Friday, December 24, 2010

Simplicity is the essence of beauty

We are about to say hello to 2011 and today I'm chilling at home, enjoying a cuppa hot steaming coffee, writing this blog while listening to the "Codename: Kids Next Door" my little star is watching on tele. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the number my team and I churn this year. They have worked hard and the result shows. The thing with sales and marketing is, it's a never ending climb. You have a target to reach and when you touched the top, you found yourself at the foot of the hill ready to start climbing again. We let loose in December and hit some bowling pins last Friday. The team won big time, leaving the technical department biting our dusts so to speak. But we leave it at that and set our gear for the new year that's coming in 6 days.



2011 is indeed a brand new year but FingerTec will certainly be the same, providing our customers with convenience and finding ways to make things easy for everybody. Some people love complexity, me on the other hand is a fan of simplicity. I think simplicity rocks. I'd like to quote Edward de Bono who said that simplicity is easy to learn and to use. People are usually frightened by simplicity because it threatens the complexity of which it is their job to explain. I couldn't agree more. My high school math teacher told us to use the simplest calculation in math, if you could spoon a food straight to your mouth, why do you want to twist your arm to the back of your head to spoon the food into your mouth. Get what I mean? By the way, grab "Teach Yourself To Think", a pretty good self-development book, i'd say.

By being simple as well, we are reaching a larger audience rather than the select few who have grade A brains. Being simple does not mean we neglect attention to details. Being simple means to explain things in the best possible manner to reach the largest audience possible.

Therefore, it has become our collective efforts to make things easy for our clients from all aspects of the business. Our job is not to test IQs instead whatever resources we provide we must ENRICH and ASSIST our clients the world over to the best of our ability.

Next year also marks the beginning of our effort to apply simplicity in our operation and saving the world in the process. We have gone back and forth in this issue and it's time that we put our foot down and stress on the importance of simplicity and conservation. I'm excited to what's in store for us in 2011 and I have my high hopes that FingerTec will thrive as a brand that cares.


by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Monday, November 15, 2010

You Think It’s Easy Buying A TV?


It might be a bit embarrassing but this is my confession. I’m a tv addict. I use a lot of my waking hours watching television instead of doing something productive. But that’s not the embarrassing bit. I just changed my 29’ basic mundane tv to a Plasma HD just last Sunday. That fact is thwarting for a self-proclaimed tv addict. Personally, I’m a bit slow when technology is concerned. Like a snail, I’d like to know what’s hitting the rabbit upfront. Television technology has transformed tremendously since the black and white in a box that could be transformed into a vintage aquarium era. The decision of the tv companies to hire crème de la crème for their research and development team has finally paid off with the introduction of sleeker and slimmer televisions with picture quality so good, you thought you were in a Gold Class cinema at Pavillion (a posh shopping center in a middle of Kuala Lumpur) minus the sweet caramel popcorn. And now I need to change my cable to Beyond and my DVD player to Bluray to experience the awesomeness of modern television.
It’s not easy buying tv these days. You can’t walk in and say, I want to buy a color tv please. The sales person would stare you in the eyes and interrogate you like nobody’s business before recommending you to a biased-choice, the brand which provides him the better commission. Familiarize yourself with the terms before you even attempt to step into the shop. What’s HD? What’s plasma? What’s HDMI? What’s analog? What’s LED, LCD, Flat TV? Do you need extra cabling? Can you do your own installation? How to do the settings? Et cetera…et cetera. Samsung even goes a step further and introduce 3D tv, which I think is a bit premature at this stage considering that contents are still scarce. And now also, you cannot settle with only 3C! They have introduced 4C in the newly advertisement by Sharp. At last they figured out how to add the yellow. Pffft..
The size of the tv is also another matter to discuss about. A 29’ inch would invite smirks in the faces of relatives who come visit. The owner of a 55’ would purposely invite neighbors over for an afternoon tea to watch soap even though she hates making tea. Our world has truly changed as at 2010 with new tvs, Facebook, Twitter, online shopping, fake faces and etc. What could be expected of in the next 10 years?
My point is, technology changes at rapid pace and those who slack off would be left so far behind, you wouldn’t be able to catch up. In 2000, I was so afraid to scan my finger during an exhibition because it’d take me countless time to get verified. In 2010, I can scan in less than 1 second and I can even scan my face and get verified. Not only that, now I can scan my finger AND then scan my face for better protection.
FingerTec is always finding ways to improve ourselves and introduce better products that are up-to-date with the latest technology. We are also using the latest technology to support you constantly without any extra costs to you. Come 2011, we’ll be introducing interesting new products and accessories that would make your business thrive even further. This new year also, we will be a better company that promotes a better cause. I am excited to welcome the new year, how about you?

