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Surmounting digital disruption through 3rd Platform technologies

Adrian M. Reodique | March 2, 2016
C-suite leaders from various industries in the Philippines gathered for the first leg of the CXO-CIO Conference 2016 to discuss how their organisations can lead digital transformation to scale.

Automating processes

According to Annie Alipao, Ayala Land's CIO, her company's DX journey was not an easy one. Joining the company in 2006, she was tasked to engineer its DX, specifically transforming the enterprise's operations from paper-based to digital.

As the company's IT leader, Alipao assessed and identified the main inhibitors of their DX project before implementing the relevant technology tools to overcome them.

The first inhibitor was the lack of integrated systems. Before embarking on DX, SAP was the only major system in place, said Alipao. In addition, there were major gaps in transaction processing and reporting. "Deploying critical systems to automate the business processes that support sales is key to me. The platform deployed should be able to serve various business lines too. Systems must thus be integrated and talk to each other because there is no single system that can address everything," she explained.

Infrastructure was the second inhibitor as the company's data centre was not designed for growth and flexibility -- it lacked capacity planning, adequate backup, as well as security and business continuity plan, said Alipao.

One of the pain points of being an IT leader is keeping the lights on, which requires having "a robust infrastructure in place," said Alipao. In her case, this required her company to build its own data centre in an Ayala Land location, virtualise all their servers, and put up a shared service.

On top of that, the company needed to deploy automated management tools, standardise and consolidate to make their data centre efficient. "Since I have 200 companies under me, we needed to standardise across, negotiate and explore partnerships, so that we will only have a single cost across our enterprise," said Alipao.

The company has also invested in the cloud environment since last year. "Virtualisation allows you to simplify your operation and be more flexible in addressing business growth. By automating, consolidating and standardising your infrastructure, you'll also be able to manage your IT assets more cost effectively so using cloud services makes sense," she explained.

The third inhibitor lies in the work processes. According to Alipao, this is where her company struggled as the old process was paper-based and involved little automation. In addition, people who wanted to get a property also needed to undergo several processes and layers of approval.

In order to address this issue, Ayala Land established two shared service units to support and streamline the processes. First is AMICASSA, which was set up in 2008 and handled Residential Sales document, sales-related finance and accounting transactions.

As part of the company's transition into shared services environment, MyCustomer was implemented to automate workflows.

The company also deployed its second shared service unit called APRISA in 2014. This shared service unit introduced eShared Accounting System (MyeSAS) to automate the request workflow and to ensure visibility of request processes at all times. "With so many companies, we have duplication of finance across the enterprise. To counter this, we launched a self-service system that enables business units to request and process a form in APRISA," said Alipao.

 

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