THE challenges of a tight labour market as well as strong regional and global competition have prompted IT services provider Thatz International to seek new ways to grow its business.
Looking to secure growth that would be both scalable and less resource-intensive, the company approached Spring Singapore for help to fund a new venture in building application software.
Now in its 16th year of operations, Thatz was given a Capability Development Grant in 2011, under Spring's technology innovation programme.
The grant helped pay for part of the research and development costs of creating ThatzContact, an app that enables the electronic exchange of business cards.
"We hope it will become the trend for the 'paperless' exchange of business cards - and a viable product for us," says founder and chief executive Simon Lee.
"The solution is environmentally friendly and cost-effective, and does away with the hassle of managing name cards."
A first version of the app has been available for download since last year. Thatz is fine-tuning it, and an enhanced version will be available at the end of this month.
Mr Lee says: "We believe our investment in software R&D will allow us to grow our business at a quicker rate."
To further diversify and expand its revenue stream, Thatz has also ventured into the managed IT security business.
It has partnered Proficio, an IT security service provider based in the United States, to help expand its capability in the area. They started offering services in July.
Mr Lee says: "With the increasing number of security threats on the Internet, we strongly believe this business will be one of our next growth engines."
Thatz, which has about 180 staff members, has sought to improve its own productivity as well, by automating all its business processes.
"We have been using an electronic fax solution since our business started. We have our own corporate e-mail, website and social media presence," says Mr Lee.
In addition, Thatz has developed its own recruitment management system, which tracks the process all the way from the first interview to the signing of the employment contract.
"With this system, the process is fully automated, and we can find the right candidate by typing certain keywords," says Mr Lee.
The company also uses the system to help its clients find IT talent.