Thought Leaders: Digital Transformation as an Emerging Culture

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Thought Leaders: Digital Transformation as an Emerging Culture

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What does it mean for business to go digital? In what ways are their processes, mindsets, and results affected by this inevitable transformation? These are questions that the Philippine Marketing Association (PMA) pondered on during this year’s Agora Table Series, a fireside chat where thought leaders exchanged valuable insights on Disruptive Technologies in Business and Marketing.

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Here are some of the noteworthy points from thought leaders for fellow thought leaders for the second year of the Agora Table Series.

“You have to have a very clear vision of how things would happen, especially with the advent of technology, that would really change the face of the media landscape. One of the hardest hit industries was really the newspaper industry, where it begun with people going away from the newspaper and picking up their tablets.

That was something we anticipated. Instead of having a mindset of having a threat, it’s more of seeing it as an opportunity where we could grow, using technology – the very technology that threatens us – as an enabler to cross into several channels and cross borders.”

Lucien Dy Tioco

Senior Vice President

The Philippine Star

“Here in the Philippines, most companies want to go digital, but they don’t really understand what digital means. A lot of companies feel that as long as they have a website or Facebook page, they’re already digital. But it’s much risk you can take. It’s not something that happens just because you have a website. Digital is really more of a mindset. It’s really becoming a pure entrepreneur, not being chained down with what you’re used to.”

Carlo Ople

Vice President, Digital Marketing

PLDT Enterprise and International Carrier Business


“It’s all about big data – analyzing the behavior of your customers. They’re already using it across different industries. In banking, the credit cards in terms of usage, and being able to maximize it by coming out with campaign triggers to change the behavior of their customers.”

Yayu Javier

President and COO

Avanza, Inc.


“In the BPO space or at least in the customer service space, machine learning is pretty much still driven by people. People still input and curate the information that goes in. It’s really just too fuzzy to allow it to run by itself as of now. To be able to have an accurate system, you really have to be able to pick and choose what goes in and qualify it properly. Otherwise, you just have a system that collates everything but you won’t have anything properly searchable.”

Raffy David


Company Director, Pilipinas Teleserv Inc.


“We’re one of the banks that love to partner with technology. We’re one of the first to do Internet Banking and Mobile Banking. Anything new, basically. You wouldn’t know what would be the next disruptor. So we’re open to experimenting with technology that would make the customer experience better.”

James Ileto

Vice President, Center for Strategic Partnerships



“It’s volume that helps you understand specific trends – especially in a market as old as real estate, which has a lot of gut feeling and intuition. The beauty about data is there are so many points that are missed out, there are trends that you can’t even comprehend that exists that you start drawing out. And that’s what we’re trying to do as a young technology company. For us, it’s really not intuitive; we really believe in data and what data tells us.”

Bhavna Suresh

Managing Director


“A lot of people are really focused on digital transformation now. It’s really not a matter of whether they’re doing it. It’s really a matter of when and how. Digital transformation is not just putting everything on digital; it’s not just about platforms. People talk about cloud without really understanding what it really means. To us, it’s really founded by an ambition to empower every customer, every person to achieve more. That’s really our main focus.”

Arlene Aran Amarante


Microsoft Business Strategy


“One barrier in digital transformation is that some of the companies think of it as a cost that doesn’t really have an immediate benefit. Those that try to adopt digital elements in their business would normally use their old systems and slap on a Facebook Page and Instagram Page and call it ‘digital.’ It’s far beyond that. It’s more about adapting to the culture, trying to identify your consumers, and changing digital behavior and trying to be relevant to them in this day and age.”

Steve Chan

Head, Digital Business

Geiser Maclang


“I think that nowadays, every company, regardless of what industry they’re in, is partially in e-commerce. So, we’re seeing a huge uptake. In the past couple of years, we’re seeing a lot of big corporate companies start getting into e-commerce, so it’s going to be really exciting in the next few years.”

Bjorn Pardo


Digital Commerce Association of the Philippines (DCOM)


“We have some of the great e-commerce platforms now in the country. But at this moment in time, a 30-minute delivery that Amazon has been using drone technology in the US is not going to happen in the Philippines anytime soon. It’s also the mindset. You’ll notice Amazon’s business model became a little bit more brick-and-mortar and they actually have a store. But there is no transfer of cash in that store, everything is purchased online, you just pick it up and that’s it. We all kind of need that tactile element. We’re humans at the end of the day.

Now, in the Philippines so far, culturally, malls don’t serve as just a place to shop. It’s a place to socialize, watch movies. It’s a social thing. We’re social human beings. So malls aren’t going to die anytime soon.”

Eric Manuel

Consultant for Corporate Innovation

DTSI Group