How we help companies upgrade their brand to be able to penetrate new markets.
Client: Knowledge Touch
Headquartered in Singapore, Knowledge Touch was founded in the year 2000 with the vision of empowering its customers with cutting-edge workforce optimisation technologies to manage their workforce efficiently and effectively, and with a human touch. It currently serves an impressive list of multinationals in 23 countries and counting.
Objective: To upgrade the brand to be able to penetrate the competitive U.S. market, they approached OML for a repositioning exercise.
OML formalised a new positioning statement after brainstorming sessions with the founder of Knowledge Touch.
A new website was then conceptualised and developed which helped socialise the revised brand identity with a cohesive tone-of-voice across all channels.
Due to its improved positioning and new website, Knowledge Touch is now taking concrete steps to penetrate the U.S. market.
'Looking to reposition your brand? We can assist you with brand exercise to help you penetrate new markets.'
How we can help clients do product development in South East Asia: a Dutch tech startup case.
Industry: Learning Tech Startup
A Dutch tech startup developed an ML language learning engine, with the purpose to commercialise a solution for language learning for the hospitality industry.
To build a presence in SEA, to identify target markets and work on a pilot project to test the Proof-of-Concept and build the final commercial product.
From Singapore, we built up a team that was set up in the Netherlands, and deployed in Indonesia and Vietnam
Together with the CEO and CTO, we defined the product ownership using the Agile methodology and managed product development using Jira.
Within each country, we approached different hotels and their management to participate in a product pilot to test with hotel staff employees.
We developed a feedback mechanism that allows the software development team to get inputs from actual users to improve functionalities and features as required.
Three hotels were selected in Indonesia (in Bali and Jakarta) and three hotels in Vietnam (Hanoi, Nha Trang, and HCMC). Pilots were successfully completed in a 3-4 month period.
As an end result, we had a fully completed commercial product ready for deployment and sale after a period of 10-12 months.
Hotel customers were able to monitor individual employees’ language training using dashboards, whereas employees were able to study at their own pace on their own mobile device outside of the hotel. The HR managers were able to assign languages modules and do a real-time monitoring of learning progress by their employees.
A commercial roll out to the launching customers was done with a regional boutique hotel chain and completed within weeks.
'There is a way to do it better, and we will find it for you.'
How we can help clients quickly scale up and enter new markets: a Singapore biotech case.
Singaporean bio technology company is launching COVID-19 tests globally in March 2020
The client is looking for a third party, who is able to quickly scale up and enter in different markets identifying suitable local distributors, who are able to handle product registration with local health authorities and identify sales opportunities.
Identifying New Markets
The first two weeks were spent on identifying which markets would be interesting; LatAm, Benelux, and Indonesia were selected.
For each country, local partners were identified to make a market scan and assessment of the sale potential.
Together with the client, we decided on a product strategy and business development plan.
Within 3 months, we signed up distributors/agents in 5 countries; setup sales teams in Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia, and Indonesia
We were able to generate a key leads list and simultaneously assisted our client with successful product registration in all 3 LatAm countries within 3 months on a fast track and provisional health authority approval (ARCSA, ANMAT, and INVIMA)
We successfully shipped out product samples to all 3 LatAm countries and tested any issues with a specialty “cold-chain” shipping company, in order to identify any potential bottlenecks.
'Are you looking to scale quickly into new markets? Through our global network we connect you with the right markets.'
It is about people: Data scientists love science, research, critical thinking, and getting the job done. There is an urgent need for dialogue between business and marketing professionals and data scientists — particularly when it comes to managing expectations, setting boundaries, and alignment when tackling a business challenge.
Embrace data science: Most of those businesses were not paying attention and are now in the post Covid19 world having to find way, and budgets to quickly get up to speed in terms of digitizing every aspect of their business.
Adapt or die: The business that fails to adapt quickly to the changing environment and impact of technology will not just raise the risk of complete failure the next time a global crisis occurs; it will effectively ensure its own competitive failure and, in a very short time, its inability to operate at all.
Data driven: Every organization is already data driven, the question is what is practical and what makes common sense?
Data science, if not now, then when? Irrespective of the industry you are in, digitization is no longer a ‘nice-to-have,’ it is an imperative. And it must happen now.
More data, more information
Business owners, managers, and decision makers are faced every day with more complex problems and more variables that need to be considered. In the current business environment, there is never a moment you will have less information — you will always have more.
More and more organizations these days use data as a decision support tool. The collection of knowledge and skills required by organizations to support these functions has been grouped under the term “data science.”
As the world becomes more and more data-driven, analytical skills are in high demand and data-driven is a hype. Organizations across the world want to work data-driven, want to manage their organizations in a data-driven manner, and want to develop their organizations effectiveness based on data. What does data-driven mean? And how can you establish a data-driven development in your organization? How can you, as a manager, decide on which data-driven initiatives are feasible for your organization?
