Food For Thought: An Interview with Lee O'Brian

It’s so easy to get lost in the digital world we live in nowadays. The average person is bombarded with so much data by too many influencers around us, especially with regard to information and communications technology (ICT).


To sort through the confusion, my go-to resource is the International Data Corp. (IDC), which releases its annual predictions for the ICT sector at this time of the year. Through a program called IDC FutureScapes, these key trends are used to shape enterprises in ICT planning by providing a framework for evaluating initiatives in terms of their value to business strategy.


FutureScapes is a set of decision imperatives designed to identify a range of pending issues that Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and senior technology professionals will confront within the typical three-year business planning cycle.


A US-based company founded in 1964, IDC has since expanded to over 110 countries across six continents. It is a subsidiary of the International Data Group, the world’s leading media, data, and marketing services firm.


For 2023 and beyond, here are IDC’s top 10 predictions for the Asian ICT sector:


  1. By 2026, 25% of Asian brands will abandon the Customer Satisfaction or CSAT score as a measure of customer experience and adopt a Customer Effort score correlated to outcomes as a key indicator of journey satisfaction and success.
  2. Of the 1000 Asia-based organizations in the study collectively known as the A1000, 50% will adopt Customer Data Platforms as the enterprise data service for real-time customer interactions like a central nervous system by 2024, increasing Customer Experience (CX) metrics and revenue by 5%.
  3. To foster loyalty and competitive edge, 50% of the A1000 will own online communities by 2027, and core ITC application integrations will enable a new wave of collaboration and outcome-based insights.
  4. By 2027, 40% of the A1000 will incorporate employee experience initiatives into their core strategies to compete in CX, talent acquisition, and retention but will struggle to measure Employee Experience or EX
  5. Adopting Web 3.0 technologies will drive 40% of A1000 brands to create new immersive experiences, accessible content, and engaged communities that will grow the CX creator economy into a US$80 billion market by 2025.
  6. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will be used by 45% of the A1000 by 2025 to elevate context and nudge customers into unfamiliar and novel experiences that simultaenously improve sentiment metrics and brand upselling potential.
  7. At least 35% of the A1000 will introduce new success metrics to track and measure the internal and external flow of customer value creation by 2024.
  8. Next year, half of A1000 enterprise customers will primarily select their CX platform provider based on the efficacy of the ventor’s customer success services.
  9. Also by 2024, 30% of the A1000 will be forced to expand data management and privacy measures to mitigate risks of data breaches caused by ecosystem partners costing US$4.6 million per breach.
  10. Within the next three years, 30% of A1000 companies will build safe communities to foster interpersonal guardrails for future metaverse platforms and collect first-party data.

Digital determination is the ability to visualize how the markets and customers will change and reinvent themselves to better respond to the needs of these future stakeholders through emerging technologies, capabilities, and business models.


IDC ASEAN Managing Director Sudev Bangah said: “To be digitally determined, Philippine organizations require more than just resilience. They need a blueprint that consists of a unified enterprise strategy; a long-term investment plan based on the principle that digital is inherently valuable to the business; and a single digital platform to scale technology innovations.”



Indeed, AI is changing our world and like a genie that has been released from a bottle, there is no way to turn it back. Before the pandemic, Microsoft published a book titled “The Future Computed: AI and Its Role in Society” that correctly predicted the following trends:


  • Organizations and countries that will fare best in the AI race shall be the early adopters, since AI would be useful wherever intelligence is needed. New jobs and economic progress would favor those who embrace this new technology, not those who resist it.
  • AI will help improve daily life in many ways and help solve big society problems. But is also important to remain critical when examining the issues that it can bring such as the need for strong ethical principles, importance of training for new skills, reforms in the labor market, and the evolution of laws.
  • Technology companies as well as private and public organizations need to come together with a shared sense of responsibility to fully realize AI’s benefits and to minimize the negative outcomes. AI must be democratized and its building blocks such as computer vision and knowledge recognition should be made available to all so they can create their own AI-based solutions.


In his foreword, Microsoft Vice Chairman and President Brad Smith said: “Compared with the world just 20 years ago, we take a lot of things for granted that used to be the stuff of science fiction. Clearly much can change in just two decades.” He conjured the following scenario: 


“In 2038, digital devices will help us do more with one of our most precious commodities: time. You might take your first meeting from home by slipping on a Holographic Lens or other device where you’ll meet and interact with your colleagues and clients around a virtual boardroom powered by mixed reality. Your presentation and remarks will be translated automatically into each participant’s native language, which they will hear through an earpiece or phone. A digital assistant will then automatically prepare a summary of the meeting with tasks assigned to the participants and reminders placed on their schedules based on the conversation that took place and the decisions the participants made.


“A driverless vehicle will take you to your first meeting while you finalize a presentation on the car’s digital hub. Your digital assistant will summarize research and data pulled from newly-published articles and reports, creating infographics with the new information for you to review and accept. Based on your instructions, she’ll automatically reply to routine emails and reroute those that can be handled by others, which she will request with a due date based on the project timeline. In fact, some of this is already happening today, but two decades from now everyone will take these kinds of capabilities for granted.”


Before his death, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his colleagues at Cambridge University recommended that mankind move cautiously in the development of AI, especially in the area of autonomous weapon systems.


He said the creation of superintelligence with a will of its own is “either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity.” He foresaw that with the tools of this new technological revolution, “we will be able to undo some of the damage done to the natural world by the last one – industrialization.”


Hawking hoped that people on Earth would aim to finally eradicate disease and poverty, concluding that “every aspect of our lives will be transformed; success in creating AI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization.”


Author’s Bio:

  1. Albert Gamboa is CFO of Asian Center for Legal Excellence, Director of Long Beach-Bacolod Association, and Chairman of

FINEX Media Affairs Committee. He is also a columnist of Business World, Business Mirror, Manilla Bulletin, and Manila Times and a member of AmCham Philippines’ Publications Committee.


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