Mr Chong, 55, has overseen a host of changes at Certis CISCO as its CEO since the former statutory board was privatised under Singapore’s investment firm Temasek Holdings in 2005. The company, which added the name “Certis” to its brand in 2007, pulled in revenue of $1.2 billion in its latest financial year to March 31, four times that of the $323 million in 2008.
“We have evolved over the years,” he says. “We’re now more of what we call a security-plus company, so we invest a lot in our people, building up, training people, and putting a purpose and passion behind what they do... That’s where we have been investing a lot of our money. Obviously, we invest a lot of money in technology, too, because having the right tools to do the job is very important.”
The fruits of high-tech spending are on display at the new Certis Central facility in Commonwealth Lane. It houses a command centre for Certis’ patented Business Process Re-engineering and Operations® process, which uses design thinking to give clients tailor-made security systems that combine on-the-ground guards with remote surveillance.
“We use a lot of robotic process automation to help us with a lot of very menial data manipulation tasks, so that has allowed us to cut a lot of manpower, reduce cycle time, so that we can produce reports for customers. It allows us to analyse trends and things like that.”
Certis now operates abroad too. Such markets, led by Hong Kong and Australia, contributed to more than one-fifth of revenue last year. “Major airports will be one of the key areas we will be going into,” he says. Certis is in talks to renew a five-year contract for Hamad International Airport in Qatar, and bought Australian aviation security provider SNP in February.
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