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Firms urged to spend on digital resilience

INVESTING in digital resilience is important for companies amid these changing times, as highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic, as this will help firms be more innovative in delivering their services.

Digital resilience is the ability to restore, and also find opportunities, within business operations during such shifting times. Its goal is to have digital capabilities regardless of how the world changes.

According to research group IDC, spending on digital resilience as it relates to core infrastructure investment and innovation is projected to accelerate in 2021.

Resilience investments grew fastest in Asia-Pacific, which IDC said correlates with the region’s overall response to the pandemic compared to Europe and North America.

“The digital transformation that is happening now has dramatically altered how we work and live. It has changed the role of many businesses because the needs of their customers and the expectations of consumers are continuing to evolve so very rapidly,” Karrie C. Ilagan, managing director of Cisco Philippines, said at BusinessWorld’s May 2021 Virtual Economic Forum on Wednesday.

“Digital resilience is about being ready for change, for disruptions. It is one’s ability to readily adapt… and the ability to find opportunities in these shifts in environment… If we can invest in right technology that can deliver on most or all of these, there’s a big chance the Philippines can stand head-to-head with [more prosperous countries],” Ms. Ilagan said.

Digital infrastructure that creates an environment of innovation — and is rooted in cloud computing and cybersecurity — has to be in place so what can be delivered digitally can be delivered digitally, she said.

“All are not in silos and have to be integrated together,” she added.

Among the key technology trends shaping the world today, Ms. Ilagan shared, are the following:

Cloud — the accelerated move to cloud computing is highlighting the need for cloud native technologies.

Apps — their use has shifted from the periphery to the forefront as they become the primary interface between consumers and businesses.

Hybrid — the blended work model is seen as the next work force disruption and is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Security — the foundational piece for any digitalization effort, which has gone beyond the responsibility of information technology departments.

5G and Wi-Fi 6 — the next generation of game-changer technologies with the potential to connect the unconnected in the country.

Edge — the type of computing done at the source of the data so apps can be more relevant to where it brings the most value.

“Work is no longer just a place that you go to. It’s no longer a physical office. It’s something that you do from anywhere… Businesses have to accept that this setup is here to stay,” she said.

Among the obstacles to creating an agile and secure network include the lack of resources and the delivery of services. There are, however, opportunities in areas of collaboration, Ms. Ilagan noted.

“At the start of the pandemic, we worked with the DoH (Department of Health) to help them respond quickly,” she said. The DoH has performed 2.3 million minutes of services and meetings over Webex, Cisco’s videoconferencing application, according to the company.

“There is an urgent need now to simplify systems and place a strong focus on better — and not just more — cybersecurity. I don’t think anybody can successfully be digitally transformed unless they take to heart cybersecurity,” Ms. Ilagan said.

The multinational conglomerate also launched a financing program for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to help them access technologies needed to elevate their competitiveness at fixed, 0% interest, tree-year payment terms.

“The best way to help [MSMEs] is to provide them with technology,” Ms. Ilagan said. — with a report from Patricia B. Mirasol