‘The objective of the company is shifting away from being `technology-centric,’ to being `customer-centric’,’

–Stan Shih,
CEO, Acer.

Why is Taiwan cultivating a
software culture? Is Acer’s move in the same direction related to this?

Taiwan’s transformation from a hardware powerhouse to an innovative creator of software is
indispensable for the sustained competence and competitiveness of Acer as well as Taiwan.
This new cultural twist posses a major challenge for Taiwan, as the necessary changes
require restructuring on fundamental fronts such as the country’s education system and
business management style. And it is a long-term vision.

What is required for Taiwan and
Acer to become world leaders in software?
You can become world-class in just three to five years when it comes to hardware,
but for software, it takes much longer. It is an issue of culture. We need a more
customer-centric culture in Taiwan. Software has to touch the customer, the consumer and
the people. Acer is already world class in many areas, especially in high-tech
manufacturing. From Acer’s point of view. We have to begin fostering this kind of culture
now, otherwise it will be too late, as Acer’s competitive edge in high-tech can only last
for the next ten years.

How is Acer planning to bring this
change?
We are repositioning the Acer Group for a new phase of development. The objective
of the company is shifting away from being ‘technology-centric,’ to being
‘customer-centric.’ The main task now is to address the issue of how to commercialize
Acer’s available technology to better meet the IP-intellectual property or ‘intangible
products’-and service needs of customers with an eye on helping people to fully enjoy
their lives.

Acer believes that IP is the IT merchandise
wave of the future. IP products are the only way to go: If you don’t have IP, you will not
have a business 20 years down the line. Acer’s vision is to stay competitive in the
long-run by cultivating a software culture in Taiwan to foster IP creation, Innovation,
reliability and understanding of marketing requirements.

Acer, in order to achieve all these
changes, must first identify the issues and direction and then develop an effective action
plan. The action plan will include not only organizational restructuring but also things
like redesigning and enhancing corporate-wide communications. All of these combined
together is the process of reengineering which is a long-term process that will take a
minimum of two to three years to complete.

But why go in for reengineering,
and not for gradual changes?
Managing a company is a continuous process, but because of the big shifts in the
industry, we have to turn in a new direction, a direction with better returns. The kind of
changes we’re talking about covers everything-from product lines to purchasing and from
the technologies we support to the kinds and amount of marketing we pursue. These changes
involve adjusting mindset, the way we communicate, the kind of training we need in the
organization, and follow-up measures we’ll use to check on our progress. We’ve already
done a lot in the last year, but it’s not finished.

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