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Employee readiness key to digitalizing business

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By Denise A. Valdez
Reporter

A KEY consideration for companies embarking on a digital transformation is finding a platform that people will easily adapt to, as employees are said to be the most important element in digitalizing a business’ operations and systems.

Jojo S. Guingao, chief digital officer of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, took note of this in a recent interview about the Aboitiz Group’s journey into digital revolution.

“The biggest thing for us in terms of transformation is we need to get the people ready to make sure that they’re agile,” he said. “We’re transforming the workplace. It’s for people to be agile, to make sure that we can quickly react and take advantage of whatever.”

The Aboitiz Group started using Workplace by Facebook last year, which Mr. Guingao said has been helpful in training people to adjust to the company’s push for a mobile work platform.

Along with the company’s efforts to be completely on the cloud by 2021, he said the Aboitiz Group wants to transform the way its businesses operate by using a digital platform to link people from its offices in the provinces and abroad all at once.




With a background in working in Silicon Valley, Mr. Guingao said the challenge for a country like the Philippines is it takes quite a while for people to learn technology.

“At the end of the day, you’re dealing with people that either don’t understand or don’t believe in it. And you need to educate them a lot. That takes a while in terms of implementing a technology… I think from that aspect, it slowed the process a little bit more. Because it’s important that you put a lot of effort on the people aspect,” he said.

But he noted that with a platform like Workplace by Facebook, the transition was relatively easier as employees are more likely familiar with it.

“When we launched Workplace, it’s an enterprise platform but it’s zero training. People just started using it. Majority of the people know how to post, know how to like, know how to share. It was natural for everybody,” he said.

Mr. Adam Bowden, the strategic client manager of Workplace by Facebook for APAC, said in an interview that the same ease of adaptability is the main reason the platform was created.

“The design is obviously built around the Facebook infrastructure. We’ve taken advantage of the Facebook infrastructure, which is what 2.7 billion people use every month and are familiar with. And add on to that, what types of framework, what types of tools and features you need on a day-to-day working environment,” he said.

“One of the big challenges of any technology is how to train people, how to teach people, how to do that at scale… We’re lucky we got a platform that is the largest, most successful community for collaboration in the world,” Mr. Bowden added.

Mr. Guingao said it’s important getting everyone on board in a company’s digital transformation, because that way, its purpose of easing communication from all corners of a company is fulfilled.

“You will actually hear voices that you’ve never heard before,” he said, citing examples where rank and file employees are able to communicate with C-level executives.

“It’s important for us to have this open, collaborative, agile office. We want to create a culture and a mindset that we’re agile, we can react to whatever future problems that we’re going to be facing,” Mr. Guingao added.

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