Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fooling Nobody

It was like a dream that had finally been realized. This night scene photograph that I picked to be used for my faculty magazine in my sophomore, is still fresh in my mind. The all-white pillars magnificently stood as the base structure of the Memorial Hall, and the dim yellow lights solemnly bathed the Statue of this great man, Mr. Abraham Lincoln, in his regal sitting position, in between two pillars inside the hall.

Lincoln Memorial at night
And now, after more than two decades, I stood yet again before the Statue of Lincoln with a better idea of its proportion, and with one of his famous quotes always lingering in me, "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

Even though there are 44 Presidents since the US’s independence in 1776, the greatness of Abraham Lincoln is still distinguishingly highlighted in the State that was named after its first president, George Washington. Even the tour guide spent more time on this 16th President, showing the spot he got shot, and the hospital he was admitted in after the assassination in April 1865. What made Lincoln the greatest American president? He ended slavery, guided the country through the constitutional, military, and moral crisis – Civil War.

No man is born to be great. What makes a man great depends on what he did in his lifetime. The same for a brand, to become a great product or a great brand, you need to have something extraordinary to deserve an appraisal of greatness. And one good thing about brand, unlike human beings that have a biological lifespan, it can last long when all the factors are right.

Fooling Nobody
As a brand in the Internet era and social media technology that widespreads everything in the speed of light, the famous quote of Lincoln has to be upgraded to a more stringent level to “you fool no people at any time”. And you take no chance, because any wrongdoing can hurt your brand almost instantly.

Last two weeks, a leading Chinese newspaper in Malaysia was uncovered with plagiarism in its editorial article, and the news spread fast on Facebook. Within two weeks, readers exposed another 20 more plagiarized articles by simply using Google as their investigative tool. The newspaper demonstrated the worst kind of response by merely publishing a perfunctory apology on its Facebook fan page, but played dumb in its printed dailies, to limit the right to inform their readers, as a damage control solution. But I dare say you fool nobody in the Internet age. The virtual world and the real world coexist and are interactive, insincerity would eventually rebuke and haunt your credibility.

Wall Street Bull
To summarize my US trip, it was a pleasure to have met our FingerTec partner in New York, to exchange ideas, to better understand the local market, and to explore on how to expand the FingerTec brand in North America for the coming years.  

Overall, I had a pleasant stay in New York this summer. The weather was not too hot, especially in the breezy sunny days, wind blew with an unexpectedly soothing cool air, and walking in the vibrant metropolitan city was quite enjoyable. I even managed to visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, besides some other popular tourist spots.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Balance of Power

It takes a century for Time and Attendance system to strike a balance of power.

When punch card clocking system was introduced to record employees' attendance a long time ago and still quite many companies are using it now, the weight of power is tilted to employees. Employers almost have no knowledge whether employees themselves, or their colleagues punched the clocking records when they were late for works. But this is the limitation of punch card clocking technology, whether employers like it or not, they have to live with it.

To prevent time theft that causes employers to pay extra 'wages', they embrace biometrics time and attendance system when it becomes available without much hesitation to replace the old system.

Tug-of-war for power
And the power slides to employers this time. As employees, you lose the control instantly. Not only that you can't punch for your buddies but also you lost the grip of your own clocking records. All the clocking records stored in the biometrics terminals are transferred to a computer system managed by HR department. You have no idea whether your employers could or would manipulate your records to become time thieves themselves. But this is the automation attendance system, whether employees like it or not, they have to live with it.

Although some biometrics clocking terminals support receipt printers, where employees can print receipt as proof of their attendance time, most employers would not prefer to invest unless it is mandatory by the government like what happens in Chile.

The recipient of the power would always be the happy one, be it employer or employee. But again, this is unhealthy from the management’s point of view.

Naturally, the best solution to rectify any technological weakness is by introducing a newer technology. This time around, to strike the balance of power, replacing the Windows-based time and attendance software to a web-based or even a cloud-based system seems like a very good move, plus having clocking terminals that support web-based system.  

The nature of windows-based software is individuality, which means that the application is normally use to complete tasks assigned to the software operators. But for web-based system, collaboration supersedes individuality. The trend of personal technology provides more computing power; with the web-based solution that networks almost everybody, it encourages information sharing and interactions between two or more parties. So, why not let the employees logging in to the web server to view or print their own attendance and work schedule, or having more personal or company information to their benefits? All these would improve communication within an organization.

Web programs to be the solution for the balance of power
Our product, TimeTec Web seems to be the solution to the balance the power. And in view of the complication in setting up a web server, we launched TimeTec Cloud to simplify the deployment.

In fact, the balance of power in the workplace would create better understandings between employees and employers. For employers, they should take this technology transformation opportunity to share the obligatory information among employees, to build a better working environment and enhance the sense of belongings of employees to the company.  

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