Cisco boost for Malaysia’s SMEs and midmarket businesses
Cisco launched Cisco ST>RT, a new initiative for Malaysia’s small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and midmarket to take advantage of the vast opportunities created by the nation’s booming digitisation.
The importance of SMEs is clear; they account for almost 35.9% of Malaysia’s GDP and 65.5% of the total workforce. They are also a huge source of competition and innovation, have a much wider geographic footprint than large enterprises, and provide better income distribution.
With Malaysia poised to be one of the global digital hubs with the recent launch of Digital Free Trade Zone, SMEs are the key to ensuring that digitisation spreads faster across the region. Yet many face a number of common challenges in seizing the opportunities provided by digitisation, none more so than the access to, and financing of the latest technologies.
Cisco ST>RT aims to tackle this. It provides SMEs and midmarket businesses with access to a suite of simple, secure and smart enterprise-class technologies, specifically tailored to their business size and priced to match. More specifically it offers:
- The right-sized, right-priced solutions wherever they are on their digital journey
- Enhanced operations, services and processes to reduce overheads and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
- Improved workforce productivity and innovation to meet the increased demands of today and the evolving opportunities of tomorrow
Speaking at the industry panel discussion dubbed ‘START Digitising: A Call for Malaysian SMEs to Reap the Full Potential of Digitisation’, Cisco Malaysia’s Managing Director Albert Chai said, “The launch of Cisco ST>RT is a sign of our continued commitment to SMEs and midmarket businesses in the Asia Pacific region, particularly Malaysia. These companies play a vital role in driving the region’s digital future and Cisco is determined to ensure they have access to simple, secure and smart technologies designed to help streamline their business and stay ahead in the digital age.”
The upside for SMEs and midmarket businesses is clear: At an operational level, digitisation allows them to operate faster and more efficiently, respond to changing markets, and provide better customer experiences at a fraction of the cost. With a massive multi-billion dollar market opportunity, the incentive and importance of ensuring that the sector is properly equipped become obvious.
“We understand the increasingly complex environment and challenges SMEs and midmarkets face with new technologies,” added Albert. “So we’ve made this so easy to get up and running for our customers. “Want a wireless network? Easy, 10 minutes. Setting up a Switch? Easy, seven steps. Installing security across the network? Nine clicks. That’s the beauty of our technology – it takes the hard work out of IT.”
As well as benefits for SMEs and midmarket businesses, Cisco is streamlining the processes and incentives for its vast partner and distributor network.
“We are making it easier to do business with Cisco.” explained Albert. “We are simplifying how our partners and distributors buy and sell Cisco technologies, develop new business and improve profitability, gain greater market insight and capitalize on our marketing materials and initiatives. Many of our partner and distributor are SMBs themselves, so for them it’s a win-win.”
Digitisation offers numerous opportunities for growth, innovation and profitability. Cisco ST>RT is looking to ensure that Malaysian businesses seize the benefits today and capitalize on the opportunities of tomorrow.
Excerpts from Panel Discussion
Albert Chai, Managing Director, Cisco Malaysia:
“Instead of working in silos, a cohesive partnership model is needed to support SMEs in their digital journey. It is not just a matter of funding but also providing them with the right technology and expertise as well to harness the full potential of digitisation.”
“65 percent of Malaysia’s population only contributes 35 percent to the nation’s economy. Why are we behind countries such as Singapore and Indonesia in terms of GDP per employee basis? This boils down to how countries utilise tech to achieve productivity. Ultimately, every company is first foremost a tech company with expertise in different areas including education, retail, and manufacturing. Without embracing and adopting technology, there is no business model for these companies.”
Spencer Yeoh, National Assistant Secretary General, SME Association of Malaysia
“SMEs realise the importance of digitisation. For them, it is either start or die. The digital economy is bringing about a world without borders. They must adopt ICT to survive if they want to be able to compete with businesses across the world, including those which have a higher ICT adoption rate, such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore.”
“If SMEs want to start their digitisation journey, our advice to them is to not undertake big investments straightaway. Begin with small steps by starting with cloud adoption, then they can expand their investment as they grow.”
Kevin Tai, Risk Director, Funding Societies
“It is important for SMEs to understand their business model and see where they can leverage technology to improve business operations. They should not resist change but think of a way of incorporating technological advances into their business model.”
“Costs should not be a hindrance as there are a lot of avenues for financing out there. SMEs need to explore and educate themselves on the opportunities out there, ranging from government initiatives to entities like Funding Societies that fills the gap in financing.”
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