AS BUSINESSES INCREASINGLY turn to e-mail and other electronic methods to communicate with their clients, personalising content and delivering information tailored to the tastes of individual customers has become a major obstacle. Radica Systems, an award-winning company and tenant of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP), is one homegrown enterprise that is making a significant global impact in this area as a leading e-solutions vendor. Radica chief executive Francis Kwok said the firm's innovations made it possible to analyse, segment, identify and communicate with large volumes of customers and contacts on an individual basis. The software systems improve customer communication throughout the entire lifetime of a company-customer relationship and make performance driven multi-channel marketing a reality. Radica Systems delivers marketing solutions to organisations that help improve the productivity and efficiency of their marketing programmes by personalising sales and customer service channels to optimise the customer relationship. The company develops e-solution products to help corporations boost sales volume and customer loyalty by diverting one-to-one personalised product recommendations to its customers via different channels such as e-mail, SMS and web-based delivery systems. Radica artificial intelligence-based solutions deliver marketing options to organisations that help them to improve the productivity and efficiency of their marketing programmes by personalising sales and customer service channels to optimise the customer relationship. 'Our R&D focuses on the adaptive personalisation domain with artificial intelligence which is applicable to e-marketing and e-sales,' Mr Kwok said. Mr Kwok said that despite its potential as a new generation marketing tool, in Hong Kong there was a lack of investment in artificial intelligence-based e-marketing software R&D. 'Businesses and entrepreneurs would rather invest in property and try to make a quick return than invest in R&D, which can take two or three years before returning any profits,' he said. A shortage of locally-based skilled software programmers posed another challenge, Mr Kwok said. This had forced the company to carry out its design work in Hong Kong and arrange most of its programming requirements on the mainland. Mr Kwok said Hong Kong IT professionals did not view programming as a worthwhile profession. 'Everyone wants to become systems analysts and project managers when, in fact, there are interesting career opportunities for programmers,' he said. Radica was trying to overcome the problem by paying programmers attractive salaries and focusing greater attention on career opportunities. The company supports and sponsors further education and sends its employees to overseas trade shows and conventions. Mr Kwok also believes that recruiting employees from diverse education and work experience backgrounds brings new insights and problem-solving skills to the company. Radica's headcount consists of engineers, sales and marketing professionals, communication personal and even employees with an arts background. Established in 2000 at the same time as the dotcom implosion saw large numbers of IT firms collapse, Radica is the first Hong Kong University of Science and Technology spin-off firm to locate its headquarters in HKSTP.