In Davao region, a workforce in excess of 16,000 is no mean feat. Doubling the number in as few years as possible is IDI’s continuing goal. But at the end of the day, ICT is more than jobs. It is also about connecting people to the information superhighway, enabling them to find livelihood and security in the knowledge economy, and allowing them to find meaning and purpose in an electronically inter-connected world.
Davao has found a niche in this new world through ICT—information and communications technology. Over the last 4 years, Davao City and its stakeholders have made significant contributions to the development of the ICT industry. As a result, Davao City now ranks No 1 among 2010’s 37 Philippine outsourcing destinations and has gotten into the Top 100 Cities in the World for Outsourcing by Tholons International Advisory and Research Group, ranking # 69, becoming 1 out of only 6 Philippine cities to get into this enviable position.
These laurels have only pushed the bar of excellence higher making it imperative for industry stakeholders in both public and private sectors to look at ways by which to compare best practices and develop capacity to access new markets and promote service providers.
President Benigno Aquino III has identified the continuing focus on the IT-BPO industry as among the key driver of its economic agenda. With the ICT industry a significant contributor to Philippine GDP in the past years, Mindanao’s and Davao City’s ICT hubs and its sub-sectors have been riding the outsourcing wave with its proactive stand in industry development.
The former City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has also cited ICT as the primary enabler for government institutions to deliver services to the community through an effective e-governance platform while realizing the need for a private led eFfort to create new jobs for Davaoenos as a means to reduce unemployment and poverty.
THEMES AND STRATEGIES
Young, creative, educated and articulate talent is a core resource of Davao’s ICT industry, with 12,000 FTEs in the IT-BPO sector, and 4,000 in the self-employed sector. i The ICT industry cluster’s roadmap targets a total of 30,000 workforce by the end of the PNoy administration.
Working directly and indirectly through its member trade associations, and government, non-government and industry partners, IDI aims to enhance its engagement with and support for IT talent development. Through the leadership of the Talent Development Committee headed by the Vice President for Talent Development, a talent development strategic plan will be crafted and implemented to address three inter-related goals:
- Engage with and learn from ICT talent
- Reinforce tri-partite collaboration to make talent responsive to industry and key markets
- Support professional and leadership development initiatives
Cross-Industry Cluster Collaboration
Mindanao continues to tout its potential for tourism, agriculture, trade and commerce, and is in the forefront of radical experiments in governance arrangements to address long simmering problems of peace and order, demands for autonomy and for inclusive growth. IDI must lead not only in cross-industry collaboration to promote and expand the use of ICT, but also to address the expanding local demand for ICT products and services.
Towards this end, IDI will:
- Initiate and seek out opportunities for cross-industry collaboration
- Share ICT talent, products and services across industry clusters, island-wide
Innovation Strategies through the “Smarter Countryside” and Related Programs
With the launching in Davao City by the PNoy government through the DOST of the “Smarter Philippines, Smarter Countryside” program, and the assumption by key IDI officers to significant leadership positions in the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP), IDI is in a unique position to implement key initiatives of the programs of the DOST and the NICP. In the near term, IDI is looking at three areas where Davao can play a leading role in innovation, namely: healthcare, living and lifestyle, and microwork and impact sourcing.
To achieve this, IDI will:
- Pursue innovations in healthcare ICT
- Draw up an innovation roadmap for smarter living and lifestyle
- Support the development of a microwork technology platform and launch impact sourcing initiatives with partner communities in the region
- Establish an ICT Innovation Center
Promotion and Market Development Strategies
Promoting the ICT industry, raising awareness among key stakeholders, media briefings, and handling local and inbound missions, all require careful planning and the production efficient and effective use of hard and soft marketing collaterals, social and other media.
IDI will pursue this through:
- Production of professional promotion and marketing collaterals
- Implementation of focused and persistent social media presence
- Establish international marketing network
- Increase participation in national and international events
Innovating in new products and services and building profitable businesses around them are critical to the ICT industry as it moves through the service value chain—from voice services, shared services, knowledge process outsourcing—and to product value chain—concept, development, production. Entrepreneurship training and business plan pitching competitions have introduced more rigor to the process of business development, rather that the purely “hit or miss” exercise in the past. However, there is a need to draw more human and financial resources to the process while reducing the costs and improving quality at the startup phase. Greater collaboration among stakeholders is therefore required.
This will be facilitated by the following strategies:
- Promote knowledge sharing and tools at the pre-competitive phase
- Enhance support for start-ups
Research and Policy Advocacy
In 2012, the ICT industry failed to help pass legislation creating a Department of ICT; instead, the Commission on Information and Communications Technology was transferred as a unit of the Department of Science and Technology. Two laws, one for data privacy and the other for cybercrime prevention, were signed by the President. Regulations implementing the data privacy act are being crafted, and the cybercrime law is being challenged before the Supreme Court. At the same time, as more and more national agencies automate, standards for data registries, security, data sovereignty, interoperability, system architecture, and many other issues, are being discussed and deliberated on.
Energy, costs of doing business, talent shortage and mismatches, telecommunications infrastructure, peace and order, tax and other incentives, among others, remain barriers to the industry as a medium for dynamic and inclusive growth.
The ICT industry must be in the forefront of these discussions even as it endeavors to keep its members fully abreast with these developments.
To do this, IDI will:
- Craft a research and policy agenda
- Organize a fellowship program for research and policy advocacy
Organizational Consolidation and Resource Mobilization
IDI will only be able to deliver on its vision, mission and goals if it attains a high degree of organizational consolidation and professionalism within its ranks. Indeed, without both it is difficult to mobilize resources and attract qualified talent to serve the organization.
- Initiate a member resource development program
- Update the organization’s communications plan and establish a speakers’ bureau
- Organize and co-manage events and provide consulting services to generate financial resources to the organization
- Promote professionalization and expansion through sound corporate planning
- Conduct benchmarking activities and improve networks and linkages