Photo - (From left) Poo Ching Loong, General Manager, Mercado; Khoo of Zepto Consulting; CY Leong, General Manager, Ingram Micro; and Azizah Ali, SMSP [Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) and Partners] Lead, Microsoft Malaysia.
The new home-grown Mercado suite is intended to make affordable and scalable apps available to help Malaysian small and medium enterprises [SMEs] adopt IT to boost productivity, said the partners Microsoft Malaysia and local IT distributor Ingram Micro.
Ingram Micro general manager CY Leong said Mercado's 'one price, one company, one year' model made it more affordable, practical and scalable for SMEs to adopt IT productivity solutions.
The suite directly addressed "various pain points that companies face such as prohibitive cost and lack of scalability, which are key reasons for SMEs to reject IT," said Leong, adding that Mercado was a local applications store for SMEs.
At the launching, which was also attended by Azizah Ali, Microsoft Malaysia lead for SMBs and Partners, he said that more than 50 IT resellers have signed a memorandum of understanding to distribute and resell the suite nationwide including Sabah & Sarawak with 500 resellers to come on board in 2015 with a customer base of 10,000.
"With its low entry fee of RM1500 [US$447] per app, per company regardless of number of users, with complimentary training provided and more, Mercado is a cost saving approach to boost productivity," Leong said.
This launch was in synch with the Malaysian government''s drive for SMEs to contribute up to 40 percent of national gross domestic product [GDP] by year 2020, he added.
"Malaysia will be the first country to have access to Mercado," said Leong. "We will then tap the Asean market. All applications will be tablet and smartphone enabled with support for multiple languages i.e. English, Malay, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc."
IT always a challenge for SMEs
Mercado general manager, Poo Ching Loong, said, "Basically, IT adoption has always been a challenge for SMEs, not just in Malaysia, but the region. Yet, these companies know they must embrace IT to boost productivity and move up the value chain. Mercado is a means to meet these aspirations at ownership costs that SMEs can afford."
The Mercado suite of applications runs on a Microsoft Office 365 platform with a 24 x 7 - 99.9 percent uptime, said Poo. "Currently there are seven applications available with the number to increase to 30-35 in 2015."
Companies just pay a low fee annually and enjoy unlimited user licenses for a suite of applications covering Human Resources, office automation, inventory management and much more, he said. "We invite more Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to join in the Mercado initiative. As more stakeholders participate in the eco-system, whether ISVs or customers, apps in Mercado will get better. The model is unique as it is a market driven approach."
Mercado applications' benefits include:
- Easy deployment within 3 clicks
- A single charge for a company license with no restriction on the number of users
- Free user training, which is HRDF [Human Resource Development Fund] claimable
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