Wednesday, March 29, 2017

SME Market to be launch mid 2017

SME Corp Malaysia is working with Bursa Malaysia to identify potential Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to be listed on the SME Market, which will be launched either in June or July 2017.

The proposed new SME Market hoped to facilitate greater access to capital market financing for the SMEs to support their developmental and lifecycle needs.

SME Corp chief executive officer Datuk Hafsah Hashim said a few companies have been identified and are undergoing the evaluation process.

"At the moment, we have identified our Four and Five Stars companies (under SME Competitiveness Rating for Enhancement concept). We are looking into the data base of close to 600 companies that have been identified as having potential to be on the new SME Market," she said.

"Once investors or equity funders take up the company, they will raise up the level of capitalisation before (the companies) are listed on the ACE Market," she added.

The new SME Market is meant for investors or equity funders to look through this catalyst and find ways to facilitate these companies in terms of pumping in capital.

Hafsah said SMEs' accounts would be made public and their management practices would also be made known to potential investors, equity funders and venture capitalists.

The SME sector's contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) currently stands at 36.3%.

Source: Bernama

Monday, March 27, 2017

Jack Ma factor

Here's a collection of some of Jack Ma experiences, in his own words:

Try and try
I spent seven years in primary school while normal students took five years. I applied three times to get into university. I applied for 30 jobs but did not get one.

Persistent will be rewarded
When I tried to look for a job at KFC, 24 people went and 23 were hired. I was the only one who was not accepted. I also tried to be a policeman. Five classmates went and four were accepted, I was turned down. It was the rejection and failure that made me who I am today.

Treat failure as a training course
I was not the brightest, and had made mistakes and failed many times. Every setback, every time people refuse us, I take that as a training course.

Team work
It is important to have a good team and the need to groom and train talents within an organisation to ensure the success of a company.

How education should be
Education should focus on imagination, creativity and teamwork.

I believe the future is not about competition of knowledge, but wisdom and experience.

It's not only about work
Life is not only about Alibaba. There are so many interesting things that I don’t have time to enjoy, so I will never go back to the company and criticise the young people like a stepfather.

Jack Ma, 52, set up Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce company, in his apartment in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, with 18 other friends in 1999. Today, Alibaba Group generates an annual gross merchandise volume (GMV) of US$580bil (RM2.5tril) – placing it at the 21st position on the list of countries by GDP – with a goal of achieving one trillion dollars by 2020.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Malaysian IT Professionals to spur digital workforce

With more jobs at risk of being “replaced” in the near future by the advancement of technology, Malaysia is set to nurture a “digital workforce”.

To tackle the challenges of disruptive technology – advances that replace and make existing tech obsolete – steps to build industry-relevant talent are to be carried out this year.

This digital workforce, a labour pool that integrates technology to connect all elements of the supply chain, is tailored to meet the digital economy’s demands.

Upskilling the future’s young, undergraduate and professional talents will ensure employability in a soft economy where workers are threatened by disruptive technology.

By working with schools, institutes of higher learning and digital tech sector, the holistic move would create a sustainable pipeline of digital workers, said Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) CEO Datuk Yasmin Mahmood.

“We want to create 10 premier higher learning institutes for digital tech and simplify the approval process for such courses.

“Some 1,000 undergraduates and graduates will get industry placements this year. This is on top of the 500 spots for SPM leavers keen on matrix and pre-uni digital tech courses,” she said, adding that 200 scholarship commitments have already been secured for the students.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Alibaba founder Jack Ma launched the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ).

Mooted by Najib under Budget 2017, the DFTZ would create 60,000 jobs, a new Kuala Lumpur Internet City to house 10,000 Internet firms, and 25,000 tech professionals in Bandar Malaysia.

Allocations from the Human Resources Development Fund would be used to develop critical ICT skills as part of the Digital Talent Strategic Intervention Roadmap for a sustainable industry-led development model, Yasmin said.

“Disruptive technology may force corporations to tap into a talent pool with tech skills but it doesn’t mean that corporations have started reducing their workforce. The numbers have instead increased, especially for tech-skilled workers like graphic designers, data analysts and data engineers.

