WATCH: ePLDT’s Nico Alcoseba on digital transformation

Gelo Gonzales
ePLDT is the only Filipino company to win a Microsoft Partner of the Year award at Inspire 2017. Rappler talks to the head of its Disruptive Business Group on the sidelines of the Microsoft conference

WASHINGTON DC, USA – At Inspire 2017, Microsoft’s conference for partners, the tech giant acknowledged a long list of companies that came up with the best solutions powered by Microsoft technologies this year. 

In this year’s Microsoft Partner of the Year awards, a total of 2,800 companies from 115 countries were nominated but only a few got one: 34 winners in the main categories and 103 Country Partner of the Year awardees. 

From the Philippines, it was ePLDT that bagged one of the Country Partner awards – an award that Microsoft says is judged based on “commitment to customers, their solution’s impact on the market and exemplary use of Microsoft technologies.”

Established in 2000, ePLDT is a PLDT subsidiary providing digital business solutions to enterprises in the Philippines and other territories in Asia. It has since become a solutions provider in several areas such as enterprise resource planning; IT and business process management and outsourcing; and data center operation and enterprise cloud services.

They also say they have the country’s first big data analytics service and infrastructure, and are now the top cloud solutions provider in the Philippines and are in the top 10 in the Asia-Pacific. 

Representing ePLDT at Inspire was Nico Alcoseba, ePLDT vice president and head of its Disruptive Business Group. We got to chat with Alcoseba, who walked us through the services they provide enterprises and the “digital transformation” innovations they’ve introduced – that eventually got them an award.

Digital transformation

“Digital transformation” was the biggest buzzword at Inspire. For the business crowd, it means one thing: the enterprise sector is in a state of change.

The goal, according to Microsoft, is to be an organization whose processes are automated through AI; one that recognizes the fact that today’s employee is a multi-device user; and makes use of cutting edge tech to engage customers, optimize operations, and reshape their product. 

Following that sentiment, the company that is able to digitally transform, fast and effectively, puts themselves in a better position to succeed in today’s climate. That’s where digital business solutions providers such as ePLDT can come in. 

They can help change the mindset of establishments, and explain the benefits of emergent enterprise tech and its potential value over cost. 

Alcoseba admitted though that while Philippine companies are willing to change, “digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight; it happens over time.” Sometimes, it can take time to strike a perspective shift among the higher-ups, and when that shift happens, it takes time to fully acclimate to and trust new systems in place. Bugs, a feature of whatever system no matter the era, can also slow things down sometimes. 

“It’s very important to do this now,” Alcoseba said. He added that while big businesses in the Philippines have digital transformation programs in place now – many of which they are a part of – the small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) are still focused on another foundational pillar: connectivity.

SMEs aren’t yet in the digital transformation phase, said Alcoseba. So that’s where ePLDT has been very active in: promoting the transformation. And one of the ways they’ve come up with is they tap clients to be a brand ambassador for them. More than just clients, these enterprises represent successful use cases – good, working examples for smaller businesses that have leaner budgets and are more cautious towards frontier implementations. 

These client-as-brand-ambassador campaigns are, in fact, what earned PLDT the nod from Microsoft. 

If there’s one takeaway from Microsoft Inspire 2017, it’s that things are speeding up again in the digital world. While it’s not always necessary for a business to procure all these fancy new technologies and innovations, it pays to have knowledge on what the most advanced digital solutions currently are.

Watch the interview above to hear Nico Alcoseba talk more about this digital transformation for companies, its hindrances, IT talents in demand now, and more. –

Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.