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Impactful Soft Marketing



Traveling Mind: Have you got a copy yet?

I write for a living. I'm not a writer but I do write quite often. The reason is simple. Nowadays people read a lot! Before you roll your eyes, I never said books. A lot of people are surfing the Internet in search of something. Some like to do online shopping, some like to Google information, some like to view pictures, some like to find friends, and the list of virtual activities continue. Google articles, Facebook notes, Twitter links, blogs, tumblr, etc are amongst the most popular Internet reading pleasures. The pieces don't have to be thesis-worth long to gain interest; they just need to be fascinating in some sense. A tv personality said the word "Perspection" on live national tv! was seen on Twitter and the rest of the nation talked about the event where a TV personality was seen asking a Swedish astronaut, "What is your perspection about the event tonight?" The rating for that event shoot up to 3.2mil viewers.
A recent news published that Malaysia ranks first for most online friends, and the trend duplicates in other countries as well. It's apparent that soft marketing in the Internet world in crucial. Soft marketing is the term used to describe when marketing your products without invading individual space or they called it marketing under the radar. To do this, writing is essential. Again, you don't have to seek your professor's approval; you just need to have good idea of what your brand is all about and not to go against your brand value.
What do you see when you watch Fernando Alonso's F1 car? You see Vodafone, you see Shell. That is soft marketing. What do you see when you watch the good looking Fernando Torres trying to score for Liverpool? Standard Chartered on his chest and Adidas on his pants. Well, those are expensive marketing venues; product placement on strategic spots during airtime. Seeing Simon Cowell sip on Coke during American Idol made me crave Coke in the middle of the night. That’s soft marketing and the effect is ridiculous! I drove to the nearest 7-Evelen for a bottle of cool fizzy tasty CocaCola.
How do we do it at a lesser cost? Spend some time to write and publish it regularly on strategic spots. Most business websites that I stumbled upon have very stiff business writings and are mostly not updated regularly. Many also make efforts to join the social media wagon but after some time, fall off of it because of decreased updates and no follow ups. The idea of newsletter is not new, people have been using it for ages but the trick is to do it regularly so that your audience is kept updated with what's going on with your brand. Companies usually have missions and visions on their websites, which mostly are cookie-cutter phrases borrowed from other business sites. Yawn! Yawn! The audience needs more than that.
FingerTec's Tagline Contest on Facebook has just ended and that for us is soft-marketing. Something fun that gets the crowd to know the brand. We blog about our brand and we hope you do too. We want to tumblr as well. We create FingerTec games. And definitely we want to do more in the future. FingerTec is not a consumer product and it’s even tougher for us. Therefore, we treasure your ideas if any. Please do contact us at editorial@fingertec.com. In the meantime, it'd be great if you could soft market FingerTec too. Thank you.

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Sunday, September 26, 2010

FingerTec in ISAF - Wooing An Istanbul Distributor


Tamy received a lot of Konichiwas

The show in Istanbul just ended today leaving us with a feeling of hope. Turkiye is one of the important markets of the security industry; made strong by its geographical location, vastness and economic power. ISAF attracted vendors from various sectors from CCTV, fire security, turnstiles, gates, etc and biometrics certainly is not a novel technology in this show. People are already familiar with this solution or at least know that fingerprint products are available.

The main challenge now is finding a right partner which could carry FingerTec's brand essence without compromising on price factor significantly.


And I received a lot of "Are you a muslim?" question. :)

The first and second day of the show were rather slow on Hall 10, where we were located along with the fire security companies, as compared to Hall 9, which was a little bit happening with some songs on loudspeakers. The next two days were much better for us. Everybody was looking to view the price list and not so much on the product specifications. The fact that China made products have been flooding the Istanbul market made our price seems a bit on the higher side. This fact needed some explanation and our audiences understood the fact after being presented with the resources we offer them as our resellers. Interestingly, unlike many other places we've been to, many are interested to become resellers to a Turkish distributor. They are willing to pay higher price rather than dealing with importation of products from abroad. We find this situation quite unique as compared to many countries that always want to be distributors despite how low the quantity of their orders. :)


The show started to draw on crowds on the weekend

This time we didn't hire any translator because the one that came to work didn't know English. She understands Turkish and understands English (as what she signaled to me) but she couldn't speak any English except "so-so" and then she flashed a big smile to us. We had to send her back without any replacement. And surprisingly, people who are interested to deal with us came back with their translator to make things easy for both parties. Marketing your products in English in Turkey is a no-brainer. It is our mission to find a partner that can communicate in English but we will definitely do our marketing and resources in Turkish to capture this market. Translations of our software and hardware in Turkish are done so far and we will move on to other data sheets and materials. We already made a few acquaintances in Turkey to assist us on good translations.

