PLDT Ernesto R Alberto, Executive Vice-president and Chief Revenue Officer, PLDT; and President and CEO, ePLDT: Interview

Ernesto R Alberto, Executive Vice-president and Chief Revenue Officer, PLDT; and President and CEO, ePLDT

Interview: Ernesto R Alberto

How advanced is digital innovation among Philippine businesses compared to those in the region?

ERNESTO ALBERTO: Innovation in the Philippines relates to two primary factors. Firstly, Filipinos have positioned the country to be the preferred destination for outsourcing, both in call centres and the more complex business process outsourcing (BPO) segment, allowing them to host nearly 500 new corporate entities and directly employ 1.5m people, while also bringing about $25bn to $26bn to the economy. The nature of the BPO industry itself is technology oriented, in order to be able to facilitate and achieve the objectives of offloading and outsourcing, and to principally allow arbitrage and availability of cross-border talents. In this industry, it is crucial to have a robust platform to transmit data and information across different parts of the world. Certainly, it involves a complex architecture of connectivity, ICT platforms and capabilities.

The second factor is the banking industry. Within ASEAN, the Philippines is the second-most-populated country and boasts the fastest-growing GDP. A great deal more needs to be done, particularly in e-banking where there is still a large unbanked population as well as in policy terms, with regards to furthering inclusivity through fintech. Technology is one of the biggest sectors of revenue growth in enterprise. The main obstacle we see currently is the availability of ICT talent, which is partially due to the country itself not being well positioned for technology. For the last 20 years our traditional orientation was towards services. This is changing of course, but we need to stay ahead of the curve in order to see a new crop of highly trained tech professionals entering areas of the jobs market that will not be covered by artificial intelligence.

What other measures are being introduced to improve digital services?

ALBERTO: The way business decision-making is currently made leans primarily on the timely and accurate creation of a database, coupled with digital engagement with the customer, rather than knowledge-, information- and experience-based decision-making. In this regard, data is considered the new gold and is the most important asset of any enterprise today.

As a leading purveyor of technological development in the Philippines, we have established a path for digital transformation in business, with the goal of enabling technology services for all domestic markets. This has included building an ecosystem of fibres over the As of 2018 we have already rolled out around 190,000 km of fibre and put up around 25,000 base stations for carriers of 2G, 3G and LET, catering to the wireless services needs of 90% of the population. In addition, we have built a string of 10 data centres to To connect the country on an international level, we have maintained four unique landing stations, hosting the latest in low-lying international cable systems. Each of these investments was made to ensure that business in the Philippines remains relevant and globally competitive in fast-changing digital world.

To what extent is the Philippines prepared for onALBERTO: As one of the principal cyberattacked countries internationally, significant resources and building capability have already been invested to help enterprises address cybersecurity and protect against these attacks, which include hacks, security malwares and viruses. In the past, the Philippines has also underspent on cybersecurity, making it a relatively According to the International Data Corporation, the Philippines ranked 11th in the lowest expenditure for business cyberresiliency, which is why we have been extending our partnerships with both the public and private sectors in an attempt to narrow this gap.

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The Report: The Philippines 2018

ICT chapter from The Report: The Philippines 2018

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The Report

This article is from the ICT chapter of The Report: Philippines 2018. Explore other chapters from this report.

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