Julian Ma of Computer Guys tells us about managed IT support & services and Covid-19.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Julian Ma: We are doing well during these challenging times. My family and I are healthy and relatively unaffected by the pandemic, other than the travel inconveniences and restrictions we had to adhere to.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Computer Guys.
Julian Ma: With a passion for serving, I founded this company back in 2010 together with a partner from the ground up. Ever since then, the company has evolved from a one-man show to a strong team of 50 employees serving over 200 customers. We offer expertise in system administration for businesses managing operational support, technology management, project management, IT audit, VOIP services, and many more.
How do Computer Guys innovate?
Julian Ma: Constant improvement is one of the core values of our company. We are never satisfied with the status quo. Thus, we are always challenging the standard ways of doing things like from how we propose solutions to our clients to how we conduct system administration. Therefore, it’s built within us that we are constantly improving. Internally, we have our own in-house research and development team that takes care of ongoing and new innovations as well.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Julian Ma: Yes, the pandemic has definitely affected our business; I would say no businesses have been spared because of Covid-19. Although not as bad as other industries, we experienced a shrinkage of about 3%, which brought strain to our business in terms of resource allocation and planning. We have to put off some plans for expansion because of that.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Julian Ma: We had to take a hard look at our internal resources as our business depends on manpower to survive. There are times when we had to cut and reduce manpower costs in certain areas or normalize certain numeration, which was not easy to do so.
I believe one lesson that we have learned is to make sure we continue to innovate so in the future, and we can do more with less reliance on purely human resources.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Julian Ma: We had to switch to virtual meetings for all our customer relationship management. That did change our way of working as we were very physically present before Covid times. We are currently using Google Meet to facilitate most of our internal and customer meetings.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Julian Ma: Thankfully, being in Singapore, the government was very supportive during the difficult times. We did benefit from grants and reliefs that were provided directly by our government. This relatively helps us with our operational expenses while keeping the current headcount stable during a retracting market.
Your final thoughts?
Julian Ma: Constant changes, ups and downs are part of life. Most importantly is to keep yourself calm, steady, and moving forward.
Our sentient life is only a mere flicker of light in this vast universe. Our main purpose on this planet is to contribute and help others as much as possible during our lifetime. We have to be the change we wish to see in this world. Make it a better place for others and future generations to come.
My passion is in service and in unifying, simplifying technology to make it easily understandable and accessible to all humans on earth.