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PLDT Enterprise, DTI to enable MSMEs restart with 3-month free business bundle

Recognizing that businesses have differentiated digital priorities, PLDT Enterprise designed the said package with flexibility to allow MSMEs build upon their requirements by offering reliable business and connectivity solutions and selecting add-on services best suited to shift their operations to digital.

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PLDT Enterprise, the Business-to-Business (b2b) arm of the country’s leading ICT and digital services provider, introduces a solutions bundle designed to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) get their businesses back on track.

Recognizing that businesses have differentiated digital priorities, PLDT Enterprise designed the said package with flexibility to allow MSMEs build upon their requirements by offering reliable business and connectivity solutions and selecting add-on services best suited to shift their operations to digital—all with first three months of use for free.

The bundles are founded on connectivity solutions that feature PLDT Enterprise’s newest fiber broadband service BEYOND FIBER and wireless broadband Smart BizLTE 1899. “We at PLDT Enterprise have always aimed to make a positive impact on every single business. With our current situation posing many financial pressure on MSMEs, we have endeavored to design a customizable solution that goes beyond basic connectivity to enable them to kickstart their operations while striving for financial recovery,” said ePLDT President & CEO and SVP & Head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups Jovy Hernandez.

With businesses having varied needs beyond data access, the offer comes with an array of add-on solution options to choose from ranging from software, hardware and services. PayMaya, Cyber Security, and digital collaboration tools are just some of the few tools offered under this package to help MSMEs build online presence, accept online payments, improve productivity and collaboration, and enhance operations. The overall cost of the bundle will differ, depending on the add-ons selected by customers. 

The business bundle stimulus offer for MSMEs is available for a limited period and is set to include even more solutions in the months to come, to cater to a wider array of business needs in support of the growing needs of MSMEs as they expand their operations.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has signified their support for the initiative, encouraging MSMEs to avail of the package to jumpstart business activity. “Our MSMEs make up the largest portion of business today. With the effects of the pandemic slowing down business activity, members of the private and public sectors must come together to look for novel ways to stimulate business activity,” said DTI Secretary Mon Lopez.

“We support PLDT Enterprise in their initiatives to enable the local MSME market with their stimulus program. Indeed, business models and operations have changed and will continue to do so as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We laud PLDT for stepping up in assisting MSMEs successfully pivot towards digital without causing financial strain,” DTI Assistant Secretary Jean Pacheco added.

To learn more about how you can avail of this exclusive offer, visit http://pldtenterprise.com or contact your relationship manager. Note that the wireless broadband Smart BizLTE 1899 offer will be valid only for the month of July.

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Shopee improves platform to help MSMEs embrace digital transactions

Shopee continues to expand its workable digital platform to help retailers future-proof their businesses, embrace digitalization, and establish a successful online presence. Shopee proves its commitment to support MSMEs by developing the Shopee Seller Education Hub, maintaining a robust digital infrastructure, and reinforcing partnerships with various organizations.

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Shopee, an e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, continues to enhance its robust e-commerce ecosystem to help entrepreneurs and MSMEs go digital more seamlessly and effectively. 

With most physical stores forced to close due to the pandemic, there has been a steady increase of online sellers onboarding the platform. With this, Shopee continues to expand its workable digital platform to help retailers future-proof their businesses, embrace digitalization, and establish a successful online presence. Shopee proves its commitment to support MSMEs by developing the Shopee Seller Education Hub, maintaining a robust digital infrastructure, and reinforcing partnerships with various organizations. 

Martin Yu, Director at Shopee Philippines, points out how important it is for businesses to embrace digitalization. “The global situation has accelerated digital transformation, as more brands and MSMEs explore the opportunities of e-commerce to reach a wider audience. As the marketing landscape changes at a rapid pace, Shopee will continue to offer improved in-app features and initiatives to cater to the growing demand for e-commerce here in the Philippines.” 