ISAF is definitely a good platform for the security industry and we are proud to be apart of this growing market. All we could do now is to be hopeful that we could secure a good partner that could bring FingerTec to a greater height in this great country. Any party interested, please email me at info@fingertec.com.

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Istanbul – A Reminder of What Would We Left Behind

I am in awe by the majestic yet melancholy views of Istanbul city. A place so rich in history and culture once glorified by its gigantic and powerful empire and then succumbed to the fall of the westernized Ottoman Empire, now is a desired tourist destination the world over. The beauty of Istanbul at both sides of the Bosphorus River is as subtle as the drawing of Melling, understated but impactful. I left out a sigh for not being able to capture the desired snapshots of Istanbul, the feel of the city is not justified by any photographs.

The landmarks of this great city like the Hagia Sophia, the Sultanahmet Blue Mosque, the Hippodrome, would leave all visitors with at least a tinge of admiration regardless of one’s religion, to the level of dedication and passion this city had on beauty, intricate details and on arts itself. Modern design is just an excuse word to escape being labeled as lazy, in my opinion.

A step into the Saint Sophia made my heart skipped a beat. Though it looks tired at some angles, every inch of the building spills professed love of the devotees of Christianity and Islam to this place of worship. There are huge calligraphy arts at a diameter of 7-meter wide each hanging high inside the building bearing the name of the Creator, Allah, Muhammad the messenger and his respectable caliphs. At the same time, in every corner of the first floor right wing, there are several mosaic arts made of real gold depicting the hand over of the city Istanbul to Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary by Constantine, “my Istanbul (Constantinople) is your Istanbul”

Every door is carved with intricate details, the mimbar, the prayer area of the Sultan – everything exudes handcraftsmanship at its highest level of perfection. A visit to Sultanahmet Blue Mosque confirms the same attitude the Istanbullus possesed in creating a monumental landmark. The grand mosque was built in a mere 5 years by 10,000 workers has every detail of precision and delicate designs to make it stand out even after the tests of time.

The art and culture are deeply rooted in the heart and soul of the Istanbullus. I stood in the middle of the night admiring the beautiful mosaic piece on the wall of its Metro station. I find joy strolling the city of Istanbul with the rests of millions visitors admiring the bits and pieces of the city’s uniqueness.

I couldn’t let go of the fact that we have come so far in ignoring the needs in paying attention to small details, and to always strive for excellence in everything that we do, even how trivial. Today’s generation are so void, engulfed and engaged on Facebook and the Internet without realizing that we have lost so much of our own identity and pride over time.

What would be our legacy to the next generation and would they be in awe when they think about us and the stories we left behind?

Monday, August 23, 2010

FingerTec Bringing Malaysia To The World

There is a television ad going on in Malaysia right now where a lady was torn between a locally made product and an oversea made product sold at the same price. When feeling the local product, her recollection of childhood’s memory came flashing back and she ended up buying it; the product/brand was sentimental to her. Both my husband and I rolled our eyes in disbelief. It’s a bit pretentious, isn’t it?

AirAsia is always preferred by many because of its pricing strategy

Between a renowned world brand and a locally made brand similarly priced, no way we are going to choose a local brand, unless it is also a renowned world brand. And I believe majorities of people are on my side. It’s not about me being less patriotic or I have lack of nationalism, it is simply about brand value.
Renowned international brands are preferred because of their higher brand values. Between a Proton and a Honda, the only factor that drives consumers to choose the former is the price. If both are offered at the same price, I doubt anybody would go for the former. It’s nothing to do with loving the country less, as a consumer we are just being sensible and looking for the most value for our money. Royal Selangor, AirAsia, Secret Recipe, Maggi, Stage Makeup are all good international brands and they are local brands as well, and consumers would be willing to pay extra for the experience, wouldn't they?
What separates a good brand and a substandard one? Quality. Customer experience. Appeal. Prestige. Presumed or not. It doesn’t matter where the products are made of as long as the brands fulfill the expectation of the consumers. Good brands usually do. A lot of Nike’s products are made in Malaysia but Nike is not a Malaysian brand. There are a lot of clothing lines made in Bangladesh but certainly not the brands originated from Bangladesh.
FingerTec is a local brand but we aim to play at the international platform and indeed we are thriving around the world. We don’t beg that consumer purchase our products just because we are Malaysian product; we want that decision be made based on the fact that our products fulfill what they desire as a consumer. And we are certainly proud to be a Malaysian brand that’s making its mark around the world.
Exactly one week from now the nation will celebrate its 53th year of Independence. We have come so far since 1957 and I believe that the nation has the capacity to go even further with the right plan, determination and attitude. Happy Birthday My Malaysia. I heart you.

