Adopting tech solutions pays off for SMEs

A*Star chairman Lim Chuan Poh (left), Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing (in jacket) and Enterprise Singapore chief executive Png Cheong Boon (right) viewing exhibits at the SME Technology and Innovation Day yesterday. Mr Chan said more than
A*Star chairman Lim Chuan Poh (left), Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing (in jacket) and Enterprise Singapore chief executive Png Cheong Boon (right) viewing exhibits at the SME Technology and Innovation Day yesterday. Mr Chan said more than 700 A*Star research scientists and engineers have been seconded to about 400 SMEs since 2003 to provide expertise, under A*Star's Technology for Enterprise Capability Upgrading.PHOTO: A*STAR AND ENTERPRISE SINGAPORE

Those that tap Tech Depot seeing average of 25% productivity gain: Chan Chun Sing

Smaller firms that are stepping up investment in innovation and technology as part of their business transformation efforts are already reaping rewards.

More than 1,300 enterprises have adopted over 50 ready-to-go technology solutions, in areas such as customer management and analytics, through Tech Depot since April last year, said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing yesterday.

"These businesses are already seeing benefits, with an average of 25 per cent productivity improvement following implementation of the solutions," he added.

Tech Depot on the SME Portal offers technology solutions developed by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), Enterprise Singapore and the Infocomm Media Development Authority.

Mr Chan was speaking at the SME Technology and Innovation Day 2018 at Resorts World Convention Centre, attended by about 1,600 people, mostly from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

SMEs are also seizing opportunities to collaborate with institutes such as A*Star to build their own research and development capabilities, he noted.

  • 1,300

    Number of enterprises that have adopted over 50 ready-to-go technology solutions, in areas such as customer management and analytics, through Tech Depot since April last year.

More than 700 A*Star research scientists and engineers have been seconded to about 400 SMEs since 2003 to provide expertise, said Mr Chan, adding: "This is a fine example of how we want to translate research and innovation into enterprise and commercialisation."

It is being carried out under A*Star's Technology for Enterprise Capability Upgrading (T-Up).

Mr Chan gave out T-Up Excellence awards yesterday to recognise the efforts of three researchers who have worked with SMEs under this scheme.

One went to Ms Georgina Seah from the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering. She was seconded to ChemoPower Technology, which provides solutions for analytical chemistry applications.

She helped the firm develop a methodology to process data from specialised equipment to allow its online platform to produce experimental results more efficiently.

Mr Chan also listed ways Singapore can position itself as a "global Asia node of technology, innovation and enterprise".

The first is to design products and services for the world, and not just for the domestic market.

Innovation must also be Singapore's core competitive advantage to compete successfully in Asean.

His third point was that Singapore must strive to be the location of choice for start-ups and SMEs to incubate, pilot and scale up new business models and technologies.

The event yesterday - jointly organised by A*Star and Enterprise Singapore - also showcased technology offerings from over 90 exhibition booths targeted at SMEs.

Among them is Singapore-based firm Trakomatic, which exhibited video analytics technology that can perform people tracking, people counting, demographic measurement including age, gender, ethnicity, and facial expression analytics.

Co-founder Shaun Kwan said: "Just two years ago, people were very sceptical... But now, a lot are reaching out to us.

"They... understand that without data, they are making decisions based on experience and gut feel, and that's the scary part.

"Also, their competitors are using data and without it, they are falling behind."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2018, with the headline 'Adopting tech solutions pays off for SMEs'. Print Edition | Subscribe