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5 Steps to plan your digital transformation

Five key areas decision makers should consider while planning for a digital transformation. Inspired by Sun Tzu’s Art of War, the concepts and examples are based on my views and lengthy experiences in the IT industry.

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By Yeo Siang Tiong
General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky

Being in the IT industry for the last 28 years, I had the chance to observe the many advancements and upheavals in the field – advancements in technology, changes in standards and protocols, mergers and acquisitions, layoffs and re-organizations. But I have never seen Southeast Asia (SEA) transforming at a breakneck speed until this pandemic. 

This transition boils down to one segment – digital. In fact, the region has reached more than the forecasted 310 million online consumers for 2025 in 2020, five years in advance. Thanks to the 40 million first-time internet users last year from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

As a result, there is now an urgent need for businesses to reconsider their infrastructure, their business model, and their ways of doing transactions. The stakes are higher for firms to wade through this digital wave, with this global crisis in the background.

So today, I want to share five key areas decision makers should consider while planning for a digital transformation. Inspired by Sun Tzu’s Art of War, the concepts and examples are based on my views and lengthy experiences in the IT industry. These 5 areas are – 五事:道、天、地、将、法。

  1. Alignment – Alignment from the board level or CEO to the last men in the front-line like the customer support and sales is important. If aligned, the men will fight the toughest war. The “Shared Values” and “Strategy” in the McKinsey 7-S Model are probably the closest elements to this concept. 

Unfortunately, the modern management theory sees the shareholders as the ultimate people to please, with employees as mere digits akin to the factory workers of the Industrial Age. Coupled with disproportional use of debt-based leveraged buyouts, owners are no longer owners and alas, the employees who staked their well-being on the company, their voices are hijacked. 

Fortunately, this is probably true only for the larger corporations where the gains are meaty. Nonetheless, for all corporations of various sizes, the spirit of the company is the thread that weaves all together. Without a clear sense of direction and purpose that is well communicated, the individual parts can be difficult to summon and align.

Applying this logic to digital transformation, the whole company from the C-suite to the groundwork staff should be structured correctly, aligned, fully aware and on board.

A good example is how companies pivot into digital retail. It is important that the company is well aligned to execute this. The company needs to understand that digital retail is another channel to reach the same customer. So for companies who does not have a consistent strategy for omni-channel, they end up setting up a new department to target this without rallying the other conventional channel to join the race, causing fault lines to divide the company.

  1. Natural elements – Natural elements refer to climate and timing. In this era of digital transformation, timing is the more appropriate element. Interestingly, the concept of timing is also reflected in many ancient Chinese classical philosophical studies, like Lao Tzu’s Tao De Jing, who advocated in flowing with “Tao”. 人法地,地法天,天法道,道法自然. For those who observed the masters in executing the TaiChi movement, counteracting the enemy’s strokes involves the timing of absorbing their strikes by moving along the force, not against. 

Not going so far, we are well aware that the current pandemic has been causing major disruptions across all industries and entities in Southeast Asia. Based on “Tao”, businesses, no matter what shape or size, should move along with the on-and-off lockdowns and restrictions. How? There is no other way but to harness the power of technology. 

With transactions online predicted to hit $1.2 trillion in SEA by 2025, it is timely to start shifting your physical records and dealings online, from forms to be filled, payment, and other in-between affairs. If you have not started or considered it yet, you should do so now.

  1. Physical elements – You may ask how physical elements are related to a non-physical environment such as the internet. During the ancient time, this will be about the soldiers’ marching distance and the war’s type of terrain. Currently, and in digital transformation, it is about your market that you operate in (terrain).

Identifying the right market is critical. This is not just a geographical market identification, it is also identifying the approach to the market, and targeting the correct audience type that fits into the company strategy. For example, a clothing line manufacturer may choose to directly market to the consumers. The manufacturer may choose to go for un-addressed country to avoid conflicting with the existing ecosystem of business partners, or may choose a new target audience (youngsters), reaching them through social media influencers, and selling it purely online.

  1. Managers – One cannot execute a plan without the management’s approval. This pandemic showed that innovation is needed to thrive and our recent survey revealed that managers play a crucial role to enable it. 

A great majority (96%) of surveyed companies confirmed that their board plays a direct role in business innovation. This means that if innovation has more weight behind it, there will be more drive and this not only changes the way businesses operate, but their deep-rooted culture and corporate DNA. 