Jalur Gemilang is the nation's beautiful flag

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Monday, July 26, 2010

Creating Values in Business

Time flies. I’ve been in this business for 10 years already and I’ve experienced many things, the good and the bad, the ups and the downs that taught me about business and life. When we first started in the beginning of 2000, I didn’t think much about the future of FingerTec, as my involvement in the brand was inconsequential. Business was run as usual, I carried out my tasks as instructed.

When the major change turned the company around later in 2004, it changed the way we do business entirely. Many were skeptic. How could this kind of business be conducted this way? With so much hard work and persistence, what looked like trivial matters then, added so much value to the brand now. When I combined all the little pieces of effort that we put on, its impact is mammoth to our business today. Progressively we create values to FingerTec brand to the delight of all our resellers around the world.



Newsletter has been proven to uplift an image of a company/brand to a higher level. Try one!

One plus one doesn’t equal two. Simply putting a name to a brand does not create its value. It (the value) will not be magically visible by attaching a motto to that brand as well. Value comes to life when it has substance to the customers. When you have something that customers couldn’t live without, that’s value. When you create something that makes your customers nodding their heads with a tinge of smile on their lips, that’s value. When your customers are not cringing when they pay you that sum of money, that’s value.
The big ongoing question for FingerTec is what’s valuable to our individual customers. By trying to find out that answer, we would attempt to deliver the value that customer wants.
Have you been to our micro websites lately? If you haven’t please do so because it’s time for you to capture the value and prosper. Create your values to your clients through us, we don't mind because that's what we take pleasure in doing.

www.fingertec.com/microsites, where our values reside


by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Friday, June 25, 2010

Values Determine Relevance



The mural painted by inmates

Another history was made earlier this week when Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur demolished the infamous 100-year old Pudu jail in Kuala Lumpur to widen the roads in that area and to have plans for redevelopment. The move had aroused anger and disappointment in many people who appreciate places of history. Historic items must be preserved, according to them, who are convinced that Pudu jail was a historic site that could tell a lot of the nation’s stories. The jail that was built in 1891 was closed in 1996 when all the inmates were transferred to the new prison in Sg Buloh. From 1996 onwards, the former Jail was made a museum for a short period of time and then again in 2004 before it was closed for public.


Is this a piece of art that should be treasured?
I don’t really get the point of why people were being sentimental about this place. The fact that it’s old is one but there are many other things that are old and useless. Tower of London for example is a place of history that contains interesting stories of the English royals and the heads that were chopped (quite often) there. But, Pudu Jail to me was just a jail in the middle of the city centre that was not even kept well by the government and didn’t even house notorious criminals. Yeah, there are famous prisons such as the Rock, Chateau d'If in Marseilles and the one in the Devil’s Island of France that are now tourist attractions. But, for everything that needs to be preserved, it has to have values and it has to be taken care of. This place was ignored. Period.
The protestors were talking so sentimentally about the mural. Yeah, it was great that the criminals were given something to do and some of them could paint but after so many years, the mural was worn down and it’s not an eye pleaser at all. It's not like it's Banksy's. In fact, those who championed this issue were not even looking at the mural when they passed the place before this issue surfaced. Should the government pay attention to the place? I vote yes but since they are not, why waste such space.


I say conserve the places that have values to society and future generations. In this time and age, do something that has values for if not, it has no relevance.

Coming back to FingerTec, we are always thinking about creating values for our customers. What’s the point of doing something if it has no values? The support micro sites currently are being used by our clients for sales and support materials.


Haven't registered yet? www.fingertec.com/registration
We do not want to follow other people’s moves blindly, just because. Our website is created in such a way for a purpose, we do not do according to normal business’s corporate website. Complains were lodged when we first introduced the website because people were not used to it. The newsletter is not for us to boast about our company and the brand but we offer information so that our resellers could pick up relevant news for their sales and marketing activities. We let our sales and support personnel standby online in case you need them to assist you swiftly, not just available icons to indicate there’s someone online when in fact it is none. In short, whatever we do, the plan is to offer value added services to all our clients. If it has no purpose, stop it.