“With such demand, our youths must embrace the trend and start looking at acquiring tech skills to remain relevant,” she said.

National ICT Association of Malaysia (Pikom) chairman Chin Chee Seong said disruptive technology improved the way things were done.

“We must start preparing the country’s future leaders to be on par with our Asean counterparts and ride the challenges it brings to the workforce,” Chin said.

On Feb 23, the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) warned that the introduction of disruptive technology in a weak economy would result in more people getting axed from their jobs this year due to the current economic challenges.

MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said multi-skilling and multi-tasking were needed for more efficient use of human resource.

“This will lead to greater productivity and competitiveness. The Government must invest in building and developing skills linked to science, technology and design, so that our talent can work alongside machines, and be augmented, not replaced, by technology,” Shamsuddin said.

On March 12, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh told Sunday Star that public varsity lecturers would be sent to various companies, including technology-driven organisations, for industry exposure so they could experience disruptive technology in the real world.

Source: TheStar

Suggested additional reading:

What is a Digital Free Trade Zone

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

It’s never too late to be successful

When is it too late for success? 94-year-old John B. Goodenough made the news this week for creating a breakthrough battery that stores triple the energy and is safer than lithium-ion batteries.

Photo: Cockrell School of Engineering

John also happens to be the inventor of lithium-ion batteries, which he invented when he was 57 years old - 37 years ago. Today, lithium-ion batteries power all our smart phones, tablets and laptops - as well as electric cars.

His new battery invention will dwarf his first invention, as it will power our future solar powered and electric vehicles, homes and industries. It makes the current lithium-ion technology redundant (including Elon Musk’s brand new $5 billion lithium-ion battery gigafactory).

How do the new batteries work? They’re made of glass electrolytes, which are solid instead of the liquid electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries. They will allow electric cars to go three times the distance, and recharge in minutes instead of hours. They’re also far safer as they won’t explode, and they can operate in sub-zero temperatures with no danger of freezing.

At 94 years old, John still works as a Professor at the University of Texas, and he isn’t finished yet.

John believes humanity has a 30 year window to come up wth an even more powerful “super battery” to take us entirely off fossil fuels, before the environmental damage we are creating becomes irreversible and says:
"I want to solve this problem before my chips are in… I still have time to go.”

Goodenough began his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory in 1952 where he laid the groundwork for the first random-access memory (RAM) of the digital computer. After leaving MIT, he became professor and head of the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Oxford. During this time, Goodenough made the lithium-ion discovery.

So if you’re ever thinking it’s too late to be successful, just remember John B. Goodenough.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Employee Performance Management

In the current competitive and dynamic global market, companies need to take action to adopt to changes to stay relevant. Once of the trending changes is regarding employee performance management.

An increasing number of organizations (such as Adobe, Microsoft, Accenture, Deloitte, GE and Cargill) claim that the traditional yearly performance appraisals are no longer suitable for them because work has become more collaborative, more knowledge-based and more difficult to measure.

The 12-months goals are replaced by goal cycles of one month and even one week. Tasks are performed in teams and more often than not people are involved in multiple teams with members spread in multiple locations around the world. Companies drop yearly ratings to get managers to discuss their employees’ development and performance more often, to help employee engagement and collaboration. The performance ratings and rankings are replaced by check-in meetings and in-the-moment feedback.

Having regular, informal meetings or conversations with individual employees allows managers to identify and address issues in real time, provide support and make progress. Instead of keeping the feedback on file and waiting for the annual performance review, managers are encouraged to provide in-the-moment feedback when positive or negative events occur. Why wait until after 12 months to discuss an employee poor performance when it can be done as soon as possible.

Performance is constantly monitored and frequent communication has proved that employees tend to be more open and honest if they don’t worry about justifying a yearly rating.

In 2012 Adobe introduced the check-in, an informal process of ongoing and real-time feedback. The managers decide how often they want to set goals and how they give feedback. There are no forced timelines and specific forms to submit to HR.

Employees are evaluated based on what goals they achieved, rather than how they compare to their peers. This helps to create an environment of collaboration, rather than competition. Adobe reported a 30% decrease in voluntary turnover, in a highly competitive talent environment. They succeeded in retaining talent, as fewer valued employees left the company.

