Bringing Asean SMEs under the cloud
By Digital News Asia June 5, 2012
- SME Corp, Microsoft push cloud as strategic technology for Asean SMEs
- Cloud showcased to Asean SME Working Group
SME Corp Malaysia is promoting cloud computing as a strategic technology for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) bloc to transform themselves sustainable growth engines for the economies in the region.
“SMEs are the backbone of economic development and they now face the need to become more competitive and resilient,” said SME Corp deputy chief executive officer Mahdi Mohd. Ariffin (pic).
“Technology definitely plays an integral role in helping SMEs become more profitable, which is why they can no longer ignore the power inherent in cloud computing.
“Companies preparing to engage and compete globally are flocking to the cloud for its advantages to scale on demand and achieve greater productivity,” he said at the opening of a “Technology Showcase Summit” on the sidelines of the Asean SME Working Group (Asean SMEWG) meeting in Kuala Lumpur.
The Showcase, with the theme “Transforming Asean Businesses Powered By Cloud Computing,” was hosted by SME and US technology giant Microsoft to discuss and provide examples of public-private collaboration to achieve the outcomes of the Strategic Action Plan for Asean SME Development 2010-2015, Microsoft said in a statement.
The Strategic Action Plan outlines the framework for SME development in Asean, and covers mandates stipulated in the Asean Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint which envisages a single market and production base across Asean. Leaders of the regional grouping adopted the Asean Economic Blueprint (click here for the pdf) at its 13th Summit in 2007 in Singapore.
The Blueprint comprises strategic work programs, policy measures and indicative outputs. For SME development, its objectives are to:
- Accelerate the pace of SME development, optimizing on the diversities of Asean Member Countries;
- Enhance the competitiveness and dynamism of Asean SMEs by facilitating their access to information, market, human resource development and skills, finance as well as technology;
- Strengthen the resilience of Asean SMEs to better withstand adverse macroeconomic and financial difficulties, as well as the challenges of a more liberalised trading environment; and
- Increase the contribution of SMEs to the overall economic growth and development of Asean as a region.
“Cloud computing is certainly helping SMEs be more innovative, moving beyond merely maintaining technology to looking into strategies that optimize IT in support of business objectives,” said SME Corp’s Mahdi.
SME Corp is Malaysia’s central coordinating agency, established to spur the development of SMEs by providing infrastructure facilities, financial assistance, advisory services, market access and other support programs.
“An important element of competitive success for Asean is helping entrepreneurs, the essential engine of ASEAN economy,” said Ken Wye (pic), vice president (Asia) at Microsoft Corp.
“Technology is playing a significant role in helping SMEs remain competitive in challenging economic times. Smart technology helps to save money and energy costs, identify new trends and business models, like cloud computing, that will drive future growth and jobs.
“Asean has a clear focus with the Asean ICT Masterplan 2015 towards smart, sustainable and inclusive growth – our core contention is that the cloud will be a catalyst towards this aim,” he added.