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Philippine firms asked to embrace artificial intelligence


Companies in the Philippines need to adopt technologies like automation and artificial intelligence to get rid of repetitive and redundant processes, a partner of business advisory firm Grant Thornton says.

Depender Kumar, in his presentation during the 8th P&A Grant Thornton Business Forum in Manila, says Philippine companies, including business process outsourcing providers, are slow to embrace automation and struggle to change.

“To be honest, if they [BPOs] don’t change the way they do things, they will pay locally for the disruption. Most of what is done by the BPOs are repetitive. You don’t need a lot of intelligence to do the work that is with you. That is why those jobs are outsourced earlier. At the same time, if you need to survive in that industry, you need to adopt technology along the way,” he says.

Kumar says as part of digital transformation and disruptive technology, management must think digital, taking risks and responding to technological trends to stay relevant.

“A World Economic Report cites that by 2022, 85 percent of corporates are likely to expand adoption of user and entity big data analytics, the internet of things, and app- and web-enabled markets, and to make extensive use of cloud computing,” he says.

He says that in the Philippines, big conglomerates and BPOs have already started the adoption of automation in the call center and manufacturing industries, but the adoption rate is still slow.

Kumar says among the industries where AI will have the strongest impact are technology, media, telecom, consumer, professional services, healthcare, industrial, energy, public sector, finance/accounting and manufacturing operations.

“With AI in place, businesses stand to face several challenges such as disruption in business model, access to data, finding the right talent, jobless and re-skilling of existing workforce and disruption in operating model,” he says.

Despite the challenges, AI is expected to benefit businesses, Kumar says.

He says with the start of the digital age and the presence of AI, companies stand to benefit from new product development and enhancement of existing product; higher operational efficiency; improved decision making; better customer and employee experience; increase in sales; and better niche by differentiating and determining the competitive advantage.

“Adding to these is the increase in automation where companies get better employee engagement by removing mundane task. Also, AI technology makes the work place safer as dangerous tasks can be designated to machines,” Kumar says.