Century Software may have rebranded itself but what it tries to achieve remains basically the same. Group managing director of the snazzier-named Censof, Datuk Samsul Husin shared, “I want to tell the market in Malaysia that Censof is a Malaysian product but it is technically on-par with other international products.
“The industry should appreciate Malaysian software and trust Malaysian software more. That’s the only way we can move onto being a global player.”
Well, the industry may not have realised Censof’s true contribution, but the Malaysian government and agencies have been appreciating Censof’s financial management solutions since as far back as 1996 when our government started the initiative of standardising accounting software for all the government agencies. “This is to ensure that their financial management systems are efficient and accounts could be closed within the stipulated time.”
In 1990, Censof was offered contracts to implement their accounting solution, SAGA (Standard Accounting for Government Agencies) and today, about 80 government agencies use Censof’s solution with a few of the biggest agencies being the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (LHDN), SOCSO (Social Security Organisation) and so on.
In doing so, Censof also helped these agencies achieve huge cost savings and increase efficiency.
Recognition and expansion
He also shared that there aren’t many Malaysian products that are globally well-known – Censof has won a number of awards over the years, the most recent being for LHDN’s eRAS or e-Refund Accounting Solution. In 2010, censof had developed eRAS with the objective that it would help speed up the refund process of the local taxation system.
In October, 2012, eRAS won an award for LHDN at an APAC level event in Chiang Mai, beating out other government solutions from the likes of Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, and also Hong Kong.
Other endeavours in the region include Vietnam. The company is also working on delivering a solution which automates the budgeting process; the first in this part of the world; for Vietnam’s finance ministry. At time of interview, Censof is also in midst of setting up a branch representative office in the United States.
Datuk Samsul had shared, “There aren’t many products that are globally competitive in terms of marketing.” This has driven Censof to be creative about marketing themselves and increasing awareness of their brand.
Censof now collaborates with IBM by offering their solutions via IBM’s Government Industry Framework. This is a strategic software platform for implementing smarter government solutions focused on improving citizen services, enhancing transparency, safety, security and more. This effectively increases Censof’s reach to a global platform, and what more with an established global IT player.
Censof also has a 60% or RM4.35 million stake in PT Praisindo Technology, a Jakarta-based company that develops a range of management solutions for the fund and asset management industries. Besides opening up new markets in Indonesia by cross-selling Praisindo’s solutions in Malaysia and vice versa, there is a 50-man R&D team that localises solutions for both markets.
Cross-selling is a business relationship that Censof also has with a manufacturing company based in Taiwan and the company is moving into other verticals like retail, and basically growing beyond their traditional businesses.
Roadmap: Cloud and beyond
Censof began the move towards cloud-enabling their solutions, a few years ago. Their product enhancements roadmap is also planned out for the next 5 years; applications that support Web3.0 and HTML5 for example, are already about to be released soon.
Datuk Samsul observed, “In Malaysia, there are not many independent software vendors (ISVs), we mostly have system integrators (SI). Our advantage is that we have our own product which is already matured. We have invested into innovating, developing and selling this product since 1990s, so we have a lot of experience there.
“We have proof that we can compete in this market. Now it is time to create the brand and awareness.” He also said that they sell directly to customers, although overseas, they work with partners to get their solutions into the market.
Datuk Samsul also shared a fervent wish, “I hope one day that Censof can be a brand that all Malaysians can be proud of.”