Jafizwaty.

For instance, Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority invested S$10 million (US$5.9 million) in a three-year plan to promote the adoption and development of RFID technology in 2004, she said. In July last year,
the republic also opened a research facility focusing on the use of the
technology for deployment across the region’s lifestyle and hospitality
industry.

Meanwhile, some Asian countries are looking to implement RFID
in niche areas, Jafizwaty said. For example, Thailand is planning to
use RFID to track animals in Thailand, she said.

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IDC: Open source, SaaS top disruptors in Asia

By Aaron Tan, ZDNet Asia
23/4/2007

URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/software/0,39044164,62007650,00.htm

SINGAPORE–Open source, software-as-a-service and
consolidation are just some of the main disruptions rippling across the
Asia-Pacific software industry, according to research house IDC.

Daphne Chung, research manager for infrastructure and middleware
software at IDC Asia-Pacific, noted that as much as 83 percent of the
US$15 billion Asia-Pacific enterprise software market is now exposed to open-source software. This includes areas such as enterprise resource management applications, customer relationship management and operating systems.

Chung said companies across various industries were adopting
open source for similar reasons, such as security and cost. “They think
open source has better security,” she said. “It doesn’t mean the products are [the] most secure and do not have any loopholes, it just means customers think open source products are less prone to hackers,” Chung added.

The IDC analyst also noted that open source software also helps companies address budget constraints.

“Budget constraints don’t necessarily mean a dollar value,”
Chung explained. “Initially, a lot of people thought open source is
free, but that notion has gone away. But, it is still a low-cost way to
test something in a new environment or a new technology.”

“It gives them the belief that they are getting better value
for money,” she said, adding that the open source community also gives
companies a better and broader range of development tools.

Enterprises also find that open source software has adequate
functionalities that suit their needs, without the unnecessary bells
and whistles, she noted.

Software-as-a-service
(SaaS) is also changing the software landscape, Chung said, noting that
the term has been hotting up among IDC’s clients over the past year.

“SaaS is a delivery model that software vendors have taken
from eBay and Amazon, delivering software on-demand, in a hosted
manner,” she said. The analyst added that most enterprises have noted
an increased impact of SaaS on software licensing. In fact, they are
likely to consider moving to a SaaS structure, or have already adopted
some form of on-demand software, Chung added.

About 24 percent of the Asia-Pacific software industry is open
to SaaS penetration, she said, and cautioned that traditional software
vendors may face threats to their installed base if they ignore
customer demands for a SaaS delivery model.

“It’s not just about having the [SaaS] technology, it’s about having the right delivery system that customers want,” she noted.

M&A activities double

Consolidation efforts among software vendors have also been on the
rise in the past few years, particularly in 2005, Chung said. The total
value of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals involving enterprise
application developers doubled in 2006, compared to the previous year.

She said software vendors often undertake M&As to fill
product gaps or to enter converged industry segments, such as systems
infrastructure, storage and security.
“We see the market converging into two areas–infrastructure and
information–where companies derive intelligence from their data,”
Chung noted.

M&A deals are not always smooth sailing, however.
According to the IDC analyst, consolidation efforts can fail for a
variety of reasons, such as uncertainties in product roadmaps or a poorly-conceived acquisition strategy. “But as vendors do it more often, they get better at it,” she said.

A successful consolidation, Chung said, can allow the smaller
company in the acquisition to expand its footprint into new markets and
geographies. “It also gives the two companies cross-sell and up-sell
opportunities,” she added.

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Saturday 21 April 2007

Oracle: Asia’s big on identity management

By Lynn Tan, ZDNet Asia

URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/software/0,39044164,62004250,00.htm

update SINGAPORE–Majority
of companies in the Asia-Pacific region are taking a closer look at
identity management tools and considering implementing such
applications to secure data access within the organization, says a
senior executive at Oracle.

