By Khin Yadanar Oo and Low Min Yee
Lung Hao is a business strategist at Feezmodo Consulting Pte Ltd. Feezmodo believes in evangelising technology, with the motto of “IT as a Service” as their mission and vision. At Feezmodo, he looks into defining, launching and driving strategic partnership initiatives, with the likes of Microsoft, CloudFlare, Shopify, Sophos and Acronis, by engage with then prospective clientele to understand their business and technology needs. In the long term, he seeks to foster existing long-term client relationships and cultivate new leads into long-term partnerships.
How did you come to start your company after you graduated?
LH: I didn’t start my company immediately after graduation – in fact, I had worked in a few places before: such as Food and Beverages, retails and sales. While I was studying IT in polytechnic, my lecturer had referred me to Microsoft’s student partner programme. I got to know some of the full-time staff during my stint in the programme, and they passed me some part time jobs during the holidays. In these jobs, I’ve done different things – setting up Office, handling their student programme, and managing the enterprise and business segment. I managed to learn more about sales and marketing through these experiences.
Starting this company allows me to be involved in the whole sale process. Before that. I’d be worried about the different aspects involved, such as the execution of the service even after having completed the pitching myself. I’ve been involved in various roles in sales – so Feezmodo allows me to handle the entire process for a customer from the start to the end.
How do the services of your company Feezmodo differ from similar services by the likes of Microsoft, for instance?
LH: What I do is that I help to repackage and resell Microsoft services. Before Feezmodo, such services and products actually appear very daunting to small medium businesses (SMB), my key target audience. As a Microsoft partner, my aim is to simplify the process for my clients. As a one-stop destination for my clients, we provide services such as emailing security and commerce solutions, and email services. We sell the services in a package with a standardised pricing – so all our clients need to do is to let us know what services they need from the package (e.g. Wi-Fi, internet) and we will deduct the value/ credit from there. They will also only need to do an annual renewal of services with us. It now becomes a contract that covers everything instead of the client having to renew individual services with us at different times of the year.
So, Feezmodo offers help for issues relating to Microsoft products as well?
LH: Our team members are all technical except for the accounts guy. Our team members are differentiated based on the products we handle, and we manage our own clients from the start till the end (all the way from marketing to sales and to the technical side). So yes, I handle the Microsoft-related services. This makes it easier for the clients and ourselves to know who to approach if they have any product-related concerns.
How is working with your team to form one company like, given that each role seems very specialised in a particular niche of its own?
LH: Everyone in my team is very capable in their own niche areas. That creates a lot of strong voices and makes it hard for everyone to compromise. I actually took nearly a year to delineate and delegate roles and responsibilities to the team members. So when a person is made in charge of a project, he/she will lead the development while the rest of us will be on hand to provide suggestions.
How did you source for people to form your team, each with different talents and different specialities?
LH: They’re all my seniors whom I’ve worked with – I’m actually the youngest person in my team. They’re all my seniors who are worked with. Most of them are from Nanyang Polytechnic but from different courses. When I was there, I wasn’t the ordinary kid who just did what the teacher asked him to do and stopped there. I like IT, but I also wanted to learn something that was outside the course. That’s why I always looked for seniors who are very good in terms of all these expertise and so on. So I go and ask them about how they do things and what I should do for this semester and so on. And they are the ones who teach me so that’s how we know each other.
How will you describe Feezmodo’s journey of growth over the past few years? Were there any worthwhile risks?
LH: I’d say the choice of the colleagues put together to form the current team would be the biggest risk I took. It was tricky as we had to be familiar with one another’s working styles and make sure everyone stays informed on what is going on. This is extremely important and tardiness is not a risk I want to take as customer service will be compromised in this manner. Even if we are not able to deliver a solution immediately, we should at least know where to source for assistance.
How do you keep up with changes in the technology industry?
LH: I am the main person who explores the new technology and services available in the industry. After testing it and increasing my knowledge of it, I’ll let my team know if I feel it has potential to play a part in our operations. We will then discuss how we can incorporate it into our services. If we have ideas for creating a new technology but the cost is too high, we will utilise ‘Feezmodo crowdfunding’: the splitting of the project’s cost between the clients that need this service so that our clients pay less for a solution that everybody needs.
How much do you identify your brand of IT consulting with all the other consultancies out there, such as McKinsey?
LH: I think a lot of people don’t like working with consultants because they feel that the latter don’t value-add to the process. So in defence of consultants, consultants usually have been in the business for five, ten years. They already have a lot of experience in terms of IT or the domains they were originally from. So, industry insights from consultancies can be very valuable, whether or not the client is from the industry. What Feezmodo does differently is – besides offering insights like a consultant, we provide solutions to our clients’ problems as well. We will first try to understand the circumstances of our client, e.g. the amount of budget they have, and work out a solution from those available resources.
What professional competency is particular important to a job such as yours?
LH: I think so long as the members of a team each possess a few skills from the Harvard Competencies, it will be fine. That is because different people will have different strengths. However, I think ‘responsibility’ is paramount. This value is not found in the Harvard Competencies, but I think it is important as we are a small team with a niche area each. It is hence essential that everyone in the team is responsible for what they do. I think that so long everyone is responsible for what they are assigned, the company will be successful.