Stay on list: Hurdle digital transformation challenges

|October 09,2018 - 09:49 PM

THOLON’S: CEBU CITY 11TH IN ‘SUPER CITIES’ LIST

The Cebu I.T. Park, which is considered as one of the outsourcing hubs of Cebu,as it is home to several business process outsourcing locators where thousands of Cebuanos work.
CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA

The challenge of digital transformation continues to be on top of the priorities of Cebu’s information technology (IT) and business process management (BPM) sectors.

This has even become more significant as Cebu City slightly improved its ranking in the 2018 Tholons list of “super cities” for outsourcing to 11th place, compared to its 12th place last year.

The Cebu IT-BPM Organization (CIB.O) welcomed the news which was released as part of the 2018 Tholons Services Globalization Index (TSGI) report on Monday evening, globally.

16K direct employees
Wilfredo “Jun” Sa-a Jr., managing director of CIB.O, attributed Cebu City’s improvement in the ranking to the continued growth of the IT and BPM industry which now has over 160,000 direct employees.

“Since we are competing in the global arena of digital transformation, there must be a significant focus on creating an environment of digital skills, culture of innovation, and entrepreneurship. The startup ecosystem must be strongly supported by the government, academe, and the industry,” he said in a statement.

Digital trends
Several digital trends also continue to challenge the industry including AI (artificial intelligence), RPA (robotic process automation), industrial Iot, blockchain technology, cybersecurity, and big data analytics, among others.

Aside from Cebu City, Manila has also improved in the ranking, regaining its 2016 spot as second in the list. In 2017, Manila also dropped to fourth place.

Critical element
Tholons Chairman and CEO Avinash Vashistha, said digital is becoming a critical element in industries globally, especially in the outsourcing sector.
“Intelligent automation, machine learning, cognitive computing and applications moving to cloud is transforming businesses and the service industry.

Tomorrow’s workforce will be a digital workforce at scale, consisting of digital workers and human beings working together,” he said in a statement.
Bangalore City in India has retained its number one spot in the 2018 Tholons list of super cities.

Rounding up the top ten super cities are Mumbai (3rd), Delhi (4th), Hyderabad (5th), Krakow (6th), Dublin (7th), Sao Paulo (8th), Montevideo (9th), and Buenos Aires (10th).

A feat
According to Sa-a, Cebu’s ranking is already a feat considering that Metro Cebu only has a population of around 2.5 million while most of the cities in the top ten have between 3 million to 26 million.

“We are ahead of Singapore, Seoul, and even Tokyo in the 2018 Top 100 Super Cities which is actually based on the cities’ ability to do outsourced services combined with criteria on digital adoption and the innovative ecosystem,” he said.

Tholons’ Vashistha was in Cebu last May as he was one of the main speakers of the 2018 Transformation Summit organized by CIB.O.

Sa-a said they made sure that Vashistha was able to see for himself the improvements in Cebu’s IT-BPM industry since the latter’s visit ten years prior.

He added that they expect the city’s ranking to continue improving especially with the opening of the new Terminal 2 of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport which will bring in more international connections and business opportunities.

He also cited the local government’s support which includes a plan to open a one-stop shop for newly hired employees of the industry as well as a planned call center city at the South Road Properties.

BPO workers’ safety
For her part, Nanette Garong, Cebu city government’s consultant on business process outsourcing, said that they were glad that Cebu City rose a rank higher in the Tholons’ rankings this year.

“We are also hopeful that we can maintain, and improve our performance in the future,” said Garong, who also cited the importance of safety of the BPO workers in the wake of the recent killing of a call center agent by robbers in Barangay Mabolo.

Garong said that the city government planned to provide buses and the area where the BPO workers could be transported safely to their homes from work.

“(Peace and order) is also a big part. That’s why Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is doing something to address the incident,” said Garong.

Meanwhile, four other Philippine cities have made it to the Top 100 list. These are Davao City (75th), Sta. Rosa (87th), Bacolod (89th), and Iloilo (92nd). /With a report from Reporter Morexette Marie B. Erram

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