Tech industry seeks inclusive digital transformation

TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY leaders said inclusivity remains a major concern in the Philippines’ digital transformation, but they are optimistic of widespread adoption soon with the government’s help.

“I hope this will not only help the people who have the means to participate in this digital revolution. Still a lot of people are left behind. I hope we will be able to look after them and think of ways how we can make this inclusive as we move into the new world,” Bong M. Paloma, vice-president for technology, sales and marketing of technology solutions provider Accent Micro Technologies, Inc., said at the BusinessWorld Insights online forum Wednesday.

“The business landscape in the Philippines is changing, which is fueled by digitization, among others,” he said, noting that this transformation is being driven by the cloud, mobile apps, artificial intelligence or machine learning, and the Internet of Things.

Shiju Varghese, country head of Tata Consultancy Services, Inc.-Philippines, noted that despite “budget pressures” within companies, spending on digital transformation continues to increase.

He said digital transformation may take longer than expected even with the acceleration the country is experiencing during the pandemic.

“Accelerating transformation is not only about performing well during the pandemic. The changes will be long-term,” he said.

“We still have a long way to go, but the country is moving in the right direction in terms of digital transformation, Mr. Varghese added.

Paolo Azzola, chief operating officer of PayMaya Philippines, Inc., said endorsement by the government and policies mandating the use of digital technology in public services are “very helpful” to the digital transformation. But he added that it is not necessary for the government to make digital adoption mandatory.

“Is it necessary? No. There are several countries out there that have already managed to succeed and transform themselves in a way. Sweden, for example, has more than 90% of transactions in non-cash form. But they didn’t have a government policy mandating that. In a country like the Philippines, I think a government mandate or the very least, a government endorsement, is extremely helpful in getting companies involved and even government entities,” he said.

“Digital transformation has been happening at an unprecedented pace,” Mr. Azzola noted, adding that PayMaya has been deeply involved in enabling the government’s digital shift through its digital payment solutions.

Frederic Levy, chief commercial officer at GCash (Mynt – Globe Fintech Innovations, Inc.), noted that GCash also aims to achieve “a cashless Philippines leading to finance for all.”

“GCash is number one in the finance category in Google Play Store as of September 2020. Currently, GCash has more than 86,000 merchants, more than 33,000 cash in points, and more than 400 partner billers,” he said.

“An important factor in a company’s digital transformation is human. Get the people on board first. Everyone in the company should be ‘in’ on the company’s digital transformation,” Mr. Levy said. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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