Digicon 2017: The future of customer experience

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Digicon DX 2017 emphasized at the heart of disruption in whatever industry is the human experience. Illustration by JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Disruption is the key word that seemed to buzz around in most of the talks and panel discussions at Digicon DX 2017, a conference that centers on the culture of digital transformation. In a three-day conference at the Philippine International Convention Center (from October 11-13), led by the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP), Digicon DX 2017 put together various talks, panel discussions, demos, and lectures by industry leaders and innovators who discuss the ongoing digital transformation, not only in terms of technology, but how the market is adapting and responding to it.

At the heart of disruption in whatever industry is the human experience. The opening CEO panel — featuring Ernest Cu of Globe Telecom, Kenneth S. Yang of McDonald's, Vishnu Mohan of Havas Media, Armie Jarin-Bennett of CNN Philippines, Naveen Menon of Cisco — started with the idea that the audience is the priority in any industry, whether it's telecommunications, food, media, or advertising.

Says Jarin-Bennett: "We carry a big brand but we are the youngest free-to-air channel in this country. We have a long way to go, and so I'm fortunate that I work with journalists, I work with organizations who are wired to think about you [the public]. We have young, old, experienced, and new in the business ... age or experience doesn't matter right now, it is really understanding your audience old or young, inexperienced or not, in order to serve the public well."

Digicon 2017 The CEO panel of Digicon 2017 featuring Vishnu Mohan of Havas Media, Kenneth S. Yang of McDonald's, Ernest Cu of Globe Telecom, Armie Jarin-Bennett of CNN Philippines, and Naveen Menon of Cisco.  

Yang says that digital transformation is the focus of customer experience in McDonald’s and Cu agrees that the need to innovate is a matter of survival if companies want to serve their customers better.

In three days, six “tracks” emphasize the conference theme to understand digital transformation better — from investing in skills and talent in people, changing new ways of thinking, using digital platforms for new ways of storytelling, to making data part of everyday life.

“To embark on a digital transformation journey, you must transform yourself first,” says Brian Solis, an award-winning author and a principal analyst from Altimeter Group who specializes in the impact of disruption to businesses. His opening keynote reverberates in many of the discussions during the three-day conference: digital transformation doesn’t know any age, whether you lead an organization or working in one, you have to embrace it first yourself.

The importance of data is also discussed in several panels, and how it can trigger great customer experience, such as in SAP’s vice president for digital leader for conglomerates - Asia Koert Breebaart “Five things to know about digital transformation” and data scientist and DataSeer founder Isaac Reyes’ “The art of data storytelling.”

“Everyone should be hungry for new things, do new things, and experiment,” says Sea Yen Ong, regional vice president of sales for Spotify Asia during his talk on “Understanding People Through Music.”

In a discussion about failure, Unilever’s head of media, Dennis Perez describes how their company encourages failure. “Alot a certain portion of the budget for experiment. If it falls, good job, we learned,” he says, even disclosing that they have a “failure of the quarter award.” According to Perez, failure is a means of discovery and allows companies to learn what works and what doesn’t. “Embracing a culture of failure is important,” he says.

The terms “cloud computing,” “big data,” or even “cashless transactions” might be intimidating to some, but in Digicon DX 2017, these are concepts that already dominate the current market and shape new practices.

In her speech during the speaker’s night, Jarin-Bennett uses a quote from Charles Darwin which echoes digital transformation culture at its best: “It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able to adapt.”

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For more information, visit the official IMMAP website.