Find out from industry experts on how to move towards financial recovery and continuity.
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COVID-19 turned our worlds upside down, shocking our usual routines, and peppering it with a rare fear of uncertainty many of us are experiencing for the first time. Every business decision gets tougher as owners balance cash flow and profitability while protecting team morale and well-being.
Passionate entrepreneurs wouldn’t be where they are today, though, without being adaptable. Instead of accepting COVID-19 as a roadblock, they have been leading their teams carefully through viable paths to the ‘new normal’ in their respective industries.
No matter what sector you are operating in, feel free to find inspiration from these business leaders’ stories of resilience.
PearlPay unlocks a noble solution for financial institutions, especially rural banks, to step-up from old-school passbooks to digital wallets. Sparky Perreras, Co-Founder and CEO, describes their PearlPay product line as an end-to-end banking solution that offers a cloud-based core banking system, mobile POS for digital bank transactions, PearlPay E-Wallet, and PearlPay Remit. Unlike their competitors, they charge a monthly subscription based on the number of serviced accounts or branches. With this, PearlPay is fast-growing in the country and Southeast Asia.
An industry-specific challenge they faced during COVID-19 is how regulated their customers are. “The threat is that they need to operate because they are frontliners,” Perreras shares. They are an essential part of the economy that must continue to serve the population, despite substantial infrastructure costs. PearlPay’s platform hasn’t stopped its operations, and is proving to be just what their customers need to continue their activities safely and smoothly.
“In our case, even before ECQ, we were already practicing remote working,” says Perreras. “We have tools in place with ongoing projects and supporting the rural banks amid COVID-19. There’s no need to visit sites or bank clients to install or update anything to implement PearlPay.” Collaboration is essential and Perreras shares how their team stays connected through Google Hangouts, video conferences, apps, and the cloud.
While their service seems like it’s a Business Continuity Plan in itself, Perreras recognizes the need to adjust for future disturbances by applying for a faster and more robust internet connection. Further automating their service through Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are in the plans so it can serve its business purpose better.
Perreras emphasizes how industries have to “survive the pandemic as early as possible.” He adds, “This is the perfect opportunity for start-ups in digital transformation because it’s now very pronounced. Seize the opportunity and catch this wave.”
Ateneo de Davao University is among the premier schools in the country, established in 1948 for grade-school students. It eventually grew into a full-fledged university by the 1980s with rare and specialized course offerings like robotics and aerospace engineering.
Jeremy Eliab, Executive Vice President, shares that besides providing valuable education, the school has also made it its goal to improve quality of life by facilitating Bangsamoro peace talks for a more unified Mindanao. Given the sensitivity of this issue they are tackling, they centered their business continuity strategy on operating even during a time of civil unrest or war.
“Since our location is in Mindanao, we plotted out different scenarios for peace and order protocols,” he shares. “This pandemic is strange for us, but preparations are more or less the same. We prepared for this six years ago in case of war or suspensions. We modified that protocol for COVID-19.”
Ateneo De Davao University adapted by bringing all lessons online and deploying programs to support their virtual learning system for their 15,000 students. They provided prepaid internet kits for all students free of charge. Students who are unable to buy laptops are offered loans payable throughout their stay at the university. They also sent iPads to scholars for educational use.
Eliab proudly shares that student government officers volunteered to deliver equipment to their classmates, proving that the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ is not lost on the youth.
This system is a new normal that the school will continue to hone as they roll out plans integrating online learning with classroom social distancing, and also extracurricular activities, once the situation settles.
It pays to rely on technology, Eliab stresses. “We’re able to automate processes. Enrollments are done online. You can apply or be admitted from anywhere in Mindanao. Students can pay online through bank transfer or GCash. Even scholarship applications and interviews are done online. It makes processes efficient and easy even in the context of ECQ.” He further explains how technology can open new doors for Ateneo de Davao University, with the possibility of admitting students from other parts of the country and in the future, the world.
Eliab advises other schools to also prepare for crises. “We’re forced to shift. For small schools that don’t have the proper IT infrastructure, use limited resources. Do classes by email or phone, or what your bandwidth can accommodate. Deal with the limitations and shift online.”
No matter how hard we work, money still always feels short. Being a smart spender is not enough these days. This is the problem seen by BXB Employee Solutions’ CEO Chip Winternitz, and why he incorporated his financial education company in 2017 with employees in mind.
First, they offer a curriculum helping employees manage their daily spend so they can save for emergencies. Second, they partnered with several financial institutions where their clients can apply for low to no-interest loans and credit lines. “We have the rank-and-file, the blue-collar workers in mind. We do not just work on giving them access to easy, reliable, and affordable financial services. We get them into financial shape through good planning and encouraging financial habits. These will help them toward their goals no matter what stage in their life they are in.”
As a business-to-business financial coach, technology plays a big part in their functions – from disseminating loans seamlessly via GCash to developing responsive online platforms for their clients. In the time of COVID-19, when financial fears are intense, their services help to appease customer concerns directly.
They’ve also made sure to care for their clients in these trying times. “Even before Bayanihan To Heal As One Act [was in place], out of our goodwill we already held the payments, talked to partners to hold the loans, and did deals to extend payment terms. We addressed these early on,” Winternitz shares.
Technology makes it easy to pivot from in-person to digital correspondence as they leveraged this to connect with their customers. Winternitz says his company is taking this time to look at different opportunities, such as moving their training and seminars online. Above all, he reminds businesses not to lose their focus on their customers. “We sometimes forget what the customers really want. What are they telling us? Elicit their help also,” he adds.
Right now, he foresees that after the crisis, customers will focus on building back their savings. Companies will also give more importance to financially educating employees. This is where BXB Employee Solutions will come in with products and services to address these demands.
“The key to the ‘next normal’ is understanding the supply chain towards your ecosystem,” Winternitz mentions, stressing the importance of assessing all your stakeholders and processes and how they can be affected. “Study what it exactly means to work from home. For startups, don’t lose the drive and the passion.”
If there’s anything all businesses have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that the wildest what-ifs can turn to reality.
While the situation has affected the economy as a whole, there are unique challenges per industry and indeed, per company. PearlPay, Ateneo de Davao University, and BXB Employee Solutions have demonstrated that more than just writing a literal Business Continuity Plan document, it is more important to nurture a resilience mindset and harness correct technology to minimize the impact to operations.
Learn about more industries and how they’re tackling business continuity here.
Globe myBusiness can help you pinpoint what unique solutions and processes are perfect for your company’s business continuity. Get in touch with us to learn how.
HELPFUL PRODUCT INFORMATION:
Help the team stay connected and productive from home without the high cost with Globe Business Starter 399 with a FREE Prepaid Kit. Click here to know more.
Ensure that you’re able to coordinate with your employees and address customers queries at all times with Unli Internet 1899. Click here to know more.
Learn more about how Globe myBusiness can help your school. Download our product guide here.
FOR BUSINESS SOLUTIONS:
Accept and fulfill orders from home, plus continue to send salaries to employees, with GCash and myBiz Wallet. Get the details here.
Enjoy seamless collaboration and communication with your team even when crises keep you apart with Google Workspace (previously known as G Suite). Learn more here.
Back up important company and transaction information when you can’t go to the office with Virtual Private Cloud. Be disaster-proof and find out what VPC can do for you here.
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