CEBU, Philippines — To stay in business under the new normal, companies across sizes are urged to take on full digitalization platform.

“Digital transformation is no longer an option. It is a must,” said Third Librea, Advisory Services Head of P&A Grant Thornton in a recently held webinar, on impact of COVID-19 on digital transformation agendas.

The webinar was participated by guest speakers from global artificial intelligence and intelligent automation company AntWorks and digital transformation enabler Microsoft.

P&A Grant Thornton presented the webinar in line with the introduction of its digital transformation services.

The CEOs, CFOs, and digital transformation experts exchanged views on the importance of digital transformation given the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

“The past three and a half months have compelled our organizations to go digital in many ways. Changes to our work practices during this pandemic, however, are the just of the tip of the iceberg that is digital transformation. [Digital transformation] is a foundational change in how an organization delivers value to its customers,” said Ma. Victoria Españo, Chairperson and CEO of P&A Grant Thornton.

Herbert Bactong, the Director for P&A Grant Thornton’s digital transformation services, shared some highlights from the firm’s recently concluded Digital Transformation Survey.

“It’s good to know that 80 percent of our respondents have work-from-home programs, and 66 percent started work-from-home arrangements during the quarantine. However, only 54 percent of these companies plan to continue the practice once the quarantine is lifted,” said Bactong.

He also cited that small and medium enterprises have a higher percentage of ongoing or completed digital transformation projects than large companies do.

“This may be due to the flexibility that they can afford and the less complex project requirements of smaller organizations,” Bactong added.

Also, Bactong reported that the top three ongoing or completed digital transformation projects of those surveyed are process automation and digitization, workforce mobility, and digital marketing.

“We agree that this should be prioritized to help lessen the effects of the disruption brought about by the pandemic,” he said.

However, companies are also interested in data analytics and e-commerce implementation. Bactong also shared the five significant challenges of survey respondents in digital transformation: security issues, lack of budget, lack of project management tools, lack of skills, and lack of formal strategy.

Hugo Walkinshaw, Chief Partnership Officer of AntWorks, then talked on practical resiliency tools, such as digitization and automation.

“We are moving away from the traditional multiyear, multimillion-dollar, large-scale systems driven by enterprise resource planning and moving more into agile, nimble, cloud-based technology,” said Walkinshaw.

Yvette Watson, Modern Work & Security Business Lead of Microsoft Philippines, talked about secure remote work and enabling a secure remote setup using the tech giant’s offerings.

“Technology is all good, but there has to be a business case. There has to be a justification of the cost,” said Watson.

“Digital transformation is not just change; it involves three processes: digitization, digitalization, and digital transformation,” Bactong noted.

To cap off the webinar, Bactong also provided a strategy and roadmap for the digital transformation journey.

“To transform, you need a strategy. Unfortunately, many businesses approach digital transformation with a fast and furious nature. They react to obstacles and gravitate towards the newest and shiniest trends, and that’s just survival mode,” he commented.

“Roadmaps help identify and communicate with stakeholders your digital strategy. It also helps reduce project risk and increases return on investment,” said Bactong.


As published in The Freeman, dated 18 July 2020