Local SMEs urged to undergo digital transformation

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The Institute of Corporate Directors (ICC) has encouraged domestic small and medium enterprises (SMEs) the need to undergo digital transformation to harness the benefits of technological developments under the new globalization era.

ICC president Alfredo Pascual said: “To be able to tap business opportunities in the evolving digital economy, digital transformation is key. This must be done or else, a company will be left behind.”

“The most successful businesses are the ones that constantly evolve and reinvent themselves to keep pace with advances in the outside world,” said Pascual, noting that businesses are under threat because of new and emerging technologies.

Pascual, former University of the Philippines president and PIDS trustee, pointed out that digital transformation will help businesses appreciate the importance of using their data in improving their marketing, operations, performance, and research and development.

Pascual noted that while bigger firms in the country have already embraced digital transformation, SMEs led by younger, more dynamic, and tech-savvy entrepreneurs are following closely, citing the growing Philippine start-up community as an example.

However, SMEs, in general, face a number of challenges that make it difficult for them to keep up with big corporations.

“Opportunities for SMEs are tremendous, but many are limited by their ability to grow because of lack of access to finance, business services, and information, and constrained access to markets beyond their immediate neighborhood,” Pascual explained.

He urged SMEs to use existing digital market places and online services to help them connect not only with local customers but with regional and global markets as well. However, these areas also need improvement, according to Pascual.

One major issue to resolve is the expensive and slow Internet connection in the Philippines. Pascual said that improving the competition among Internet service providers could help lower prices and increase bandwidth speed.

He also mentioned the need to strengthen the digital skills of Filipinos as well as expand their use of digital payments. More importantly, Pascual urged the government to lead by example and become more digital themselves.

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