I was very surprised to learn at a women’s forum recently that over 99% of businesses in the Philippines are small and medium enterprises — over 800,000 strong of them. In fact, this now includes micro enterprises. Just imagine the entrepreneurial spirit of the Filipino. When we also look at how fast digital, social and mobile users are growing in the country, we can just imagine the potential of having these SMEs maximize the use of digital, social and mobile. With over 34 million Facebook users in the country, over 10 million Twitter users and over 44 million Filipinos using the internet, how do these SMEs efficiently tap and engage this community of potential customers?
At a recent media event I participated in, “Growing Your Business in the Digital Age“, I was virtually introduced to PLDT SME Nation and its partners, Samsung Philippines and Microsoft Philippines who, together, have designed solutions to precisely address this question.
1. Using PLDT SME Nation’s wireless broadband solutions running on its fiber and LTE network, entrepreneurs are given unlimited access in order to continuously do online activities without bandwidth throttling. Services include committed information rates (CIR) which means guaranteed MINIMUM bandwidth speeds for business plus a static IP for faster loading websites and inter-office data transfers.
2. PLDT SME Nation entrepreneurs can now access their network via fixed, wireless and satellite service wherever they are.
3. The new broadband packages come with flexible freebies. Some of these involve business-enabling cloud solutions such as Microsoft Office 365 and PLDT Cloud apps that a business owner can use for video monitoring, asset tracking, POS, infrastructure, etc. SMEs also get to choose from a selection of Samsung smart devices as well as high definition (HD) TV content from Cignal.
To showcase the technological capability behind this three-way partnership for SMEs, PLDT SME Nation arranged it so that I was one of several bloggers located both in Manila and Cebu who joined the event virtually using a feature of Microsoft Office 365 called Lync. Organizations can purchase Lync Online as a standalone service from Microsoft Office 365 or as part of an Office 365 for enterprises suite that includes Lync Online, Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Office Professional Plus, and Microsoft Office Online.
Some days before the event, I installed Microsoft Office Lync for Mac and did a test run with my friend Noemi and someone from PLDT. It worked beautifully. On the day of the event itself, I was at a Starbucks store in Bonifacio Global City with Abe Olandres. With our earphones on and comfortably seated in Starbucks’ couches in one corner, we joined the event and were even able to chat with Patricia Hizon who was hosting. Wow, the audio was so clear!
|View of the event and the virtual bloggers from my laptop|
|Closeup view of the stage. Very clear audio too!|
|Abe Olandres and I watching event from Starbucks BGC|
When SMEs are empowered with a stable and consistent broadband connection plus a slew of digital, cloud solutions and apps, you can be sure that business will be a lot more productive and profitable.
Connectivity (robust, powerful and consistent) will spell the difference between an SME that does business the traditional way alone and an SME that incorporates engagement with its suppliers and customers with internally streamlined and productive processes that involve digital and cloud solutions. If you are planning to set up your own business, or you already have one, think about this for a moment.
Have you maximized your connectivity access?