To better represent and champion the interests of its 500 members, which include both multinationals and SMEs, SiTF has formed eight interest groups or chapters along specific industry segments – ASP/IDC Alliance Chapter, Digital Media Chapter, eLearning
Last year, the SiTF organised 92 events in
strategic areas – Marketing & Branding, Networking, Business Intelligence, Internationalisation, Education and Development, and Representation
One key area of focus is Internationa-lisation. Since 2001, SiTF has been promoting the branding of the local IT industry through its 'Made in Singapore & Proud of IT!' (MIS) branding.
SiTF's internationalisation efforts include mounting business missions to emerging markets. Several missions have been organised in the past three years to
“These missions are not only designed to open new markets and identify local business partners for our local IT companies,” said Koh. “They also enable our companies to plan ahead to go into markets which may not be fully developed yet.”
To overcome this inherent limitation, SiTF has been pushing for its members to work together in clusters. The best expression of this has been in the Singapore Solutions Centre (SSC) in
While SiTF has done and achieved much in opening up foreign markets for local IT companies, it counts the Government as a key strategic partner. The support from Government agencies such as IE Singapore and IDA is a critical success factor, he said.
Government assistance programmes such as IMAP and IDA's Overseas Development Programme (ODP) have enabled Singapore IT companies to venture abroad. Bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) have helped.
But it is in the eGovernment space that the Government has made the most meaningful impact. After many years of lobbying by SiTF, the Government has finally agreed to allow IT companies to retain the intellectual property to solutions they develop in Government IT contracts.
Previously, the IP on these solutions rested with the Government agency which awarded the contract. This prevented the IT developers from redeveloping and commercialising their solutions to overseas buyers.
The move now enables IT developers to expand their product offerings. “The Singapore Government has a strong reputation for insisting on quality and our developers can now show an impressive track record,” said Koh.
The Government's decision is the result of a long-term relationship that SiTF has built up with the Government. This, together with win-win relationships with foreign industry partners, delivers substantial value to SiTF members directly and provides the foundation for a robust export-oriented IT industry.