Interview with Co-Founder & Director at AGHRM

I have known Steve for more than 10 years.

We were both BNI members of Gateway chapter and I clearly recall that was before my 10 year old son.

He surprised me at first when I learned he is a sales person given his quiet demeanour.

But once you know him better, his blend of technical knowledge and sharpened solutioning skills make him the kind of consultative sales people you enjoy speaking with and learn from.

In a highly contested space of payroll, he and his team managed to leapfrog their payroll solutions ahead of many legacy systems before their time.

I get to speak with him to find out more about his HR tech journey.

1. Tell us more about yourself

My current role is the managing director of my company.

What that means actually is that I work with my team to set the general direction of the company.

My real job is to bring in the sales revenue so I am heading the sales and marketing function of the company and sometime, I dabble in in system design as well (My background is in software engineering).

As far as I am remember, I have been in the HR tech scene since graduation. I held 2 jobs before starting AG.

I was doing a distance learning degree course from Monash University, Australia during my NS days so I managed to graduate by the time I finish NS which was around 1999.

  1. 1st job as Software Engineer at a system integrator – What I can remember is that we were doing 2 projects: One for creative Technologies for an ecommerce website and another for a digital library project with NTU
  2. After that, I started a company with some friends to provide IT consultancy services. One thing led to another, we ended up building an enterprise HR solutions. The company is still around.

2. What motivated you to start this business?

My partners and I decided to part ways at the end of 2015.

The primary reason being that I believe more in SaaS model for HR solutions rather than customized enterprise solutions.

3. How would you describe AGHRM?

I started AG in 2006 to provide a cloud based HR solutions for SMEs. We currently have 4 main categories of solutions:

  1. HR Management – Personnel, Leave, Claims
  2. Workforce Management – Scheduling, Attendance, Mobile Attendance
  3. Payroll – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar
  4. Talent Management – Performance, Learning

4. How did you get funded?

I think we are very old school in terms of funding.

We grew organically for the last 12 years. As such, our customers are our main source of funds.

5. Who are your closest competition?

In Singapore, justlogin would be one of our closest competitors.

6.  Who are your biggest customers?

KFC Singapore and Pizza Hut Singapore is our largest private sector customer.

In total, they have up to 5000 employees in Singapore.

They were using a variety of solutions for the HR needs from an in-house time tracking system, attendance computation system and finally, payroll system.

What we offer to them a single integrated solutions for their HR users as well as employee self service functions for their entire workforce via web and mobile apps.

7. What is your most successful approach to marketing?

For us, our best approach for marketing is via channel partners as well as referrals.

8. What is your proudest moment in the history of your business?

Winning the NHELP project from Agency of Integrated Care.

NHELP is a national project to streamline operations for 36 nursing homes in Singapore. It covers 3 main functions:

  1. Clinical
  2. Finance
  3. HR

AGHRM is supporting all the HR functions for this project.

Singapore government has always been very stringent in their vendor selection process and they typically prefer global systems like WorkDay, SAP, etc.

The fact that we manage to win the account shows that local solutions are able to compete effectively against these global solutions.  

9. How has a failure, or apparent failure set you up for later success?

One of the lessons I learnt during the breakup of the previous business is that revenue/sales is the life blood of the company.

In the previous venture, I was part of the product development team.

At the end of the day, it does not matter how good your product is if you are unable to communicate or/and address the business requirements of your target market.

When I had the chance to start AGHRM, we try to listen to the customers more.

10. What’s one productivity hack you can’t live without?

One of the things that I have learnt of the years is that there is never enough time for everything.

I guess for me it would be to have a clear list of priorities and learn to delegate and trust my team members.

11. Where can people learn more about you and AGHRM?

They can find out more information from our website

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