MANILA, Philippines – Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Philippines need to undergo digital transformation to harness the benefits of technological developments under the new globalization, said Institute of Corporate Directors president Alfredo Pascual.
At the 5th Annual Public Policy Conference (APPC) conducted by Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), the former University of the Philippines president and PIDS trustee pointed out digital transformation would help businesses appreciate the importance of ‘datafication’ in improving their marketing, operations, performance, and research and development.
“To be able to tap business opportunities in the evolving digital economy, digital transformation is key. This must be done, or else, a company will be left behind,” Pascual said.
He added the most successful businesses are the ones that constantly evolve and reinvent themselves to keep pace with advances in the outside world, and warned businesses were under threat because of new and emerging technologies.
While bigger firms in the country have already embraced digital transformation, Pascual noted that SMEs led by “younger, more dynamic, and tech-savvy entrepreneurs are following closely,” as manifested in the country’s startup community.
However, SMEs, in general, face a number of challenges that make it difficult for them to keep up with big corporations.
“Opportunities for SMEs are tremendous, but many are limited by their ability to grow because of lack of access to finance, business services, and information, and constrained access to markets beyond their immediate neighborhood,” Pascual explained.
Because of this, Pascual urged SMEs to use existing digital marketplaces and online services to help them connect not only with local customers but also with regional and global markets. He said that improving the competition among internet service providers “could help lower prices and increase bandwidth speed.”
Pascual also mentioned the need to strengthen the digital skills of Filipinos by expanding their use of digital payments, and urged the government to “lead by example and become more digital themselves.”
Speaking at the same conference, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for International Economic Relations Lourdes Yparraguirre also urged SMEs to innovate, saying that it is a “critical factor for production.”
“The ability to innovate will become – more than ever – an important element of economic development,” Yparraguirre said. – Rappler.com