Grace Abella-Zata, President of Kestria Philippines, interviewed Dindo Marzan, one of the Digital Transformation Leaders in the Philippines.
Grace: Where is the Philippines in terms of digitalization?
Dindo: The Philippines has long dominated the online landscape as dedicated users of telecommunication services and online content, extending the national identity of warmth and hospitality to the virtual space. So when True Digital Group (TDG) sought to expand operations in Southeast Asia, they were immediately drawn to the social media capital of the world. While Filipinos are skilled in quickly adapting to new technology, we have yet to make a massive cultural shift in terms of upgrading analogue processes to keep up in the new era. A company like TDG aims to help bridge that gap between tradition and modernization.
What impact did the pandemic have on digitalization?
The pandemic has not only caused the downsizing and cost-cutting of many businesses, but it has also accelerated the country's digitalization. Companies, big or small, are all currently undergoing digital transformation (DX). Digital adoption has been long overdue in the Philippines, and COVID-19 just made it inevitable. Our retail sector's brick-and-mortar businesses were forced to switch to e-commerce. Frontliners of insurance, pharmaceutical, and service-based companies have embraced video conferencing platforms to pitch and sell to clients. Content formats and windowing have adjusted to favour over-the-top (OTT), and online media platforms like Netflix, since Filipinos have become glued to these streaming and digital channels more than ever. Creators and influencers have started to compete with big media companies because the target audience's shift to the internet has resulted in the democratization of content production and marketing. The businesses that have survived this crisis are the ones that have found ways to operate in the new normal, which is already being referred to as the "now normal."