Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Takaful Malaysia, HP in RM12m deal

By Habhajan Singh
Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Bhd (STMB) hopes its RM12 million contract with Hewlett-Packard (HP) for information technology (IT) infrastructure operation management services would address some of its operational woes that have been a drag to the 25-year old takaful operator.
HP, the world's largest technology company, would basically take charge of STMB's IT needs under a three-year contract to enhance its service deliveries and ensure faster go-to-market capabilities.
Prior to this, STMB group managing director Datuk Mohamed Hassan Md Kamil said the takaful operator had been facing numerous issues pertaining to IT, including down time and not being able to revert to a customer in time.
"I must admit we didn't do it very well," he told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday after the signing ceremony with HP Malaysia.
"Moving forward, we will not be faced with such issues," he said.
Present at the signing ceremony were HP Malaysia managing director TF Chong, STMB chairman Tan Sri Dr Hadenan Abdul Jalil and HP Malaysia country services sales director Balvinder Brar.
In a joint statement, STMB said the tie-up with HP is part of the takaful operator's strategy to establish itself as the country’s leading takaful operator and a key player in the local insurance scene.
It added that the contract will also enable STMB to focus on its core competency of delivering insurance services to exceed customer expectations and ultimately further improve business productivity and efficiency.
To ensure increased efficiency, Mohamed Hassan said STMB has put in a 'very specific service level agreements' in the contract with HP Malaysia.
The IT services contract seeks to effectively manage STMB's IT infrastructure operations which includes its helpdesk and desktop management and network and server management. The deal will also involve multi-vendor management for STMB which will help reduce its operating costs, the companies said.
Mohamed Hassan said the RM12 million investment intends to capitalise on HP's expertise in managing IT infrastructure and that this would enable STMB to align their IT cost with actual usage thus enhancing service levels to STMB's business and improving the utilisation of computing resources.
"Today's business success largely depends on leveraging IT. Streamlining the IT environment and making sure IT functions and business processes are carefully aligned to support business strategies will enable a company to increase flexibility and adaptability to market changes and challenges," said Chong.
BIMB Holdings Bhd (BIMB), which also controls Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd, owns a 67.89% stake in STMB which is listed on Bursa Malaysia. STMB holds 56% of PT Syarikat Takaful Indonesia.

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on Feb 12, 2009. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on Islamic finance on Mondays, edited by Habhajan Singh)

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