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

iLoveTechnology

Last night my husband came back with a pad in his hand. Do not cringe just yet, it’s iPad! I squealed like a little girl for a brief two seconds. How could I not? Yeah, it is a blown up version of iPod touch but it’s full of awesomeness! Using the same iTunes, I quickly sync my applications into iPad. Love the way they do iBooks, easy to download, easy to read and it is visually stunning, the book on iBooks I mean and the iPad of course! Unfortunately, they do not yet have their iBookstore to sell good titles to iPad users. I’m sure a group of people is living on coffee and nicotine to get the store set up and launch while iPad is still the hot topic of the gadget-craze urbanites. I went to Kobo store instead and bought a couple of ebook titles and the experience was simply amazing!
There was a time 10 years back when we (as part of the group) were interested in the ebook business but the interest turned stale after encountering countless hurdles and inconveniences. Though the development of ebook improves a lot since then, iPad and Kindle bring the trend to another level of sophistication. I can flip my ebook like flipping the print book, and smiling while doing it. I don’t need to go to the bookstore to browse through thousands of books; I can browse, pay and read in a matter of minutes. Pretty impressive I must say. My point is, development of technology takes time but it’s the time worth waiting.

Technology is awesome. It makes our life better in so many ways. I work in technology-based business. Who would have thought that your fingerprint could be used as your private key? We bumped into glitches when we first started but now, 10 years later, everybody is looking for convenience. This year, face recognition technology is making its debut. Look and go is the concept of the Face ID 2 where you do not need to touch anything and you are good to go. FingerTec will continue to progress in biometrics industry, providing people with conveniences.
Yesterday I bought something on eBay, now I’m reading my book on iPad, tomorrow who knows what the future has in store for me. And that to me, what makes life interesting.

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The (Biometrics) Time is Now


Volcanic ash cloud left and returned to Europe early this month but the effects were not felt in IFSEC 2010. The exhibition staged over four days in the NEC Birmingham ended on Thursday, May 13th and my feet couldn’t be happier. Remind me not to wear a 3-inch heels the next time I stage a solo 4-day show.

Fingerprint products are not novelty in the industry but the increasing stability of the technology entices vast amount of opportunities. Demands for biometrics products from end-users are escalating; making fingerprint technology inevitable as an option. Unlike face recognition technology that created a new kind of excitement, consumer confidence in this technology is still at its infancy. I reckon it’d take sometimes for the technology to take gain its place in the industry as compared to fingerprint technology.

Interestingly, the most common question I received during the show was “What industry do you target these products for?” I thought the answer to the question was apparent but obviously I was wrong.
To put it simply, FingerTec products target office automation industry for the most part with our time attendance and door access system.
FingerTec range is relevant to offices ranging from small to medium enterprise. Having bundled the powerful software with all our models, FingerTec system offers more value for less money. The ability of the system to record precise time attendance and access control besides producing relevant reports have been able to reduce the workload of the human resources to the maximum. FingerTec system also provides an option for a company to start small and expand. This versatility of this system is a valuable investment for many companies. The range that we provide covers various kinds of office setups and requirements.
During this visit, I had a chance to visit Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon. I don’t know much about Shakespeare but I bet he was a genius in English literary world; he is the pride of England. I got a chance to read some of the jokes by him and he was indeed an observant and perceptive writer. English people are known for their dry humor. Watch The Office or The Extras, you’ll get what I mean. Or simply watch Simon Cowell in action. FingerTec is in the business of security where seriousness and formality are anticipated. We, on the other hand, always find ways to loosen up a bit and inject humor in our materials; some gets it and some not. Truth be told, some of our artworks tickle people in a different way. We appreciate the feedback and we would make some changes in the future for the benefit of all. Jokes are only relevant if people laugh. It’s hard to please everybody but the most important thing of all is we don’t offend anybody.
IFSEC is an annual meeting point for the majority of security players in the UK and Europe and FingerTec is proud to be a part of the industry. I also had the pleasure of meeting Mr Jeremy from AIS Malta, Mr Olukayode Osunsan from Logix Uganda, Mr Mikael from Denmark, Mr Faisal from Dubai, Dr Riyadh from Al Salam Iraq, Mr Chukwame from Rapid Vigil, Nigeria and last but not least Mr Bob Marshall from CSD, London.

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Much Ado About Marketing

Listen up! I'm selling!

