Globe President, CEO Ernest Cu on Digital Transformation: It’s a Matter of Survival
Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu shared at the recently concluded DigiCon 2017 that in order for a telco business to survive nowadays, digital transformation is a must.
“We actually declared that the telco industry as we know it is dead. Calling, SMS, long distance, all that is going away in favor of what is the digital lifestyle of the Filipinos,” said Cu as he narrated the company’s shift from a telco business to a full-on entertainment and digital services provider in order to meet the rapidly changing and growing demand of customers.
“That’s why you see that everything we’ve done ever since that declaration has been towards empowering the Filipino digital lifestyle,” Cu added.
Cu said that going digital should be done not just for the sake of going digital, but as a means to deliver experiences for customers. “It’s a matter of understanding the consumer. Where they’re headed, and what they need to empower that desire. And a lot of it really is about digital,” Cu said.
He also talked about the rapidly changing needs and behavior of customers on watching video. “Based on our analysis of our network, we understood that people want to view content in a different way now. They want it on demand, they want it when they have the time, they want what they want when they want it,” he shared.
He even added why it was crucial to partner with over-the-top (OTT) services to ensure survival in the digital era through alternative revenue sources. “When we foresaw that consumers are wanting to use things like WhatsApp, Viber, and FB messenger, instead of competing against them, we embraced it. We were the first partner of Viber in this country. Imagine partnering with someone trying to destroy your revenue stream. Imagine partnering with an entity that gives away their service for free called Facebook. At the end of the day, all came about and the formula worked. They stimulated the use of mobile data in the Philippines, and stimulated it quite a lot,” he said.
Going digital is not without pains as Cu narrated organizational challenges in digital transformation. “We’re not perfect yet. You know at Globe we sometimes laugh at ourselves because at the office, we still have a lot of non-digital analog ways. The joke in Globe is our travel authorization. I actually recently mandated that I will not accept any travel applications if it’s not made through the portal that we’ve created,” Cu said. “Sometimes, it’s a matter of will to make that happen.”
Cu reminded that understanding the human element is key to digital transformation. “Human beings flock to what they like. If you deliver what they like, they’re going buy it. If you keep repeating it, your business will grow over time. It’s a very simple thing we did at Globe to bring us to where we are today,” Cu said.