Ortus CIO June Session

by OrtusClub on 11th June 2018

Ortus CIO June Session

Session 6: June 6th, 2018

‘CLOSING THE IT TALENT GAP IN THE PHILIPPINES’ with the ORTUS CIO GROUP

The Ortus CIO Club held its sixth session the past 8th of June, discussing on “Closing the IT Talent Gap in The Philippines”. During this breakfast discussion, CIOs from prominent firms in Manila sat down to speak of the present talent gap amongst young IT professionals and the concerns that it brings up in the IT sector of the country.

The Philippines is undergoing a shift in its business environment, transitioning itself into paperless processing, electronic platforms and embracing the growth of its Information Technology sector. With these new developments, companies find themselves suddenly needing an influx of the right people to manage these adjustments and run it to the best of their abilities. One concern, however, is that despite this growth in technology, there is a noticeable gap in today’s talent pool, leaving IT leaders floundering for solutions.

FOSTERING IT TALENT

One of the bigger challenges discussed during the session was the foundation on which the talent pool of today is built upon. Criticism towards educational institutions was exchanged, stating that although many students are leaning towards the IT field, the curriculum offered to them does not foster the skill set needed by companies at present. Skills such as critical thinking, listening, and comprehension should be a focus even at a young age, they shared, and are traits that are hard to foster if without a strong base. Another skill that is severely lacking in the Filipino youth is the skill of interpersonal communication. Even if they were equipped with the skills needed to survive in an IT environment, thriving in businesses require being able to communicate ideas both efficiently and effectively. This skills gap leaves many unfit for the prospective job roles on demand after they graduate.

Because of this problem, the participants that attended the June session of the CIO group shared how their organizations attempted to solve this particular skill gap. They spoke of 3 targets, the students, the instructors and the governing agencies.

 

THE STUDENTS

Developing the future IT sector at an early age is imperative to the success of the industry as well as the success of any Filipino professional hoping to contribute to the sector. Because of this, organizations find themselves targeting students as early as high-school to help build that interest and discipline needed for their future. Initiating IT competitions, participating in school fairs and giving talks on the IT industry are just some of the ways these leaders find themselves encouraging and molding the youth.

THE INSTRUCTORS

… If you don’t target the instructors as well, the students will be limited by what the instructor is teaching.

The participants shared that one factor that is constantly being overlooked is the competency of the instructors. According to one attendee, professors from state schools are not required experience in the industry in order to teach, leading to professors coming in to teach fresh after graduation, granting them the inability to communicate the needed skill sets demanded by the present IT sector to their students.

THE GOVERNING AGENCIES

One of the factors barring the improvement of the talent pool is the policies that are being instituted by the public office. One of the attendees expressed that the Commission of Higher Education is in charge to the curriculum offered to state schools, a curriculum that is proven to be incredibly outdated and not effective for the preparation of its students. Not only that, but they are thinking of removing the curriculum of Computer Sciences altogether because of the lack of enrollees on record. With all these happening, companies have taken it upon themselves to help in the contribution of the curriculum in order to keep it more up to date and to the standards they wish to see in their own organizations.

Ultimately, the attendees all agreed that the biggest investment that needs to be made is the nurturing of the Filipino youth through their education, not only in the hard skills needed for the survival of the ever-growing IT sector, but also the soft skills needed to flourish and help in its development. Though local talent may be raw and in need of polishing, and though it does take more time and money in comparison to taking in ready-to-use foreign talent, organizations still hold on to the hope that with their help and belief, they can help make the Filipino talent pool a world-class group of innovative individuals eager to contribute and learn.

If you are an IT leader and interested in being part of the upcoming session, please do get in touch with the group admin, Jessica Circi at jc@ortusclub.com

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The Veda Dinner

by OrtusClub on 7th June 2018

The Veda Dinner

May 24, 2018

Automation and AI: hype or hope for BPO firms?

Over 21 BPO leaders from prominent firms in Manila gathered for The Veda Dinner to discuss the threats and opportunities of AI and machine-learning to Indian and Filipino BPOs. The dinner was supported by KMC Savills, a leading global real estate service provider in the Philippines.

India and The Philippines have been the most sought-after outsourcing destinations for years, owing to its cost-effectiveness, skilled workforce, and grasp over the English language. But with the rise of automation and artificial intelligence, the implications on human resources has become a hot topic amongst BPO firms.

India, which is still the leading country for BPO, is set to lose 640,000 low-skilled jobs to automation by 2021 while the Philippines, which hosts the most call centers in the world, is predicted to lose about 45% of its 1.2 million employees.

AI and machine-learning: hype or hope?

AI keeps promising increased efficiency and cost cutting benefits but can it really change the game for BPO firms today or is it just another buzzword? When participants of The Veda Dinner were asked whether they saw AI and machine-learning as a “hype” or a “hope”, 87% of them pointed at “hope”. In fact, most BPO leaders have incorporated some sort of automation in their operations and agree that they can clearly envision technology continuing to affect how things are currently run. Other attendees, however, felt that AI and machine-learning are still very much hyped up technologies and that more development is needed before they can fully be relied on.