Microsoft has a new approach to performance and development designed to promote new levels of teamwork and agility for breakthrough business impact. Through a process called “Connects” Microsoft optimizes the timely feedback and meaningful discussions to help employees learn in the moment, grow and drive great results. All of this is timely based on the rhythm of each part of their business. The company continues to invest in a generous rewards budget, without a pre-determined targeted distribution. Managers can allocate rewards in the manner that best reflects the performance of their teams and individuals. Ratings were eliminated so that the focus could fall on the opportunities to grow and improve.

Last year both Accenture and Deloitte announced a radical redesigning of their performance management system. The companies dropped rankings and the once-a-year evaluation process based on their own research showed that the time, money and effort they had spent didn’t ultimately accomplish performance improvement among employees.  

Although more Fortune 500 companies are getting rid of rankings, nearly nine out of ten companies around the world continue not only to generate performance scores for employees but also to use them as the basis for compensation decisions. The current process of evaluating people’s work (training, promoting and paying them accordingly) should be improved. 

This can be achieved by studying the results reported by the companies that changed their performance management systems and by implementing solutions fit for any business, with clear objectives and a straight aim to performance improvement.

How does Pasti Nyala address this? By adopting the Key Result Areas for junior employees with the objectives to meet the set targets and the constant monitoring to ensure that everyone perform as expected of them.

Monday, March 13, 2017

How to write an effective Email Subject Lines

Why do you need to optimize your marketing email? Based on a survey, over 60% (or nearly 1/3) of online consumers made a purchase as a result of marketing emails. Hence the need for an effective email subject lines to attract their attention.

How to write optimal subject lines? Below are some tips:
1. Use "Alert", "News" or "Bulletin" in subject lines

2. Use "Daily" or "Weekly" in subject line. Avoid using "Monthly".

3. Use "Sale", "New" or "Video" in subject lines boost open and click-through rates. Obviously, there are a lot of readers that loves videos.

4. Be useful and ultra specific.

5. Identify yourself.

6. Be visually different.

7. Use timely topics and urgency that are top of mind.

8. Use a call-to-action (CTA) by asking a question.

9. Test your subject lines so you can repeat what works best

10. Use ALL CAPS to highlight words in the subject line. Example: Best PRICE.

12. Avoid repetitive subject line. Not many people like a recycled topic.

Apart of the subject line itself, you can also optimize the mail body content to maximized the click-through. Basically, you want to keep your email body short, attractive and to the point. Here's how to do it:
1. Clearly convey your offer and how it can benefit your readers.

2. Use images in your body content. People process images 60,000 times faster than text.

3. Use short paragraphs and bullet points. The average adult's attention span is 8 seconds.

4. Personalize content with Name, Location, Company, etc. 4 of 10 marketing emails are marked as spam because they are irrelevant.

5. Best practices for optimized Call-To-Actions (CTAs).
5.a Focus on one primary action you want your audience to take.
5.b Create a CTA with a button or link.
5.c Make sure call-to-action is prominent and visually distinctive.
5.d Keep your calls-to-action "above the fold," so they are visible without the reader having to scroll down.
5.e Use action, urgency, and friendly words in your CTA.
5.f Include multiple links and buttons throughout your email.

Over 70% of mobile purchasing decisions are influenced by promotional emails, thus the need to optimize your mail for mobile.
1. 64% of decision-makers read their email via mobile devices, namely smartphone or tablet.

2. 48% of emails are opened on mobile device.

3. 69% of mobile users delete emails that aren't optimized for mobile.

4. 89% of email marketers lose leads because their emails aren't mobile optimized.

Optimize your email for mobile. This is important as well as more than 60% of all emails are opened from a mobile device. And this trend is increasing. How to optimize your site for mobile? 
1. Increase the size of links and CTA buttons. The average size of an adult index fingers is 1.6-2 cm, which translates to 45-57 pixels on a mobile device.

