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Monday 19 March 2007

Five things Asia’s IT buyers want to avoid

By Isabelle Chan, ZDNet Asia

URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/business/0,39044229,61997964,00.htm

A new IT project can easily turn into a nightmare, if IT
managers are not watchful. But some problems lie with the technology
vendor that does not understand their customers’ business requirements.

Whether it is at the start of a new project, or two years after
the technology has been implemented, there will be pain points
businesses will have to deal with. ZDNet Asia caught up with two IT
decision makers in Asia to find out more about their top-most concerns,
when working with vendors and implementing IT.

Here are five key areas IT buyers could do without:

1. Overselling and under-delivering

From experience, Daniel Lai, CIO of Hong Kong’s MTR, has learnt not
to believe everything the sales person says. “It is very common for
separate teams from a particular vendor to be responsible for selling
and delivering.

“Sometimes, the sales team may be too anxious to conclude an
order, and may end up over-committing without realizing the other team
may face technical difficulties or resource constraints [trying to
fulfil the order],” he said.

2. Lack of understanding

One common lament IT buyers have is the difficulty in finding good
technology vendors that are also business-problem solvers. Lai said:
“Vendors sometimes lack understanding of the IT user’s business, his
requirements and expectations, which create unnecessary
misunderstanding and tension. They may also recommend inappropriate

3. Not knowing when to call

While IT buyers appreciate an IT vendor’s call, it has to come at
the right time and at the right place. According to Lai, some vendors
just do not know this.

“Sales representatives tend to work according to their agenda
and schedules rather than the users,” Lai said. “For example, they keep
chasing the users at the end of the quarter in order to meet their
sales quota. They show up at inappropriate times, and yet sometimes,
they can hardly be contacted when a user wishes to discuss [the
project] with them.”

4. Service, delivery inconsistencies

Inconsistency in service delivery is an oft-cited IT buyer concern.
“Users prefer dealing with vendors that can provide consistencies in
service, approach and practices,” said Lai.

5. Technology worries

Another potential IT buyer’s nightmare relates to the end of a
product’s lifecycle, said Yau Chen Hui, who works for a Singapore
government agency.

“Many IT buyers lack the technology capability, as well as
financial and technical resources, to procure the latest hardware or
software,” Yau said. “In the case of hardware, they often have to
settle for the second or third best. When there is a need for a
technology upgrade after two to three years, the upgrade components may
no longer be available from the vendor.”

There is also a lack of support and change in the underlying
technology offered in new releases, he noted. This can limit the
upgrade path. When that happens, it could mean “re-architecting the
environment”–something IT buyers would like to avoid, he added.

Thursday 2 November 2006

SMB IT budgets up in Singapore

By Graeme Philipson, Special to ZDNet Asia

URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/smb/specialreports/0,39045280,39362041,00.htm

IT budgets of small and medium-sized businesses in Singapore are more likely to increase than decrease.

More than one-third (36.5 per cent) of Singapore SMBs polled in
the ZDNet Asia SMB IT Priorities 2006/07 survey increased their IT
budgets this year, twice as many as those who saw a decrease.

year the proportion expecting an increase in their IT budgets will jump
to more than half (50.6 per cent) of all respondents, compared to only
7.1 per cent who expect a decrease. Many more people are predicting
their security budget will go up next year (more than half of all
respondents) compared to those who predict it will go down (only 6 per

The results of the survey, which was conducted online between March
and April 2006, indicate an SMB base with a diverse range of
priorities. On the whole they are optimistic, with budget increases and
a significant expansion of their IT operations.

Security is a significant concern,
and many initiatives are based on protecting what they have rather than
growing their capabilities, but on balance the results show an industry
sector that is vibrant and forward-thinking.

The survey drew 134 respondents, of which 63 percent were from
Singapore across all industry sectors. Each organization could mention
up to three priorities. A total of 197 priorities were mentioned in
all, an average of 2.3 per respondent. The survey also asked questions
about IT security threats, key technologies over the next few years,
the desired attributes in an IT supplier, as well as IT outsourcing and

Respondents came from a range of industry sectors. About one
quarter were from the IT industry, with strong representations from
retail and wholesale, business services and manufacturing. Respondents
represented many sizes of organization. One quarter had fewer than 20
employees, and around half fewer than 100. Nearly 20 per cent were
larger, with 500 or more employees.

Top 10 IT initiatives


Responses were coded and grouped into types. The most important IT priorities were:

  • Security (11.7 per cent of initiatives). Many respondents said
    simply “security”, with other responses being both very general and
    very specific, from data encryption of user PCs to network-wide virus
  • Data storage (11.2 per cent). Around half had to do with backup and
    disaster recovery (which may also be regarded as a security issue), and
    others were to do with storage consolidation or expansion.
  • Infrastructure upgrades (9.1 per cent). This comprised a diverse
    group, including hardware and software upgrades, moving to new
    platforms, the implementation of new architectures, and expansion into
    new geographies.
  • Applications software (7.6 per cent). Note that ERP is coded
    separately (see below). If it had been included with this group, it
    would have made the largest initiative type. These initiatives included
    accounting software, HR systems, inventory management, and
    industry-specific applications.
  • Improving business processes (7.1 per cent). This included a couple
    of mentions of outsourcing, and initiatives as diverse as crisis
    management and cost containment.
  • Hardware upgrades (5.6 per cent), including server virtualization and consolidation.
  • ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems (5.1 per cent)
    comprising upgrades and those installing these systems for the first
    time. See the above comments on applications software–had these been
    coded together they would have formed the largest group of initiatives.
  • E-mail and groupware (4.6 per cent), including workflow and spam management.
  • Content and document management (4.6 per cent), including knowledge management and related issues.
  • Wireless and mobility (4.1 per cent), including remote access and management.

