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SPOTLIGHT

Transformation a key element for E50 winners

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TEN years ago when Ademco Security Group tapped into cloud and wireless systems, the industry thought its group managing director Toby Koh had lost his mind. But the latter is having the last laugh because his company's early adoption of technology has made the company a pioneer in the security sector and put it ahead of the competition.

In recognition of its efforts, Ademco Security Group bags the Enterprise Transformation Award at this year's Enterprise 50 (E50) Awards.

The prize is given to an enterprise that is best able to adopt a business model to achieve productivity gains, sustainable growth and the ability to move into high value-added activities.

Because as the saying goes, change is the only constant and Ademco, together with the rest of this year's winning companies, have all embraced that spirit in one way or another.

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Transformation has become a big part of businesses as newcomers and disruptors emerge to shake things up when one least expects it.

Staying nimble and adapting to changes fast and early are crucial for staying afloat as E50 winners, past and present, have come to learn.

Take Laurent Junique's foresight in pivoting Agorae Private Limited's focus to ride on the new digital economy wave.

As early as in 2012, he began directing Teledirect's - for which Agorae is the holding entity - business of traditional telephone-based customer care and direct marketing into a suite of solutions for traditional companies looking to digitalise and native digital clients demanding quality customer care and new digital economy.

The effort has paid off handsomely as the company is named the top-ranked winner in this year's E50 Awards.

Similarly, second-placed Soilbuild Group is seeing its transformation efforts bearing fruits. Over the course of the last decade, the construction group has actively embraced a multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary strategy to spread its eggs out into more baskets.

Shifting its focus from residential to industrial development has helped Soilbuild to cushion itself against the current cooling measures in residential properties; while venturing overseas to Myanmar and Vietnam, and signing a forward-funded development project for purpose-built student accommodation in Liverpool, has helped it to diversify further in terms of asset classes and markets.

Not only that, sustainability has also become one of Soilbuild's company values - it secured its first green loan in September for its Solaris @ Tai Seng project, its third Green Mark Platinum build-to-lease business space.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of E50, a special Digital Economy Award has been introduced. It's awarded to a business identified as an up-and-coming billiondollar company and the criteria for this special winner include the business model presented, degree of innovation and technology adoption, gross market valuation of the company, the amount of funding raised, revenue growth and a Singapore presence.

The recipient is M-DAQ Pte Ltd, which has been lauded for its highly scalable and profitable business model; and the decade-old fintech start-up will earn access to the KPMG-A*STAR Joint Lab, a data-science powered laboratory in the professional services sector.

Using Artificial Intelligence to build content that enables machine learning, the KPMG-A*STAR Joint Lab will aid businesses in areas such as pre-emptive cyber threat management, text mining to detect trends and better understand consumer intent through search behaviours, to name a few.

For the 25th year running, the E50 Awards is jointly organised by KPMG in Singapore and The Business Times, and sponsored by OCBC Bank. Supporters of the awards include Enterprise Singapore, the Singapore Business Federation and the Singapore Exchange.

The E50 Awards is widely recognised as a stamp of approval for businesses, helping to open doors to new businesses, access to strong financial backing, and provides a launchpad to an IPO listing.

Over the years, more than 100 past winners have gone on to be listed on the Singapore Exchange and other bourses in the region.