Investment necessary to train staff in e-commerce
by Minh Thi
HA NOI — Training human resources in electronic commerce required much more time and money because it was a new area, said Tran Huu Linh, director of the Viet Nam e-Commerce and Information Technology Agency.
According to a 2011 survey conducted by the agency, which interviewed 3,000 businesses in eight cities and provinces, only 23 per cent had staff specialising in e-commerce.
Its report also indicated that a large number did not actually differentiate IT officials from e-commerce officials.
This explains why little attention had been paid to training staff in information and technology and e-commerce in most enterprises.
Bui Bao Duc, officer in charge of VTC Digital Company's sales web site, said his company assigned two technical staff untrained in e-commerce to be responsible for website development and online sales.
This situation is common in many other companies. A 2011 survey of more than 12,800 enterprises in HCM City by the Statistical Office revealed that only 9.3 per cent had staff specialising in e-commerce.
According to the e-commerce agency 2011 report on e-commerce, enterprises cited incomplete legal conditions, inadequate human resources, poor social awareness and an inconvenient business environment as obstacles to its application.
Nguyen Van Thoan, head of the Foreign Trade University's Electronic Commerce Department, said e-commerce training faced a lot of difficulties because of a lack of experts.
"Out of more than 150 schools offering e-commerce education, only a few universities such as the Foreign Trade University, the Viet Nam University of Commerce and the National Economics University, were developing e-commerce training at a relatively good level," Thoan said.
He also said that enterprise leaders did not attach importance to website development and that information and technology applications in management and production of enterprises were still limited.
"The few enterprises that trained good staff for e-commerce would not share their techniques as they want to keep their success a secret," he added.
Thoan said that the few experts in e-commerce were often found in enterprises leading in IT application, including banks, the aviation industry and customs.
Both Thoan and Linh said e-commerce training required a lot of investment in infrastructure and frequently updated teaching materials to keep pace with modern technologies.
Thoan said e-commerce teaching and learning required a wide range of knowledge from information and technology to business administration and commerce.
The Government's E-Commerce Development Plan for 2011-15 plans that 80 per cent of large enterprises and 45 per cent of small and medium sized enterprises will have websites with frequently updated information.
Thoan of the Foreign Trade University said the plan seemed feasible if it only meant that enterprises would have their own websites. But he added that it was impossible to find enough qualified people to frequently update websites with product information.
"Our current training capacity cannot meet society's demand," he said.
Linh of the Viet Nam e-Commerce and Information Technology Agency, however, is more optimistic about the plan's feasibility. He said the targets set were based on real figures and were within reach.
Pham Thi My Hanh, deputy head of the Viet Nam e-Commerce and Information Technology Agency's training department said it planned to organise training courses for university lecturers. — VNS