UOB digital clinics target small firms with tech solutions

NTUC secretarygeneral Ng Chee Meng says the labour movement understands the challenges faced by businesses in finding practical and affordable solutions to digitalise administrative activities, raise productivity and cut costs.
NTUC secretarygeneral Ng Chee Meng says the labour movement understands the challenges faced by businesses in finding practical and affordable solutions to digitalise administrative activities, raise productivity and cut costs. PHOTO: UOB

They will offer practical guidance on digitalising business operations

Small businesses keen to employ digital solutions can get a helping hand, due to a new initiative under way at United Overseas Bank (UOB).

The bank announced yesterday that it will run monthly digital clinics to teach firms how to use technology to improve their processes and what funding they may obtain, while also receiving practical, one-on-one guidance from experts.

These experts will be drawn from UOB's range of partners, including SAP, HReasily and Enterpryze.

After the session, the firms will receive a detailed report with recommendations on the steps they can take in digitalising their operations.

Mr Mervyn Koh, UOB's managing director and country head of business banking, said: "Two in three small businesses that took part in our SME Transformation Study said that they would appreciate a more customised approach when it comes to the assistance they receive on adopting digital solutions.

"We hope that our practical and hands-on digital clinics will provide small businesses with... recommendations which can then be implemented easily and with confidence."

WHAT SMALL BUSINESSES WANT

Two in three small businesses that took part in our SME Transformation Study said that they would appreciate a more customised approach when it comes to the assistance they receive on adopting digital solutions.

MR MERVYN KOH, UOB's managing director and country head of business banking.

One digital solution being used by small businesses is UOB BizSmart, a cloud-based system that lets firms automate administrative processes such as payroll, invoicing and inventory management.

This can help reduce the average time spent on administrative work from four days a month to 2.5 days.

"By introducing dedicated digital clinics, small businesses like mine have the opportunity to receive advice and hands-on support in determining the best digital solution for their business needs," said Ms Jasmine Goh, the second-generation owner of traditional hardware store Intertech Electronics, and an early adopter of UOB BizSmart.

"Through such sessions, we can gain expert advice on what solution is right for our business and have a higher chance of success when integrating it into our operations."

A digital clinic costs $90 for a two-hour session.

The clinic is free for NTUC U SME members.

UOB will launch in June the Tech My Biz competition for small businesses.

Three winners - one each from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand - will get a two-year subscription, on-site implementation support and employee training for UOB BizSmart, worth a total of $20,000.

Firms can take part by completing an online entry form with the reasons why they need a digital makeover.

The digital clinic and the Tech My Biz competition were launched at an event attended by more than 200 small businesses yesterday.

NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng said the labour movement understands challenges faced by businesses in finding practical and affordable solutions to digitalise administrative activities, raise productivity and cut costs.

"Workers need to be agile, learn new skills and remain relevant for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

"In order to do this, our workers must train, train and train on the job, in relevant areas and even general skill sets," he noted. "I hope that SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) bosses will play their part and support their workers on this front."

Details on the clinics and Tech My Biz competition can be found at www.uob.com.sg/business/ BizSmart

Correction note: The article was edited for clarity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2018, with the headline 'UOB digital clinics target small firms with tech solutions'. Print Edition | Subscribe