Sunday, October 24, 2021

Batapa-Sigue: Braving the digital headwinds

Disruptive mode

THE target of the information technology business process management (IT-BPM) industry by 2022 is to achieve a revenue growth of 7.5 percent in the next three years and to see a growth of more than seven percent and a headcount growth of seven percent. This translates to 32 billion USD in revenues and additional 280,000 jobs on top of the 1.3 million IT-BPM direct jobs existing today.

Some sectors like healthcare information management, animation and game development are expected to grow faster as compared to the IT-BPM industry in general.

These figures were presented by the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) last November 12 during the 11th International Innovation Summit (IIS). This year’s theme is “Next PHase: Leading the Charge, Withstanding Headwinds, and Driving the Future of IT-BPM Today.”

The figures presented were part of a latest study by Everest. The major recommendation was to accelerate programs to achieve growth potential in major areas.

I was fortunate to participate in the round table discussion among industry CEOs, academe and government leaders on game-changing strategies for sustainable development. The direction was to leverage on collaboration of all stakeholders to face the disruptive impact of new technologies and how the IT-BPM industry can remain relevance in the global marketplace.

The three-hour long discussion centered on what industry thinks would hinder us from achieving positive growth as forecasted despite many challenges. Almost everyone around the room agrees human capital is the key factor to ensure industry growth. IBPAP and all industry leaders believe our most valuable asset is the Filipino talent, the main criteria to bring the country to the next level of innovation.

Since talent is the key issue, the study proposed three major strategies, namely, for the Philippines to have a talent upskilling program, pivot to higher value jobs and promote life-long learning. Industry leaders stressed the need for schools to help create a skilled workforce not based on jobs but on skills required by the so-called jobs of the future anchored on new technologies. Key areas include critical thinking, creativity, and skills specialization.

The study also highlighted the growth of SMEs and startups and the need for mentorship from key technology experts. Another imperative was to create an ecosystem that promotes infrastructure and countryside development. Industry also raised the need to create a strong country branding and competitiveness in the global market and highlighted the importance of government support the industry and strengthening of public-private partnership.

While the Philippines dominate the voice verticals of the IT-BPM industry given our excellence in communication skills, everyone in the room shared the aspiration of going beyond voice to non-voice services, where India currently takes the lead based on cost-quality perspective. Our manpower must evolve if we are to survive the next phase of Industry 4.0.

The healthcare information management (HIM) industry shared their challenge about hiring licensed nurses due to the scarcity of nursing graduates taking and passing licensure examinations, a phenomenon that needs to be looked into.

We should take into serious consideration the things that have been raised on the table considering the contribution of the industry in revenues and job generation. I agree with the general sentiment that we need to do things differently today than how we have done it in the past otherwise we will not be able to leverage on our biggest asset today, our human talent.

For my part, I was privileged to share the direction of Senator Sonny Angara in formulating strategies for industrialization anchored on innovation and inclusion. The policy initiative is dubbed as Tatak Pinoy and aims to promote the Philippine brand and the Filipino talent.


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