Speaking at a press briefing today, Roman Tuma, regional sales
director of security solutions at Oracle for Asean and North Asia, said
that most of the companies in Asia are planning to adopt identity and
access management (IAM) tools. “Telcos, banks, and organizations in the
healthcare, education and government sectors in countries such as
Malaysia and Singapore, are all looking at it,” Tuma said.

“It is the top priority project in most of the organizations
these days,” he added. This is because most IT systems such as those
based on ERP (enterprise resource planning), CRM (customer relationship
management) and HR (human resource) systems, that run the business
today are automated, and as such, companies are now looking at ways to
secure them.

According to Tuma, the IAM market in the Asia-Pacific region,
excluding Japan, has a “sizeable growth”, and research company IDC
forecasted that it would grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR)
of 18.3 percent to reach US$370 million in 2010.

Singapore, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong are leading the adoption
curve for IAM tools, while India, Thailand and China are in the second
tier, Tuma said. Specifically, he noted that “Thailand is actually a very promising market, and China is incredibly focused on security these days”.

According to Willie Low, IDC Asia-Pacific senior market analyst
for infrastructure software research, the IAM software market size in
Thailand and China in 2006 is expected to be about US$2.4 million and
US$35 million, respectively.

Low added that the Thailand IAM software market is forecasted
to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 percent from 2005
to 2010, while China’s IAM software market is expected to grow at a
CAGR of 22 percent in the same period.

Although the Philippines and Indonesia fall into the third tier
of the adoption curve, Tuma noted that telcos and banks in those
countries are “pushing as much as they can to be compliant”, and as
such, they are turning to IAM.

Tuma explained that companies in the telco and banking industries are driving the adoption of IAM tools from two angles: compliance, or purely as a “business enabler”.

For instance, IAM tools are particularly useful during mergers
and acquisitions in the financial industry as they facilitate the
conduct of audit trails, which can help speed up the process of
consolidation, Tuma said.

Not just yet

However, most companies in Asia need more time before implementing
IAM tools on a full scale, noted Low. “In Asia, most organizations are
not ready for full-scale IAM deployment yet,” he said. “An IAM solution
is more than an install-and-forget software product. It can be
long-drawn, complex and costly, [and] any IAM implementation is likely
to impact business processes as well.”

“To be ready for a large IAM implementation, [areas such as]
business policies, roles, access rights have to be defined very
clearly, and most organizations are not ready yet,” he added.

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Wednesday 21 March 2007

Asian SMB retailers to spend US$11B on IT

By Isabelle Chan, ZDNet Asia
21/3/2007

URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/business/0,39044229,61998544,00.htm

Small and midsize (SMB) retailers in Asia are seeking new
ways to carve a competitive edge, and many are turning to IT as the
answer.

According to AMI-Partners’ latest study, IT spending by small
and midsize retailers in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, is
forecast to hit US$11.6 billion this year.

Retail SMB IT spending in India, Indonesia, Philippines and
Vietnam, is forecast to grow more than 15 percent year-on-year in 2007.
“More mature markets” such as Singapore, will grow less than 10 percent
over 2006, Nishant Dave, AMI’s Singapore-based Asia-Pacific research
director, said in a statement.

Retailers in the SMB segment are hoping to reinvent themselves
by adopting new technologies, where PCs, server hardware and IT
services are the top drivers of spending in 2007, according to AMI.

The market analyst also estimates that nearly 150,000 new
retailers in the region will invest in basic PC infrastructure this
year.

The study indicates that countries such as Australia, China,
India, South Korea and Taiwan, will drive the sector’s IT spending.
Storage and security are expected to be the fastest-growing categories
for retail IT spending, growing more than 20 percent year-on-year in
2007.

IT managers in these top five retail IT markets are also
looking to upgrade POS (point of sale) systems, set up inventory and
SCM (supply chain management) applications, and implement employee
monitoring and service quality measurement systems, AMI said.

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