IBM eyes Brunei's IT 'transformation journey'


IBM is eyeing Brunei's "transformation journey" in information technology (IT) and wants to continue working with the private sector, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as it embarks on a new initiative to branch out in the region and beyond.

Tang Choeng Weng, IBM's country manager for Malaysia, Brunei and Cambodia, said the global technology corporation is "very encouraged" by Brunei's national IT strategy plan and wants to play a more significant role in helping the country achieve its vision.

"We are very encouraged by what is happening in Brunei right now. Especially (since) you can see that Brunei has got a clear IT strategy plan. That plan has got very clear steps on how to get there. And you can see the evidence of success in Brunei's world e-government ranking," Tang said.

Brunei ranked 54th out of 193 countries in the latest UN survey on e-government progress around the world. It was 68th in a similar survey conducted two years ago.

"So, you can see the progressive thought in the Brunei leadership. You can see the government organisations are very much in sync with this and it's very, very encouraging for us and we feel that IBM certainly has something that we can work or collaborate with both the government as well as private sector."

Speaking at an IBM forum in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, he told The Brunei Times that IBM wanted to "play a more significant part" in Brunei's progress.

"Brunei is a developed country and it is in a unique position, where it has got both the vision and the desire to be among the top 20, in terms of e-government readiness, and it has the resources (to do so)," he said.

The size of Brunei's population was also seen as an additional value.

"Plus the fact that the community is not big, so whatever action that can be done, can be done very quickly and in (an) agile manner. So all the positive points are there: pointing to success," he said.

"We're just hoping that we also have the opportunity to be working there to contribute to the success as well."

For the past two decades, IBM has been flying in support and system engineering staff from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to cater to existing clients in Brunei.

"But that's nothing like having someone there, where the response would be much faster."

"Then a few years back, we started a small team there for sales. That is in response to our clients requesting for more interaction with IBM."

When asked if there were any market limitations, the IBM official said that the domestic market is not what it looks like on the surface.

"Yes. The first impression is Brunei is a limited market, but what it doesn't have in size, it makes up for in terms of the vastness of the vision, the bold steps that they're planning, and that for me is a lot more important," Tang said.

"You could have a huge country but if it is not moving for us, I think it is better where you have a clear target you want to move into citizen-centric services, you want to move into creating additional economic activity for the nation. I think all this is pointing into the right direction. So that for me, is a lot more important."

"I think the government is the key catalyst of Brunei's transformation journey.

"So that will also be an area we are working with the government in.

"I think those are the two areas where you see the biggest changes that will be beneficial to the country as well."

The country manager assured, however, that IBM's interactions with the private sector will continue.

"Then, while we are doing that, we will still continue with our commercial customers; their on-going business requirements, transformations," he said.The Brunei Times

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