MAPping the Future

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Winning strategy: Combining tech, talent and CX

written by Ms. Jade Divinagracia - October 24, 2022

As the world gradually returns to normal and businesses continue to recover from the pandemic, we find ourselves in a world of in-betweens – a place with both risks and opportunities as businesses figure out which legacy systems and pre-pandemic procedures they can merge with new strategies. This transition requires transformation, collaboration and a focus on people and technology.


In line with this, PwC Philippines shares its annual report, PwC MAP 2022 CEO Survey that compiles the perspectives of 119 chief executives from various industries and explores how their businesses have responded to the challenges of the pandemic and recent geopolitical issues. It provides valuable insights on their priorities for recovery and how they are transforming their business plans to make way for future growth. Developed together with the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), the survey yielded findings that were presented during the recently held 20th MAP International CEO Conference on “ THE WINS OF CHANGE: Thriving in a World of In-Betweens”.


The survey revealed that CEOs are incorporating technology and digital upskilling (64 percent), talent retention and development (58 percent), and improved customer experience (49 percent) in their business plans to prepare for post-COVID growth and recovery. Recognizing the value of digital transformation and key stakeholders, businesses are placing technology, customers and employees at the center of their strategy.


Harnessing the power of technology


As we have learned from the last two years, digital transformation is integral to the long-term success of a business. Companies that made early strategic investments in technology have been able to respond to changing market and customer behaviors, and even improve revenues and business outcomes.


While digital transformation does present new growth opportunities, it also exposes companies to new risks. Fraudsters and criminal hackers have never been more active; and data breaches are now common. Moreover, companies must also keep up with evolving regulatory requirements in the digital landscape. To ensure trust, integrity and compliance, business leaders must learn how to balance convenience and accessibility with security by embedding cybersecurity and data protection into their digital strategies.


Winning with customer experience


Digital transformation should be centered on customer experience. Companies that manage to digitally transform themselves to meet the needs of customers are leading the market. Since the pandemic dramatically shifted customer expectations, winning companies use data analytics to better understand customer patterns and behaviors, and adapt their services to meet their ever-changing needs.


In a country where consumer spending is a major economic growth driver, getting the customer experience right is everything. PwC found in a recent study that customers are willing to pay more for a great experience. When customers’ expectations are met or exceeded, companies gain measurable business benefits — including the chance to get a larger share of the customers’ wallet.


The CEO survey also found that most CEOs will continue to invest in data platforms, artificial intelligence (AI) and contactless payment systems. As much as 3D printing, drones and VR/AR are exciting developments, companies need to invest in digitalization where it matters — in improving customer experience. Data platforms and AI can help enhance customer profiles and develop more personalized marketing campaigns. Electronic payment and billing solutions can also provide an easier, quicker and safer checkout experience to customers.


Retaining and upskilling talent


As companies continue to adopt new technologies, they must also ensure that their workforce can complement and leverage on the value of these investments. About 37 percent of CEOs identified labor constraints as one of the factors that will continue to affect their businesses.


Employees must be equipped with the right skills and competencies to match evolving business needs. Business leaders must foster a culture of learning in their organizations and empower their people to develop their capabilities through virtual upskilling and training programs. The government and educational institutions must also work together to ensure that the national curriculum is updated to prepare our students for the future.


Aside from gaps in digital skills, the pandemic has also exacerbated issues on talent retention. According to PwC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey, one in five employees are likely to switch to a new employer, with Gen Z and Millennials topping the list.


An article by the Harvard Business Review found that resignation rates have been steadily increasing over the past ten years so the end of the pandemic would not signify the end of the resignations. The issues that led to the Great Resignation (i.e., burnout, unfair compensation) developed over a long period of time so they may take even longer to resolve. To win the war on talent, business leaders must recognize the needs of their employees and understand that they will have to make changes in their organization to meet those needs.


PwC’s workforce survey also found that retaining employees will call for more than just pay as they also consider purpose and fulfillment in their career decisions. A corporate purpose founded on human values and societal impact is vital to attracting, motivating and retaining key talent. Employees want to find meaning in the work that they do. They need to be able to connect with the purpose of the company, see how it benefits society, and understand how their work helps achieve it.


As companies face a wide range of challenges in the new normal, it is important that their people are fully engaged to contribute to the organization’s success.


A business strategy for the future


The past couple of years have transformed the way we do business. And to win in the next normal, businesses must act fast and adopt new ways of working. For organizations, this means implementing a three-fold transformation centered on technology, customer centricity, and talent management.

Digital capabilities that were previously viewed as ‘nice to haves’ are now table stakes as these can unlock transformative opportunities. Technology introduces key capabilities that can improve operations, enrich customer experience and enhance employee engagement.


Companies must also prioritize people and organizational transformation by investing in talent. Many have provided their teams with opportunities to upskill and optimize the use of digital tools. Others have also recognized the link between purpose and talent retention as they inspire their people to work towards the betterment of both the company and society.


As market conditions and customer needs continue to evolve, companies need to develop proactive strategies focused on creating long-term value. By integrating the intersection of these three main components into their strategies, companies can be better equipped to navigate the business landscape of tomorrow.


More business insights are discussed in the PwC MAP 2022 CEO Survey. Download the full report at


(The author is a member of the MAP CEO Conference Committee and the Vice Chair of the MAP Ease of Doing Business Committee. She is the Deals and Corporate Finance Managing Partner of Isla Lipana & Co./PwC Philippines. Feedback at <> and < >).