Technology provides competitive edge

- Estela Banzon-De La Paz () - October 16, 2006 - 12:00am
Placed in a very competitive business environment especially for young entrepreneurs, siblings Lex and Cheese Ledesma know what it takes to be ahead of everybody else in the pack – the use of technology.

Fresh from getting their degrees from abroad a few years back, both siblings knew what they wanted to do with their lives- go back home to the Philippines and set up their own businesses. And so far, they know they made the right decision and have not regretted a single second of it.

With the success of Big Chill, Nami Resorts, Centre for International Education and a new high-end resort to open in Bohol next year, how can the both of them manage such businesses successfully?

"Undoubtedly, it’s the use of technology…The use of the Internet and e-mail are so much a part of our business so that wherever we are, here in Manila or elsewhere, we are able to get in touch with our people in our areas of business," said Lex Ledesma.

Citing an example, Cheese said that in their beach resort in Boracay- Nami, they have installed cameras in their back-end places. These are areas where employees log in and out as well as where much of the work is being done like the kitchen. Here, they are able to interact with their employees even if they are in Manila and problems are immediately resolved. It’s as if they are actually in Boracay managing the resort.

Lex said that you don’t have to be a geek to be able to run a business real time using your computer. In Nami’s case, it’s as simple as just installing IP cameras, logging on to the Internet Explorer, opening an address and typing a password and you can already view what’s happening in your business.

Chay Mondejar- Saputil, Microsoft Phils. customer and partner experience manager, said that given that most people especially entrepreneurs are multi-tasking, the cell phone is no longer enough to run a business. Instead, e-mails where long messages are sent and received are now an integral part in running businesses especially when owners or executives are always on the move.

"In fact, e-mails can establish a chain of command. Here, employees and managers can exchange ideas, have a debate and come up with solutions to problems they encounter in the daily course of business." Moreover, with the advent of faster lines, she said, it’s easier and quicker to get information anytime of the day.

Saputil added that Microsoft offers a lot of software that can help running businesses much simpler. Cheese, for her part says, she does all her work (since she’s the one crunching the numbers) with Excel. In fact, even making reservations for Nami are still done through Excel and so far, it has worked for her.

Saputil added that Microsoft is constantly developing software that can help entrepreneurs run their business more efficiently. In fact, the new version of Windows XP called "Vista" will be released in the first quarter of 2007.

She added that although piracy has always been a problem for Microsoft due to its much lower price, she says buying authentic Microsoft products give customers value for money as there are some free software that they can download and use for their individual businesses. "It’s all available on the Web if you’re a registered Microsoft user."

She added that Microsoft has always believed in helping entrepreneurs, especially small and medium scale businesses. "People who are in technology can amplify their actions… they can actually do more and accomplish a lot in the process." Indeed, Lex and Cheese Ledesma are living proof to this.
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