What is data science?
When you look up Wikipedia, it says: “Data science is an inter-disciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms and systems to extract knowledge and insights from many structural and unstructured data. Data science is related to data mining, deep learning and big data.” For most people, this is still too complicated and confusing.
Data science consists of two words, “data” and “science.” Data relates to information; this can be structured data (for example sales data in a spreadsheet or rain precipitation data) or it can be unstructured data (for example Twitter feeds or news articles). Science indicates it requires a systematic approach towards gaining knowledge and insights through study or practice. It is at the intersection of mathematics, computer science, and domain expertise. Practitioners are called data scientists.
Data scientists develop algorithms that model and predict for example customer behavior, identify patterns, and trends based on collected data. What is interesting is to understand what can be done with the collected data, what can we learn from it. and how can we utilize it for our organization.
Data science and your organization
There is almost no organization that operates without any data, without legacy systems. The most basic companies have accounting, marketing, operational, technical, HR, and sales information, among other data.
As technology has advanced at warp speed, it has become common to use different information systems, which often are not interconnected. And it is the cross-section of the different department and domains that makes data science interesting. What could you do if you can use your internal data but connect it with external data?
A simple example would be an ice-cream business, which has sales data, inventory / stock data, but wants to predict which periods are the top periods to sell ice cream. Would it be useful to have meteorological data that can be included? What about doing a Facebook campaign if you want to target families with certain sets of demographics? And what if you want to do an ad campaign with Google Adwords? These are all examples of the application of data science. With data science, we want to put different information sources to work, so we may receive answers and accurate predictions to solve business challenges.
7 steps for discovery of data science
1. Understanding what data science is 2. Learning about your core data 3. Aligning company strategy and business objectives 4. Work towards a comprehensive DS roadmap 5. Define critical information to achieve business objectives 6. Select the right tools to support your roadmap 7. Integrate DS in your operational workflow
What we recently have done with success is to help our client’s management team understand the fundamentals of data science. This is to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Based on in-house workshops, we helped them get through the different concepts of data science. Once the understanding was established, we went through a process of understanding what kind of data is core for their business, what kind of information is kept, where, and how?
The next step is to understand the overall strategy of the company and the main business objectives. In the next phase, we start looking at how to develop a road map, where data science now becomes an integral part of business operations and helps to align application of data science with its business objectives.
Beyond plotting out the strategic road map, we helped with selecting the right tools for their organization, as well as advised them on how to incorporate different aspects of the data science workflow. Based on the requirements assessment, business strategy, and road map, we advised the client whether to look at standard off the shelf solutions or whether a tailor made solution was required. Predictive data analysis helped the business leaders to make better and more adequate decisions. We mention “predictive” as we expect that the algorithms provide us with a forward looking indicator based on the underlying data and patterns. The purpose is to make data science empower people and help business leaders make informed decisions backed by data.
Find below an example of a dashboard for an Indonesian wholesale business, which allows the sales executives to focus on their most profitable clients, taking into account the order frequencies, their order amounts, and ranking among the total field of company clients.
OML your trusted partner
Are you looking to make your first steps in data analytics, data science and need to transform your organization in embracing and increasingly competitive business environment? Are you looking for a professional advisor to accompany you on your data science journey? Please contact us TODAY for a free consultation and we will be happy to assist you. You can book your appointment by emailing [email protected].
About the author
Liang Tan is the founder of OML Consulting and has worked in the hospitality and technology management consulting industries for about two decades. He has provided consulting services to a variety of clients in different industries, ranging from technology start-ups to government institutions. He was a senior consultant for Cap Gemini Consulting. He is currently completing a Modular Masters in data science at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.
China may not seem as favourable for market growth in the post-COVID era
Vietnam may begin a stiff competition with China for foreign investment and trade
Entrepreneurs and businesses may want to take advantage of the Vietnamese market as the country enters an economic boom
There are some things to consider when attempting to begin operations in Vietnam
OML Consulting can help you optimise your entry into the Southeast Asian country’s market
While global markets continue to change in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is one thing almost certain: China continues to struggle, and Vietnam is picking up its northern neighbour’s slack.
Many companies, both big and small, are beginning to see Vietnam as a viable production center in Asia, launching what may soon become a foreign-investment competition between China and the Southeast Asian country. In fact, Nikkei Asian Review reported earlier this year that tech giants Apple, Google and Microsoft are set to move their phone production plants from China to Vietnam, a shift that stems from the instability of the Chinese market at the height of its virus outbreak at the beginning of 2020.
