The future of digital technologies and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Philippine businesses, especially the e-commerce industry, provided the theme of the second part of the Webinar series, “Coping with the Accelerated Digitalization: Empowering Organizations with Digital Tools,” organized by Busybee — the Philippines’ top digital and media giant. Known professionals from different parts of the country, together with the event’s panelists and speakers from concerned government agencies and the private sector, joined and established actionable practices on how to stay competitive in this new business and economic environment, and bridged the knowledge gap on e-commerce information and resources, and catalyzing on partnerships among businesses.
Busybee welcomed its guest speakers, Supervising STIDS of the Digital Philippines-Ecommerce Division of DTI Philippines Wea Bohol, Lamudi Group Philippines CEO Kenneth Stern, and the Chief Operating Officer of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines Atty. Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones, with a mission to help individuals and businesses make the switch to digital, ensure business continuity, and continue to deliver public services during this time of crisis and even beyond — a view that was resoundingly echoed throughout the whole session.
In her presentation, Ms. Bohol highlighted the reason behind why there is a need to digitalize our businesses and how companies can utilize so many opportunities around us. Nowhere else has unprecedented and unforeseen growth occurred as in the digital and e-commerce sectors, which have boomed amid the COVID-19 crisis. She shared that DTI’s priority is digital transformation and that e-commerce is really easy, convenient, and fast. The session she was in was entitled “Will Physical Offices and Shops Remain Relevant Post-Pandemic? A Conversation about E-commerce and Real Estate,” reiterating that there is a big opportunity for e-commerce in the country as she presented the E-commerce Philippines 2022 Roadmap and we are even expecting growth moving forward. “E-commerce will be in the forefront in bringing back our economy from this pandemic. Instead of adapting to the new normal, we should make a better normal,” Ms. Bohol noted.
During the second session, Mr. Stern discussed the current trends in the real estate industry and how he is leading his company to cope with the pandemic-accelerated digitalization. He noted that the demand in warehousing and commercial spaces have boomed since the pandemic. He explained, “Over the last year, more people are going online to search for properties than before. Traditional marketing is virtually nonexistent at this point. Most property sellers and developers have moved completely digital.” He then elaborated, “There’s a lot of things happening every day, every second online. How do you stand out? How do you reach the right person? How do you stand out with thousands of listings and multiple portals?” At the panel discussion, Mr. Stern shared that because of the current work setup, their company has actually reached very high efficiency and that this trend is seen to continue even after the pandemic.
Atty. Velasco-Allones offered insights into the new normal in hosting events in her presentation. She shared that when the going gets tough, we have absolutely no choice but to innovate and to adapt to continue to serve and function. She expounded on the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE) industry as an important economic engine, and how it will continually evolve as digital technology grows. She illustrated how when the lockdown happened, The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines paved the way for digitalization through SMARTourism. It is about pivoting from traditional face-to-face events to a hybrid and even full digital experience for businesses, and creating a completely new value chain model using digital platforms, which enabled continued operations in spite of contact restrictions and other confinement measures. The bar has indeed been raised for digital experiences.
Atty. Velasco-Allones concluded the presentation by sharing her “3 Cs” which according to her are important lessons in order for businesses to thrive in the new normal. First is that “Content is supreme.” If you have a good and established program, people will definitely come. Secondly is that, if you want to go further and sustain success along the way, “Collaboration is the only way to go,” and that cultivating relationships or partnerships are key pathways to successfully do things. Lastly is to nurture the sense of courage especially during these times that are so uncertain and volatile because “Courage is the lever moving forward.” With the disruption brought by the pandemic, the government offices are truly leading a strong integration in digitalization and collaboration. Hybrid events are the big bets in marketing strategies and digital MICE is indeed not just a trend, but is here to stay.
Finally, one of Busybee’s Virtual Event Platform Project Manager, Mark Remoriata, gave the audience a preview and a tour of the company’s Virtual Event Platform (VEP), the very first virtual event platform in the Philippines with cutting-edge event technology engineered by Busybee’s top senior software architects and developers. This new innovation of technology has powered events of all sizes, from large international conferences to focused B2B meets in industries ranging from Defense, Information Technology, Aerospace to Medicine, Nano Technology, Artificial Intelligence, and many others. This is just one of the solutions provided by Busybee in harnessing the potential of e-commerce to be a better place to benefit from global markets for goods and services in this digitalizing economy.
There is no doubt that digital technologies will continue to transform the way we live and work because digital transformation is not just an option anymore but a must. In any organization, digital transformation makes a huge difference because what is happening right now will stay even post-pandemic.
The third part of this Webinar series will be held on Aug. 12, with invited panelists and speakers from the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Busybee’s Cyber Security Division, and the Data Security and Technology Standards Division of the National Privacy Commission (NPC). The theme will focus on cybersecurity in the Philippines and securing information online. To join the conversation, you may sign up through their website, https://www.mybusybee.net/busybee-webinar/.
Busybee sets its sights firmly on demonstrating the impact — technological, business, and societal — of the widespread adoption of digital technologies and the requirement to digitize many businesses’ facilities and processes. The company believes that technology is the right infrastructure to help the country further realize its potential by helping more businesses move online, equipping the workforce with digital skills, and enabling the new generation of startups with training and development in their digital skills.