Theoretically, an investment in the media is an important marketing strategy to build and grow a business. Advertisements in print media and electronic media are without a doubt could grow a business in the shortest amount of time possible; it has been proven time and time again. The only problem with that theory is budget, which many new startups and SMEs do not have to splurge on such luxurious marketing activities. A few insertions in the national newspaper could be your margin for a few months and without tactfully planning for the media coverage, a company could end up spending more money than earning it. Renting a billboard could put your products out there but at the same time location is the most important factor for outdoor advertisement and the prime locations translate to even more money.
The more pressing matter for small companies is how to grow a business without spending a fortune on advertisements?
The username to success is hard working and the password is writing. A business couldn’t grow if your resellers and customers didn’t have clear understanding of your products, of what you do and didn’t receive sufficient support. The business is judged by the way you run it. Every time a customer deals with you is an experience. As a metaphor, when choosing a restaurant, the priority is good food and good service. The rests are trifling. Obviously, the good food is your product. On top of the non-negotiable good product, customers are often impressed and sustained by good service, which in FingerTec business means pre and pro sales support.
We do business internationally and for us, the best way to let our customers enjoying good service without having to meet them face-to-face is to make everything they need available at all times without much hassle. In short, giving them what they want, online. Local resellers do come to the office once in a while, but most of the time information is obtained online.
While driving home I saw a huge billboard with an interesting advertisement. I typed in the URL and hit return to find out that nothing’s offered online for me, their prospective customer. And the interest level was reduced to zero starting that day. The point I’m getting at is that, customers nowadays are inquisitive. They no longer believe in messages thrown at them blindly and always looking for answers from various channels. The best way to obtain information is through the website because it’s anonymous, borderless, cheap and fast. Information must be available for clients reference at all times because night here is day somewhere else. Information could be expensive when sales or projects are at stake. And that’s why we at FingerTec believe that the password to success is the ability to write what you know and share it with others who are interested in your products and activities.

Writing is powerful
A few years back we came out with the idea of producing our very own newsletter. It was not a new idea in marketing, however it is the new way to get to your customers and potential customers without burning cold hard cash on advertisements. In marketing term, it is permission marketing where if you don’t like it, please request to be excluded. With the newsletter, we share our ideas, we share latest information and we keep our brand in fresh in your mind. Participations from our partners worldwide are also encouraged for a better relationship and contents. Many could argue that not everybody reads the newsletter but we believe that many do. Always focus on the positive to generate the positives.
New media is the way to go. Many government bodies recognize this factor and starting to offer online way of doing business with them. Employee Provident Fund in Malaysia is offering i-Akaun for members to check their accounts online. Banks have done more businesses online and reckon the crowds are lesser in the branches. At least I haven’t been to the bank for at least 6 months or so now. New generations are into new media because the information is direct from the source, and we assume that nothing’s lost in translations.
Coming back to writing, it is an important factor for companies to make it in the new media. We are neither Shakespeare nor Stephen King, but we have our own stories to tell. And perhaps there’s someone in your company who could write and tell your stories to your clients too. Invite your clients to share their stories with you because you have a common topic to discuss about, the business. The impact might not be sudden and apparent but gradually you will build that much needed connection between you and your clients, and hopefully towards a fruitful and prosperous journey together.

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Can't Recognize You, Open Your Eyes Please..

Someone interesting stopped by our booth at CeBIT 2010 in Hannover early of the month. Dr Geoffry Sweet is a mathematician from London who's intrigued about biometrics technology. Mathematically, he told me, biometrics is impossible to make sense of. A few years ago, he met someone who were involved in iris technology. This professor was adamant that face recognition is impossible to do and stressed that iris is so much better. He might have angered the guy by laughing so loud. If your face couldn't tell you who you are, then how should we do it? I can't recognize you, open your eyes please..

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It's A Drama!

Maybe I woke up in the wrong side of the bed the day I left Kuala Lumpur. For a start, I wasn’t feeling good, my head was giddy, my nose was stuffy and I had mistaken the date of my flight until I received an sms from Nattalina saying that she would come over at 230pm. The first flight to Singapore via MAS left me feeling flabbergasted with a thumping landing that could wake up a giant. Everything about that flight was vulgar and I didn’t connect with the 1MH, Malaysian Hospitality concept being marketed by MAS. Perhaps, it was the rookie who flew that plane and an hour was a short time to assess an airlines.
Stranded in Paris

I slept all my way to Paris via AirFrance and arrived at Paris de Guelle at 610am in the morning to discover that the flight to Hannover got cancelled due to bad weather. Apparently we arrived on the day of the Europe storms that left people die and homeless. After about 5 hours of queuing, we received our accommodation for the night and meal tickets from AirFrance. The night spent at Campanile hotel was the night wasted and the next morning at 11pm, we boarded AirFrance to Hannover after a delayed one hour flight. By that time, we hadn’t changed any clothes for two days, we were frustrated, tired and feeling lousy.

Upon arrival at the Hannover Airport, the first luggage that came out to the belt was ours and the second luggage; the most important one didn’t arrive at all. “We are going to send your luggage to the hotel today,” assured the lost baggage lady of AirFrance without any doubt in her eyes. And on the first day, we were at the show with practically nothing. Vacant booth and ourselves to display. Our luggage that contained the terminals, brochures, and everything else was still stuck somewhere and the lady who provided us an assurance yesterday couldn’t care less that we were in CeBIT without anything to display.

