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More Filipino execs prioritizing digital transformation – survey

By Jenina P. Ibañez, Reporter

More than half of Filipino executives are prioritizing the digital transformation of their business in the next two years, a study from the IBM Institute for Business Value said.

The institute conducted a global study on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the future of business from April to August 2020, which found that digital transformation is about more than just technological competency but also human resources.

“Our research highlights a gaping chasm between what executives think they are offering their employees and how those employees feel: employers significantly overestimate the effectiveness of their support and training efforts,” the report said.

Presenting the results, IBM Philippines President and Country General Manager Aileen J. Jiao in an online press conference on Friday said that 51% of Filipino executives indicated increasing priority for digital transformation.

They plan to apply automation across various business functions, especially in procurement, risk, supply chain, and research and development.

IBM Philippines found that business executives will accelerate the digital transformation of their organizations, which also means that they will engage with their workforce “in new ways.”

Ms. Jiao said 24% of Filipino executives are prioritizing workplace safety and security, from two percent two years ago. In another two years, the firm expects this to increase to 58%.

“As we go through this shift, we have to keep in mind also the users of that technology. And who are these? These are our people,” she said.

“The renewed focus on people is going to be deeper. The pandemic has highlighted this.”

IBM found that 69% of Filipino executives believe they have been helping their employees learn skills needed for new types of work, while 72% believe that they are supporting the physical and emotional health of their workforce.

Ms. Jiao noted that expectations must be tempered in terms of the readiness of human resources departments in the Philippines for digital transformation.

“Some of the HR executives or some of the HR organizations could be ready, but this is also a journey for them, but let’s not have our expectations too high,” she said.

“The silver lining there is that they want to get even more ready and even more skilled, but the shift is not just about the HR department alone… the senior leaders need to be part of that.”

In terms of revenue, tech-savvy companies have been significantly outperforming peers, IBM Philippines Country Leader for Cloud and Cognitive Solutions Christine Llanto-Ravelo said.

“It means that if you are an organization in your industry that has a particular technology adoption on specific technology drivers… you’re most likely outperforming your peers in your industry,” she said, noting that this is particularly significant in the retail and insurance sectors.

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