Knowing what your customer needs is mission critical. It makes or breaks your venture. Two local technology-based companies, Juris Technologies Sdn Bhd and Myreka Technologies Sdn Bhd have got that right.
The two companies are in two very different areas of business. The former has been providing credit management solutions to the banking and telco industries since 1997. The latter, a one-stop centre for customers wishing to realise their product ideas, was established about a decade later in 2006.
The companies owe their success to the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Malaysia for Startups programme, which comes under the ambit of the national information and communications technology (ICT) custodian Multimedia Development Corp (MDeC), and facilitates and accelerates the attainment of MSC Malaysia status by local startups.
MDeC manages the MSC project, which is aimed at boosting the ICT sector in the country.
There are currently over 3,600 MSC Malaysia status companies, comprising global and local companies across multiple sectors that are primarily grouped under the Creative Multimedia, Global Business Services (formerly known as Shared Services and Outsourcing) and information technology (InfoTech) clusters.
But what they have in common is their ability to ensure the technology solutions they provide allow their customers to accomplish their objectives.
What makes them tick? What works with customers? These are some of the issues discussed with the two companies in separate interviews with The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).
The firms emerged in the middle of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. However, they weathered the storm and found a niche that was recession proof: Debt collection and legal recovery.
In those days, a lot of companies were tracking their debtors using Microsoft Excel. With the huge volume of bad loans, it was simply impossible to continue operating as before.
“This was the right time to automate debt collection and recovery, and this is a niche that we developed and grew,” Juris chief technology officer John Lim Keong Jin tells TMR in an email interview. Lim is a co-founder of Juris Technologies.
Since then, it has built its reputation and skills in the domain. Today, Juris provides loan origination for processing loan applications all the way to disbursement, scoring solutions to assess credit worthiness of customers, and its flagship debt collection systems.
As collection systems require big time calling of customers, Juris has diversified to providing customer relationship management (CRM), and contact and call centre solutions. At its core, financial technology is a business process management (BPM) software that the company developed locally in Malaysia.
BPM is a general purpose tool to automate business processes for any industry.
“We also use the power of the Internet to link banks, lawyers, valuers and debt collection agencies into one integrated community, and provide legal and debt collection portals that allow all these parties to work and cooperate in business of loan origination and debt recovery,” added Lim.
They had their own set of challenges. Juris faces competition from both local and overseas players, with new ones sprouting every few years. However, the strength of the company is such that despite all the competition, Juris has achieved compounded growth averaging at 5% for the last five years.
As is the nature of the industry, Juris has partners. IBM and Oracle are among its technology partners, providing hardware and databases for its software to run on. Resellers help it enter new markets and extend its reach in existing ones.
Juris also practises the latest in agile software methodologies. This means gathering requirements, implementing software features in two-week sprints, then getting feedback internally and from customers. These two-week sprints are repeated as many times as required to get it right for the customers. This ensures that the company is always close to the customers’ requirements and avoid the trap of designing unusable software.
“We also have an extensive R&D (research and development) team researching peer-
to-peer (P2P) lending, mobile, artificial intelligence and big data technologies. You can expect to see the results of this research in the pipeline,” he said.
Commercialising an idea into a product is not easy, said Myreka GM Lee Eu Beng. Based in Penang, the home to some of the who’s who of global electronics, the company initially provided design solutions. It has since expanded its capabilities to include design validation and manufacturing solutions, providing a one-stop centre for customers.
“The product should not just merely function but factors such as reliability, supportability, usability, manufacturability and regulatory compliance also need to be considered before a product can be successfully sold. We take away our customers’ worries by providing a one-stop centre to bring their product concept all the way from design to manufacturing. In other words, we provide turnkey original design manufacturing solutions to the electronics industry,” said Lee.
The company’s core competency is in electronics. Hence, the products they design have an electronics base. The technology can incorporate other features such as mechanical design but there will always be an electronics component.
Lee said their clients are mainly US-based mutlinational corporations located in the northern region. Many of their customers have innovative ideas that will make great products, but they may not have the bandwidth or R&D resources to make the product a reality.
“This is where we take away all their worries by becoming a one-stop centre to design, test and finally manufacture their products for them. We have an established product design process which is ISO9001-certified.
“Besides our technical capability and technology, what makes us stand out is our commitment and dependability. Our customers know they can trust us to get the job done,” he said.
After a product is designed, it needs to be tested thoroughly to ensure it meets customer requirements. Realising this, Juris has expanded to provide test services as well, specifically in design validation.
The final piece of the jigsaw, Lee said, is providing manufacturing services and this is what makes Myreka a one-stop centre.