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