Sunday, November 13, 2005

Help SMEs sell online, industry urged

Help SMEs sell online, industry urged
By Chin Wong

A leading supporter of information technology last week urged theindustry to prepare a detailed guide to electronic commerce that small-and medium-scale enterprises can use to begin selling their productsonline.

At a trade show last week, Senator Mar Roxas told board members of thePhilippine Internet Commerce Society (PICS) they need to help moresmall- and medium-sized companies sell their products in cyberspace,whether this is on locally developed networks or on internationalportals such as e-Bay. "Internet commerce is not a goal in itself, it's a tool," Roxas said ata break during last week's 4th National E-Commerce Congress. "You guys are focusing on Internet commerce per se. I want to get these SMEs tocome into this space. Whether it is 'Philippine space' or foreign spaceis irrelevant to them because their job is to sell their pili nuts." Roxas urged the PICS to produce an informative and easy-to-followflowchart that SMEs can use to get started.

"What I want from you is a to-do menu that I can give to an SME so thatwhen I go around, I can show it to Mila's Pili or Ormoc PrincessPineapple or Kapitan Herbs in Tagaytay," Roxas said. The flowchart would specify what options are available, where SMEs cango depending on their size, what they can do to promote their productsonline, and how much they can expect to pay and be paid, the senatorsaid. Roxas said the e-commerce guide for SMEs should include anecdotal information showing what approaches work or do not work.

For her part, Mary Anne Tolentino, PICS president, committed tocompleting the guidelines by January 2006. At the same meeting, Roxas also asked PICS members to check ife-government initiatives, particularly at the Department of Trade andIndustry, were really useful to companies. "Visit the DTI Web site and try to register a business. Let's look atthese e-government initiatives and see which ones have the most impact.Those that don't, maybe we can set aside first," Roxas said.

On the other hand, those that really help companies improve theirbusinesses should get priority to funding, he added. Roxas expressed impatience over the inability of the DTI and theSecurities and Exchange Commission to work using a common database ofcompanies.

At the same meeting, Commission on Information and TechnologyCommissioner Dondi Mapa said this was the goal of the PhilippineBusiness Registry Project that recently received P200 million infunding. Roxas, however, said the government didn't need to wait for thecompletion of the registry project to make this happen. "This is just a complicated mail merge," Roxas said. "Is it a realproblem, or is it a turf problem?"

SME IT Excellence Award

For the third straight year, PICS also handed out awards to small- andmedium-sized companies that used IT and the Internet to improve theirbusiness operations and realized gains in profits, efficiency, andcustomer and supplier relationships.

A cosmetics company, VMV Hypoallergenics, won the SME IT ExcellenceAward, besting 30 nominees. At the ceremony, Laura Verallo de Bertotto, said for most SMEs, IT canbe intimidating but this doesn't have to be the case. "We've chosen things that may not be so fancy or advanced, but it'sreally not that intimidating if you get something off-the-shelf that'stried and trusted," she said, noting that her company runs on a network of Apple Macintosh computers.

Other winners were: Asia Pacific College, for outstanding IT SME ininnovation and learning and outstanding IT SME in effectiveness andefficiency in internal processes; and, for outstanding ITSME in financial measurements. VMV also won an award for outstanding customer orientation and online orelectronic service.

No comments: