Malaya Business Insight News Online - Malaya - Online Edition Malaya Business Insight News Online - Malaya - Online Edition

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Malaya Business Insight News Online - Malaya - Online Edition

Malaya Business Insight News Online - Malaya - Online Edition

FOR COMPLAINTS, DIAGNOSES; ‘Feel good’ solutions

Consumers often complain of the impersonal nature of assistance offered by call center agents.

Many also dislike telephone prompts by numbers.

Come next month, an IT company will offer a new service that will solve these complaints with an added bonus.

Bong Borja, president of AGC  networks in the Philippines said that it will introduce a suite of IT solutions that Filipinos will like.

The first is the video kiosk, where one can discuss face to face with an agent concerns about products or services of a company.

The bonus is the system can be used in diagnosing medical problems of patients in rural areas by medical specialists in the city.

Essar Group four years ago entered the Philippine market when its call center unit Aegis bought PeopleSupport. AGC would be different from  BPO business but it is owned by the same principals that own Aegis.

Borja, said the Philippines is part of the sequential launch of AGC in countries like Australia, Middle East, in the United States.

Borja said some of the biggest clients of AGC are BPO companies, one of them is Aegis on a managed service arrangement.

He said AGC provides the infrastructure (software, hardware, voice and data) support and maintenance services thus freeing up the company from all its communications and computing requirements so they can focus on their core business. AGC also provides help desk, management and support. One of the solutions being pushed is the managed services solutions where AGC can take care of all the IT requirements of its client.

Unlike other IT solutions resellers which push boxed solutions, AGC is using a solutions-based marketing approach where it can push all IT solutions products of big names in the industry such as Avaya, Cisco, Juniper, among others.

Borja said video kiosks and telemedicine are platforms that match the needs of Filipinos.

With AGC’s technology of combining call center and videoconferencing, it can set up video kiosks that can assist customers of its clients face-to-face via video.

Borja said the idea is to give the customer the real-time response to a customer’s query from an agent live on screen. Unlike in a telephone call where the customer has to go through a series of voice prompts before he can get to talk to a call center agent, video kiosks provide instantaneous response.

Clients can include telecom firms and banks to supplement their customer care centers. 

“It’s the same experience as talking to somebody face to face, but this one in the video screen. It’s not pre-programmed like a help center, or prearranged like a videoconference call,” Borja said.

Another solution is telemedicine which would government to deploy health services remotely.

Borja said like India, the Philippines lacks health services in rural areas due to the lack of facilities and medical professionals.

With AGC’s technology,  the company can work with government in setting up a computer inside an ambulance or a health center in a remote barangay where a patient, aided by a health center officer, can have his check up done interactively.  

On the other end of the computer is a medical doctor in a government hospital in Metro Manila who would provide medical advice and even prescribe medicines to the patient based on the medical records or vital signs results sent by the computer.

“We are not inventing, we are just innovating,” said Borja.

Borja said such technology is a “feel good business” for AGC because it addresses the real basic need of developing countries.

Questions to prepare for a financial adviser - Zanesville Times Recorder

Are you currently shopping around for a good financial adviser? Do you have questions in the back of your mind about the one you have now? What questions do you need to ask to weed out the ones you don't want? We want to make it simple for you. Make sure you cut out this article and save it. You never know when you will have to go shopping for quality advice. Some of these questions came from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. Here they are:

1. What experience do you have?

2. What are your qualifications and what did you learn specifically from them?

3. What services do you offer and are you independent?

4. What is your approach to financial planning?

5. Will you be the only person working with me?

6. Do you have a succession plan and who is it with?

7. How will I pay for your services and how much do you typically charge?

8. Have you ever been publicly disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions in your professional career?

9. Can I have it in writing?

10. Why do you do what you do?

These questions might help you find a really good adviser to work with. Look at how they answer the question. This could tell you a lot about the person during this session. Some people spend more time shopping for a car than a financial adviser. Which is more important to you?

Money-laundering bills get cabinet nod - Bangkok Post

The cabinet has approved in principle two draft bills aimed at fighting the funding of terrorism through money laundering in the hope the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) will remove Thailand from its blacklist, Justice Minister Pracha Promnok said.

The approval was made at a mobile cabinet meeting in Kanchanaburi province.

