TECHTALKS PH, a private community of business, technology, and start-up enthusiasts, urge the local government of Davao Region in coming up with a start-up ecosystem canvass in order to level up the business process outsourcing (BPO) services in the city.

The information technology in Mindanao, particularly in Davao Region, should level up into digital innovation because traditional BPO services such as voice and non-voice services (virtual assistance, data entry, etc) may be obsolete in the coming 10 to 20 years, said Techtalks PH Chief Program Officer Mary Rose Rontal.

“In the near future, these BPO industries like the virtual assistants can just be done by robots and artificial intelligence. That is the challenge once these would disappear in the future. Right now, if we do tech start-up and digital transformation, stretching the skills of our IT graduates, exposing them into artificial intelligence, robotics, cybersecurity, and digital marketing skills, at least we are prepared for the future while still addressing the current demand,” Rontal said.

She said the government has already come up with a nationwide roadmap for digital start-up technologies. Part of the roadmap is the plan to create at least 500 start-up techs by 2020.

Although, Rontal said she is not aware of the update of this roadmap, she said it would be good for the local government agencies in Davao Region to come up with a start-up ecosystem canvass in order to trace the specific current status of the digital start-up tech in the region.

Rontal said this industry had long started to build up and flourish in Manila and Cebu. In these areas, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) are conducting QBO events which were in partnership with DTI, Ideaspace, and JPMorgan.

She shared that Tholons Services Globalization Index had ranked the 100 super cities in terms of IT development for this year particularly digital innovation, start-up ecosystem, and digital transformation. Manila and Cebu ranked 4th and 8th respectively while Davao City was ranked the 85th.

“Upgraded IT technology in the region would bring additional investment in the country. Since the investors knew about the thriving tech industry in Cebu, a lot of international investment came in. For us, our IT graduates have a lot of employment opportunities. And since we are also encouraging them to become entrepreneurs, then they will also possibly come up with their own business or start-up company,” Rontal said.

She was also glad that the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) is interested in investing in the IT industry in the country particularly software development and digitalization, e-commerce, and financial technology knowing the edge that Singapore has in this sector compared to other Asian countries.