September 28, 2021

Digitally Transforming with custom-designed IoT Solutions

Qinthara Fasya | 10 September 2021

Davy Lassagne

Group CFO at UnaBiz

The optimal IoT experience is one that is straightforward and straightforward to use. Companies seeking to reinvent themselves through new technology face an enormously complicated and diversified environment, which can be intimidating. DigitalCFO Asia spoke with Davy Lassagne, Group CFO at UnaBiz on how it has transformed its company and finance operations through IoT, and how other companies or industries can follow suit.

UnaBiz was recently recognized by IMDA under Accreditation@SG Digital, an elite IMDA initiative that identifies outstanding digital companies based in Singapore and helps them grow and compete globally. SG:D Accredited companies are put through a rigorous financial, commercial, and technological review to determine their potential to foster digital innovation and deliver to Singapore’s government agencies and large corporations.


Financial and Business Transformation

UnaBiz have moved the entire finance function in-house over the past 5 years, and most importantly, we are now entirely digital. Not a single paper is handled by the team today and our processes require little human intervention, except for validation purposes. 

For example, we receive all our invoices in electronic form via email and they are automatically routed to our OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software which then populates our accounting software. The only input our team then needs to do is validate the pre-selected accounting entries the system has chosen, and the right cash outflow lines coming from our automated bank feed. 

Digital automation freed up a tremendous amount of time for the entire team to focus on more value-added activities like forecasting, cash flow management, and stakeholder engagement.

From a business perspective, we have transformed the company from a pure network operator to a fully integrated data provider, seamlessly merging connectivity, hardware and platform services to provide a total solution for our customers. Beyond providing data-as-a-service to our clients, we provide them what we call the “3Is”:

  1. Insight: It’s about providing just raw data, but actionable intel from the physical world so our clients can…
  2. Improve their processes, offering, cost structure etc to ultimately have an…
  3. Impact on the environment and the communities they serve.

A great example of that is our work with Japan’s largest Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) company, Nicigas. We helped them digitalise their entire meter reading operations, leading to more frequent and accurate consumption insight. These actionable insights has allowed Nicigas to optimise their operation and reduce their distribution costs, which in turn lead to drastic reductions in carbon emissions and better services to their customers.

Challenges and Triumphs during Covid-19

The pandemic has challenged us on all fronts; while it has hit the brakes on aviation, a key sector we used to focus on, it has propelled enterprises and governments into an accelerated state of digitalisation, especially in the Facilities Management and Asset Management sector. 

Again, back to the example of Nicigas, the need for remote monitoring, and reducing manpower and human contact drove the team, and our partners to ensure the delivery and deployment of 850,000 smart meters readers in the Kanto region. The need for digitalisation has never been more meaningful, and we are proud to have completed the project despite the pandemic and global supply chain disruption. 

The year also pushed us to venture into new areas, such as developing a highly scalable middleware cloud platform in order to expand our service offerings. These changes have allowed us to evolve into a tech-agnostic service provider that ensures that our partners get the best of each technology. 

Despite our achievements, the team remains on its toes as we face a bigger global issue – the shortage of components globally.  

IoT Solutions for those who want to Digitally Transform

UnaBiz provides IoT solutions that are cost effective, energy efficient, and highly scalable – 3 key elements for enterprises or governments who want to digitally transform and grow sustainably. The company specialises in sensor product design, manufacturing, and cloud platform services that do not require heavy investment in network infrastructure, which makes it accessible for early adopters and highly efficient for large-scale projects. Most of its custom designed solutions are retrofitted onto existing assets to prolong their remaining useful life (RUL). 

UnaBiz is a proven Massive IoT service provider. Unlike most technology providers UnaBiz is tech-agnostic and vertical agnostic. The company provides solutions across a hybrid of low-power wide area (LPWA) technologies such as Sigfox, LTE-M, NB-IoT and LoRa, to power business growth. The company is selling in 28 countries worldwide and has already deployed over 1 million devices globally across various verticals. 

Tips for CFOs to adapt their Finance Operations

UnaBiz’ mission is to unite people and technology to create an impact on a massive scale.

And that always starts with our people. I never bring people on board for their technical knowledge and skills. Those are easy to find or acquire. I only hire team members that have the right attitude towards work and the right cultural fit: always be a team player, always thrive to do better and always embrace the mission and values of the company. 

When those three elements are aligned, nothing becomes impossible because everyone works in the same direction, supports each other and has the success of everyone at heart. 

Everyone at UnaBiz thinks and acts as an owner of the company, pushing the limits of what is possible, owning mistakes, learning from them and improving. Everything else -technology, processes, tools, nimbleness etc – will follow.