Pol Gen Pracha said the first bill is intended to beef up the existing Anti-Money Laundering Act and the second bill is on the prevention and suppression of financial support for terrorism. Both pieces of legislation have been proposed by the Justice Ministry.

Approval in principle means the two draft bills will first be examined by the Council of State. After that they will be returned to the cabinet and then forwarded to the House of Representatives for deliberation.

The bill on prevention and suppression of financial support for terrorism contains measures to be taken against those supporting terrorism in the form of money or assets.

This is in response to the United Nations convention of 1999 for the prevention of financing terrorism and the National Security Council's (NSC) resolution No 1373.

Thailand was put on the FATF's grey-list in 2010 and its subsequent failure to follow up on enacting new laws on terrorism and money laundering led to the FATF's latest decision to put the country on its blacklist.

The FATF is responsible for setting global standards on fighting money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.

Being on the FATF's blacklist will have a considerable effect on Thailand's business sector.

Therefore, the governement wants the two bills to be passed and put into effect before the end of Februay next year so that the FATF can consider removing Thailand from the blacklist, Pol Gen Pracha said.

Government spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ard said Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit will preside over the next cabinet meeting on May 29 as Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will be away on an official visit to Australia between May 27-29.

Another mobile cabinet meeting will be held on June 18-19 in Chon Buri province. The meeting will be hosted by Culture Minister Sukumol Khunploem.

Did you know?

You can introduce your kids to edutainment reading with our Student Weekly magazine: Thailand's only all-English entertainment and education magazine for teens and all ages.

World Leaders Back Greece, Vow to Combat Financial Turmoil - CNBC

World leaders backed keeping Greece in the euro zone on Saturday and vowed to take all steps necessary to combat financial turmoil while revitalizing a global economy increasingly threatened by Europe's debt crisis.

A summit of the G8 leading industrialized nations came down solidly in favor of a push to balance European austerity - an approach long driven by German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a new dose of U.S.-style stimulus seen as vital to healing ailing euro-zone economies. But it was clear that divisions remained.

"We commit to take all necessary steps to strengthen and reinvigorate our economies and combat financial stresses, recognizing that the right measures are not the same for each of us," the leaders said in a joint statement issued at their meeting at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.

The overarching message from the summit hosted by President Barack Obama reflected his own concerns that the euro-zone contagion, which threatens the future of Europe's 17-country single currency bloc, could hurt the fragile U.S. recovery and his re-election chances in November.

With Greece's political and economic upheaval high on the summit's agenda and stoking concerns over instability in Spain and Italy, Group of Eight leaders sought to calm the situation.

In the first line of their final economic communique, they essentially endorsed calls to broaden Europe's focus beyond German-backed fiscal belt-tightening, calling it "our imperative" to promote growth and job creation.

Anxious to quell investor fears, the G8 said: "We reaffirm our interest in Greece remaining in the euro zone while respecting its commitments." But leaders offered no specific prescription for extracting Athens from its worsening crisis.

It was unusual for the often-bland G8 communique to single out a relatively small nation. But fears that a political stalemate in Greece would lead to its departure from Europe's monetary union at unknown costs to the financial system and global economic stability have spooked markets.

Greek voters this month toppled a government that had agreed to painfully austere terms of an international bailout plan, and uncertainty hangs over the next election set for June 17.

Spain too has roiled markets by revealing huge bad loans in its banking system as it struggles to rein in its budget while facing recession.

Merkel, increasingly isolated by a French-led push for a more growth-oriented approach, sought to play down the differences, saying: "Solid finances and growth belong inseparably together and should not be put into contrast."

Obama, who has pressed Europe for more growth-boosting  measures like those he pursued at home, used his closing statement to remind euro-zone leaders that the stakes were high and there could be "enormous" costs if they failed.

"Growth and jobs must be our top priority," he said, reaffirming that Europe has the capacity to meet the challenge.

Marc Chandler, currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman, said: "It is significant that a group as weighty as the G8 backs Greece and reinforces the idea that Europe needs a strong union. It strengthens its hand."

In another move to shore up shaky global growth, the G8 leaders said they would monitor oil markets closely and stand ready to seek an increase in supplies if needed. While crude oil prices have declined by 10 percent over the past month, the threat of tighter sanctions on Iran loom next month.

The G8 said the global economic recovery shows promising signs but "significant headwinds persist."

