How small IT firms adapt to a harsher market

September 07, 2015 10:51
The best thing about cloud-based software is customers won’t be limited by their physical location, Hilton Law says. Photo: ISL

As factories bear the brunt of the slowdown in economic growth, many of them have either closed down or had to undergo a transformation over the past few years.

Companies that serve them are having a hard time, and they, too, have to look for new ways to survive.

Thirty-year-old Integrated Solutions Ltd. (ISL) is one example.

The software firm used to write enterprise resource planning programs for factories in Hong Kong and mainland China.

These factories often had to invest about a quarter million Hong Kong dollars to buy the software and the servers that run it.

While the factory market is shrinking, many other industries can still use a better computer system to manage sales, accounting, procurement and inventory.

But most small and medium-sized firms need something much cheaper.

By using cloud technology, ISL’s new products, primarily geared to trading firms and retailers, can cost as low as HK$500 a month, the company told Hong Kong Economic Journal.

Customers can simply run the software on a personal computer instead of spending on servers.

For example, one of ISL's products, Conzoomer, allows restaurants to produce and update electronic menus as well as give out e-stamps.

ISL is betting that if it substantially cuts prices, the number of customers will grow rapidly and keep overall revenue steady.

At the moment, the firm has a few hundred clients, and it hopes the number will continue to increase.

“The best thing about cloud-based software is customers won’t be limited by their physical location,” Hilton Law, the company’s chief executive, said.

"Companies outside Hong Kong can also use our products. It’s as simple as opening a Facebook account."

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EJ Insight writer