These are welcome findings and a reminder to loop in your C-suite about your digital transformation plan.

Aligning this across the structure is also important. Execution needs to be aligned all the way to the last person in the hierarchy. That means, the many layers of managers are key to its success, and not just lip service from the top. At times, we see the drive from the top, but the effort is thwarted by managers, especially line managers who are used to addressing old markets, using old tools, or are simply not convinced. 

Qualities we need to look for in good managers are : wise, trustworthy, benevolent, courageous, strict ( 将者,智、信、仁、勇、严也。)

  1. Structure and Protocols/Process – Technological advancements freed us of the need to maintain roads for military supplies, to marshal armies in proper subdivisions, and to control military expenditure. However, this was changed to the need to plan our steps, consider our assets, redefine our protocols, and train our employees regularly. 

For instance, the same survey revealed that 95% of innovations in a company fail before the launch and the culprit is lack of planning. Reverting back to digital transformation, it is important to have defined protocols, comprehensive security measures and tools at hand, and a clear road map and division of tasks to make it possible. 

It is important to equip your company before diving into an irreversible transformation. Be sure that you have the updated and secured tools, revisited and adapted your process flows to a digital-first approach, and trained all your employees about securing and managing your evolving IT environment.

What part then, does cybersecurity play in this transformation? One thing that companies mistakenly think is that cybersecurity stifles innovation. In our recent survey, 54% of our respondents shared this thought. But news about data breaches and ransomware attacks should be considered a clear warning about this thinking. Any such breaches will set the company back in terms of digital transformation as it shakes the transformation at the foundation layer. This is akin to old times when you move the front troops too fast, stretching the supplies line and risking the hijacking of your food supplies, and starving the front troops before they reach the destination.

So yes, it is essential that your digital transformation plan include a comprehensive look into cybersecurity at the earliest.

Strategies

5 Practical ways to keep your finances safer online

Kaspersky’s fresh data for Q2 2021 showed a 60% increase in mobile banking Trojan attacks blocked in the region versus same period last year.

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Photo by Blake Wisz from Unsplash.com

Kaspersky reveals its Q2 2021 mobile threat report for Southeast Asia (SEA) where it has monitored a 60% uptick in the number of attacks using malicious mobile bankers detected and blocked in the region. 

Mobile banking Trojans – or bankers – are used by cybercriminals to steal funds directly from mobile bank accounts. These malicious programs typically look like legitimate financial apps, but when a victim enters their security credentials to try to access their bank account, the attackers gain access to that private information.

Overall, since the beginning of 2021, Kaspersky products have foiled 708 incidents across six countries in SEA. This is already 50% of the total number of mobile bankers blocked in 2020 which was 1,408.

Indonesia and Vietnam logged the most number of incidents during the first half of the year. However, globally, the two countries are not among the top 10 countries affected by this threat. Vietnam is only 27th and Indonesia is 31st as of June this year.

The five countries with the most number of mobile banking Trojan detections in Q2 2021 are Russia, Japan, Turkey, Germany, and France.

*Mobile banking Trojans attacks detected from users of Kaspersky mobile security solutions in the country

While the number of mobile banking Trojan attacks in SEA remains low, 367 incidents from April to June 2021 versus 230 detections during the same period last year, the continuing pandemic continues to force users to start using mobile payment systems.

“We are almost at the second year of the pandemic which has fast tracked the mobile payment adoption in the region at a breakneck speed. During the beginning of this health crisis, our survey already showed that the majority of internet users here have shifted finance-related activities online, like shopping (64%) and banking (47%),” comments Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.

The same survey revealed that seven in 10 (69%) are worried about conducting financial transactions online and 42% of the respondents admitted to being afraid about someone accessing their financial details through their devices.

In addition, another Kaspersky report titled “Making Sense of Our Place in the Digital Reputation Economy” discovered that the majority (76%) of 861 respondents from SEA confirmed their intent to keep their money-related data away from the internet. The sentiment is highest among Baby Boomers (85%), followed by Gen X (81%), and Millennials (75%).

“Clearly, there is an awareness about the threats present when we do banking and payment transactions through our mobile phones. But there is still a gap between knowing and acting on it. So to help users from SEA embrace the power of their smartphone and also keep their finances safe, we suggest some practical tips but also encourage everyone to please look into using security solutions as a safety net in case they accidentally clicked a malicious link or downloaded a rogue mobile banking application,” adds Yeo.

