Filipino Businesses Increase Investment in Digital Experiences, Customer Analytics

Businesses in the Philippines are investing in user-friendly digital experiences and improving customer analytics as they perceive customer experience and innovation as strategic imperatives and critical differentiators, according to findings of a new study by Oxford Economics, a global economic forecasting and quantitative analysis firm, and global software firm SAP SE.

The study, which surveyed 600 senior executives across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, found that in the Philippines, businesses both large and small view customer experiences as vital for their survival and growth with 53% citing improving customer experience as their top primary strategic priority, followed by improving employee experiences (42%), and attracting new customers (36%).

Filipino businesses believe that outstanding customer experience can help them differentiate from competitors, with two-thirds (42%) naming service excellence, along with product excellence (18%) and innovation (9%) as their organization’s three primary sources of value and differentiation.

To pursue their ambitions, businesses in the Philippines have started soliciting and acting on customers’ feedback (94%), and are actively improving customer data analytics (85%). 75% also said they have started investing in user-friendly digital experiences (75%).

The sentiment is shared by the broader Southeast Asian region where respondents believe automation and digital technologies can help them support their business goals by increasing process efficiency and reducing errors (56%), reducing overhead costs (45%), allowing employees to focus on higher-level business tasks (39%) and increasing productivity (37%).

Despite businesses recognizing technology as an enabler to help drive greater business outcomes, many still face technical challenges, including cloud adoption and using data to gain insights, the research found.

Digital laggard

The Philippines, which has ambitions for all government services to become fully digital by 2022, was ranked just the 59th out of 79 countries in Huawei’s 2020 Global Connectivity Index.

The index, which gauges countries’ digital transformation, considers factors such as the level of supply for information and communications technology (ICT) products and services, demand for connectivity, and potential for future development of the digital economy.

At rank 59, the Philippines is considered a “starter” in digital transformation, behind Malaysia (34th), Thailand (46th) and Vietnam (55th), which all are considered “adopters.” Singapore is the only Southeast Asian country to make it in the “frontrunner” group, ranking 2nd globally behind the US.

The Philippines scored higher than the global average for telecom investment but below for cloud investment, despite demand for cloud migration being higher than average.

Rising demand for cloud computing and related services is something that providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) have witnessed this year. Stanley Chan, head of technology partners for AWS in Asia Pacific (APAC), said in February that the firm has seen and continue seeing “a lot of growth in new customers and partner signup” for cloud services, he said during a virtual press briefing.

“Our top consulting partners have grown their business by up to 200% year on year. There is some softening due to the pandemic, but organizations in the Philippines are hopeful that they will have good recovery this year,” Chan said.

Filipino companies’ migration onto the cloud is expected to grow rapidly this year, back to its robust 2019 level as enterprises accelerate adoption of new technologies, he said.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts public cloud services spending in APAC to reach US$48.4 billion by 2021 as organizations continue to adjust to the new normal and build new technology-enabled business models.

Featured image credit: Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

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