With Singapore feeling the foreign labour crunch and the unemployment rate at 1.9 percent as of September 2012, there just aren't enough people up for hire, according to the CEO of FACT Software Arvind Argawalla.
"SMEs do not have the quota to hire more people; hence SMEs need to find another way to be far more productive," he explained.
According to the CEO of the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software company, one way SMEs can increase productivity regardless of staff strength is by improving on their IT software.
SMEs can get up to 70 percent of their total infocomm costs defrayed under one such government programme targeted at promoting automation in the sector. Argawalla highlighted that with the uncertainty of the economy, businesses in Singapore are fortunate to have this form of funding available and should leverage it to upgrade their possibly archaic software.
"The operations of any SME are critical. Because of the velocity of business now, SMEs cannot afford to have information in islands. They need it in one place, and in real time," said Argawalla as he promoted the deployment of ERP software in the office.
In line with the future
Technology adoption is faster than ever before and with everything now so connected, a company without up-to-date IT is risking its competitiveness.
"If your competitor is there with all the IT systems and you're still using a manual ledger and an abacus, very soon you will be out of business," said Argawalla, describing why an increase in IT spending has been a trend and will continue to be in the near future.
Another important focal point for SMEs, according to Argawalla, will be the deployment of data security. "I urge executives to look at security as strategically as a business plan [...] Disaster recovery should be treated like a fire drill."
He notes that the percentage of SMEs backing up their data is painfully small, and the sector should take the matter seriously by backing up data in-house as well as in a remote location before disaster strikes.
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