What’s happening to the ICT Industry and its role in helping businesses today
The current situation we are facing globally in this COVID-19 period has instantly changed the world and every aspect of our lives. Just like the mad Titan, Thanos, who destructed and wiped half of the world’s population in the Marvel film Avengers: Infinity War, it seems like we have been experiencing almost the same scenario with the coronavirus pandemic. In just a snap, we have witnessed how it rapidly affected the lives of millions of people globally and how it severely shook the economy, leaving the world in a quandary.
A dreary sight to see, the unusual situation overwhelmed the Philippines into a deep pessimism and hopelessness over the past months since the lockdown. Big industries and businesses faced various crises and challenges, several small-medium enterprises (SMEs) with no other option but to close, and millions of Filipino workers, both in the Philippines and abroad, lost their jobs caused by the lockdowns and restricted movements. We saw how it heavily affected the economic state in which the gross domestic product (GDP) dropped by 16% — something we have not seen since World War II (WW2).
The role and condition of the ICT industry
Looking at the brighter side of things, this pandemic presented the value of technology and innovation to moderate the adverse effects it brought. It played as an avenue for remote working and continued collaboration for business and education. With most people working and studying from home now, this created a surge of demand for laptops, internet bandwidth, and other WFH peripherals. From the public’s perspective, the ICT industry is flourishing because of the high demand for technology devices. However, there is more to this than meets the eye.
So, what really happened to the ICT industry during today’s transformed business landscape? Mr. Allyxon Cua, President of AMTI, one of the most diversified ICT companies in the Philippines and a Digital Transformation enabler, shared in one of his discussions in Infocomm Technology Association of the Philippines (ITAP) online event the following actual scenario that the ICT industry experienced during this pandemic:
- Most of the enterprise IT projects (Data Center Modernization, Storage, Networking, etc.) were either put on hold or canceled altogether as business leaders diverted the budget for IT systems developments to laptop purchases for their employees to WFH.
- Several order basis transactions with specifically configured equipment were canceled by companies, leaving IT partners holding “hard to sell” inventories.
- Delayed payment of corporate customers created a domino effect that made a lot of vendors and distributors to tighten credit terms and limits.
- Discounted store space rental fees became irrelevant because the fact that people are already shopping online these days supersedes the idea of merchants paying the rent for strategic physical locations.
On a positive note, as discussed by Mr. Cua, several aspects enabled the ICT industry to remain active and valuable today despite its challenges:
- There is an upsurge demand for laptops and IT peripherals that somewhat augment the loss of business in other Line of Business. However, the increased demand for laptops also caused a shortage of supply globally.
- Managed services such as devices, rentals, cloud, and subscription demand grew as some enterprises now prefer Operating Expenditure (OPEX) rather than Capital Expenditures (CAPEX) to keep the expenses down, improve their profitability and build their business value.
- Other industries are still buying and opt to purchase various high-end equipment for their business needs.
As it may seem that the ICT industry is doing well because of the high demand for technology requirements, surprisingly, many local IT companies struggled to adjust and adapt to a WFH set-up and unable to operate and serve their customers. Although, in a nutshell, the ICT industry is faring better than other sectors, few companies were grappling to adjust to the new normal and experiencing low revenue. Probably, they have a non-essential product and solution offerings, or they are not ready to adapt to a remote work set-up or alternative business operation because of inadequate IT infrastructure.
Even so, there are ICT companies that were able to ride the wave of changes in this new business landscape and initiated the change within their organizations. Some pivoted and restructured quickly and placed proactive plans in their business, while others were ready and invested early in technologies that helped their business operation to stay afloat.
Unleashing the Power of Digital Transformation: AMTI during the pandemic
“During the start of the lockdown, I was faced with a dilemma as well – whether to stop our business operations or stay operational backed with our early investment in Digital Transformation with the help of Dell Technologies. But I chose the latter. Why? I always believed that the success of AMTI lies in the heart of our company – OUR PEOPLE. I didn’t want to stop our operations, not only because of income-concerns, but also because I don’t want our employees to lose their jobs. As a leader of the company, it is my responsibility is to support and protect them that’s why I chose to remain operational and implement WFH,” Mr. Cua said.
With Mr. Cua’s leadership, AMTI operated end-to-end as a company despite working from home since the start of the enhanced community quarantine until now. Since their workforce demonstrated resiliency and successfully remained business-as-usual, the company even delivered outstanding business performance.
“Having seen the power of Digital Transformation in our internal business, it proved and showed that a local company could operate effectively and profitably even working-from-home and protecting the health of the employees,” he explained. “Covid-19 will be here for a much a longer time. We have no choice but to live with it. We need to help businesses use technology and enable WFH and help open up the economy,” he added.
Digital transformation on becoming the lifeblood of most companies today
Digital transformation is not just a buzzword, nor an option anymore, it can or it would be the lifeblood of one’s company today. No matter what crisis the business world would experience, technology has frequently become the answer.
“Based on statistics, our survival rate is 99.5% and mortality rate is 0.5%. If the Philippine Total GDP is $376B and our economy dropped to 16% ($60B) and the DSWD Amelioration Package is $4B (₱1.97B), who will fill up the $56B of loss GDP? It is us. We need to open up the economy and live with the Covid-19. But saying this is one thing if you’re talking about the life of an individual,” Mr. Cua added.
Today, it is the mission of AMTI to present what Digital Transformation can do for their business and help them and the Philippine economy to emerge from this period and beyond. “This is no longer about money, but it’s a corporate mission of AMTI to share this knowledge to everyone,” he said.
“Business owners must have the appetite to invest in solutions that can help their businesses in the long run – embrace the Filipino ingenuity. It looks like it would cost a little or more, but the benefits outweigh the cost and short-lived challenges for a long time – first world objective and solution that fits in a third world budget,” Mr. Cua explained.
Delighted and eager to help businesses thrive in this period, Mr. Cua encourages the ICT sector to work together and share their knowledge and expertise to businesses to remain operational. “When we help struggling businesses, we also help the economy, our fellow countrymen, and our beloved country – the Philippines,” he explained
AMTI, a partner of Dell Technologies and a Digital Transformation enabler and champion, helps businesses who meet operational and workforce challenges through its innovative solutions offerings and consulting services.
Talk to AMTI now to help you analyze your current workforce situation and remote work readiness to come up with recommendations and solutions tailored for your business. Send your inquiries at www.amti.com.ph/contact-us/ or email us at [email protected].
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