by Richmond Mercurio – The Philippine Star, 7 Oct 2021
MANILA, Philippines — Digitalization is now a must even for companies outside the telecommunications space to enable them to thrive and survive, according to business titan Manuel V. Pangilinan.
“Given the circumstances nowadays, it has become an imperative for companies outside telco,” Pangilinan said during the opening plenary session of PLDT Enterprise’s three-day PH Digicon 2021.
“If you don’t adapt, if you don’t change, the you’ll go the way of dinosaurs,” he said.
In the old days, Pangilinan said the value of a company has been created mainly by the traditional metrics – profits and cashflows.
This has evolved as the imperatives now include digitalization as well as sustainability, in addition to the traditional metrics, he said.
Pangilinan’s group of companies has investments in various sectors such as telco, power, tollways, water, and hospitals, among others.
“I know PLDT and Smart are probably at the forefront, but it cuts across all companies apart from telcos,” he said.
“We have to persuade the senior management the first instance that it’s important they adopt digital technology because you will become obsolete if you don’t do that. And values are now run by your ability to do your digital pivot, especially if you’re a publicly listed company. That’s a key imperative for our group across the board,” Pangilinan said.
For Metro Pacific’s tollways business, Pangilinan said its shift from cash basis to RFIDs has resulted in cost savings and has allowed the company to obtain data from motorists which aid in knowing the pattern of their journey.
“The same is true for our hospitals. Now, I think with telehealth, we have the ability to deliver health services digitally or in a mobile way to our patients. That has helped a lot. Our water concession and power distribution businesses are regulated. Right now in order to bill properly, we deploy millions of meters all over our franchise areas. Government has allowed our meter readers to go out this year, but that’s an area where we have to adapt and deploy smart meters because at the end of the day, we’re very human heavy in terms of our ability to read and properly monitor the analytics of consumption of water and power,” he said.
“We’re seeing revolution happening across the board for our businesses so it’s our job really to able to encourage and push them into that space,” Pangilinan said.