Thursday morning, Feb 9, Datuk Narayanan Kanan,
senior vice-president of industry development
at Multimedia Development Corp (MDC), looked
on proudly as two MSC-status companies tied
the knot, so to speak. The memorandum-of-understanding
signing ceremony officially symbolised the
intent of KZen Solutions Bhd and Cetheus MSC
Sdn Bhd to work together on product development.
former is a maker of human resource management
software while the latter is a provider of
business intelligence solutions. They will
not develop new products from scratch but
will integrate existing products to fill the
space where human resource and business intelligence
converge. Simon Kong, the CEO of Cetheus,
shared that the first fruits of integration
will be out in about three months. He explained
that Cetheus' corporate performance management
system will be integrated with KZen's employee
appraisal system, in effect allowing companies
to break corporate strategy down into individual
key performance indicators that can be tracked
at the employee level.
CEO Ng Boon Sing explained that this product
integration strategy will allow the two companies
to focus on their core competencies while
acquiring capabilities that would require
too much time and resources to build on their
own. "Why reinvent the wheel?" he asked. Both
chief executives observed that similar models
existed where technology companies like Oracle
would acquire and then merge companies to
quickly complement their product offerings
without having to build from scratch. "It's
the same thing with us, except that we are
partnering and not acquiring," said Ng. However,
he cautioned that like in real life, the two
partners have to like each other. "That's
the most important thing. We both like each
other and can work together. Before we got
married, we tried living together first."
two men first met five years ago via a mutual
client. One year ago, they began actively
working together and secured an account jointly.
However, they declined to name the new account.
companies have a fairly impressive list of
clients. KZen's accounts include Public Bank,
AirAsia and Alliance Bank while Cetheus counts
Nestlé, Bank Negara Malaysia and Telekom Malaysia
as its customers.
for the names of the companies, there is a
story behind each one. "It is well known that
'kaizen' means continuous improvement in Japanese,"
said Ng. "But we also wanted the name to be
able to fit four characters for the benefit
of listing and came up with KZen - 'K' meaning
knowledge and 'Zen' which means way of life."
was surprised that Ng was able to secure the
popular name. "You aren't cyber-squatting,
are you?" he joked.
Chung Fai, Cetheus' business operations manager,
said the company's namesake is a constellation
of stars in the Northern Hemisphere. "The
Greeks referred to that constellation as Cetheus
or Hercules. We wanted the connotation of
strength and courage associated with Hercules
but picked Cetheus as it was a less common
asked if MDC intended to actively promote
similar partnerships among the 1,000 over
MSC-status companies, Narayanan said it was
up to the companies themselves. "We give the
industry what they want, and if they want
us to help them form similar partnerships,
we will do so." He revealed that MDC is introducing
the concept of clustering among MSC companies,
but declined to elaborate on what this meant.