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Microsoft: Digital transformation happening soon, but leadership is a challenge

By Lionell Go Macahilig - on 2 Mar 2017, 2:43am

Microsoft: Digital transformation happening soon, but leadership is a challenge

microsoft, ict, idc, futurescapes, cian o'neil, enterprises, digital transformation, dx economy, philippines

With the continuously growing economy and increasing ICT spending, the Philippines is certainly heading to an era of digital transformation. It is one of the top ICT predictions that the International Data Corporation (IDC) rolled out in its annual Futurescapes this year. Microsoft agrees with this prediction, foreseeing that it is going to happen very soon in the country.

“I think it is only a matter of time. Given enough time and proper education, it (digital transformation) could happen very, very quickly. It could happen in the next 24 months or two years, as long as the business leaders and the government are all leaning in to ensure that we have the right skills and, ultimately, the right agenda. It’s a digital plan, not only in the part of marketing, but in every part of the business,” Microsoft Philippines COO Cian O’Neil said.

Microsoft has a rosy outlook for the Philippine ICT landscape, despite infrastructure concerns. IDC’s Futurescapes see inadequate digital infrastructure as a roadblock to digital transformation, but O’Neil believes that it was a factor in the past and it is not a major concern at the moment. Big businesses and telcos are now turning to cloud. In a cloud setup, data is stored in a remote and secure data center that handles the maintenance of hardware involved. This allows businesses to deviate from spending too much on hardware for infrastructure and manpower for maintenance, and focus more their resources on what they actually do.

“Many customers think that they are more secure if they have the server under their desk. However, seventy-six percent of all security breaches are because of human error: forgetting to unplug the cable, leaving the computer unlocked, or forgetting to activate encryption, to name a few. That perception, thankfully, is about to change. People are realizing that they cannot invest millions of dollars on R&D and data security. On the cloud, you are far more secure,” O’Neal added.

On the government’s side, the DICT recently made an announcement that all agencies must go to cloud, a good indication that lots of things are happening. IDC is seeing this as part of the government’s more strategic initiatives in the field of ICT.

In spite of the encouraging scenery, Microsoft cautioned. After surveying 1,494 business leaders from Asia, including 111 from the Philippines, “The Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study” revealed that 86% of C-level executives in the Philippines believe that going digital is a number one priority, but only 32% has a plan. Companies are investing in digital but they do not have a concrete roadmap of where they are going to.

“The biggest challenge we’re seeing is leadership in digital. We have a lot of brilliant leaders here, the market is primed, and a lot of young people are digitally savvy. What we really need are leaders who are ready to lean in, embrace, and be curious of what digital really means to their products, customers, and employees, particularly the millennials who have a different set of expectations,” O’Neal remarked.

O’Neal added that going digital is all about strategizing insights in real time, achieving the right level of savviness, and leveraging digital competencies to drive change. These can be done through data, analytics, and cloud.

“Whether you’re department is finance, marketing, operations, sales, or customer service, and regardless of the industry whether it is banking, insurance, consumer, retail, manufacturing, or hospitality, we believe that we have the expertise, resources, institutions, partners, and an entire ecosystem to drive digital transformation in the Philippines,” he concluded.