Malaysian company MyBiz breaks into Gartner’s Magic Quadrant
By Renuka Sena November 13, 2013
- Malaysian company had the audacity to go up against global powerhouses such as Oracle and SAP
- Recognised in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant and also described as a ‘Cool Vendor’ by the analyst firm
OF late, we’ve been hearing more about locally-developed software slowly being ‘accepted’ by large enterprises; as well as entrepreneurs who have secured contracts with GLCs (government-linked companies) and the like.
There is one local entrepreneur who has not only successfully penetrated this fortress, but had to compete against global powerhouses such as SAP and Oracle. Despite the perceived odds stacked against his company, it has successfully won tenders from a multitude of large corporations in the enterprise software space.
MyBiz Solutions has not only done that, but has managed to get a bit of ‘Magic’ into its arsenal – or to be more precise, Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.
To explain ‘Magic Quadrant,’ here’s an excerpt from CIO.com that appeared in January 2013:
Here's where the power of the Magic Quadrant (MQ) comes to the fore. IT organisations use the MQ as a filtering mechanism; by definition, inclusion in the MQ bestows an imprimatur of technology leadership.
Moreover, occupying a place in the MQ virtually assures a vendor of being placed on an IT organisation's evaluation shortlist and getting a serious look. This is incredibly valuable, as most vendors know how challenging it can be to gain a fair evaluation.
After more than a decade serving large Malaysian corporates, MyBiz is finally receiving the accolades it deserves. It was evaluated and included in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for 2013.
According to a report published by Gartner in July 2013, “This is the first time any Asian vendor appears in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Strategic Sourcing Application Suites.”
Facing the challenge
MyBiz offers comprehensive Internet-based solutions such as e-procurement, spend analysis, e-tendering and e-bidding.
Its initial foray into the market over a decade ago was tough going, as customers were sceptical – especially since it was an unknown Malaysian company competing in the same space as those global giants such as SAP and Oracle.
Worse still, its solution sits on top of SAP, and therefore a customer would have to first buy SAP or something similar, and only then consider MyBiz’s application suites to fulfill a specific functional need.
In order to be taken seriously and be in the same league as SAP and Oracle, MyBiz chief executive officer and cofounder Cheong explains “I had to prove that what we had worked, not only in one industry but across multiple industries.”
So MyBiz targeted six industries and aspired to win projects from the top three players in each of these.
“Petronas was one of the first we won for the oil and gas industry. We then secured UEM for construction, Maybank for banking, Axiata for telecommunications, Sime Darby for plantation and IHH Holdings for healthcare.
“We secured many other clients in each of these industries, but essentially these were the top three of each industry, and we won the tenders outright and beat out the global brands,” claims Cheong.
Fuelled by its local success and feeling confident, the company embarked on its journey to penetrate the regional market. Unfortunately, according to Cheong, this was a huge disaster as it was unprepared for the response it received.
“Our solution was used by large organisations which are formidable players in their own right. Maybank is the world’s 13th strongest bank according to Bloomberg. Petronas is the 12th most profitable company in the world. IHH Healthcare is the second largest healthcare service provider in the world and Sime Darby is the world’s largest listed plantation company.
“Yet when we went outside Malaysian shores, we discovered all of that carried very little weight. The crux of the matter was that we were a Malaysian company and out there, we had to compete all over again to prove that we were better than SAP and Oracle,” Cheong says exasperatedly.
Next page: Tough questions lead to an epiphany
It was around this time that MyBiz applied and was accepted for the Coach and Grow Programme (CGP) spearheaded by Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, an agency under the Ministry of Finance that was conceptualised and implemented by Proficeo Consultants.
“I applied because I wanted to see my business from an outsider’s perspective. I was too close and too tired to build from scratch again outside Malaysia,” sighs Cheong (pic).
“At one of the coaching sessions, my coach, Doc Siva [Proficeo ‘chief evangelist’ Dr Sivapalan Vivekarajah] asked me, ‘Who is your customer?’ I rattled off all the industries we were targeting. But he persisted and asked me again, ‘Who do you SELL to?’
“I realised he was asking me which department within an organisation I target when I go in to sell my solution, and my response was that I sell to the CEO or the CFO (chief executive or financial officer) but never the CTO or the CIO (chief technology or information officer).
“To which Doc Siva then asked, ‘Why?’ As I thought about how to frame my response, I realised that I seldom pitched to the CIO because every time my product was sent to the IT department for evaluation. it got thrown out since CIOs rely on brands and technology they know. I never stood a chance.
“Whereas when I pitched to the CEO or better the CFO, and demonstrated how I could give them better spending efficiency, I usually got the job,” says Cheong.
[Disclosure: The writer is the CEO of Proficeo]
“The next question Doc Siva asked was ‘So what would it take for you to successfully sell to a CIO?’ I remember thinking to myself, ‘I just told you that I don’t want to sell to a CIO, didn’t I?, but because the question was asked, I spent the next couple of days seriously thinking about it and I realised that CIOs generally looked to analyst reports when making decisions on IT Spending.
“So I went back to Doc Siva and gave him my response which was, ‘If we were in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, we would be noticed by the CIO and have a fair shot’,” Cheong says.
“With the encouragement of the coaches and the unwavering support from Microsoft and Maybank, we embarked on getting ourselves out there, talking to the right people and doing what was necessary to get Gartner’s attention,” he adds.
MyBiz’s technology is now ranked No 1 or No 2 for most of the criteria for which it was assessed, and it was described as one of the Top 5 companies globally for spend analysis in the July 2013 Gartner Report.
“After more than a decade of proving ourselves and 12 to 15 months of time invested to demonstrate our value proposition to get into the Magic Quadrant, today, I can sell to a CIO,” says Cheong.
“The Gartner Report was published on July 1 and by the last week of July, I had received an RFI (Request for Information) from an oil and gas company in Australia. Soon after, I received an RFP (Request for Proposal) from a mid-sized Insurance company in the United States.
“The invitations are now coming in unsolicited and purely as a result of inclusion in the MQ,” he adds.
Inspired entrepreneurs – the true magic
When asked what drives him as an entrepreneur, Cheong relates a story of how at the age of 18, he came across the term the ‘butterfly effect,’ or how a very small change or disturbance can have enormous impact in the course of events.
He thought about it and realised that decisions he made and actions that he took could have more impact than he could ever fathom. This became a true life-changing moment for the entrepreneur who says that what drives him is the chance to create history, to make a difference and to change the world.
If you were to Google the term ‘Magic Quadrant Strategic Sourcing Application Suite 2013,’ you would notice that practically every company in that quadrant has a press release about it and is playing up the bragging rights.
The results that come up for Mybiz revolve around the fact that it has been recognised as a ‘Cool Vendor’ for 2013 for Business Process Services, and Gartner sees MyBiz as an innovative emerging player that is helping to frame the landscape.
So in a way, Cheong has made good on the promise to himself to create history. Perhaps MyBiz’s example will create its own butterfly effect and motivate other Malaysian entrepreneurs to make their mark on the world and create history.
This article was originally published on http://www.foundersasia.com/ and is reprinted here with its kind permission. FoundersAsia.com is a platform for tech entrepreneurs and works with ecosystem partners around Asia. Proficeo coaches high-potential tech companies to scale and expand into regional or global players.
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