Singapore telcos and banks make it easier for SMEs to go digital

August 17th, 2017 | by Grace Chng

An electronic order management and inventory system has let local company Alps Group to keep up to date on their inventory of consumable products they sell to supermarket chain NTUC Fairprice.

The system generates reports that shows Alps Group’s top 10 selling products at Fairprice alongside a month-to-month comparison. This fully automated system replaced a manual data entry system of taking orders.

Alps Group was an example of big companies in Singapore helping their small- and medium-enterprise vendors and suppliers go digital, said Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information yesterday.

He was speaking at the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (SCCCI) SME and Infocomm Conference.

The Alps Group-NTUC Fairprice collaboration, he highlighted, was a way of building a digital ecosystem for SMEs through partnership and collaboration.

To expand this collaboration, seven memoranda of intent (MOIs) were signed yesterday between the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), financial institutions and Singapore’s three telecom operators to make it easier for SMEs to adopt new technologies and expand their digital capabilities.

Dr Yaacob said IMDA will work with the Singtel, M1 and StarHub to identify digital solutions in areas like cyber security and data analytics, and bundle them with traditional broadband and Wi-Fi services which the SMEs can use.

“This way, SMEs will be able to have access to a one-stop service of comprehensive digital technology packages, allowing them to adopt multiple digital solutions at once.”

He added that IMDA is also working with banks such as UOB, OCBC, DBS and Hong Leong Finance to help these smaller businesses defray costs when investing in digital capabilities.

These initiatives are part of the SME Go Digital Programme, announced earlier this year, to help SMEs build digital capabilities by offering off-the-shelf solutions, tech advisory services and funding support.

Since the launch four months ago, nearly 200 SMEs have adopted digital technology using 30 IMDA pre-approved solutions.

The IMDA will also work with trade associations and chambers such as SCCI and government agencies in reaching out to SMEs to provide assistance to help them scale efficiently using digital technologies.

Grace Chng is a veteran tech writer.

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