Innovation crucial for PH firms

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    Business firms in the Philippines see innovation as a “must” to recover and sustain growth amid the disruptions in the market due to the pandemic.

    According to Microsoft’s latest study with IDC Asia Pacific, 88 percent of business decision-makers in the Philippines said innovation is now a must for them to respond quickly to market challenges and opportunities and ensure business resilience.

    This is more than average for all organizations in the region (74 percent), but is still less than the Asia-Pacific culture of innovation leaders where almost all (98 percent) agree innovation is a necessity to staying resilient during a crisis.

    “Innovation is no longer an option, but a necessity. We’ve seen how the recent crisis spurred transformation across the region, and organizations will have to integrate the ability to innovate into their core, to recover,” said Andres Ortola, Microsoft Philippines country general manager.

    Nonetheless, 82 percent or over eight in 10 organizations in the Philippines are speeding up digitalization to adapt to the new reality – from launching digital products and introducing digital payments to embracing e-commerce and automation.

    The study found in the span of six months, organizations in the Philippines have matured in a culture of innovation by 4 percent, an indication that they have increased their ability to innovate.

    In comparison, organizations in Asia-Pacific saw an 11 percent growth in culture of innovation maturity.

    Demonstrating their stronger propensity for resilience and adaptability, 2.7 times more leaders in Asia-Pacific, as compared with organizations in the Philippines, expect an increase in their revenue and one in three of them expect to increase their market share despite the crisis.

    The study also revealed 77 percent of organizations in the Philippines found innovation to be hard as compared with Asia-Pacific leaders’ 68 percent before the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). But during the pandemic, organizations changed perceptions significantly less with Philippine organizations (44 percent) and leaders (36 percent) having this sentiment now.

    This is because they were forced to accelerate innovation in response to the disruptions in the market.

    Moving forward, to ensure resilience and performance, organizations in the Philippines said they will prioritize introducing remote work in the new norm and develop a contingency plan to mitigate future risk. Asia Pacific leaders plan to focus on investing in technology infrastructure that is robust and allows scalability and flexibility.

    “Since COVID-19, 56 percent of organizations in the Philippines, similar to leaders across Asia Pacific (64 percent), have found innovation to be easier. This demonstrates how firms in the Philippines are embracing a culture of innovation to become more mature and accelerate their transformation,” said Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, IDC Asia/Pacific associate vice president and head of digital transformation.

    These findings were released by Microsoft in its latest study with IDC Asia Pacific which surveyed 213 business decision-makers and 231 workers in the Philippines within a six-month period, before and since the COVID-19.

    The Philippine study was part of a broader survey among 3,312 business decision-makers and 3,495 workers across 15 markets in Asia Pacific conducted over the same period.

    Titled “Culture of Innovation: Foundation for business resilience and economic recovery in Asia Pacific,” the study uncovered how organizations can successfully fuel business resilience and performance through innovation.

    “We see amongst leaders a constant appetite for growth and evolution. During COVID-19, 45 percent of them said they think their business model will lose competitiveness in five years’ time, as compared to 21 percent of firms in the Philippines. This desire and urgency for continuous improvement through agility and adaptation to change will determine the success of businesses in this new normal,” said Jimenez.

    The study also showed for the next 12 months, 25 percent of organizations will focus on people and 44 percent on technology as the most essential for business resilience and recovery.

    “Achieving success in digital transformation requires both the adoption of tools and technologies as well as own people’s capabilities – what we term as tech intensity – a critical component of the culture of innovation,” Ortola said.

    “It’s imperative that people are equipped to collaborate and encouraged to drive sustained innovation. Our goal is to realize an inclusive future where all organizations in the Philippines are dynamic and resilient – to recover well and thrive despite the crisis. At Microsoft, we are committed to working with organizations in the Philippines to make this happen, together,” added Ortola.