2. Space links far enough from each other that there isn't any accidental clicking.

3. Reduce image size. Every 1-second delay in loading time results in an average 7% drop in conversion. Use services such as FastStone, Photo Resizer and JPEGmini to reduce your file size up to 80% while maintaining image quality.

4. Resize images by proportion of screen. Alter the style portion of the code in your email HTML editor to define image size by proportion.

Source: various sites.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

What is a Digital Free Trade Zone

A digital free trade zone is an e-hub is  designed specifically for small businesses with services provided for such as logistics, payments, financing and inspections. This concept was proposed by  Alibaba founder Jack Ma and is part of his ambition, raised last year (in 2016), to build a global e-commerce platform, called the Electronic World Trade Platform. It would serve the interests of SMEs that have been left out of the world's free trade regime in the past.

Note that the idea of a Digital Free TRade Zone has existed as early as 2002, as documented in The John Marshall Journal of Information Technology & Privacy Law. Read

In most countries SMEs contribute more than 50 percent of GDP and an even higher percentage of employment. But SMEs face challenges such as poor access to global markets, complex regulations and certifications designed for big companies, and a lack of access to financing.

Malaysia is expected to announce details of its planned Digital Free Trade Zone in April 2017, as it seeks to boost the country’s burgeoning e-commerce sector.

The Malaysian Digital Free Trade Zone,  to be spearheaded by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) will among other things, knock down tariffs imposed on items being shipped into the Malaysia that are priced over RM500.

International Trade and Industry Minister II Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said the challenge now would be to get other countries Malaysia commonly did e-commerce deals with to get onboard with its Digital Free Trade Zone.

“This is a free trade agreement, we want to liberalise e-commerce because at the moment we only have a very basic policy.

“We want to do away with tariff barriers but not only our country has to do this, we have to talk to all other countries so that Malaysian products can go there and their products can come into our country freely,” he said.

Malaysian e-commerce currently contributes a measly 8.8% to the country’s annual gross domestic product (GDP). China’s Internet economy accounts for 20% of the People’s Republic’s GDP.

Benefit of using Digital Free Trade Zone

Whether you are large corporations looking to start your e-commerce initiative, or an SME which is leveraging on digital, or even a consumer who wants to buy cheaper products online – you should benefit from the incentives including tax exemptions, especially if this digital free trade zone works similarly to other free trade zones in the real world.

Digital Free Trade Zone in Sarawak?

Setting up more locations including some in Sarawak as “Malaysia digital hub” will provide startups, innovators and technopreneurs with a platform to collaborate with like-minded digital organisations. This will create an ecosystem that will continuously bring fresh and disruptive ideas to the market, and accelerate the creation of new products and services. 

Meanwhile, to succeed and leapfrog their competitions in this digital era, it is imperative for businesses in Sarawak especially, to integrate software into all aspects of their operations and embrace digital transformation.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Secret Software - GREYBALL

According to report by AFP and the Times, Uber acknowledged the use of a secret software program called "GREYBALL" to steer drivers away from trouble, including sting operations by local authorities to catch lawbreakers.

The so-called secret program to others is a business trade secret, or secret recipe. To Uber, it a valuable "tool".

This is how the secret "tool" works

1. The program denies ride requests to fraudulent users who are violating their terms of service. Whether that’s people aiming to physically harm drivers, competitors looking to disrupt our operations, or opponents who collude with officials on secret ‘stings’ meant to entrap drivers. And Uber said the program was used in locations where drivers feared for their safety, and “rarely” to avoid law enforcement.

2. Data collected about agents of regulatory authorities was used by the software to “Greyball” them, or mark them as city officials, according to the Times. Greyballed officials trying to use Uber would have rides cancelled and be shown fake versions of the app, complete with maps showing icons of ghost cars appearing to be on the move, the report said. Tactics used included identifying locations of government offices and then making them off-limits with “geofences” erected in mapping software, according to the Times. Ways of figuring out which users might be regulators or police included checking whether credit cards used for accounts were linked to governments or police credit unions, the report said.

When it come to secret tool, it may not necessary be another secret software. It could be something unique to your company and your company is very good at using it.

So what is your company secret tool? An efficient work processes and procedures? Excellent products and support? Competent workforce?