Digital technology critical for trade promotion and facilitation
The Chief Executive of FINPRO, Finland’s trade promotion organisation, Mr Markus Suomi, stressed the importance of using e-solutions, including customer relationship management (CRM) tools to increase client services, and enhance access to the public sector and partner agencies, and to measure impact. He said this at the TPO World Network Conference 2014 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on 4 November at a session on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for TPOs. Mr Suomi said the CRM is important in maintaining institutional memory, coordination and client contacts.
‘We also have an automated marketing tool that enables us to deliver the right message to the right audience,’ said Mr Suomi. ‘Information needs to be as relevant as possible to be retained by our users. Here is where the integration between the CRM and the marketing system is vital: making sure the information is relevant to our audience.’
Sharing his view was Associate Professor Maria Amador-Dumois of the College of Business Administration at the University of Puerto Rico, who added that e-services are vital for export development and promotion, particularly for supply chain management. She added that online tools are ideal for product adaptation, market selection and trade documentation and integration support trade. Professor Amador-Dumois stated that the use of social media is also advantageous in promoting trade.
Switzerland Global Enterprise’s (S-GE) Head of Export Development, Dr Christoph Peter, described the transformational process his organisation went through and said that having a strategy in the use of online tools is important to focus and capitalise on the benefits of ICT for productivity gains and service delivery. Moreover, Dr Peter said that digital technologies has enabled S-GE to become a service integrator for other public sector players.
ProChile’s special adviser of the exporter crowdfunding Plan C initiative, Andréa Reid, said the establishment of a meta platform for crowdfunding will be a game-changer: their experience today with the crowdfunding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo point in that direction. He said that convincing export projects can easily get access to pre-production financing, and ProChile’s role is essential to coach the SMEs in that process.
The Executive Director of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services, Sami Ahmed, said his organization’s migration to cloud computing services is part of the digital transformation in business communications and service delivery to meet the needs of clients. He said the trend is moving towards mobile applications.
ITC’s Senior Officer of TSI Strengthening Martin Labbé, who moderated the session, concluded: “Cloud computing, social media, mobile and paperless office: trade promotion organisations have to make difficult technology choices with substantial cost and management implication. The speed of change does not leave them much time to make these decisions”.