Cambodia’s Systems Integration Specialists Look to Expand
By Vorn maKara | Economic Today
Among the many information and communication technology (ICT) compa-nies operating in Cambodia, First Cambo-dia is emerging as one of the Kingdom’s systems integration specialists. But the company has plans to expand, with the eventual goal of becoming the regional leader.
Established in January 2002, First Cambodia was the first local informa-tion technology company offering gen-eral network services. The firm has now expanded into business and ICT consul-tancy, and is a banking systems provider. Erya Houn Heng, president and CEO of First Cambodia, said that his firm assists companies facing IT- or business-related problems. He is no stranger to the corporate world—before striking out on his own, Erya Houn Heng was an ICT manager at British American Tobacco Cambodia (BATC).
After six years in the ICT field both outside and inside the country, he decided to set up his own ICT company. Around 40 different services are offered by First Cambodia, from basic hardware, to hospitality industry solutions, tele-coms-related services, servers and storage, network infrastructure, unified commu-nications, and software licenses. Erya Houn Heng said his company is proficient in all areas pertaining to IT, expertise that has attracted around 1,000 clients, including banks, mobile phone operators, hotels, restaurants, retail oper-ations, service stations, transportation companies and manufacturers. First Cambodia has a total of 210 staff, most of whom have received training abroad. First Cambodia has commitments in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore, but its two main offices outside Cambodia are in Laos and Singapore. Six Lao banks, 10 Thai hotels, and five hotels in Vietnam are using First Cambo-dia services and products. The firm now has nearly nine years experience doing business both locally and abroad.
“This is the pride of Cambodia—to be able to run a business abroad,” said Erya Houn Heng. “People have said that Cambodians are poor [and] cannot do anything. Doing business abroad, we not only glorify our Khmer reputation, but also increase [the number of] jobs and knowledge for Cambodians outside of the country.”
As with most other successful Cambo-dian businesses, First Cambodia has faced human resources challenges, Erya Houn said. “Sometimes, when some staff face obstacles, they don’t struggle; they resign.” In response, staff training is ongoing. “We try to strengthen their ability more and more,” said Erya Houn Heng. Competition abroad is stiff, but inno-vation and know-how puts first Cambo-dia on a good footing, Erya Houn Heng told Economics Today. “First Cambodia is strong in technology because my com-pany in Cambodia communicates with many types of vendors, so we have greater knowledge and we have good systems.” A positive attitude and a long-term plan are also necessary, according to Erya Houn Heng. If a CEO thinks small, every-body around him will think small as well, he claimed, so First Cambodia’s goal is to be the number one systems provider in ASEAN.
“Our vision is immense. If we do a business in ASEAN, we don’t want to be the weakest, we want to be the ICT leader in the ASEAN region,” said Erya Houng Heng. “What I want to do is think big, but I start small,” he said. “Laos will act as a springboard to all 10 countries in ASEAN.” First Cambodia is confident over ASEAN expansion plans as the firm uses the SAP system. “This system is used by most of the Fortune 500 companies in the world,” explained Erya Houng Heng, noting that First Cambodia was the first to offer SAP in Cambodia and in ASEAN. Erya Houn Heng, president and CEO of First Cambodia “What i want to do is think big, but i start small.” Erya Houn Heng, president and CEO of First Cambodia.