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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Custom deals for SMEs

Options for SME clients. PLDT SME Nation, says strategic accounts planning and management head Niño Nanquil, wants to give SMEs digital solutions that can help them compete with larger players. These include web POS (point-of-sale) systems and cloud services.  (Sun.Star Foto/Arni Aclao)

RATHER than provide set bundles to their clients, PLDT SME Nation is customizing its services to fit their needs instead. They expect that with their new partnership with Samsung and Microsoft, and the changing needs of small businesses, they can double their client base.

At the launching of the partnership Thursday, PLDT SME Nation business development executive for Visayas and Mindanao Niño Nanquil told reporters that they work around their clients’ budgets, noting that SMEs have less capital to work with than larger enterprises.

“SMEs do things phase by phase. They do not rush everything and only get what is very important to them,” Nanquil said.

He said that on top of the services and devices they provide, they also help design a road map for firms to implement changes in phases. By partnering with providers like Samsung and Microsoft, Nanquil said, PLDT makes sure its customers don’t have to deal with different entities.

Having partners also allows them to provide the services and devices without spending too much. Apart from initial installation fees, Nanquil said, getting services from them will end up becoming operational expenses, which are more manageable than capital expenses.

The company hopes they can provide SMEs with digital solutions that can make them compete with larger players because of access to tools that were only available to large players. These include web POS (point-of-sale) systems that provide real-time information on sales and inventory and cloud services.

Schools, hotels, hospitals, business process outsourcing companies, retailers, service providers and manufacturers will all benefit from different cloud solutions, he said.

With 20,000 clients in the Vismin area, PLDT hopes to double the number this year. Nanquil is especially optimistic about the financial sector, saying a recent Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) ruling requires rural banks to keep an offsite back-up system with five years’ worth of data to ensure records are intact in case anything should happen to their main branch.

He said rural banks are aggressively growing and 100 of the roughly 500 of these banks are their clients.

With the need to ensure business continuity, Nanquil said all firms are realizing the importance of having such solutions available to them.

Cebu reporters witnessed the launching in Manila via video conferencing using Microsoft 365. The tool, Nanquil said, can be used for meetings and for educational institutions that want to offer online access to students. It does not require an office setup or specific devices, as tablets and smartphones can be used.

They can also offer Samsung devices such as smartphones, tablets and monitors that businesses require as part of the services, which would normally cost dearly if devices are bought on their own.

Their broadband offerings feature committed information rates, guaranteeing minimum bandwidth speeds for businesses and static IP to power up websites.
Nanquil said that they can offer leased line for required speeds of just 2Mbps that SMEs appreciate.

“Through this strategic partnership, SMEs will have access to game-changing business tools such as faster and nationwide fixed and wireless broadband solutions, latest gadgets and devices, and relevant collaboration cloud applications which should ultimately lead to higher levels of operational efficiencies, expanded market reach, higher profit margin levels and, in the process, create higher economic multiplier for our country,” PLDT executive vice president and ePLDT president and CEO Eric Alberto said during the event’s welcome remarks.

The company noted the Filipinos’ quick adoption of mobile and believes it creates “unprecedented opportunities” for some 800,000 SMEs in the country. Their solutions are their answer to allowing SMEs to tap and engage the country’s 10 million Twitter followers, 34 million Facebook users and over 44 million Internet users.
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