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Monday, January 20, 2014

Local ERP developer eyeing regional market

Published: Friday January 17, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM 
Updated: Friday January 17, 2014 MYT 7:21:07 AM

Having built a sturdy network of clients in the local market, home-grown enterprise resource planning (ERP) developer, iContro Software Sdn Bhd, is looking to expand its reach in the regional market this year.

Chief executive officer Frank Lee noted that this year is crucial for the company’s expansion plans and is expecting a growth rate of 200% this year.

“We have been preparing for 18 years. Malaysia is a small market so we need to expand outside. We want to go regional, starting with Indonesia, where the manufacturing sector is 10 times bigger than Malaysia,” Lee said.

iContro has partnered IBM to expedite its expansion into the Indonesian market and will be releasing the multi-lingual version of its iContro G5, its own ERP software, in the second half of this year to penetrate markets such as Japan and South Korea.

iContro G5 was first launched in 2012 and Lee said the software has garnered quite a following amongst local conglomerates such as the Boustead Group and Johor Corp.

Lee hopes to put Malaysia on the map of technology and iContro is continuously investing in research and development.

In fact, Lee noted that companies are seeing the benefit of using a locally developed software compared to most ERPs which are developed in the US or Europe.

“Post-2008, we observe that most Asian manufacturers prevailed while businesses in Europe and US encountered a slowdown. This is because there is a difference in the way manufacturers run their business in the East and the West. It is a different culture.

“ERP has to be developed according to business cultures. So we have customised a lot of our features to meet the dynamic needs of an Asian business,” Lee explained.

According to Lee, the iContro G5 can produce about 1,800 types of reports while most ERP software only generates some 500 types of reports.

“We are very focused on Asian businesses. The solutions have to be a lot more comprehensive because of the fluid nature of business practices here and the companies’ aim to reach an optimum level within this environment,” he added.

iContro is the first TUV-certified ERP provider in the world, which has helped the company gain global recognition.

The software developer’s growth in the coming year will also be backed by the impending implementation of the GST in April 2015.

This year has been widely acknowledged as a bounty year for software developers as companies scramble to install GST-compliant software to accommodate the GST reporting in their financials.

“Companies have to be ready. There will be replacement of systems, upgrades or new installations. And they need to do it soon to allow for installation and consolidation period,” Lee said.

Nonetheless, all these cost money and smaller companies, particularly the SMEs, could be affected by the high cost of installing these new software and systems.

iContro is in the midst of formulating a suitable pricing for the SMEs to help them remain competitive.

“The survivability of SMEs is a concern and we want to help make sure that these smaller companies have access to such systems,” Lee said.

Lee expects 80% of its clientele to be brand new customers this year while the remaining 20% are existing customers carrying out enhancements on their current ERP system.

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