Dialogue with E-Business Leadership Forum

by Reedz on June 23, 2009

WDSI

Congratulations to the winner of last year’s ‘Think Big Business Plan Competition’, Rafiqun WDSI Sdn Bhd, on signing a Memorandum of Agreement with Something Corporation PLC and ITEC Intelligent Services. The signing ceremony took place last week at the Brunei Pavilion where Brunei Darussalam participated for the first time at CommunicAsia, an annual International Communications and Information Technology Conference and Exhibition.

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Brunei should look at establishing a one-stop centre to expedite its national e-business agenda, a forum heard yesterday after an interim committee declared it as a “required intervention”.

The creation of a facilitation centre that acts as a single window for e-businesses to obtain training, education and advice on legal and privacy issues, regulations and policies is seen as crucial by the e-business interim committee to provide an enabling environment.

“Many businesses right now do not know where they stand in terms of the types of e-business models relevant to them,” said Hj Yahkup Hj Menudin, chairman of the e-business interim body. “They need to assess where they are at the moment, and whether they want to make that leap.”

During the inaugural dialogue session of the E-Business Leadership Forum at The Empire Hotel & Country Club yesterday, the committee disclosed findings from a review conducted in November on the initiative.

While Brunei already has the necessary infrastructure, legal framework, Internet and mobile service providers in place, many businesses are not “100 per cent ready” to jump onboard, according to a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis.

Hj Yahkup said a shortage of financial and skilled resources is a major factor stopping businesses from taking their businesses online. For instance, it could be a costly hurdle for a small company to host its own web servers. Interest-free loans should then be made available as an incentive to join the pack, said Hj Yahkup.

Other incentives listed by the body include discounts for online payments, subsidies on learning and development, the provision of research and development grants, and the development of pilot projects.

Effective broadband services with large bandwidths and low tariffs will also contribute as an enabling element by providing reliable, fast, and secure connectivity, and can be further complimented by an affordable wireless service that covers a wide area, the review stated.

The body called on businesses to join affiliate programmes and get involved in joint ventures or consortiums to speed up the drive, and the government to start embracing e-transactions to spearhead demand. “More transparency is also needed in the legal and policy aspects to ensure consumer protection,” said Hj Yahkup. “Decision-makers also need to understand and be more aware of what IT can do for their businesses.”

Government regulations may get in the way from time to time, but he said it should play the role of facilitator and enabler. “E-businesses, as an added value service, should be part and parcel of the business.” — Courtesy of The Brunei Times

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