CIB.O: Tholons ranking irrelevant

Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - June 17, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The Cebu IT/BPM Organization (CIB.O) has downplayed the ranking annually released by Tholons saying it is no longer an important gauge in determining sites’ competitiveness.

“It’s a useless piece of information,” said CIB.O president Pert Cabataña yesterday during the launching of the 4th Transformation Summit, which will officially happen on July 12-15, 2021.

Cabataña said unlike in the past that Tholons played a crucial role in establishing Cebu’s position in the global outsourcing rank, this time it is no longer applicable for Cebu.

He reasoned that the plunge of Cebu’s rank from as high as 8th place in pre-2010 years to 52nd place in 2021, has nothing to do with Cebu’s quality of hosting global outsourcing firms but rather due to the shifting of Tholons index to include other considerations, such as development innovation driven technologies, or those countries and cities with good “pure-play” developments, which Cebu do not have.

Pure-play is an investors' term for a publicly-traded company that focuses its efforts and resources on only one line of business like many electronic retailers, e-commerce companies, or e-tailers are pure plays. All they do is sell one particular type of product over the internet like Airbnb, Grab, among others.

“We can no longer rely on Tholons,” he said explaining that investors or Cebu should use the more reliable third party ranking bodies, such as the World Economic Forum, the Innovation Index of Bloomberg.

Cabataña, who used to be a top executive of a telecom company, added that Tholons simply changed its criteria and used different measuring stick, which largely does not fit on Cebu’s positioning or edge anymore.

“We are worried that our ranking went down. We know what to do to be better,” he stressed.

During the height of Tholon’s top ranking of Cebu, its matrix focused on outsourcing and offshoring. Today, Tholon’s attention has shifted to put weight on the entire digital nation, like the existence of pure-play companies.

From part of the top 10 global of Tholons’ Top 100 Super Cities, Cebu City is placed in the 52nd level in 2021 Tholons ranking report.

According to Tholons Global Innovation Index 2021 repoort, the current index for 2021 has a much higher emphasis on digital innovation, re-imagining of consumer experience, transcendental knowledge, future readiness, digital competitiveness and diversity and inclusion.

Tholons introduced innovation, startup ecosystem and digital transformation as key components to define its index for Top 50 Digital Nations and Top 100 Super Cities in 2017.

The drop in Tholon’s ranking Cabantaña reiterated, should not be a point of concern, as Cebu’s outsourcing sector or the IT/BPM industry still projects promising outlook even in the middle of pandemic.

Meanwhile, this year’s “Transformation Summit”, which is slated on July 12-15, 2021 will banner the theme “The Next-Level Play” leading players to the new terrain of business under the new normal.

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