It’s a depressing situation but we were determined to make the best out of what we had. Nattalina made a good decision to bring some brochures in our hand carry luggage and we were using those flyers and our beautiful faces to entice people to our booth, which hadn’t been that successful (haha!)

Me in front of the entrance, CeBIT is a humongous show! Kudos to the organizer!
It’s freezing but apart from the unforgiving weather, we found it easy to move around the city. The tram system is well established; we stayed at the suburb and it took us around 11 minutes to the city center and 30 minutes to the exhibition center via tram.


Nattalina attending to visitors

The luggage came on the midnight of the 2nd March. The booth was set and many people came to the booth, most of them were end-users, very excited to try the fingerprint and face technologies. The Keylock 8800 garnered a lot of attention from Europeans. The plus point was that decision makers were the ones who came. Distributorships for France, Italy and Germany look positive and we are hoping that the samples bought will lead us to fruitful relationships.


Scenic Hannover

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fostering Relationships Through Business

What I have enjoyed most about working in FingerTec is the opportunity to meet people from around the world. It’s not a chance that anybody could have, for me it’s an eye opener, an experience that is so priceless, I wouldn’t want to trade it with anything else. Knowing people from the other parts of the globe with diverse culture and beliefs shape the way I perceived the world. It constitutes a lot to my understanding of the business and the way we should deal with our clients and it also makes me a much better person than I was, well at least I hope so.

One way doesn’t fit all. When I went to New Delhi a couple of years back, I was pleasantly surprised by the Indian hospitality. A sit down with a few cups of tea and coffee with Mr Bhooshan from Compax made me felt welcome and we talked for hours about almost everything under the sun. When the relationship is built and strengthened, business runs smoother and we find ways to prosper together. How could I forget Mr Krishnaraj from Dhonadhi Chennai with his antics, entertaining us throughout the night while sipping on his favorite beer. And at the end of the night, I took the infamous Indian auto from the city to the hotel, enjoying the stale air of Delhi. Talking about Indians bargaining skill, they could have won gold in the Olympics. From that experience, I took it to understand better on how to deal with them, how to build a better business with Indians.


Such a nice ride..
When I arrived in Dubai for InterSec, Abbas from Seven Seas waited for me with a bouquet of roses. It was a nice touch, even though I knew that fetching someone at 4am in the morning was not fun AT ALL. Upon arrival at the hotel, I was welcome with a basket of fruits from IPTec. All of those gestures no matter how big or how small went into my heart and one way or another, it affects the way we perceive and respect each other, and the friendships continue.
Indonesia tells a different story, I have been to Medan and Jakarta for business and friendships. The Indonesians take care of their visitors like VIPs. We don’t have to worry about anything at all and we were constantly being provided with excellent food. The fish head curry was out of this world and Ayam Pop (Pop Chicken) made me thinking about opening a franchise in Malaysia, haha! And believe it or not, I thought I've discovered a new fruit in Indonesia, to later found out that they trimmed the rambutan’s hair because it's full of ants. One thing I realize about Indonesians is, they do not complain. It’s not that I look forward to complaints but I do want to know problems, hurdles, setbacks, anything that could help us to improve our business and us. I guess it’s the culture of people from this part of the world to not nag (complaint) while the guests are around. Nonetheless, our relationships are getting stronger and better by the day. They are like a part of our family.
Fast forward to 2009, I went to the United Kingdom for IFSEC in Birmingham. We took a flight to Standsted Airport and Bob Marshall was waiting for us at the airport. Such a warm welcome which I would never forget. Standsted to Birmingham is quite a distance. And after the show he took us to London and show us around. We hope to receive Bob in Malaysia soon to discuss business and to show him this land of scorching sunshine.

Meeting you again soon!
Apart from traveling overseas and meeting clients, I’m constantly in contact with resellers from around the world through Skype and MSN. And while business is utmost priority, we do talk about our lives and other stuff, and from there relationships grow. We also receive visitations from our resellers every year, introducing them to Malaysian spicy food and to Malaysian hospitality. I do not drive a Mercedes but I hope they feel comfortable riding in my car to the city center.

