Tuesday 26 May, 2020

AMCHAM T&T seeks to build tech industry

Companies who delay in harnessing technology to enhance their businesses may suffer in the long term.

CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T), Nirad Tewarie, speaking at the first Tech Hub Islands Summit (t.e.c.h.), said that the business world is changing rapidly.

"The way business is done, is changing. What’s possible, is changing. And while there is significant consolidation at the top of the tech pyramid, there are also still ample opportunities for disruption."

Tewarie said the benefits of technology for businesses can bring real returns. 

"Using the power of cloud computing, small companies can look like, act and scale as global companies. Big, traditional businesses can organise and collect their data to be utilized in ways they never even dreamed about – not just for business optimization but also to create new products and channels to better satisfy consumers."

"But we have to do more. Tech in companies, indeed in the country, cannot be seen as simply a spend. It’s an investment," he said. 

The summit, held at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain over June 13-14, 2019, was done in an attempt to boost the digital transformation of both the private and public sectors as well as to stimulate the local tech industry.

The conference featured global leaders from some of the industry’s leading tech players and local tech entrepreneurs engaging in practical thought leadership talks and technical workshops designed to:

• Introduce practical tech suggestions to improve all facets of business.

• Promote modernization of government and public sector agencies to improve service delivery to citizens.

• Create a marketplace that will stimulate the growth of partnerships and innovation and stimulate the growth of the local Tech industry.

“t.h.i.s. is not a Conference for the IT-department. It’s actually for CEOs and Executives as the CEO or Chairman should be the organisation’s Tech champion if they don’t want the company to get disrupted,” said Tewarie.

"The Fourth Industrial Revolution, or the pace at which technology is being integrated into daily activities, is transforming the way people are connected and how businesses operate. Embracing this new reality is the new business model for success and GDP growth. Currently, 88% of Fortune 500 companies from 1955 have either gone bankrupt, merged with (or were acquired by) another firm, or have fallen out of the Fortune 500. Tech is today’s biggest change agent."

Tewarie said t.h.i.s. “will build a national tech ecosystem and marketplace in T&T that will allow local businesses to export tech services to international markets, develop a critical mass of local talent and put the established businesses in touch with the young disruptors so that they can work together on solutions that will enhance growth and development in a newly diversified economic sector.

"Moreover, the practical solutions being explored will help companies and government institutions speed up their digital transformation thereby improving competitiveness and service delivery. Properly deployed tech solutions can help companies and the government leapfrog several stages of development and go a long way in creating export capacity while simultaneously improving the ease of doing business and quality of life for citizens."

"In examining what is likely to make the most difference in trying to assist local companies the Board of AMCHAM T&T thought long and hard about creating something that would help our members and wider business community survive and thrive in the current environment. They came up with this.”

Tewarie said t.h.i.s. conference is part of the organisation's commitment to transform and modernize the way business is done in Trinidad to create real change.

"We need to change our business habits and have harmony between established businesses in T&T, newer tech entrepreneurs and the government. Linking business with technology will position T&T to remain globally competitive to attract further investors and promote innovation," he said. 

The conference addressed a range of topics including: the Fourth Industrial Revolution (demystified), challenges, opportunities, e-Government, leadership and technology, harnessing data to transform businesses, smart cities, and more. 

A parallel mini-exhibition will provide an opportunity for companies to exhibit and to pitch their existing products and solutions to other companies. t.h.i.s. will provide practical tech suggestions to the private sector to improve all facets of their business, encourage government to modernize, and create a marketplace where the free flow of ideas will give birth to partnerships and innovations.

In 2017, AMCHAM T&T established a Digital Transformation Committee to focus on developing policies and initiatives to enhance national digital transformation.

Executives from several AMCHAM T&T members sit on the committee. As part of these efforts, the organisation has started hosting several tech talks and several more tech companies have joined AMCHAM T&T this year, recognising the leading role that the organisation is playing in advancing the tech agenda.

In addition to Republic Bank as the Title sponsor, Massy Technologies, PWC and United Airlines are Platinum sponsors. The IDB is a gold sponsor of the event and worked with CARIRI to assist several companies improve their business processes and prepare to pitch to investors. Atlas Industrial Supplies and Vistrac are Silver sponsors while Citi, TTIFC, Access Records Management, Caribel & Europcar are session sponsors with the last also being the official transportation partner. OCM is the official media partner of the event.


The event featured speakers from companies such as IBM, Bose, Google, Oracle, Carnegie Melon University, Republic Bank, Massy Technologies, PWC, Citi, Crimson Logic, E&Y, igovTT, and more.

The entire agenda can be found at www.techislands.net

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