MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Premier telecommunications company Eastern Communications successfully finished the first run of its 2022 thought leadership webinars under the “E-Huddle Series,” which aimed to empower businesses that are still recovering in the post-pandemic era through digital transformation.
The series featured two separate runs. The first is “Ignite: Strength of Rising Together,” a webinar session intended for the enterprise sectors and business executives. Simultaneously, “Reimagining Resilience: Growth After Adversity” intended for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and business employees was completed as well.
Enterprises taking businesses to the next normal
Despite the challenges that the pandemic created in the country, many opportunities arose as well. Businesses operated on an independent scale and in a self-reliant manner. Companies that were able to quickly adapt to digital transformation were ahead of the curve, but the shift was equal in ease. E-Huddle’s Ignite series touched on effective ways and innovative solutions in the business industry that may help enterprises cope with this working economy.
“We have much to learn from the pandemic and it helped us gather stories about staying alert and gearing up our businesses when it comes to unexpected situations. It has been a great opportunity to be able to share invaluable insights through our successful E-Huddle webinars,” said Jed Estanislao, head of marketing division at Eastern Communications.
For the Ignite series, each webinar was administered for a different type of enterprise sector. Key topics include The Great Retail Reset: How to Promote Stability and Sustainability, which is intended for the retail, distribution, and manufacturing sector, Finance Forecast 2022: Opportunities and Recovery, which focused on the area of banking and finance, E-Government: Forging Effectivity and Efficiency, for government and services, and finally, we have the topic, How Hybrid and Digital is Shaping the Future of Enterprise Business, intended for the BPO & ICT sector.
Digitalization, especially in business transactions, was one of the big discoveries during the pandemic. Positive news was shared by Benjamin Diokno, governor of Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). In his talk, he said: “Our economy is fundamentally strong and resilient. Despite the recession in 2020 due to the pandemic, we managed to bounce back stronger. The economy posted a 5.7% full-year growth last year, above the government’s target range of 5 to 5.5%.” Along with this favorable data, he also added, “The country is on the road to full recovery. Banks continue to be in a position of strength to support economic recovery. The pandemic has helped accelerate the sustainability agenda and digitalization of the financial system.”
Another sector that shared a positive outlook and arose amid the challenges of the pandemic was the BPO & ICT industry.
Jack Madrid, president & CEO of IBPAP, stated, “In 2020, despite a predicted flat growth against the backdrop of an economic recession, our industry registered a growth of 1.8% in headcount and 1.4% in recorded revenues compared to 2019. In 2021, our sector saw an even higher growth trajectory, wherein we registered a growth of 8% in terms of headcount and 11% in terms of revenue, creating a total of 140,000 new jobs in the past two years, one of the few industries to have this positive growth during the pandemic. This makes our industry, the Philippines’ largest job generator and one of its biggest private sector employers. Creating jobs for almost 1.5 million Filipinos in the year ending 2021.
Seeing the growth and hearing emergence stories shared by these industries help SMEs stay optimistic and hopeful for what’s to come. Learning from the past experiences and tactical decisions shared by representatives of each sector can also serve as a guide for the unexpected challenges we are about to face in the future.
On learnings and best practices for SMEs
Starting a business comes with challenges, operations begin at a minimum, and there is often a trial-and-error process. This is the overall thrust of the Reimagining Resilience series, which highlighted the lessons learned and best practices that SMEs can use to succeed.
Some of the topics covered in the Reimagining Resilience webinar series included From Turbulent to Blue Skies: The Future of Travel Post-Pandemic, which highlighted resiliency practices from the travel & tourism sector. Another topic focused on business strategies and overcoming obstacles with resilience, Strengthening Employee Personal Resilience: The New Approach, and lastly, The Future of Trust in Business: Who is Trustworthy According to Consumers, which tackled digital strategies for gaining consumer trust.
As one of the industries that received a great hit during the pandemic, Chal Lontoc-Del Rosario, CEO of Jeron Travel & Tours, shared hopeful news for the tourism sector. “We’re still far away from pre-pandemic numbers, but we are growing. In 2022 this year, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) predicts international tourism to grow between 30 to 78%. The main highlight here is that there is growth…The future of travel post-pandemic will revolve around sustainability, focusing on unique experiences, and the fusion of travel and technology. More and more fusion between technology and the world of travel will definitely take place.”
Brigitte Lim, vice president for operations at Topline Group of Companies, shared her experience highlighting business vigilance and preparation strategies for every crisis. “With us at Topline, we were lucky because our CEO, Erik, anticipated the virus to reach us here. So, in February, we had a management meeting and we decided to empower our employees. We set up their internet stations at home and we were already transitioning so we were doing hybrid work from home set up. So as a business owner, I feel it’s super important to anticipate anything and everything, so we can prepare for that,” said Lim.
All in all, the key takeaway we can get from the webinars is that we should never stop learning. “Don’t stop learning because things are changing so fast. There’s no hard line between the past, the present, and the future,” said Lontoc-Del Rosario. No matter what your age is, and whether the topics are closely related to your business or not, Eastern’s E-huddle series offers a lot of lessons that can enlighten SMEs of various industries so catch its future runs coming up soon.
The first part of the E-Huddle series successfully geared up business professionals to be ready for more possible changes in the future. To inspire and support more businesses, Eastern Communications will launch a second part of the Ignite series starting July 13, and Reimagining Resilience on August 18, where they will feature more industry experts, relevant topics, and the latest business insights for this year.