IBM and the Singapore Economic Development Board have jointly announced the establishment of the IBM Smarter Commerce Centre of Competency, which aims to develop new products and solutions for running online shopping and customer engagement sites.
Thanks to the rise of online transactions in Asia Pacific, which according to research firm yStats is poised to see an annual growth rate of 20% between 2013 and 2018, the region is now — according to some estimates — the largest e-commerce market in the world at US$567.3 billion.
“With the advent of social and mobile technologies, smarter commerce is now much more than just a storefront, it’s involving the way we engage the client in all facets, putting the client in the centre of the experience of the business,” Managing Director, IBM Singapore, Tim Greisinger, said at the launch event on 2 September.
Specifically, the SCCOC hopes to enhance the four key competencies of smart commerce: Buying, selling, marketing and servicing clients — using commerce solutions that leverage the cloud, data analytics, social media outreach and security platforms. Examples include software tools that help to plan the customer journey, and analytics that help determine how to accelerate the buying process within the journey, or remove customer doubts from the making the final purchase.
During her speech at the event, EDB Assistant Managing Director, Thien Kwee Eng said, “EDB will support companies to build up digital capabilities that will capitalise on innovation. The establishment of the IBM Smarter Commerce Centre of Competency is reflective of this effort, for the centre will improve the sophistication of digital services made available from Singapore. This is in line with Singapore’s goals to develop ICT (information and communications technology) talent to equip locals with the relevant capabilities to address the new digital economy.”
Together, IBM and EDB will team up with industry associations such as the Singapore infocomm Technology Federation and the Marketing Institute of Singapore (MIS) to reach out to marketing professionals on how they can leverage technology. It is also currently in talks with local telecommunications firm StarHub as well as banking group OCBC.
By end 2017, the SCCOC will employ over 30 Research Scientists and Engineers to oversee the development of products and solutions. They will be involved in defining analytics guidelines and solutions, developing advanced algorithms, data mining for platforms, testing and evaluation of programmatic models, and deploying the plan models.
The SCCOC is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year and will be based in the IBM Singapore Technology Park at Tampines. The ISTP also houses the IBM Client Centre and the manufacturing facility for IBM’s System z mainframes and high-end POWER systems.