18 August 2015
Plan to help companies tap e-commerce will cut costs for firms: Business associations
Dylan Loh

SINGAPORE: Business associations have welcomed the plan to help companies adopt e-commerce solutions in their operations, adding that the move can help cut costs for firms looking to tap technology to be more lean and efficient.

The Infocomm Media 2025 plan released last week recommended measures to lower barriers for businesses looking to go online. With Singapore aiming to be a Smart Nation, the plan is also for companies to become smart businesses. The driver of this vision is technology or specifically, e-commerce solutions that can help firms maximise efficiency.

The plan also spells out directions to aid businesses. For example, a single integrated local platform that can help firms with warehousing and orders-management services can be introduced.

As some companies do not have the in-house expertise to implement e-commerce solutions, having a common portal for businesses to tap may therefore be a boon for those seeking a quick and easy way to get online. This online shared service can make it cheaper for companies to operate, said the Singapore Retailers Association.

In moving ahead with the plan, the Association said it is important to keep subscription fees low for businesses, no matter what the online solution may be.

Singapore Retailers Association's vice-president, R Dhinakaran, said: “Generally, the e-commerce solutions are very expensive these days. Therefore, the small retailers cannot afford to develop their own e-commerce platform.”

A key concern with shared platforms is privacy and security. Business groups said these platforms should not readily reveal information privy only to company insiders, to guard a firm's competitive edge.

The Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) said that if security concerns can be addressed, shared platforms can free companies to focus on core operations, without the worry of managing every aspect of an online strategy.

ASME's vice-president of membership and training, Ang Yuit, said: "The important thing is to uplift the industry. Sometimes, taking the action to uplift the industry may not be as simple as it seems to be. Because you have to consider the fact that once we intervene, there is an ecosystem that we may be disrupting somewhere. So ultimately we have to ask ourselves, are we uplifting the industry by taking actions?"

ASME added that it is also important to build manpower capabilities in areas like software engineering, so that as companies strive to become smart businesses, they will have the necessary support to achieve their goal.

- CNA/xk

Link: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/singapore/plan-to-help-companies/2058978.html