Casual Setting, Tense Issues

The mountain cabins at Camp David where a shirt-sleeved Obama hosted the G8 leaders contrasted with recent tense meetings in European capitals about a sovereign debt crisis that just keeps getting worse.

The economic communique endorsed a recent political shift away from the budget-cutting austerity that has been championed by Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron as the route to prosperity.

Instead it recognized a need to combine budgetary discipline with a growth strategy. This strengthens the hand of newly elected socialist Socialist Francois Hollande as president of France before a crucial European Union dinner on Wednesday to discuss growth.

The G8 said it had "an interest" in specific measures from Europe, signaling it wants concrete steps from a dinner meeting of European Union leaders later this week and an EU summit in June.

Cameron, after an early morning gym workout with Obama, said he detected a "growing sense of urgency that action needs to be taken" on the euro zone crisis. London relies heavily on international finance and banking instability would strike a fresh blow to an economy already in recession.

"Contingency plans need to be put in place and the strengthening of banks, governance, firewalls - all of those things need to take place very fast," he told reporters.

European leaders seemed keen to stress that they would stand firm in protecting their banks, after news of escalating bad loans raised the specter that rescuing Spain's banks would crash the euro zone's fourth largest economy.

Hollande suggested using European funds to inject capital into Spain's banks, which would mark a significant acceleration of EU rescue efforts. But there was no direct mention of Spain in the communique or any indication of action leaders would take to combat the financial stresses.  
Germany Softening on Austerity

Obama and Merkel, on opposite sides of the growth-versus-austerity debate almost since the U.S. president took office in 2009, discussed what one White House aide called an "emerging consensus" in one-on-one talks after the Camp David summit.

There already had been signs of a softening in Germany's austerity stance as the G8 meetings began.

Germany's largest industrial union, IG Metall, struck its biggest pay deal in 20 years early on Saturday. The 4.3 percent pay increase, more than double Germany's inflation rate, will boost worker buying power in the euro zone's richest nation and lift consumption. That is something the United States has urged as a means to bolster overall growth throughout the world's second largest economic region.

G8 leaders also raised pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, which they suspect has military objectives, by committing to a common approach. They pledged to implement sanctions fully against Tehran and indicated they would act together to lower oil prices if needed.

"Our hope is that we can resolve this issue in a peaceful fashion that respects Iran's sovereignty and its rights in the international community, but also recognizes its responsibilities," Obama told reporters.

The Camp David summit kicked off four days of intensive diplomacy that will test world leaders' ability to quell unease over the threat of another financial meltdown as well as plans to wind down the unpopular war in Afghanistan.

After the Camp David talks, Obama and several of the G8 leaders headed to his home town of Chicago where he will host a two-day NATO meeting at which the Afghanistan war will be the central topic.

Airtel Money Market’ Launched - GhanaHomePage

Business News of Sunday, 20 May 2012

Source: Daily Guide

To add value to its mobile commerce product, Airtel Ghana has launched an online store for the marketing and sale of goods.

The new online portal, (, will allow Ghanaians to use social interactions and contributions from trusted individuals to buy online goods.

It also enables merchants to have multiple outlets in addition to opening a virtual store and stocking it with goods for sale.

The product, which runs on Rancard’s Rendezvous technology, will provide customers, who visit the portal with the opportunity to window shop as well as compare prices from different merchants from the comfort of their homes or offices.

Speaking at the ceremony in Accra, Philip Sowah, Managing Director of Airtel Ghana, said the addition of the online store to the company’s mobile commence product is in line with the company’s quest to introduce innovative products, which customers will find beneficial to their daily lives.

“The Airtel money market is just another addition to the many other packages we have added since the launch of Airtel Money,” he said.

Kola Sonola, Director for M-Commence at Airtel Ghana, explaining how Airtel money works, said the process involves purchasing through recommendations on a regular social commence website.

“When a user checks out of the virtual store after making all their purchases, they receive an SMS message asking for a confirmation of the order and payment of amount.

“Once the user selects send, the money is transferred to the retail vendor, and the user receives another text message with a purchase code.

He said the purchase code will then be used to pick their order from the merchant.

Managing Director of Rancard, Kofi Dadzie said the Airtel Money Market provides a burgeoning market that could be energized to create high demand in online shopping through social recommendations.

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