Shopee Seller Education

The Shopee Seller Education Hub hosts modules on how to cultivate an online presence and boost sales. It helps MSMEs ease their way into the digital world through seller masterclasses tackling various e-commerce topics. These include sharing how-tos on running effective campaigns and growing the business, proper guidelines on handling return and refund requests, managing listing assets, boosting sales using available marketing tools, and creating awareness of the target market through activity and business insights.

Strong Marketing Tools

Shopee continues to help sellers maximize the features of its platform, engage with customers online, and understand the industry as a whole. With in-app features such as Shopee Live and  ShopeePay, sellers can enjoy a smooth and engaging selling experience on the platform. 

Shopee Live is an in-app feature where sellers can interact with their customers and answer real-time questions and inquiries regarding a product. This feature gives the seller and the consumer a more connected shopping experience. 

Shopee Live added three new features to make online shopping more engaging and drives sales for businesses. 

  • The ‘Mine’ Feature 

Users can reserve an item during a live stream by tapping the ‘Mine’ button. It will generate the usernames of the first ten tappers so that the seller can contact the buyers to make the sale*. 

  • The Poll Feature Guide

Sellers can create engaging polls about trivia and questions. The Poll Feature also helps sellers decide which items are requested by the viewers. 

  • The Co-streaming Feature

Sellers can invite their viewers to join them in the stream and is best used when a seller wants to increase their engagement through games and interactions. 

Seamless and convenient digital payments 

ShopeePay, Shopee’s in-app e-wallet, on the other hand, allows shoppers to pay for purchases and sellers to withdraw earnings conveniently. Recently, ShopeePay also added more billers to its lineup. Users can now top-up RFID stickers, pay for NBI clearance applications, and pay for their Smart mobile plans, Meralco electricity bills, Maynilad bills, and many more.

Reinforced Partnerships

Through strategic partnerships with government agencies and various organizations, Shopee can reach more MSMEs effectively and help them expand their businesses on Shopee’s platform. Joint initiatives with the government include CTRL + BIZ: Reboot Now!, a series of webinars where MSMEs can learn how to transform their businesses digitally.

Shopee also partnered with regional and provincial DTI offices in providing masterclasses to sellers. Shopee assisted in onboarding sellers from Regions III, IV, and XII, and provinces such as Nueva Ecija and Zambales. Shopee partnered with foreign organizations such as USAID to provide more than 500 women entrepreneurs with integrated digital marketing training. These programs help sellers maximize the use of digital platforms to expand and boost their businesses.

Yu said, “Shopee wants to make e-commerce accessible for everyone. Our goal is to evolve quickly to cater to our customers’ and sellers’ needs. Shopee continuously provides different initiatives that enable our retailers to go digital easily and quickly. It is a commitment that we take seriously, and we will continue to connect people and businesses, support MSMEs’ transition to a digital economy, and power the next wave of growth in the industry.”

Download the Shopee app for free on the App Store or Google Play Store. 

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COVID-19 accelerating skills gap, raising employee expectations of their employers – IBM

71% of high performing companies surveyed report they are widely deploying a consistent HR technology architecture, compared to only 11% of others.

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As many business leaders look to close the skills gap and cultivate a sustainable workforce amid COVID-19, a new IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) studyreveals less than 4 in 10 human resources (HR) executives surveyed report they have the skills needed to achieve their enterprise strategy.

Pre-pandemic IBM research in 2018 found as many as 120 million workers surveyed in the world’s 12 largest economies may need to be retrained or reskilled because of AI and automation in the next three years. That challenge has only been exacerbated in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – as many C-suite leaders accelerate digital transformation, they report inadequate skills is one of their biggest hurdles to progress.

Ongoing IBM consumer research also shows surveyed employees’ expectations for their employers have significantly changed during the COVID-19 pandemic but there’s a disconnect in how effective leaders and employees believe companies have been in addressing these gaps. 74% of executives surveyed believe their employers have been helping them learn the skills needed to work in a new way, compared to just 38% of employees surveyed, and 80% of executives surveyed said their company is supporting employees’ physical and emotional health, but only 46% of employees surveyed agreed.