Here are some practical tips from Kaspersky which you can do to beef up your money’s safety online:

1. Get a temporary credit card

Cyber criminals have developed incredibly sophisticated techniques and malware that can sometimes thwart your best efforts for safe online shopping. As another level of security for safe online shopping, you can use a temporary credit card to make online purchases, in lieu of your regular credit card. Ask your credit card company if you can be issued a temporary credit card number.

Just remember to avoid using these types of credit cards for any purchases that require auto-renewal or regular payments.

If a temporary credit card is not possible, an alternative is to use a credit card with a low credit limit.

2. Dedicate a computer to online banking and shopping

If you have more than one computer, it may be wise to dedicate one for online banking and shopping only. By avoiding using the computer for any other Internet browsing, downloading, checking email, social networking, and other online activities, you effectively create a ‘clean’ computer that is totally free of computer viruses and any other infections. For added security for safe online shopping, install Google Chrome, with forced HTTPS. This ensures you are visiting only secure websites.

3. Use a dedicated email address

Create an email address that you will use only for online shopping. This will severely limit the amount of spam messages you receive and significantly reduce the risk of opening potentially malicious emails that are disguised as sales promotions or other notifications.

4. Manage and protect your online passwords

Using strong passwords and using a different password for each online account is one of the most important things you can do for safe online shopping. We know it can be difficult to remember so many different passwords, especially when they are composed of numerous letters, numbers, and special characters. But you can use a password manager to aid you in keeping strong passwords for multiple accounts.

5. Use a VPN

If you absolutely must shop online while using public Wi-Fi, first install a VPN (virtual private network). A VPN will encrypt all data that is transferred between your computer or mobile device and the VPN server, preventing hackers from hijacking and viewing any sensitive data you input.

In the Philippines, Kaspersky endpoint solutions like Kaspersky Total Security (KTS) that have a password manager and  VPN features is currently included in its 9.9 promos in Shopee and Lazada.  Filipino customers can enjoy up to 50% discount.

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Tech & Innovation

3 Things Canon introduced to improve your digital life

Whether for work or play, everyone can now enjoy a wide range of options from Canon, each one designed to fit today’s demanding digital needs. From cameras and projectors that will elevate your next digital project to innovative software that will simplify your ways of working, Canon has a solution for you. 

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“At Canon, we take pride in being an all-in-one solution provider, catering to the different needs of our customers. We are driven to continuously create and innovate, and at times like this, we pivot to adjust when customer needs change. It is our commitment to innovation that allows us to continuously delight people with products and services that fit their business or lifestyle,” said Kazuhiro Ozawa, Canon Marketing (Philippines), Inc., President & CEO. 

Expanding Creativity and Staying Connected with High Quality Video  

In this digital normal, livestreaming, virtual meetings, classes, and even social occasions like e-weddings, have become essential in everyday life. With the entire world streaming, it is important to have high quality videos that allow for people to stay connected and creative. That is why Canon has developed the EOS Webcam Utility, a free and easy-to-use feature on Canon cameras that turns your camera into a webcam. Take beautifully crisp, in-focus videos while on calls, or opt to defocus a distracting background with a natural and bandwidth-friendly bokeh. 

You can use the EOS Webcam Utility with the full-frame Canon EOS RP. The EOS R system, Canon’s celebrated range of mirrorless cameras, is built for creators who demand the power and performance of a full-frame sensor with the ergonomics of a mirrorless camera. With Canon EOS RP, get a better broadcast experience for your virtual audiences with 4K 30p video resolution, a fun, vari-angle screen, and the reliable EV-5 focus feature that keeps the subject crisp without the need for external light.

Aside from EOS RP, Canon’s PowerShot G7X Mark III is a favorite among many vloggers. The top-of-the-line compact camera captures 4K video without crop, at an improved ISO sensitivity range of 125 – 12,800 and can continuously shoot up to 30 frames per second during RAW Burst Mode.Designed for today’s digital nomads, the camera supports a direct, wireless, and for a mobile-first experience for your audience, vertical content sharing to popular social media sites like Instagram, Tiktok, and Faceboook, as well as livestreaming to YouTube.  

