What enabled Silverlake Axis to earn a record financial performance in terms of revenue and profitability in FY2012? What are your projections for the future?
OOI: Silverlake was built on a model called SCIIM, which stands for Silverlake Collaborative Intelligence and Innovation Model. It is a model, and of course all models are usually mathematical. It is based on Category Theory, which triggers many other mathematical objects. When you are implementing a mathematical model in the real world, it touches on economics. The issue of the economy has been researched for over 300 years, since the days of Adam Smith. If you are building a model that is economical, it is quite conclusive that the implementation will grow. You cannot be building a model that will not grow. You must build a model that can grow and that has its own life. The fact that the word collaboration is used, the word intelligence is used, and the word innovation is used in Silverlake’s model tells you the potential and even the power of this model. Silverlake Axis is one of our implementations in mathematics and of course there are many more implementations that will come along.
What is the idea behind the Silverlake Collaborative Intelligence and Innovation Model?
OOI: Silverlake Collaborative Intelligence and Innovation Model is actually a mathematical model. This model does not only apply to banks, finance, airlines, or to government. It is very much a mathematical economic model. What that model says is the world is about collaboration. I think it is not just about business, but about social responsibility. Collaborative effort, as Adam Smith said, is well related to the progress of society. Organizations should not just be focusing on their geographical growth or their organic growth. There are other social responsibilities that you have to contribute, and that part would be collaborative innovation.
Are you happy with Silverlake Axis’ current share price and current performance?
OOI: Share price is a reflection of your economic model. It is a way people look at you. You cannot be happy or unhappy about the way people look at you. I can tell you that we built the model based on the Silverlake Collaborative Intelligence and Innovation Model. We evaluate that model very highly. The fact that we are still using this model after over 20 years, and that more and more intelligent people participate in this model, tells us it is a much more valuable model than what the market perceives. Whether you like it or not, what the market perceives is what the market perceives. So it takes a while to educate the market and it takes a while to prove to the market that we deserve more.
What is your future outlook for Malaysia’s ICT sector and what is your future outlook for Malaysia’s digital economy?
OOI: ICT started in 1936, based on the Turing/Church paper. The model was very specific and it led to the development of the Operating System, and eventually to IBM 360. In those days everything was so specific, and when things are very specific you usually need huge capital to continue to invest. In order to get returns, you need huge capital to sustain the business model.
In terms of growth, what kinds of businesses and geographic regions are you most interested in?
OOI: We like to work in the same time zone. If you look at Asia Pacific, we are very lucky that the same time zone stretches from New Zealand and Australia, up to Japan, China, Hong Kong, and India. That is basically the same time zone. There is certain correlation between working in the same time zone, and efficiency and effectiveness. Obviously, we like to focus on efficiency and effectiveness while we are still building up the company. We are still telling the world about our model. It will take a while before the world understands what the Silverlake Collaborative Intelligence Innovation Model is. While we are waiting for people to understand what this model is, we have set up to do our own businesses. Asia Pacific is growing very fast, and has supplied sufficient ingredients for us to enhance and expand our business empire. Silverlake Axis in Singapore is about a SGD 1bn ($817m) business. It is natural for us to think about 10bn as the next milestone. We ask how big of a geographical area do you need to support a 10bn model, and Asia Pacific is more than enough to support it. We remain focused to achieve this milestone.
Silverlake Axis in Singapore is about a SGD 1bn ($817m) business. It is natural for us to think about 10bn as the next milestone. We ask how big of a geographical area do you need to support a 10bn model, and Asia Pacific is more than enough to support it. We remain focused to achieve this milestone.
What involvement does Silverlake Axis have outside the banking and finance sector?
OOI: Silverlake Collaborative Intelligence Innovation Model does not just apply to banking and finance. I do not want to say it applies to a specific area when I already said that ICT is moving from specific to general. There must be a term that we use for the next opportunity, or the next potential, and the term that we use is Digital Economy. So what is Digital Economy? In the past we have sold to banks and we have sold to financial institutions. Banks work with airlines, they work with retail stores, they work with super markets, they work with railways, and they work with governments. There is a connectivity and collaboration that needs to happen in this modern world. It does not need to happen only in Silverlake, it needs to happen to everyone, and that explains the phenomenon of social networks. Collaborative Innovation is happening and it is a big economy. I am going to be more specific about Collaborative Innovation, and if you are more specific it becomes a Digital Economy. It involves retail, airlines, insurance companies, finance, stock broking companies, governments, and education. Practically every participant in the economy is involved.
How would you describe Malaysia’s technological infrastructure and what investments/upgrades are currently most vital?
OOI: Whether Malaysia likes it or not, Malaysia has to be part of the collaboration. It is no more about a specific country providing all the answers. It is about collaborative work, Collaborative Innovation across the board. For collaboration you need communication. It is very obvious. In regards to telecommunication infrastructure and education, we are very lucky that students speak very good English, enabling them to communicate across the world. Collaboration necessitates connectivity, which means telecommunication, and communication of language skills. All this needs investment. On the telecommunications side, because of the Multimedia Super Corridor, we have had a vast investment in telecommunication. We have done really well. We are definitely equal to most advanced countries in telecommunication. I think that there is further need to enhance human capital. Human capital is very specific to the area of business that you are conducting. Human capital has to be specialized; it has to be trained and prepared for a particular industry. In this particular case, education in language skills and ICT skills is the next important thing that Malaysia should be focusing on.