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Industry leaders ask the question: ‘How do you make a data-driven Philippines?’

See original article by Rappler HERE

DENNIS MAPA
DENNIS MAPA. Undersecretary Dennis Mapa of the PSA talked about ongoing efforts of the government in digital transformation. All photos by Lisa Marie David/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – By the end of 2019, it is estimated that $ 1.25 trillion will be spent globally in digital transformation (DX) technology. These expenses cover hardware, software, and services geared towards a more digitally-articulate and more data-driven economy.

However, as Undersecretary Dennis Mapa, head of the Philippines Statistics Authority, asked during his opening keynote: “These ideas [on digital transformation] are ideal, but how do you enact change in a system that is very data-averse?”

Many in the room held the same thoughts. Some even questioned the possibility given the Philippines' infamous internet speeds. Everyone in the room pondered the question: how would “great” digital transformation be possible in the country?

Last November 21, at the JP Morgan Building in BGC, over 150 organization leaders from various sectors of the country came together for the first-ever Data Leaders Summit. Entitled Data-Driven Philippines, the event was organized by data analytics firm Cobena, along with partners, the Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP), and the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP).

ROUNDTABLES
ROUNDTABLES. Delegates at the Data Driven Philippines brainstorm during the workshop session.

The goal of the summit was to create a multi-sectoral forum – composed of government, academe, private enterprise, technological companies, startups, and media – to discuss ways and create solutions to accelerate the awareness, education, and adoption of data analytics in the country.

Government efforts

Opening the event were keynote addresses from government officials Sec. Ernesto Pernia of the National Economic Development Agency (NEDA) and Usec. Dennis Mapa of the PSA.

Mapa discussed the Data Analytics initiatives of his office. These include PhilSys or The Philippines Identification Systems Act, and the Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS).

The undersecretary talked about starting the pilot tests for PhilSys’ national ID system, beginning November of this year until the middle of next year. The aim is to have seamless implementation when they start mass roll-outs by July of 2020.

Mapa also discussed the CBMS Act, an initiative to collect, clean up, and update census data around the Philippines to strengthen the government’s poverty reduction policies and programs.

All these initiatives aim to arrive at better data-driven insights to guide the government's digital transformation.

SECRETARY PERNIA
SECRETARY PERNIA

Sec. Pernia, on the other hand, discussed the key legislations being done for the Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) ecosystem in the Philippines. These aim to empower further and cultivate a culture of digital transformation in the country.

Namely, these policies are:

  1. The Philippine Innovation Act - which aims to establish a National Innovation Council, address the current gaps in the STI sector, and craft a long-term vision with a National Innovation Agenda.
  2. The Philippine Innovative Start-up Act - which will help entrepreneurs gain access to a network of investors, exchange programs, and collaborators from here and abroad.

“We still have a long way to go,” admitted Pernia. “We ourselves in the public sector need to innovate and learn to use new technologies.”

The role of the private sector

Francis del Val, in his talk – wherein he discussed insights from the recently concluded 2019 Digital Transformation Survey – rallied the private sector to be a partner in the government’s journey towards digital transformation.

In the study, he said, the government is the sector most behind in digital transformation. In the survey, respondents from the government gave themselves a 1.5 out of 5 in terms of where they are DX-wise.

Barriers most cited include a lack of resources, lack of adoption guidance, and DX not being seen as urgent.

Other insights

Furthermore, Del Val warned that it isn’t only the government that should be wary of not being up-to-speed when it comes to digital transformation. For one, family corporations also face a unique challenge, as based on the survey, 46% of respondents cite that generational differences are a barrier when it comes to family-owned organizations.

FRANCIS DEL VAL
FRANCIS DEL VAL

Larger organizations are also vulnerable. Many big companies fail to be lean; feeling DX is too hard to understand. Some organizations face a lack of alignment between their C-Suite and their managers – CEOs believing that DX is being discussed in their company, while managers felt like it’s neglected.

To address these needs, Del Val said: “You have to bring the digital native inside the board room.” Their insights being the key to seamless digital integration.

Other tips include addressing DX barriers, which can be solved via articulating one’s DX vision, proper data collection, and proper data utilization.

Companies must also strengthen their knowledge by attending workshops on DX, creating the right job roles, and having the proper guidance in digital adoption. – Rappler.com


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