Thursday, February 10, 2022

Microsoft’s Asenso Pilipinas Summit Gathers Government Leaders to Empower Stronger Digital Organizations across the Philippines

10 February 2022, Manila, Philippines - Microsoft recently held its annual ICT summit, Asenso Pilipinas, alongside partners Crayon, Radenta Technologies, NTT Data Philippines, and KPMG International Limited.

Now in its 5th year, the event is the largest public-sector cloud summit in the Philippines and brought nearly 3,000 public officials together in its 2022 edition. Carrying the theme, “Navigating change and emerging stronger in a digital era” the event aimed to enable leaders from the Philippine government and the broader public sector to build stronger digital organizations and achieve greater agility and resiliency as the country moves forward, post COVID-19.  

“At Microsoft, we aim to empower governments around the world towards three key outcomes: Engage and connect with citizens to address increasing expectations and demands for higher levels of service from their government agencies. Modernize the government workplace to provide agencies and employees with the tools they need to do their jobs as efficiently as possible. And enhance government services to find new ways to optimize operations and transform its processes. We know that these three make the heart of digital acceleration, and we are committed to helping the government in all of their technology adoption and transformation journeys," said Joanna Velez-Rodriguez, Public Sector Director of Microsoft Philippines.

Microsoft Corporation's Corporate Vice-President & Deputy General Counsel, Antony Cook, delivered a keynote speech focusing on how organizations can navigate uncertainty in an ever-changing business and economic landscape, in addition to zooming in on Microsoft’s efforts to empower organizations all over the world to achieve their greater digital ambitions. 

"People, organizations, and societies will need to adapt to change more than ever before to pave the way for true economic recovery," said Cook. "Today, we are helping customers to adapt and respond in real-time. As we see a focus on restarting economies, we will be engaged in helping businesses to rebound. Longer-term, we anticipate the need to reimagine the business world and in many places that is already underway, including how the public sector institutions will operate, manage, engage, and respond to their citizenry. We are committed to working alongside customers in all these spaces to help shape the future and realize new opportunities.”

Microsoft’s keynote speakers were followed by plenary sessions on four key focus areas:

·       Optimizing for the new world of hybrid work

·       Building a hyper-connected government

·       Accelerating digital capability through AI

·       Protect everything with end-to-end security

These sessions were participated in by a collection of leaders from the public and private sectors including Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba, Ph.D, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Assistant Governor Lilia C. Guillermo, Department of Information and Communications (DICT) Assistant Secretary Evamay C. Dela Rosa, Department of Health (DOH) Dr. Enrique A. Tayag, Department of Education Director Abram Y.C Abanil, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Engr. Orlando Malaca and Supreme Court of the Philippines Court Attorney Atty. Jed Sherwin Uy. 

Optimizing for the new world of Hybrid work

According to Microsoft's 2021 Work Trend Report, Hybrid Work is here to stay. Microsoft surveyed more than 30,000 people in 31 countries and found that 73 percent of workers want flexible remote work options to continue, while 67 percent are craving more in-person time with their teams. How organizations adapt to this trend and accommodate the expectations of their employees will define the post-pandemic workplace.

Crayon and Microsoft provided insights on how organizations and employees can adapt and thrive in hybrid work arrangements with the latest technologies that can be leveraged to optimize the modern workplace.

Meanwhile, Assistant Governor Guillermo of BSP shared their strategies for hybrid work and how their system migration to the cloud has helped the central bank function effectively despite the limitations caused by the pandemic.

"Even before the pandemic, we already migrated to the cloud-based platform. It will be very hard for us to address the COVID-19 situation if we had not. Because of this, we were able to prepare for our work from home arrangements, and we were able to provide core services to the public and different banks remotely," said Assistant Governor Guillermo. The BSPs monetary policy adjustments in recent years played a crucial role in addressing the pandemic's impact on the economy.

Building a hyper-connected government

Governments today are constantly challenged by evolving citizen demands, such as creating new economic opportunities, ensuring health and public safety, and improving the efficiency of government services. This merits greater agility through technology and data to better respond and prepare for emerging challenges.

To support and enable hyper-connection, Radenta Technologies presented cutting-edge solutions, like its Government Resource Integrated Planning System (GRIPS), which is specifically designed to empower the public sector to manage and maximize data.

Furthermore, Dr. Tayag detailed the steps the DOH is taking to become a hyper-connected organization through recent innovations implemented in their vaccine management strategy.

"Power BI, for example, has allowed us to improve data management and data sharing so that decision-making at levels of health care can actually happen. This was possible because of the timely, accurate, and secure dashboards we are using with Power BI. More importantly, the public is given access through this dashboard so that there will be a better understanding of our pandemic situation as it evolves," said Dr. Tayag. 

Accelerating Digital Capability through AI

 Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play a key role in helping the Philippines respond to and recover from COVID-19, build resiliency, and increase its competitiveness on the global stage in the years to come. According to research by  Kearney, the adoption of AI can increase the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP) by 12 percent by 2030, or equivalent to approximately $92 billion.

The challenge today is making the power of AI accessible and enabling its responsible and effective use for individuals and organizations.  

The DTI is spearheading the national government's AI ambitions with the launch of the national artificial intelligence (AI) roadmap in 2021. Usec. Aldaba stressed how AI can be an enabler in the country’s economic recovery.

“The Philippine AI roadmap focuses on using AI to uplift the lives of our people, industries, and the economy. The roadmap goes beyond our present difficulties as we envision the Philippines as an AI center of excellence in the future,” she said.” AI represents a big window of opportunity for the Philippines to leverage our existing comparative advantage, especially in the IT-BPM sector, and expand to key international AI markets in the future.”

The education sector also plays a crucial role in the country’s economic development, as it equips the workforce of tomorrow with the necessary skills and competence for a more digital economy. Director Abanil said that the DepEd is accelerating its adoption of innovations to optimize teaching and learning with the deployment of DepEd Commons and the Learning Management System (LMS). 

DepEd Commons is a central repository system of open educational resources and learning materials accessible to students and teachers alike. While the LMS is a portal that enables teachers to efficiently and conveniently structure students' academic activities. Director Abanil added that the DepEd would integrate predictive analytics into the LMS, which will allow them on a national scale to track students' performance and accordingly make the necessary interventions to help improve learners' competencies. 

Protect everything with end-to-end Security

According to Microsoft's digital defense report, cybercrime has evolved as a national security threat driven mainly by financial gain, with the government as the most targeted sector by cybercriminals at 48 percent. Moreover, based on Microsoft’s Global threat activity analysis, currently, 1,397,007 devices in the Philippines encountered cyber threats such as malware and viruses.  

Microsoft is working closely with the public and private sectors across the world to enable stronger cyber security measures and policies. In the Philippines, the Supreme Court, is implementing end-to-end security in their processes as part of their digital transformation efforts.

 "Cybersecurity and privacy will always play crucial roles in any digital transformation initiative, and they must be carefully balanced with user experience and productivity," said Supreme Court of the Philippines Court Attorney Atty. Jed Sherwin Uy. "Aside from encrypting data, identity and access management is the key. We are currently able to achieve this through Azure AD (Active Directory). It allows us to secure access with single sign-on, verify identities with mobile factor authentication, control access with smart policies and enforce this privilege for just-in-time access."

In response to cyber threats globally, Microsoft will invest $20 billion over the next five years to accelerate efforts to integrate cyber security by design and deliver advanced security solutions. This includes $150 million in technical services to help federal, state, and local governments upgrade security protection and help ensure they deploy the best and most up-to-date security tools available.

The entire event is available online for free and has garnered more than 150,000 views to date. 

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