Filipino execs accelerate digital adoption - IBM study

Business executives in the Philippines are increasing their investments over the next two years in hybrid multi-cloud platform strategies and capabilities to drive business transformation and to unlock value, according to the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) survey.

The IBV surveyed over 6000 global executives, including 100 executives from Philippines, across industries to gain an in-depth understanding of their organizations’ use of hybrid cloud, multi-cloud and their approach to multi-cloud management for the report, ‘The hybrid cloud platform advantage: A guiding star to enterprise transformation in the Philippines.’

Survey respondents from the Philippines showed that 17 percent of their IT spend is allocated to cloud and they plan to increase the share of spend on hybrid cloud from present 39 percent today to 48 percent by 2023.

Most of their cloud budgets are being allocated to hybrid cloud platforms even as their public cloud spend is set to reduce from 53 percent share today to 43 percent by 2023. Most industries globally will exhibit growth in the number of clouds they will deploy, which can go up to 11 clouds per organization, particularly in insurance, telecommunications, retail, banking and consumer products as these industries will continue to expand multiple cloud deployments in the next three years.

Further, the study confirmed the return on investment (ROI) of a platform approach as respondents said that the value derived from a full hybrid, multi-cloud platform technology and operating model at scale is 2.5 times the value derived from a single platform, single cloud vendor approach. In fact, the platform approach is cited as accelerating value with scale.

In another IBM report the IBV study “COVID-19 and the Future of Business,” which includes input from more than 3,800 C-suite executives in 20 countries and 22 industries, it showed that executives surveyed are facing a proliferation of initiatives due to the pandemic and having difficulty focusing, but do plan to prioritize internal and operational capabilities such as workforce skills and flexibility – critical areas to address in order to jumpstart progress.

IBM Philippines President and Country General Manager Aileen Judan Jiao stressed that the study has revealed three proactive steps that organization leaders are taking to survive and thrive amid the pandemic and to cope with digital acceleration.

These are improving operational scalability and flexibility; applying AI, automation and other exponential technologies to help make workflows more intelligent; and leading, engaging and enabling the workforce in new ways.

Jiao noted the importance of HR executives in every organization as the study showed renewed focus on people as critical amid the COVID-19 pandemic with many employees working outside of traditional offices and dealing with heightened personal stress and uncertainty.

She noted that some HR are ready while others are not, but what is more important is that they are also part of the digital journey and are seeking help.

 “This also a journey for them so let's not have expectations. The silver lining there is that they want to get even more ready, and even more secure. But the shift is not about the HR department alone, we keep saying this and this is our point of view in the senior leaders need to be part of that, they need to understand the business risk,” she said.

She added that if the top management of the organization is not interested, they could not rely the HR to be interested as well.  “So, we need to make sure that we do not put all the pressure on the HR department, all of a sudden. I think they are also going to be in a certain journey. But, I think there's a very strong recognition that they are also doing their own,” she added.

The IBV consumer research has shown that the expectations employees have of their employers have shifted amidst the pandemic – employees now expect that their employers will take an active role in supporting their physical and emotional health as well as the skills they need to work in new ways.

“The study that is validating the need for employers to be mindful of the people,” she added.

To address this gap, IBM recommends executives place deeper focus on their people, putting employees’ end-to-end well-being first. Empathetic leaders who encourage personal accountability and support employees to work in self-directed squads that apply design thinking, Agile principles and DevOps tools and techniques can be beneficial. Organizations should also think about adopting a holistic, multi-modal model of skills development to help employees develop both the behavioral and technical skills required to work in the new normal and foster a culture of continuous learning.

On improving operational scalability and flexibility, the IBV study showed that the ongoing disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important it can be for businesses to be built for change. Many executives are facing demand fluctuations, new challenges to support employees working remotely and requirements to cut costs.

In addition, the study revealed that majority of organizations are making permanent changes to their organizational strategy. For instance, 94 percent of executives surveyed plan to participate in platform-based business models by 2022, and many reported they will increase participation in ecosystems and partner networks.

Executing these new strategies may require a more scalable and flexible IT infrastructure. Executives are already anticipating this. The survey showed respondents plan a 20 percentage point increase in prioritization of cloud technology in the next two years. What’s more, executives surveyed plan to move more of their business functions to the cloud over the next two years, with customer engagement and marketing being the top two cloudified functions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted critical workflows and processes at the heart of many organizations’ core operations. Technologies like AI, automation and cybersecurity that could help make workflows more intelligent, responsive and secure are increasing in priority across the board for responding global executives.

Over the next two years, the report finds that prioritization of AI technology will increase by 20 percentage points. Also, 60 percent of executives surveyed said they have accelerated process automation, and many will increasingly apply automation across all business functions.

In addition, 76 percent of executives surveyed plan to prioritize cybersecurity – twice as many as deploy the technology today.