The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has initiated the development of a self-assessment toolkit for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which will measure their level of digital maturity and readiness to embark in their journey towards digital transformation.
During the 2nd Meeting of the E-commerce Promotion Council held on 8 April 8, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez presented to the government and private sector representatives the MSME diagnostic toolkit developed by Thames International to be utilized by DTI.
The diagnostic toolkit is designed to help MSMEs assess their organization’s technological knowledge and their mindset on different digital transformation pillars: people, process, and product. The toolkit will then provide a personalized result that will guide them in initiating capacity building initiatives.
“As we embrace the new normal, we must learn how to maximize the opportunities offered by the digital economy. To improve your business, it is important to be equipped with the necessary knowhow, whether these are soft skills, digital skills or entrepreneurial skills,” said Secretary Lopez.
According to the trade chief, more than two million businesses were issued Mayor’s Permit and there is an estimated six million social/casual sellers in e-commerce.
Lopez further emphasized that the self-assessment toolkit, which will be made available online, will allow as many entrepreneurs as possible to utilize it.
This toolkit is a quick, free, and easy-to-use test where a respondent-specific scorecard will be generated after completion. The scorecard will recommend specific training topics so MSMEs can advance in their digital transformation journey.
Furthermore, the toolkit will provide a link to the existing and available training programs related to e-commerce and digitalization that MSMEs can avail.
Joel Santos, President of Thames International which developed the toolkit for DTI described the four sections available:
1) An information section that gathers basic information such as email address, location, type of business, and classification;
2) The technology section that asks about the current and available tools used by the entrepreneur;
3) The 3Ps section, which defines the entrepreneur’s perception towards digital transformation on people, product and process; and
4) The final section or the scorecard, which will show the digital transformation type such as Conventional/Curious, Open, Driven, or Progressive vis-a-vis Technology Persona (Observer, Experimenter, Collaborator, Innovator).
In 2020, the DTI E-Commerce Division conducted a Baseline Survey on Digitalization of MSMEs. The survey identified the level of digitalization of Philippine MSMEs aligned with the categories defined under the ASEAN SME Digitalization study (ie. Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced).
The Philippine baseline study revealed that 23% of SMEs do not use digital tools (Level 0); while 51% utilize business email (Level 1); 21% make use of business email and website (Level 2); and 6% employ business email, website, and advanced tools in their business (Level 3). The
Digital Transformation Toolkit also mirrors a similar 4-stage maturity approach, this allows previous and future MSME data sets to acquire a degree of relevance and consistency.
In his presentation, Thames International Managing Director TJ Parpan shared that this project initiated by DTI E-Commerce Division will serve as a guide for MSMEs and is not intended to be prescriptive.
A training framework has been developed and a list of recommended capacity building topics and programs will be presented but MSMEs must use this as a starting point to develop their own strategies on how to move forward in their digital transformation journey.
“After taking the self-assessment toolkit, MSMEs may opt to visit the website of DTI or the Negosyo Center website and its learning resources. They can also visit their nearest Negosyo Center to inquire about the next steps–from how to create an email account (level 0) to data analytics (Level 3). There are several information available for our micro, small, medium enterprises and DTI is here to help,” added Secretary Lopez.