Embracing transformation: One-on-one with ASG Technologies General Manager in Asia Pacific Praveen Kumar
We recently had a chance to sit on a one-on-one interview with ASG Technologies General Manager in Asia Pacific Praveen Kumar to talk about things relevant to businesses’ journey on digital transformation. A leading global solutions provider, ASG Technologies has a wide array of products and services including Workspaces, Enterprise Data Intelligence, Content Solutions, and Applications Management – all essential in helping businesses fully embrace and understand the benefits of DX. Here’s an expert take on the ongoing digital transformation in the local scene.
"SMEs have understood that they need to digitally transform because the environment is looking digital."
From the point of view of ASG Technologies, how is the Philippines doing so far with regard to adapting digital transformation as compared to other countries in the Asia Pacific region?
We are seeing interest and some level of budgeting that’s happening. The implementation of it is in different phases depending on the maturity level of the customer itself so we cannot generalize that every customer is taking the same set of actions or investments but there are slightly larger customers who are taking more advanced steps to enhance the capability within the enterprise as well as for their customers from a digital perspective.
Compared to other countries, it’s slightly behind, but it’s unfair to compare every country because each one is in a different stage of evolution, and infrastructure is very different. If we compare equal type of countries in terms of development stage, I think the Philippines is on its way up. Maybe in about 24 months, there will be a decent progress with most enterprises. The Philippines is more or less on the way – it’s not the leader, it’s not last either. It’s somewhere in between.
We all know that digital transformation is also about automation, and this is where concerns are being raised. Some people think that taking automation might result in the manual workforce losing their jobs. What’s your take on this?
It’s a very interesting question that most customers have globally. There are many companies in the Philippines who’ve invested on automation solutions from ASG. What tends to happen is in any customer environment, there are lot of functions which are done daily, weekly, hourly, etc. These are regular functions.
In medium to large-sized companies, the average number of jobs range from one thousand five hundred to two thousand jobs a day. The larger enterprises could be doing fifty to sixty thousand jobs a day, and these are done on a daily basis. If you ask employees who are doing it, they are bored because they’re doing nothing new on this. There is no learning in this process, it’s just that you’re doing the job because it has to be done. You have different applications, you have different software infrastructures, and because they are unable to talk to each other using a standard tool, you are actually manually doing these functions. Sometimes, these employees are taking longer hours on work because these functions are done post-business hours.
When you start automating the base functions that are being done on a daily basis, people can do more productive work. Automation will prevent a person in doing extra work which is unproductive in nature and also takes away the person’s productive time which could’ve been use to do better things for the enterprise.
If you look at jobs lost, we’re not seeing companies that automate functions here remove any jobs. In fact, those people are in better position to interact with us to discuss which new version should be deployed, how those functions could be utilized, what new activity can be managed. That’s point number one.
Point number two is human error. Because a human is doing a particular function, if he or she does a mistake, it could cause revenue lost and could cause impact to the company, which in turn can make you lose you job. Now with automated function, human error is removed from the picture because the system is doing it automatically, allowing you to do more work from a strategic level of application.
How essential is it for SMEs to adapt digital transformation to maintain competitiveness in the market?
It’s a misconception that SMEs are reluctant to digital transformation, or they don’t want it. It is right to say that they believe if it’s worth doing it with that amount of expenditure. If companies like ASG, which we already started, will find solutions to retrofit the SME segment also – say they can buy a similar solution used by a large bank or a company but we’ll give it to you at a much affordable price with some restrictions of course, they are willing to invest.
SMEs have understood that they need to digitally transform because the environment is looking digital.