Go for Broke! Tales of Technopreneurship

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Go for Broke! Tales of Technopreneurship

edited by Oon Yeoh

This is a compilation of 21 prominent entrepreneurs in Malaysia who deal in information technology related business. It talks about their various approaches, philosophies, trials and tribulations. I am not a Malaysian, however it is nice to read the insights of different people.

Some of the technopreneurs have actually given insight of what work and what didn’t work for them. I guess one can gain more foresight by learning from some of the outstanding technopreneurs’ valuable experience.

Chris Chan – Founder and CEO of TMS Asia

TMS Enterprise Knowledge Portal enables organiations to create, exchange and manage information across a single business-centric workplace, generating knowledge connectivity within enterprises through a user-friendly desktop environment. Example it combines Dynamic Content Management System, Knowledge Assets, Sales Force Automation System etc together.

It is not just for publishing content but also for knowledge management and fostering collaboration. In terms of its business model, the company will be complementing the service model with a licensing approach. So instead of being a portal builder, it will work with resellers, system integrators and other portal builders in Malaysia and abroad.

Mr Chris Chan mentioned that software development requires time and money for research and development, but once it’s created, there’s unlimited potential in the licensing revenue. Hence he believes the licensing portion is the most scalable portion of the business.

Mathavan Chandran -CEO of InfoValley

His idea of “Chinaman” doing business is quite unique. His approach to keeping operations going was simple : Don’t spend money. The best part of building a business is when you have no money. When you are not spending any money, any revenue you make quickly becomes profit.

His company deal in bioinformatics. Biotech is basically a tech-based approach to living organisms. To do biotech you need informatics tools.  Biologists generate a lot of data, in bits and pieces, and in multiple formats from different types of equipment. We put it in a common format for them and output it in such a way that they are able to see the combined effects of all that information. I guess this speciality may have something to do with his background as it was mentioned that he always loved science (especially chemistry) during his schooldays. He graduated with a degree in biochemistry and chemistry.

Interestingly, he does not agree with conventional approach to knowledge management that is portal based. This contradicts with Mr Chris Chan, one of the technopreners whose business is in licensing of usage of knowledge management portal. Mr Chandra feels that data can be stored, crunched and presented but knowledge can never be captured in that way.

Datuk Wan Mohamed Fusil Wan Mahmood – Founder of Mesiniaga

Datuk Fusil is very into knowledgement management and uses the company’s internal portal to keep abreast of developments. Everything revolves around the portal. THrough it, he can run the entire company from his laptop. He believes that the attitude must be right, in order to develop to be good at their work, even if there is no background for it.

Ganesh Kumar Bangah – CEO of MOL AccessPortal

MOL AccessPortal’s flagship offering is MOLePoints, an online micropayment system that allows members to pay for online content and services without the use of credit cards. It was one of the first online micropayment systems approved by Bank Negara Malaysia, and boasts some 200,000 members who can purchase MOLePoints through its various physical and virtual channels across the country.

I think this is very promising plan as MOLePoints are working with cybercafes. It is helpful as young students or those who just started to work had no credit cards, they can very well use MOLePoints to purchase their online games etc. Ganesh’s business model is to build an eco-system around which his e-payment services can thrive.

Norbik Bashah Idris – CEO of Scan Associates

Norbik’s interest in IT security started in 1983, while studying in Australia. Although IC T security was a niche field then, he recognied its importance and subsequently got professional certification and even a doctorate in computer security. Banks, insurance companies, government agencies – they all engage us to monitor the status of their networks. We do this 24/7. There’s always someone watching the screen for any security alerts. This is what you call managed security services.

I think IT security is indeed a very profitable business. As the internet extends its importance daily, the importance of IT security will become increasingly important.

Harres Tan – CEO of HT Consulting

Harres mentioned that today software doesm’t offer that kind of huge profit margin as before anymore. In fact, it is heading towards free with open source alternatives readily available. Hence he co-founded a new business HT Consulting in 1994. The company started off providing pure IT consulting services but later added software development to its offerings. It started HT Softlab to create its own suite of enterprise applications.

It then offered its software together with suitable hardware conceptually designed by the company and contract manufactured in Europe. Hence offering a complete solution to the companies.

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