“Today perhaps more than ever, organizations can either fail or thrive based on their ability to enable the agility and resiliency of their greatest competitive advantage – their people,” said Amy Wright, managing partner, IBM Talent & Transformation. “Business leaders should shift to meet new employee expectations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as holistic support for their well-being, development of new skills and a truly personalized employee experience even while working remotely. It’s imperative to bring forward a new era of HR – and those companies who were already on the path are better positioned to succeed amid disruption today and in the future.”

The new IBV study, “Accelerating the journey to HR 3.0,”conducted in partnership with global independent analyst Josh Bersin of the Josh Bersin Academy, includes insights from more than 1,500 global HR executives surveyed in 20 countries and 15 industries. Based on those insights, the study provides a roadmap for the journey to the next era of HR, with practical examples of how HR leaders at surveyed “high-performing companies” – meaning those that outpace all others in profitability, revenue growth and innovation – can reinvent their function to build a more sustainable workforce.

Additional highlights from the study include:

  • Nearly six in 10 high performing companies surveyed report using AI and analytics to make better decisions about their talent, such as skilling programs and compensation decisions. 41% are leveraging AI to identify skills they’ll need for the future, versus 8% of responding peers.
  • 65% of surveyed high performing companies are looking to AI to identify behavioral skills like growth mindset and creativity for building diverse adaptable teams, compared to 16% of peers.
  • More than two thirds of all respondents said agile practices are essential to the future of HR. However, less than half of HR units in participating organizations have capabilities in design thinking and agile practices.
  • 71% of high performing companies surveyed report they are widely deploying a consistent HR technology architecture, compared to only 11% of others.

“In order to gain long-term business alignment between leaders and employees, this moment requires  HR  to operate as a strategic advisor – a new role for many HR organizations,” said Josh Bersin, global independent analyst and dean of the Josh Bersin Academy.  “Many HR departments are looking to technology, such as the cloud and analytics, to support a more cohesive and self-service approach to traditional HR responsibilities.  Offering employee empowerment through holistic support can drive larger strategic change to the greater business.”  

Report findings suggest three core elements to promote lasting change

According to the report, surveyed HR executives from high-performing companies were eight times as likely as their surveyed peers to be driving disruption in their organizations. Among those companies, the following actions are a clear priority:

  • Accelerating the pace of continuous learning and feedback
  • Cultivating empathetic leadership to become a more health-oriented company and support employees’ holistic well-being
  • Reinventing their HR function and technology architecture to make more real-time data-driven decisions

Burger King Brazil is an example of a company who rapidly responded to new employee expectations and needs presented by this moment. Burger King Brazil worked with IBM to create a new virtual assistant based on IBM Watson Assistant, which helped during the pandemic to provide its workforce with self-service support and more transparent communications and connection to each other and company leadership. The solution supports its 16,000 employees, and on average responded to 1,100 questions per day in April alone.

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Empowering employees through tech can supercharge returns – Lenovo

IT leaders are reporting a 5x return (USD $1 spent on these programs yields USD $5 of increased staff productivity, organizational agility and customer satisfaction), with many expecting to increase their investment by nearly 25 percent in two years.

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A new Lenovo and Intel commissioned study, “Empower Your Employees with the Right Technology,” conducted by Forrester Consulting, has found that the impact of technology in improving the employee experience (EX), or an employee’s full journey in an organization, is much more than anticipated — highlighting opportunities for organizations’ IT decision makers (ITDMs) in today’s remote and hybrid work environment.

The key insight points out that while companies on average see a 5x return on investment in the EX driven by increased productivity, organizational agility and customer satisfaction, ITDMs and employees disagree on technology priorities. While ITDMs are prioritizing strategic IT integration, software and service needs, employees are more focused on their fundamental daily technology experience.

