Return to growth needs intervention

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    From this year’s flat performance under a recalibrated roadmap, the information technology-business process management industry (IT-BPM) expects a return to growth in 2021 across all sub-sectors, but stressed this will only be possible if six imperatives are achieved: digital pivot; improvement of telecom infrastructure, upskilling of workers; expansion to the provinces; eased doing business and better marketing and promotion.

    “ Moving forward, there are tremendous opportunities across the board ….we are looking at positive growth across the board but this is not going to happen without a lot of interventions. CEOs (chief executive officers, industry stakeholders and government agencies have given their solid commitment to help sustain the industry,” said
    Rey Untal, president of the Information Technology Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) in a press conference on Friday.

    Everest in its latest study sees growth to range between 3.5 and 4 percent in the next couple of years.

    Untal said with the pandemic, the “game has changed” in the IT-BPM industry prompting players to “think ahead and take advantage of the situation and convert challenges into opportunities.”

    “There is growing interest for the Philippines to be an investment location. Now is the time to work together and take advantage of what we see is pent-up demand and we need to catch those as they are realized in the next two to three quarters,” he said.

    With a hybrid model of operations combining work-from-home and on-site now a must, Untal called on the need to” look into existing regulations that might prevent us to do it.”

    Untal also said following the pandemic, the pivot to digital has shifted focus to cybersecurity to include resilience and not just operational efficiency.

    Untal said more and more players see the need to harness the talent pool and potentials of provinces but this should be coupled with better telecommunication services especially with the blended model.

    Untal also raised the importance of investing in marketing and positioning, stressing the country’s fundamental strengths in terms of its value proposition, the large talent pool, skilled workers among others.

    But he noted now is the time for the Philippines industry to accelerate its transformation by focusing on automation analytics as well as artificial intelligence.

    In 2019, the sector recorded total full-time employment of 1.3 million, which is a 5.8 percent growth from 2018 while revenues amounted to $26.3 billion which is a 7.1 percent increase from the previous year.

    The IT-BPM industry’s revised targets for 2022, sets headcount growth at 2.7 percent to 5 percent or around 1.37 million to 1.43 million full-time employees, and industry revenues to $27.88 billion to $29.09 billion with a compound annual growth rate of 3.2 percent to 5.5 percent.