Replacing humans with machines

Companies all over the world have been automating low to medium complexity processes such as data analytics, rule-based decision making and repetitive customer support. Yet, the demand for human customer support, especially in the Philippines, continues to rise. This seemed to be a different prediction compared to that participants had for India. One of the participants shared:

“Jobs in India will be affected by machines more than those in the Philippines. Indian BPOs tend to focus on technical support which is easier to automate. Filipino voice support, on the other hand, is sought after for the service-prone and high tempered attitude which is harder to emulate with robots.”

Overall, the discussion concluded with the general feeling summarised by one of the participants who said:

“Machines promise to do jobs better and for less money. Yes, some people will lose their job, but, let’s face it, that’s a great opportunity for business leaders.”

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OrtusClubThe Veda Dinner

The Aryan Lunch

by OrtusClub on 5th June 2018

The Aryan Lunch

May 23, 2018

‘THE USE OF CORPORATE CARDS IN SINGAPORE’ 

In May of 2018, The Ortus Club brought together CFOs and Heads of Finance from prominent firms in Singapore to discuss, debate and share experiences on the use of corporate cards within their companies. The lunch was hosted by VISA, a global payments technology company working to enable consumers, businesses, banks and governments to use digital currency.

As technology evolves and individuals become accustomed to cashless payments, the use of corporate cards continues to grow in popularity, especially within multinationals. Yet, despite its benefits, a lot of companies only issue corporate cards to top management. The discussion was guided by the following questions:

  • What percentage of employees in Singapore is issued corporate cards?
  • What kind of payments are corporate cards mostly used for?
  • How long does it take companies to consolidate a full set of cash flow analytics?

WHO IS ISSUED A CORPORATE CARD

When participants of The Aryan Lunch were asked how many employees within their respective companies are issued corporate cards, the majority responded that only their senior management was.

WHAT ARE CORPORATE CARDS MAINLY USED FOR?

When asked which main use corporate cards hold, most participants indicated travel and entertainment with a minority, using it for small marketing and administrative transactions.

ISSUING CORPORATE CARDS TO THE WORKFORCE

The Challenges

What is it about corporate credit cards that make them a part of risk management? Does the liability of unethical spending rest on the employee or the company? During the discussion, it was evident that despite how many people were issued corporate credit cards in their organization, most of them saw that it provided several benefits to their processes, though were ready to admit that it came with challenges as well. One particular participant was very adamant on their dislike for the practice of supplying corporate credit cards and the employees’ use of it. One of the challenges expressed was the large risk factor it came with. The risk of unethical spending and having to chase employees for payment is a real fear faced by several employers.

Another challenge is having to deal with the personal complaints of each employee about their corporate cards and the extent of the benefits they receive from it (i.e. points, credit limit…)

 “The more employees are issued a corporate card, the more responsibility has to be taken by CFOs to police people’s spending.”

The participant explained that despite the liability of the card resting on the employee when it comes to unethical spending, it still remains that largely, at the end of the day, it also rests on the shoulders of the employer.

The Benefits

Despite the challenges companies face when dealing with payment automation and the issuance of corporate credit cards, it does not take away from the fact that there are indeed significant benefits that come about when this practice is properly implemented.

“The advantages of using corporate cards outweigh the disadvantages as it quickens reimbursements and payment processes.”

One of the benefits talked about during the lunch was the data analytics that came with the use of corporate credit cards. One of the participants explained that with the use of these cards, the host keeps stock of every transaction, collecting usable data for the benefit of the employer. Through this data, decision makers can take note of trends in terms of spending for better cash visibility.

Another benefit offered by corporate cards is the credibility it gives employees who need it when traveling. When posed with the question of why a corporate card rather than a personal card, a participant expressed that throughout the organization, you have to be aware that not all employees are credible enough to purchase a business class ticket from Singapore to America, as an example. Providing them with such an alternative gives everyone the convenience of easy payment.

CONSOLIDATING CASH FLOW ANALYTICS

How long does it take your company to consolidate a full set of cash flow analytics regionally?

As the discussion progressed, participants touched upon the topic of how long it takes firms to consolidate a full set of cash flow analytics on a regional scale with 80% of participants confirming access to statistics being within 3 days.

This showed improvement compared to the results reflected on a study conducted by VISA in 2016, where only 34% said they received it within that same time period.

How long does it take to access received funds?

Another topic tackled during the discussion was the amount of time it takes decision makers to access received funds. From the survey presented to the participants, majority of them expressed that they are able to access it within 1-3 days, claiming that as time progresses, their environment allows for quicker and more efficient processing.

If you are an IT leader and interested in being part of the upcoming session, please do get in touch with the group admin, Jessica Circi at jc@ortusclub.com

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OrtusClubThe Aryan Lunch