A yearly visit is a must from Rapid Vigil, Nigeria
This Sunday Nattalina and I will be going to Germany for CeBIT 2010. Nobody is going to be there to welcome our arrivals but I have no doubt that we’ll find new relationships to foster, and of course bring some business back too. Good bye, und ich komme bald wieder

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Business of Attendance

My long lost friend asked me last week about my job. I told her that I’m in fingerprint business for attendance and door access. She was surprised to know that taking attendance could be a thriving business. Working as a high-school teacher, taking attendance comes naturally; they can even do it subconsciously! Every teacher in Malaysia has to prepare an attendance book for students. Students names must be handwritten in black ink and capital letters only, and the taking of attendance has to be done manually, in other words, Teacher shouts -- “so and so, are you there?” student answer -- “yes/no, teacher”. After sometimes, the teachers need to submit some kind of attendance reports to the principal. I’m not sure whether the report also must be handwritten in black ink and in caps but they do need to submit some kind of report to the principal. I feel for the teachers who have to do a lot of work for attendance taking and perhaps a lot of answering when the attendance reports showing a lot of absences. On top of the overwhelming workload, what’s with the handwriting only?
Cleverly, I suggested to her the use of biometrics system to only receive the biggest laugh of all time. “Why do you think the government would want to spend money on biometrics system when they can use every biometrics in our body to take students’ attendance, literally for free” she asked me. Of course, she said it jokingly. But again, what’s so funny about automating attendance to monitor student’s attendance? Perhaps it would cost a fortune, perhaps that would mean a colossal change to the system, perhaps it’s easier said than done but logically speaking, biometrics is an effective way to take attendance. We have been in the business of attendance since 10 years ago and the demand (for attendance system) is escalating every year. The reason for the business world is simple. Your time is my money. But even more than that, automated attendance is indeed automated. No more manual work, no more writing attendance in Capital letters, no more counting days of absence, no more burden or work in that area. And at the end of the month, reports can be printed with precise data and information.
I can’t simply surrender. I annoyed her more. “The government promotes the use of IT and IT shouldn’t be just a theory, it should be practical. Biometrics is one way to make IT practical. What’s with the old school manual attendance?” Data communication through network is awesome. Distance is not a factor anymore and updates can be obtained in a matter of minutes. “If we could use biometrics as attendance and link the data to text parents the whereabouts of their kids, that would be a breakthrough. That’s the power of IT,” I continued. She looked at me with a smile on her chubby face, “Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, we (teachers) called an electrician to come for some electrical works in the teacher’s room and the service cost was RM60. He had to fill in a few forms, fought with at least two clerks and ended up not getting paid instantly. So, you go figure.” “I’d welcome the system so much but at this point in time, the students have to listen to my biometrics voice”.
When everything else fails..

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ

Friday, January 1, 2010

'Franchising’ FingerTec – Doing Business The FingerTec Way

FingerTec Business Guidebook will be introduced in 2010. We don’t exactly plan to venture into franchising business. In fact, franchising is not exactly the proper word in this context but some parts of what we want to do match the term’s definitions. The common feature of a franchising business is creating the same experience for customers anywhere in the world. For example, Starbucks Caramel Macchiato in Las Vegas, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Jakarta have the same taste as the one in Malaysia. I’ve tasted the Macchiatos and they all taste the same. Starbucks stores look similar, the cups feel the same, and the pastries and cakes look the same and taste the same. McDonald’s, KFC, TGIF, Pizza Hut, Domino’s maintain similarities between franchises to let customers feel the same experience, regardless of location.


Same everywhere
The FingerTec Business Guidebook is intended to guide resellers to do FingerTec business the FingerTec Way. We want our customers to feel the same experience whether they are dealing directly with FingerTec or they are dealing with FingerTec resellers around the world. We have had visitors who found it hard to believe that we do almost everything using the Internet. The Internet is THE tool of the new millennium. For those who haven’t convinced about the power of the Internet have to make an appointment with psychiatrists because you have a serious problem with reality. The world has changed and it moves faster than before. We have made our millions with very little use of phone calls and meetings but we meet our customers A LOT on Skype and MSN. We discuss business in these social channels, we send millions of emails per year to our customers, and we send them links to our resources, videos, and newsletters to attend to their needs. We do take our customers’ needs very seriously but we attend to them the FingerTec Way.
Change is not easy. And asking you to change the way you do business perhaps is risky but this is not only theory. We have had years of experience doing business this way; it is proven fruitful. Some might think that we do not provide personalized service to our clients if everything is done virtually but I beg to have a different opinion. In this current world, personalization is very much happening in the virtual world because it’s less hassle and more effective. Banks have introduced online banking, online credit card payments are very much required to buy products from abroad, customer service have to be available online to support clients 24-hours, etc. More and more people are into online transactions and communications these days than ever before. The gist of the FingerTec Way is not only cost saving but it also info loaded program and very much client-friendly.


This is personal

In short, we want to create the FingerTec experience for all our customers worldwide via the FingerTec Way of doing business. And what’s the best way to inform all of our esteemed distributors and resellers, The FingerTec Business Guidebook. Of course.

by Norana Johar, COO, FingerTec HQ