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In the age of automation, many companies in the IT-BPO industry are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to cut operational costs. The emergence of AI and the increase in the kinds of work processes that automated systems can handle is a clear threat to the Philippine BPO industry, which is currently largely reliant on relatively simple tasks. However, the Philippine government has found a solution to help BPO workers keep their jobs while also taking advantage of technological innovations.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), with the help of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and tech company AI Pros, plan to train BPO workers on the use of Augmented Intelligence (AI2). AI2 refers to the use of IT in enhancing human intelligence.

"Instead of AI replacing jobs in the IT-BPO industry, which is estimated to affect half of the 1.3 million jobs in the sector, the workers will be trained to make use of AI2-enabled systems," said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez. According to Lopez, this training is a way to take advantage of the AI system as a solution to the so-called threats that it may bring.

"We are the first country to launch this kind of initiative. Instead of looking at AI as a threat to the BPO industry, the Duterte administration is using AI2 to provide more opportunities for inclusive growth," Lopez added.

DTI anticipates AI2 to improve the competencies of BPO workers and targets 482,000 unskilled workers to learn to do low-skilled work, 525,000 low-skilled workers to learn mid-skilled work, and 309,000 mid-skilled workers to become eligible for high-level jobs.

To elaborate, AI2-enabled systems still need humans to operate them. Data-driven technologies can process data and suggest predictions and patterns faster, but these are based off of algorithms that were programmed into the system by a person. As the term "augmented intelligence" suggests, these systems are not meant to replace humans, but rather to augment their intelligence so they can be more efficient in their jobs.

In the BPO industry, data processing and analytics will be one of the fields that will be affected by the AI threat. There are technologies now that can perform in-depth data mining, eliminating the need for data entry professionals. To help them stay in the workforce, the AI2 training program will upskill data entry professionals to handle more complex tasks such as creating strategies and drawing conclusions from the trends and patterns identified by the systems from the data.

Customer service agents can also benefit from the AI2 training program. Augmented intelligence platforms have the ability to provide insights into customer behavior and can predict their needs. The workers will be trained to understand these insights and determine the appropriate actions to deliver according to customer expectations.

In digital marketing, we've been encountering AI2-enabled algorithms every day. Researchers and marketers make use of internet algorithms to study each individual's online activity. The information will then be used to improve products and services and come up with creative advertisements that will reach the right audience at the right time.

Acting DICT Secretary Eliseo Rio said that the training program is part of the "Philippine AI Workforce" brand campaign, which aims to open more job opportunities to Filipinos as well as to extend the development outside the metro.

"We will train and enable our workforce, regardless of their background and experience, to use AI2 to perform smarter and complete difficult tasks, and help them move up the value chain," Lopez said. He also confirmed that this initiative is also open to non-BPO workers, so every Filipino can learn to work with AI and advance in their respective fields.

Source:
http://technology.inquirer.net/


Lesley

Back-to-School Project: HOPE Mini Library Turnover Ceremony

by: Lesley Anne U. Ordinario

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 | Social Responsibility | Comments (0)

Just in time for the start of the school year, MicroSourcing Philippines, through MicroMissions, partnered with Generation HOPE in providing a mini library for the Grade 1 students of the Imus Pilot Elementary School in Cavite. Over 100 children's books were donated to extend learning and help with developing the reading abilities of the kids. Mats, pillows, and educational children’s toys were also provided.

The school's principal advocates literacy through reading and the mini library is one step towards improving the Grade 1 students' reading and comprehension skills.


Lesley

Seedling Nurturing at Buhay Punlaan

by: Lesley Anne U. Ordinario

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 | Social Responsibility | Comments (0)

Yearly, MicroMissions organizes a tree-planting activity and this time around, we focused on understanding how to nurture seedlings before planting them.

Buhay Punlaan is a nursery of native trees at the Caliraya-Lumot Watershed in Lumban, Laguna. It covers a 2-hectare area and serves as a learning laboratory and direct response to the shortage of native tree species in the country today.

41 volunteers went to Lumban and collected and planted 300 wildlings. Kuya Ken and Kuya Kiko taught us the different stages of preparing the seedlings before planting. This activity was a holistic approach to understand how one wildling should be taken care of.

After going through the different stages of nurturing, MicroMissions went to the Japanese Garden where Kuya Ken showed us how to spot and collect a wildling.

This mission is in line with Haribon Foundation’s Rainforest Organizations and Advocates (ROAD) to 2020 – an environmental conservation movement that is committed to restoring Philippine rainforests using native tree species to sustain the provision of ecological goods and services through an informed and engaged public.