An optimized Business Solution for the new normal 

Beyond consumer products, Canon advocates for making business as simple as possible. With Therefore, business owners and their employees don’t need to manually rummage through physical files because the solution serves as an organized, centralized data bank with highly customizable security access options. Companies large and small can now smartly store any kind of file, such as income statements, receipts, employee files, or even photos, in Therefore™ and conveniently find it in a few clicks from anywhere in the world, even their own living room. Click here for more information. 

Lifestyle Solution for Fun, Entertainment, and Work 

Movies and presentations can now be viewed with utmost flexibility with Canon’s pocket projector.  The compact and lightweight MP250 lasts up to 2 hours of operation, projects up to 93″ wide at up to 250 lumens brightness. 

The MP250 is ready to work with any laptop thanks to its embedded media and document viewer and HDMI and USB ports. For those who can’t be bothered with a laptop, the mini projector can also support wireless content sharing from Android OS devices or direct playback from a USB flash drive. 

Whether for work or play, everyone can now enjoy a wide range of options from Canon, each one designed to fit today’s demanding digital needs. From cameras and projectors that will elevate your next digital project to innovative software that will simplify your ways of working, Canon has a solution for you. 

Follow Canon Philippines (@canonphils) on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest news and updates. 

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Tech & Innovation

Globe 4G LTE eyes to be stable, reliable partner of online sellers

At a time when practically anything can be ordered online and delivered right at one’s doorstep, a stable and reliable internet connection becomes a necessity both for sellers and buyers.

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At a time when practically anything can be ordered online and delivered right at one’s doorstep, a stable and reliable internet connection becomes a necessity both for sellers and buyers.

This is what Shane Constantino-Flores realized when she explored the world of online selling while juggling her 8-hour day job and taking care of her family. Shane works as a product executive at a digital media company in Quezon City and is a top online seller of imported beauty products.

In the past, Shane had difficulties communicating with her online customers due to weak or non-existent mobile signals at her hometown in Bustos, Bulacan.  Thankfully, this is no longer the case today.

“Malaking tulong talaga itong mas mabilis na internet na dala ng 4G lalo na ngayong full time akong work from home tapos may side hustle of online selling. With faster internet, namamaximize ko ‘yung time ko for my family, my kids, my job, and my online shop. It’s an achievement for me,” said Shane.

She added: “Dito sa area namin sa Bustos, puro bukid siya kung mapapansin, medyo ramdam natin dito ‘yung weakness ng signal pero dahil sa mga ongoing construction nararamdaman naman namin na may improvement na kasi may mga areas na mayroon na talagang signal compared sa dati na talagang dead ‘yung signal.”

Globe helps online sellers like Shane reach the full potential of their business, be it on the side or a primary source of income, through continuous improvement and aggressive infrastructure development in Bulacan and other parts of the country to bring better and faster connections to Filipinos.

“Globe fully supports online sellers who go out of their way to earn extra for their family, so we make sure that their extra effort won’t go to waste. We continue to provide them fast and reliable 4G LTE connections that will help them manage their business and respond to more customers promptly,” said Joel Agustin, Globe Senior Vice President for Program Delivery, Network Technical Group.

4G LTE refers to the mobile network technology that offers higher bandwidth or faster data speed, improved network responsiveness, lower latency, higher network capacity, backward compatibility, and future-proofing. 4G/LTE also gives enhanced security for its users.

To enjoy improved connectivity, customers who are still using the obsolete 3G SIM cards must shift to the 5G-ready 4G LTE SIMs now.  Globe assures customers that their mobile numbers will be retained when they switch to the new technology. If quarantine protocols in their respective areas allow, customers can go to the nearest Globe Store to change their SIM cards for FREE.  For more information, visit https://www.globe.com.ph/help/mobile-internet/lte/faqs.html.    

Aside from changing their SIM cards to 5G-read 4G LTE SIM cards, customers are also encouraged to update their mobile devices to 4G LTE-capable ones and their handset firmware to the latest available on the system for a better mobile data experience. Interested customers can inquire at Globe Stores nationwide for affordable 5G or 4G/LTE capable mobile devices.

Globe strongly supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly UN SDG No. 9, which highlights the roles of infrastructure and innovation as crucial drivers of economic growth and development.  The company is also committed to upholding the UN Global Compact principles and contributing to 10 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

To know more about Globe, visit www.globe.com.ph.

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