When the International Data Corp. (IDC) unveiled its top predictions for the Philippine information and communications technology (ICT) industry in 2019 and beyond, it predicted that at least 30% of organizations across the country would achieve digital determination by 2020.

To be “digitally determined” means to transform markets and reimagine the future through innovative business models as well as digitally enabled products and services. For Filipino firms and their chief information officers (CIOs), this would require not just resilience, but also a blueprint consisting of a unified enterprise strategy, a single digital platform to scale technology innovations, and a long-term investment plan based on the principle that digital transformation is inherently valuable to the business.

“Race to Reinvent: The Digital Determination Playbook” was the theme of IDC Philippines’ 2019 CIO Summit held at the Shangri-La at The Fort, Bonifacio Global City. The event gathered key analysts and ICT leaders from various industries to provide insights that would help CIOs piece together a playbook for digital determination.

Among the conference speakers were: Carlos Santos, Universal Robina Corp. CIO; Francisco Castillo, Maynila Water Services SVP-CIO; Giovanni Co, Bank of the Philippine Islands VP-Business Technology; Jahangir Naina, Silver Peak Regional Director for ASEAN; Rhett Ramos, Allegro MicroSystems Philippines IT Director; Daniel Lourenco, OutSystems Solution Architect Director; and Jayan Dy, Procter & Gamble Philippines CIO.

IDC Philippines’ Head of Operations Randy Roberts discussed the role of the CIO in reinventing the ICT organization and how technologies such as Artificial Intelligence will be co-workers in this Digital Age. Prior to serving as Research Director of IDC Asia-Pacific for Internet of Things and Telcos, Mr. Roberts held a variety of leadership roles at AT&T, BlackBerry, Motorola, Nokia, and Siemens.

A fierce debate has been raging among industry leaders, economists, and policy makers about the socio-economic impact of digital transformation. Thus, IDC Program Manager Celeste Narvaez moderated a panel discussion featuring Angkas Founder and CEO Angeline Tham, who expounded on the future of work in an increasingly digital economy and how Filipino companies could deliver competitiveness through digital transformation.

The CIO Summit also addressed the challenges and opportunities that await business leaders in maximizing the combined value of digital initiatives for industry and society. Indeed, digital determination can be a force for building trust, creating a workforce ready for the machine era, and evolving a sustainable world.

“Inclusion and Digital Transformation” was likewise the theme of the 1st Fintech Alliance INDX Summit last month at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Assembly Hall in Manila.

Newly minted BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno delivered the keynote speech before the country’s leading companies in the financial technology sector and he declared: “I fully support and will carry forward our financial inclusion agenda so that financial services are made more accessible to a greater number of Filipinos.”

In honor of his predecessor, he launched the Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr. Institute for Growth and National Inclusion, Transformation, and Empowerment (IGNITE) together with Fintech Alliance Philippines Chairman Lito Villanueva, who will serve as IGNITE President.

Mr. Diokno said: “We are all undoubtedly inspired by the life and work of Gov. Nesting. IGNITE is a multi-stakeholder, research-based, and data-driven advocacy. It is a social transformation platform that leverages on technology to empower financially unserved and underserved Filipinos for more inclusive growth — just as Gov. Nesting would have wanted.”

IGNITE will be chaired by USAID Microfinance Specialist Teresita Espenilla, the late BSP chief’s widow, and its board of trustees is composed of the following: Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran, Budget Undersecretary Lilia Guillermo, Riza Mantaring of Sun Life Financial Philippines, Richard Moya of Microsoft Philippines, Kelly Hattel of Asian Development Bank, Gay Santos of International Finance Corp., Gilda Pico of Producers Bank, Aristotle Alip of CARD MRI Philippines, and Sylvia Paraguya of the National Confederation of Cooperatives.

By 2022, IGNITE’s goals are to empower 25 million adult Filipinos with basic deposit accounts, engage more digital players to reduce the number of unbanked local government units to 25% from the current 35%, and enable more than 25% of grassroots-based financial institutions such as cooperatives and rural banks to deploy inter-operable digital products and services.


J. Albert Gamboa is CFO of the Asian Center for Legal Excellence and Chairman of the FINEX Golden Jubilee Book Project.