Another sustainable mission accomplished!


On April 9, 2018, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its latest World Economic Outlook. IMF's report cited the Philippine economy's constant resilience to external shocks. The organization expects the country to become the fastest growing economy among members of the ASEAN and the second fastest in the world in two years. IMF projects a strong 6.7% GDP growth for the Philippines for 2018 and 6.8% for 2019.

"As you may know, these growth forecasts are among the highest in the Asia-Pacific region," said YongZheng Yang, IMF resident representative for the Philippines.

Yang also added that "the Philippine economy will continue to grow strongly, driven by solid domestic demand and public investment."

Furthermore, the latest World Economic Outlook projected a 5.3% growth for 2018 and 5.4% for 2019 for the ASEAN-5 (Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia) and a global growth of 3.9% for both 2018 and 2019. Yang said that these strong growth forecasts would fuel the growth of the Philippine economy's export sector, remittances, and the BPO sector.

"Strong domestic reform momentum, including in the area of taxation and capital market development, bodes well for private sector investment, including foreign direct investments," Yang added.

Source:
www.philstar.com


Lesley

CSR at MicroSourcing

by: Lesley Anne U. Ordinario

Thursday, June 7, 2018 | Social Responsibility | Comments (0)

The Careers Program is about linking out-of-school youth to sustainable higher paying jobs, providing them training and job opportunities so they can pave their own way out of poverty. We took talent that nobody in the sector looked at before, trained them, and proved that they can deliver.
- Geoanna Corneby, CSR Officer, 2012-2015

See how MicroSourcing changes the lives of disadvantaged youths, believing that they can deliver given the right resources and opportunities.


Lesley

Clean Water for the Water-People: Badjao Community

by: Lesley Anne U. Ordinario

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 | Social Responsibility | Comments (0)

March 22 is regarded as World Water Day. To honor an indigenous tribe that has lived in houses on stilts in the sea, MicroMissions partnered with Waves for Water and Payatas Orione Foundation (PAOFI) to provide clean, safe, and potable water to the Badjao Community in Quezon. As immigrants from Mindanao, they settled in Lucban, Quezon and PAOFI took care of the community and taught them how to weave rags and beaded bracelets for livelihood and provided them education.

Waves for Water is an organization that offers access to clean water to improve personal and civic well-being, increases overall health, reduces poverty and increases opportunities for education and employment, and contributes to the advancement of individuals and their communities. With the water filters that they provide to communities, it is one step in making sure individuals get to drink bacteria-free water especially in areas where accessibility is a challenge.

Last March 17, MicroMissions volunteers attended the Learn and Share Session on the filters that will be donated to the community. Conducted by Waves for Water, Raymond Sikawat taught the volunteers the assembly of the filter system. On March 24, the trip to Quezon pushed through for volunteers to personally share with the Badjaos the knowledge we gained in using the filters. 15 water filters were given to the Badjao community as they get water from a well, a deep-well pump, and the water from the sea, which has become their lavatory.

Each filter will be used by 3-4 families that will be strictly monitored by PAOFI. The filters donated can be used for 5-10 years, a great deal of sustainability in providing potable water to lessen water-borne diseases, especially to children - to improve their development - and for the community to increase their productivity.


On March 21, 2018, the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) facilitated the GenNext Leadership Forum with the theme "Leadership in the Age of Disruption". The GenNext Leadership Forum was attended by middle managers from different call center firms in the Philippines. The forum served as a venue for next-generation leaders to hear insights and learn from industry thought leaders and prominent executives who were invited to speak at the event.

Simultaneous with the GenNext Leadership Forum is the Team Leader Summit, which was attended by contact center team leaders with senior managers invited as speakers.

Throughout the events, the recurring message implied was the need of Philippine contact centers for more competent leaders as the sector continuously grows. The speakers shared how future leaders in the contact centers can prepare for the challenges that come with being a leader in the age of disruption.

As innovations in technology continue to evolve, the speakers emphasized the need to update skills in order to maintain growth and create new opportunities. The future leaders were advised to continue learning on their own instead of waiting for formal training opportunities to arrive. Call centers were also advised to address the challenges of complex digitized transactions by encouraging the further understanding of digital operations and analytics.

"We need to continue the education, the partnership, the collaboration so everybody will understand exactly what we need to do as an industry, as a country to be able to capture the growth and to be able to capture new potential business opportunities," said CCAP President Jojo Uligan.

The GenNext Leadership Forum and Team Leader Summit comprise a series of sessions. The second session was held last April 23 in Alabang, and the next two will be on May 28 in Cebu City and August 13 in BGC.