This suggests that business leaders have room to collaborate more closely with employees on their IT purchase decisions to elevate team engagement, increase customer satisfaction and improve the bottom line.

Bridging the divide between employees and IT decision makers

With organizations now shifting their focus toward remote and hybrid work, ITDMs are upgrading devices, software and services as part of EX initiatives to improve team engagement and satisfaction. Based on the research findings, this has led to more tech spending. IT leaders are reporting a 5x return (USD $1 spent on these programs yields USD $5 of increased staff productivity, organizational agility and customer satisfaction), with many expecting to increase their investment by nearly 25 percent in two years.

Yet employees still report that they’re frustrated with their PC hardware and software experience:

  • Fifty (50) percent of respondents say their PC devices are out of date or insufficient (e.g. not fast enough, reliable enough or powerful enough)
  • Forty-six (46) percent note their software frequently malfunctions and disrupts their work
  • Only 33 percent are extremely satisfied with the current laptop provided by the company
  • Only 30 percent said their laptops or desktop work well for cross-collaboration.

Importantly, ITDMs and employees both define employee satisfaction with technology as a crucial goal. Satisfaction with technology also has the greatest observable positive impact: nearly 60 percent of ITDM respondents noted a more than 10-percent increase in EX scores by improving employee satisfaction with technology. It’s evident that IT departments and the technologies they offer are instrumental to driving EX, beyond conventional factors such as human resources, worker benefits and more.

Yet again, there is a clear disconnect between employees and these ITDMs, whose primary concerns are the longevity of their technology investments rather than its impact on team engagement. According to the study, whereas 84 percent of ITDMs believe employees can easily switch to a different PC device if their current one needs to be replaced, only half of employees agree that’s an available solution. Ultimately, both ITDMs and employees agree that refresh cycles can be improved and better aligned. In addition, ITDMs believe the integration of hardware and software will impact EX the most, whereas employees simply want devices that work consistently.

Prioritizing employees to better leverage technology investments

The study outlines a few key recommendations on how business leaders can better improve employee engagement and business outcomes through technology investments.

  • Realign investments. While many ITDMs are investing resources into exploring newer, emerging technologies such as 5G, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), and artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning tools, based on worker respondents’ feedback there is an opportunity to focus first on immediate employee priorities—building a strong foundation of collaboration tools and PC devices—while IT departments explore more advanced technology tools in parallel.
  • Reorganize priorities. Decision-makers should also focus on improving EX vs only focusing on specific productivity metrics. In fact, according to the study nearly 80 percent of ITDMs plan to focus on improving employee engagement over the next few months.
  • Focus on PCs. PCs have become critically important to employees, with 77 percent of full-time employees saying that PC devices are a critical factor in their daily work and collaboration with one another. A renewed focus on PCs can make the greatest impact on the bottom line and customer satisfaction, with most respondents agreeing that PC devices are critical to increasing customer satisfaction (69 percent), revenue growth (62 percent) and employee retention (55 percent).
  • Involving employees in PC investment decisions. Overwhelmingly (72 percent) of employees responded that listening to workers or getting clarity on what they need ranks in the top three of what companies should do to improve EX. This feedback is important, as employees understand their work devices’ value in driving business outcomes, based on technology factors such as performance, connectivity, reliability, portability, size/weight, battery life and more. Listening to employee feedback can go a long way towards making the case for better technology options.

“Our new study findings further affirm our belief in the strategic importance of technology as critical investments, and not as simple transaction costs. The right deployment of technologies delivering returns can far exceed the initial expense of new business models and opportunities,” said Christian Teismann,  President, Commercial PC and Smart Devices Business, Lenovo. “Given employees are a company’s greatest asset, the study further maps out opportunities to uplift the return on technology investment by focusing on PC devices and collaboration tools, while better involving employees in purchase decisions. In today’s new remote and hybrid work set-up, these steps are pivotal for companies in yielding opportunities that go far beyond the initial spend on their technology.”

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