The large companies that have decided to take advantage of Vietnam’s young, innovative market are not only opening manufacturing plants in the country but will also invest heavily into the country’s economy, helping build infrastructure and provide monetary resources to the nation. This shift potentially marks Vietnam as one of the economic centers of Asia. It is here that entrepreneurs and small businesses may find opportunities to enter the APAC region for a fraction of China’s entry costs.
Even though most people look up to big brother China, Vietnam has been trailing China in terms of GDP growth in 2nd place since 2000, according to the World Bank. From 2019–2020, it will most likely outperform China, an economy which has been put under a lot of pressure. Vietnam’s free trade deal with Europe most likely acts as a primary reason for the country’s impressive forecasted market growth. Hanoi approved the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement earlier this month on June 8th, which will phase out up to 99% of tariffs over 10 years, according to Nikkei Asian Review. The trade deal can take effect as early as August and is expected to boost the nation’s manufacturing and exports sectors as it recovers from the pandemic.
If you are planning to explore and/or start operations in Vietnam, there are several things that are important for you to consider:
Understanding the market: what is the product or service that you are trying to offer in Vietnam? What is your added value as opposed to potential competitors? In terms of cost, is your pricing competitive and attractive for your Vietnamese customers?
Where to start?: are you a manufacturer and need to set up production facilities? Are you providing e-commerce solutions? Or do you need a local distribution network? It all depends on the type of business that you run.
Location — Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or elsewhere: Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, but Ho Chi Minh City is leading in terms of business. It is comparable with China where Beijing is the capital, but Shanghai is more important for business. However, if you want to reduce your capital expenditure, you may want to invest in office locations just outside of these major cities or in special economic zones with tax benefits and other incentives.
Skilled labor/personal: a key factor to a successful business is being able to attract talented, well-educated, and motivated employees. The cultural and language differences are important hurdles that you need to take into consideration.
Cash management and taxes: the Central Bank of Vietnam has strict regulation with the in- and outflows of money. Before you set up your business in Vietnam, you need to understand what is needed to bring money into the country. More importantly, if your business is profitable, how can you extract money out of Vietnam? To do business in Vietnam, you also need to abide by the local taxation regulations, which requires additional attention.
How can we help you in Vietnam?
In order to optimize your investment, it often pays if you spend some of your budget to have a market study or market research done prior to firming up your plans to move in. We assign an advisor, who will help the client retrieve relevant insights quickly, so the client and the board can make intelligent decisions.
If the client knows what they are looking for, when entering the market, we can help with scouting for the most convenient location for the business operation. We are in contact with local government officials and can share with you the benefits that they offer.
The next step will be to help guide and assist in the setting up of the office and/or business. We provide a local team that speaks English well but also understands the local business culture well.
If the client needs us to assist with recruitment of local staff, as well as training of the staff, we work closely to define the requirements and competence levels. Once staff members have been hired, the training process starts, we will be able to provide tailored staff development programs.
During the entire process we have one of our senior partners and/or functional experts involved. We make use of online collaboration tools to minimize the use of e-mails and optimize the interactions with the team, so that you are up-to-date on the process every step of the way.
For a private investor who recently approached us for our expertise in helping him kickstart his investment process in Vietnam, we implemented an elaborate three-step plan to help meet his goals. First, we arranged a meeting with him to better understand his business requirements and concerns. Second, we completed thorough market research through direct and reliable sources to ensure that our client’s needs were met. Last, we traveled several times to Vietnam with the client to visit suitable properties for his investment, providing him with our savvy advice and recommendations throughout this process. We also helped him with all the relevant documentation to ensure a seamless and painless transition. The client greatly appreciated our assistance and advice and expressed his interest in working with us again for his future investments in Vietnam.
OML your trusted partner
Are you looking to make your first step in Vietnam and want to take advantage of one of the fastest growing markets in Asia for decades to come? Please contact us TODAY for a free consultation and we will be happy to assist you. You can book your appointment by emailing [email protected] or [email protected].
About the authors
Liang Tan is the founder of OML Consulting and has worked in the hospitality and technology management consulting industries for about two decades. He has provided consulting services to a variety of clients in different industries, ranging from technology start-ups to government institutions. Clients in Vietnam are in the hospitality, construction and real-estate industries. With focuses on delivery, operations, product development, and strategy, he strives to assist clients in business excellence.
Vanessa Doan is a partner at OML Consulting and works as a cross-cultural business consultant, attempting to help form connections among businesses in Singapore, Vietnam, and Europe. She has recently helped a client with investments in residential real-estate in Ho Chi Minh City. As a native Vietnamese, she is using her expertise and local connections to actively assist overseas buyers to outsource PPE suppliers in Vietnam to export to Europe and South America amidst the COVID-19 crisis.