Source:
https://www.technochops.com/


According to Colliers Philippines, the total office supply in Cebu would reach about one million square meters in 2018, as reported by SunStar Cebu.

Office leasing in Cebu is mainly driven by BPO companies, with call centers representing more than 50% of total office leases and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) firms representing 20% in 2017.

Colliers Philippines predicts that for this year, offshore gambling will also become a main player in Cebu's office leasing activity. In 2017, offshore gambling represented 25% of total office leases. Total office transactions in 2017 were at about 107,000 square meters.

"In Manila, offshore gambling is driving the leasing activity of properties, which also have condominium components. And with the continued rise, we expect the same trend to replicate here," said Colliers Philippines Research Manager Joey Roi Bondoc.

Property developers who offer their office spaces to offshore gambling firms were advised by Bondoc to consider building condominiums to complement the offices. As the new office spaces open job opportunities, more workers may need to look for living spaces that are near the business districts.

Furthermore, if Cebu’s local government units would extend local regulations that are more beneficial for businesses like offshore gambling, Colliers Philippines could see an increased growth from the offshore gambling industry in the next two to three years.

As for KPO and business process management (BPM) firms, their annual growth in terms of office transactions is expected to be consistently at around 10% until 2020.

Colliers Philippines also sees the government's 'Build, Build, Build' and decentralization initiatives to be favorable to the office leasing growth in Cebu. The government's programs are said to encourage more offshore gambling and BPO companies, as well as other businesses, to consider the province as a viable location.

"We encourage both landlords and tenants to explore business opportunities within the Call Center City that the local government proposes to develop with the private sector; build office space that could accommodate non-outsourcing and traditional businesses that require smaller cuts; assess the needs of offshore gambling; and open more flexible workspace," Colliers Philippines stated.


pearl

MicroSourcing Wins Voice Project's Change Challenge Awards

by: Marie Pearl Martinez

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 | Company News | Comments (0)

"MicroSourcing has an excellent process for survey roll-out, results communication and action planning."

This is just one of the positive comments from the judges of the 2018 Change Challenge Awards, where MicroSourcing Philippines was recognized as the winner in the Enterprise Category. MicroSourcing was chosen from a pool of more than 700 teams and organizations that have done repeat surveys with Voice Project.

The Change Challenge Awards recognizes teams and organizations that have achieved the greatest measurable change in work practices and outcomes. Unlike "best employer" awards that only provides a one-off snapshot of static performance and recognizes the same financially healthy organizations, the Change Challenge Awards focuses on the extent of positive change that has been achieved over time.

The Macquarie University, Griffith University, and the Australian Research Council support research for the Change Challenge Awards. This year's esteemed judges include:

Dr. Peter Langford, Director, Voice Project
Susan Henry, Head of People & Culture, Starlight Children's Foundation
Andrew O'Keefe, Director, Hardwired Humans
Mark Wiggins, Professor of Organisational Psychology, Macquarie University

"In a growing economy like the Philippines, the search for talent can get quite competitive. This makes it even more important to be an employer of choice. By realizing our employees are our core asset and taking action to increase employee engagement, we have been able to achieve employee retention rates that are significantly better than our industry. It also makes MicroSourcing a more fun environment at the same time," said MicroSourcing's CEO, Sjoerd Krosse.

Voice Project is the leading provider of employee engagement, 360-degree leadership, and customer service surveys. It began as a research program at Macquarie University that explores the impact of employee and client "voice" on engagement, leadership, and service quality. They have been MicroSourcing's partner in our Annual Employee Engagement Survey since 2013.


Lesley

Black Panther Movie Block Screening

by: Lesley Anne U. Ordinario

Monday, April 16, 2018 | Social Responsibility | Comments (0)

Annually, MicroSourcing encourages its employees to participate in a Valentine's Day activity that is worthwhile and inspiring. This year, MicroMissions organized a fundraising activity in the form of a block movie screening, which was held at Robinsons Galleria MovieWorld Cinema 10. One of the most talked about movies and one of the least known Marvel Superhero, Black Panther, did not disappoint moviegoers.

Having been able to watch the movie, MS employees get to help an orphanage whose name is apt for the Valentine's season. Tahanan ng Pagmamahal Children's Home, located in Pasig, houses abandoned, neglected, foundling, and surrendered children since 2007. From the proceeds of the block screening, MicroMissions was able to donate a sanitation facility and a drinking fountain to promote hygiene and give access to potable water to these children. These facilities will be installed with the help of Manila Water Foundation's Lingap Project.

From 234 generous employees, together with their family and friends, a total of PHP 117,000 was raised from this activity.



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