The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)’s Chief Technology Officer-as-a-Service (CTO-as-a-Service) has achieved positive early results.
Since December 2021, selected early SME users across various sectors from construction, food services, food manufacturing, logistics, marine & offshore engineering to professional services, retail, security, and wholesale trade have been using CTO-as-a-Service to support their digitalisation journeys.
The service is now open to all SMEs to allow them to readily self-assess their digital readiness and needs at any time and from anywhere as well as have quick access to market-proven, cost-effective solutions supported by reliable vendors.
A One-Stop Platform for SMEs to Access Digitalisation Resources
The SMEs have used the CTO-as-a-Service to:
- Perform a self-assessment of their digital readiness levels and identify their digitalisation needs and gaps;
- Discover and learn from other SMEs that have successfully implemented digitalisation projects to raise their digital readiness levels;
- Receive immediate recommendations based on their business needs and profile, on relevant subsidised digital solutions that they can adopt; and
- Compare more than 450 digital solutions, by their functions and subscription fees. These digital solutions cover sector-specific needs across various sectors and common business support functions, thereby helping businesses to streamline operations to improve efficiency, enhance business sales revenue and safeguard business resiliency.
Shared pool of digital consultants ensures every SME has access to expert help
IMDA recognises that SMEs’ digital readiness levels vary, and many SMEs do not have the resources for dedicated in-house expertise to implement digitalisation projects. For these SMEs, CTO-as-a-Service further connects them to a pool of digital consultants. Of the SMEs that have used CTO-as-a-Service, close to three quarters tapped on these digital consultancy services.
The pool of digital consultants serves as a shared expert resource that ensures every SME is able to receive the assistance they need in their digitalisation journey. Upon SMEs’ request for digital consultancy services through CTO-as-a-Service, the digital consultants will work with SMEs to:
- Seek a deeper understanding of their business needs and priorities;
- Tailor digital solutions and training roadmap for their business;
- Incorporate essential cybersecurity risks, basic data usage and protection requirements into their digital roadmaps; and
- Provide project management services to help SMEs see through the implementation of their digitalisation projects.
First-time usage of the digital advisory and project management services, requested through CTO-as-a-Service, is available at no cost to eligible SME users. Subsequent usage or enhancement of services will be based on commercial agreements, should the SMEs want to continue to engage the digital consultants.
CTO-as-a-Service is well-received by SMEs
Responses to CTO-as-a-Service have been positive. Early users highlighted that by conducting a quick assessment on their digital readiness through CTO-as-a-Service, they were able to better decide on which digital solutions they should implement that best meet their business needs.
They also cited the convenience they experienced as they no longer need to go through multiple websites to find information on digital solutions and grant support.
Those that proceeded to engage the digital consultancy services through CTO-as-a-Service noted that the digital consultants were well versed in helping them to develop digital solutions and training roadmaps tailored to their business needs and priorities. Early users also mentioned that the digital consultants’ project management services were useful in helping them implement their digitalisation projects.
Small business owner, Ms Joy Chia, Founder of Pawsible LLP, said, “As we do not have any in-house IT experts or knowledge, we do not have much understanding of our digitalisation needs and priorities.
“We benefited from CTO-as-a-Service as it enabled us to easily check our digital readiness and identify digitalisation gaps. As a result, we are now clear that we should have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, as recommended by the digital consultant that we engaged through CTO-as-a-Service, to better manage our interactions with customers online.
“We project the CRM system will help us be more efficient in our daily operations and increase productivity by 30 percent. Next, we are looking forward to complete the implementation of the CRM system with project management support from the digital consultant.”
Ms Yean Cheong, SGTech Executive Director, said, “Many SMEs recognise that they can no longer do business in the traditional way. More SMEs across sectors see digitalisation as an opportunity to reinvent and bring their businesses to the next level. However, the proliferation of available digital solutions meant that it was difficult for SMEs to navigate and select those appropriate for their situation.
“With CTO-as-a-Service, SMEs now have access to expert help to make the correct first step in identifying the most appropriate solution to meet their business needs. SGTech strongly encourages SMEs to engage with us and the tech community, and use the CTO-as-a-Service platform, to assist them in their digital transformation journey.”