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How Philippine businesses are faring in the digital transformation race

Adrian M. Reodique | May 9, 2017
Even though organisations in the country are highly aware of the need for digital transformation, they are slow to adopt technologies for it, shares IDC's Jubert Alberto ahead of the CIO Conference Philippines 2017.

For instance, Alberto said in the past, merchants could only offer their products through their brick-and-mortar stores. This has changed with the emergence of online commerce and mobile commerce, which allow businesses to offer their products on digital platforms.

In addition, he noted that millennials will eventually make up the majority of the workforce. Organisations that do not transform will thus run the risk of losing digitally savvy millennial employees as they seek career opportunities that enable them to use their talents to impact the organisation.

"[Considering] all these things, you have to understand [that the] environment where you play in [is changing]. It's [now] driven by your customers; that alone should drive you to digitally transform," he added.


Bracing for the next wave of digital transformation

The next wave of digital transformation will see the rise of innovation teams in organisations, or Pinoy DX teams as IDC called it, said Alberto.

This is in line with IDC's prediction which states that 25 percent of companies in the Philippines will have dedicated digital transformation/innovation teams by 2018. The team will be in charge of creating plans for internal and external applications of digital technology, said IDC.

"What's interesting to note here is that unlike other countries, the Pinoy DX team may not have a C-level executive. [Instead, the team] may comprise Vice President (VP) for IT [or] VP for marketing," said Alberto. "They'll sit down together, and talk about what needs to be done in terms of digital initiatives. So that Pinoy DX team will talk about innovation, embracing disruption, and making sense of it."

IDC also forecasted that the use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will be more widespread in the coming years. Forty percent of the top 1,000 companies in the country are expected to experiment with these technologies by 2019 to create their own unique experiential marketing strategies.

Finally, Alberto noted that the impact of mashup tools and 3rd platform technologies - which include mobile, cloud computing, social media, and big data and analytics - will be bigger in certain industries.

He gave the example that some call centre agents in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector are worried that they will be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI) and robots.  

"When we talk about BPO in the country, it's always got to do with customer service mindset. Even if you have a robot or the robotic process automation over there, it's only going to be used as the front line," said Alberto. Human workers will still be needed, as robots and robotic processes automation (RPA) cannot empathise with humans, Alberto assured.

Alberto therefore advised BPO companies and employees to not fear new technologies and instead upgrade their skills to deliver higher value services.


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