Digital Transformation

Keeping the e in e-Industry

Julian Cirineo
Keeping the e in e-Industry
It’s been more than a year since e-Industries took over conventional businesses. What have we learned since then?

The world has entered a new era, where investing in a physical space to run a business isn’t as important as it used to be. This, right after the boom of co-working spaces and flexible office leases, was a phenomenon that many saw coming but didn’t expect to happen so fast.

Closure of physical spaces and travel restrictions didn’t just result in a shift to digital channels, but more like a pivot. In a world where safety in proximity was a concern, everyone had to figure out how to keep up with life even when apart. The industries that kept the world running plugged into the digital grid, becoming electronics-based industries, or e-Industries, that catered to the world’s needs remotely. And after more than a year since the pandemic began, those in the business community are accepting the fact e-Industries are here to stay.

“At the height of disruptions brought about by the global pandemic, we at PLDT Enterprise first led the transformation of e-Industries last year through technological advancements to help fuel their growth and development despite the challenges in the business landscape,” said Jovy Hernandez, ePLDT president & CEO and SVP and head of PLDT & Smart Enterprise and International Business Groups. “We are committed to continuously improve and develop more tailor-fit solutions to support the expanding needs of various e-industries.”

“Remote” and e-everything will continue

Sectors across the board had to make use of online channels, whether in distributing their products, staying in touch with their clientele, or even managing workforces and other internal processes. And clearly, the benefits of doing so have moved beyond simply picking back up where things were left in the past.

The most prevalent among developments in the past year that will stick is remote and hybrid work setups. Several companies have already announced that they won’t be moving back to conventional work schedules and will only require limited face-to-face meetings. Some are experimenting with hybrid setups where physical interactions are also lessened.

“Many experts have made their predictions that the return to the usual workplace is unlikely, and that remote work is here to stay. With remote work still at the forefront because of the pandemic, we ensure that businesses can continue on with their operations through our digital tools and services. Our aim is to bridge companies in their goals of transforming their operations through technology. Soon enough, we will not just work from home but work from anywhere,” shared Hernandez.

Other technologies explored and deployed included warehouse and inventory management, chatbots, ICT solutions, and other cloud-related services. And now that 5G is also beginning to roll out globally, we can expect more powerful cloud architectures that can potentially be hardware-agnostic.

Cash is no longer king, neither is convenience

Before the pandemic began, services that primed convenience were taking off, and people were willing to pay the premiums placed on them. Ride-sharing, though more expensive than other forms of public transportation, was patronized. Online food deliveries were a thing even then because of how easy it was to place an order and receive it even on short notice. Convenience was everything then, but that’s not necessarily the case here anymore.

Safety, rather than convenience, is now the priority for many. When in the past, it used to be bringing products easier to people, today, it’s about removing as much contact as possible as the pandemic persists. And this also sheds light on the possibility of preserving the “human touch” even when we don’t see people physically.

George Westerman, a principal research scientist for workforce learning at MIT Sloan, describes this as an assumption over customer values. He explains that a carefully planned digital architecture can indeed produce a personalized transaction even when done remotely.

Flexibility opens opportunities

After more than a year of restricted movement, there are now things that we find normal that we would have had a hard time accepting pre-pandemic. One example is conducting health consultations. e-Healthcare used to be limited in checking and booking appointments. Today, even consultations done through video calls are accepted as legitimate, and prescriptions issued via email are valid.

The same can be said for other industries like e-Learning and e-Banking. Online courses are nothing new, but the systems that schools employ are now more robust. Banking services have also taken a digital approach in the past, but more services are being brought into online and mobile platforms to keep up with the needs of customers.

These are but a few demonstrations of how strict regulation can also quickly adopt new measures wherever and whenever necessary.

Recalibration takes more than acquiring technology

While digital transformation and shifting to e-Industries heavily rely on finding the right technologies, investing in new tech is only half the battle. Doing so also requires having an open-minded approach and strong dedication to making new systems work.

And even though a lot of the challenges that businesses face today are still difficult to navigate, there are those who have done it successfully who can give you an idea of how they pursued digital transformation and hopefully give you an idea on how you can apply what they’ve learned on your own. 

Given both the emergence and prevalence of digital transformation, PLDT Enterprise established the Philippine Digital Convention in 2014 as a medium through which global industry mavens, thought leaders, and pioneers in technology could come together to help drive technological enablement among enterprises throughout the country and region.

The PH Digicon has been gathering C-suite level experts who lay down the biggest trends in tech and how they have maximized such advancements into their operations. This year, the three-day conference will be held virtually, exploring the theme of “REVOLUTION” as a means to encourage businesses to embrace revolutionary innovations and switch to a digital approach as they recover from the pandemic.

PH Digicon 2021 will be headlined by Hollywood actress, producer, and entrepreneur Charlize Theron. It will also feature other industry heads and trailblazers like Yasuo Suzuki of NTT Global Data Center, John Harrington of Nokia, Dave West of Cisco, Nicholas Ma of Huawei, and Filipino business tycoons such as Penshoppe Group chairman and CEO Bernie Liu, Jollibee Group chief business officer Joseph Tanbuntiong, JG Summit Holdings Inc. president and CEO Lance Gokongwei, Century Pacific Food, Inc. executive chairman Chris Po, Alliance Global Group Inc. CEO Kevin L. Tan, and many more. 

The conference will be held from October 6 to 8, 2021. Join the revolution and register now for free at: phdigicon2021.com.

For more information, visit pldtenterprise.com/phdigicon2021– Rappler.com