Yesterday, Nov 20, 2013 I met an IT man at Khin Khin's office. Khin Khin's friend in Yangon wanted him to get a website done and he came at the appointed time.
" Do you provide the services of PIC (Productivity and Innovation Credit) scheme to small enterprises?" I asked. The Singapore Government gives grants to help small enterprise automate and computerise as foreign workers are drastically reduced in the last year.
"Yes, I do," he said.
"Can you provide me examples of clients?"
"There is no point in getting this PIC," Khin Khin said. "Very few Myanmar people now come to Singapore to look for jobs, unlike 2 years ago. My office is so quiet. I have nothing to do. The other employment agents are closing shop. I may close shop after December."
"Every business has its ups and downs," I said. "The employment agency market is down owing to government policies making it very expensive and difficult for Singapore employers to get foreigners. For those agencies who can ride over this tough period, there will be much less competition in the future.
"Don't you have ups and downs in your IT business?" I asked this personable man who writes with his left hand.
"Nope," he laughed. "Computerisation is good for business. I have one lady agent. Not well educated but she is a successful agent. She loves fashion and wanted to start her own fashion line. I advised her to computerise but she set up a shop in Far East Plaza instead. After 6 months, she could not stand the financial bleeding. She agreed to computerisation. Now she gets European buyers and she sources and sells them the garments. She is profitable within 6 months!"
"I am impressed," I know computerisation and e-commerce helps considerably but I have not been able to meet a good IT man. I have talked to a few who provides the PIC services but they don't have what I want. One would just put up a website for me and another would propose a mobile website. What I wanted was something similar to this fashion-loving realtor with a track record of success.
"Can I view her website?" I asked this IT man.
"Sorry, I can't reveal it. This is due to client confidentiality!"
"Why would a website be confidential if she is doing global business?" I asked.
"She does not do Singapore business. I can show you a beta version," he displayed a webpage on his mobile phone.
I don't want to see some trial version. He showed another client's webpage which was not in the same structure.
I told my friend Julia of my failure to get this IT man to reveal his portfolio this morning. She handles large government tenders for computerisation and has considerable experience of IT matters and I have not heard her swore before as she is into the Ps and Qs of manners. "This is bullshit!" she laughed.