Respondents were also asked about the extent of current and planned
usage of various technologies over the next three years. High bandwidth
internet and Web services were the most popular, followed by VoIP
(voice over Internet Protocol), tablet PCs and mobile Internet on 3G
were the least popular.

About one-half of the respondents have no ERP system, but half
of these (one quarter of the total) are planning to install the
business application in the next three years.

Usage of technology over next three years

most commonly expressed attribute in an IT supplier is that they should
have quality products. This is more important than price and
after-sales service, then came the ability to offer value-added
services, knowledge of the customer’s business, and financial
stability. Respondents do not care so much about the supplier’s staff
turnover, whether it is certified or not, or the breadth of its

Importance of attributes of a technology provider


Graeme Philipson is an independent IT writer and analyst. He was
commissioned by ZDNet Asia to compile and analyze the results of ZDNet
Asia SMB IT Priorities 2006/07 Survey.

IDC: Asian SMBs to spend US$52B on IT in 2007

By Staff, ZDNet Asia

URL: http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/business/0,39044229,61964016,00.htm

Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in the Asia-Pacific region,
excluding Japan, will spend more than US$52 billion on IT next year,
according to research company IDC.

Spending 10 percent more than the US$47 billion IT budget in
2006, SMBs in the region are expected to continue to increase their
spending–at a compound annual growth rate of 9.1 percent–to US$66
billion in 2010.

Walter Lee, IDC’s Asia-Pacific vice president of consulting,
partnering and SMB research, said in a statement: “Technology providers
or vendors are paying increasing attention to the SMB business market
because of its size and rate of growth.

“The key to reach the segment effectively is to define an
efficient channel strategy by partnering vertical industry-specific
solution partners that possess deep domain expertise and have access
and proximity to local industry clusters,” he added.

Asia-Pacific SMB IT spending in 2007, by country

According to the IDC study, SMBs in India and the Greater China
region continue to lead the market growth next year at 16.9 percent and
11.9 percent, respectively. In fact, China is expected to account for
more than 38 percent of total IT spend in the Asia-Pacific region.

IDC noted that “the smallest companies have the greatest
technology needs, lowest spend levels and least brand loyalty”. The
research house added that IT vendors that provide companies with
“affordable access to resources” would have an advantage over those
waiting for young SMBs to reach a critical size or spending level,
before engaging them as customers.

According to analyst company AMI-Partners, SMBs in the region
are expected to increase their investments in various technology
segments this year including IP telephony, which will grow 40 percent to US$600 million, compared to 2005, and storage,
which AMI-Partners estimated will see a 22 percent hike in IT spending
to US$530 million from SMBs in Southeast Asia this year.

Tuesday 6 June 2006

Raining a little bit…

To be honest when it rains here it rains heavily. I could not see behind the high rising buildings close to my condo. If you check this post http://blog.arnora.com/?p=14 and compare the pictures you understand what I mean :-)

This week has been very good. A lot of meetings and a lot of new contacts with good attitude towards EU companies. I do hope that Finnish companies could understand their value here in Asia. Singapore is a good and extremely business oriented place to start and corruption level is so low here that it is much easier to start your Asia business here than in some other countries in this area. The business is also growing heavily at the moment. If you want to know more please do not hesitate to contact arnora. Contact information can be found from www.arnora.com

Friday 2 June 2006

Sunset … it can be very beautiful sometimes even in the city

Singapore sunset seen from the 19th floor. Hard day is behind and I am sitting here on the balcony (yes, I do have a cold beer too) with my laptop (thanks for wireless) and summing up the day and watching the sunset. It is very hot and humid at the moment so I think it is going to rain a lot quite soon.

Met some startups who are interested in getting their software known in EU. We will see what happens…

Friday 26 May 2006

Singapore Suntec City

“The name Suntec is derived from the Chinese character “xin da”, meaning “new achievement”. Suntec City is a fascinating synergy of state-of-the-art technology and meta-physical symbolism. Inspired in particular by the mandala, an ancient philosophical representation of the universe as well as Chinese geomancy or fengshui, its buildings and features are arranged to create harmony and attract good fortune.”

To say it in clear english it is a place for business and more business. High rising building and a lot of offices filled with companies from different countries. Good place to establish your office in this area. There is a huge Mall downstairs so you wont be missing anything … nice places to get food too !

Check out http://www.sunteccity.com.sg/

Sunday 21 May 2006

Indonesia is a nice place indeed :-)

Negotiations went well and we have a nice contact network forming up. I have met with our old contact too and they are looking forward to hear from our customers.

That picture is from Indonesia. Took some time off and went for a weekend holiday. Nice but a little bit rainy weekend but hey no complaints !

Now hurry up to the boat which takes me back to Singapore …

Thursday 18 May 2006

Singapore by night

Here I am Singapore Boat Quay during evening. This city never sleeps. Just arrived here and my internal clock is a little bit tired. Gotta get some sleep before morning meetings.

Arnora has some nice partner meetings during next couple of weeks and those will bring more contact network to us.

Now food and then the bed is calling…

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