The Disruptors: A Scan of Fintech Startups in the Philippines

The Disruptors: A Scan of Fintech Startups in the Philippines

The past few decades have been a turbulent time for banks the world over. From economic crises to political backlash to the emergence of new financial instruments, disruption is a surprisingly constant element in a sector that is otherwise known for being large, rigid, and resistant to change.

In the Philippines, where 10% of GDP comes from Filipinos abroad, the impact of technology has been most significant in international money transfers, where consumer behaviour has shifted massively from bank-to-bank transactions to smaller players like Xoom, Remitly, and Transferwise.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Just over the horizon, a surge of new technologies and technology-driven business models are poised to rip through the financial landscape with unprecedented magnitude. As always, the first step to preparing is to understand what’s coming up — and that process starts with understanding at the glimpses of the future taking place right here and right now.

Fintech (financial technology) startups are beginning to change the game of money by:

Bypassing costly infrastructure

In Ready or Not, AMIHAN chairman Winston Damarillo described the transformative potential of blockchain, a protocol that allows thousands of computers scattered across the world to authorize and process payments in a way that rivals a central bank database. Blockchain has vast applications in fields that range from health to food, but at the moment it’s best known for powering Bitcoin: a “currency without a bank” that allows people to exchange money with little to no transaction fees.

In the Philippines, coins.ph has pioneered the use of Bitcoin and blockchain to pay bills, deposit money, ask for payment, and load up cellphone credits with fewer fees and less processing time than existing solutions. Rebit.ph, owned by fintech startup Satoshi Citadel Industries, aims to minimize international remittance fees through Bitcoin transactions.

Both ventures have tapped into the fundamental power of technology to drive down the costs of financial transactions. This principle applies beyond the scope of blockchain. First Circle, another Philippines-based startup, has automated and simplified the process of taking out business loans through an online application process, a user-friendly interface, and simple algorithms that are able to quickly analyze credit-worthiness.

Activating peer networks

Technology doesn’t just allow companies to offer more of their own services for less. The internet allows companies to offer things beyond their services, and financial institutions can prosper by acting not only as providers of financial services — but as platforms and online marketplaces for everyday people to provide financial services to each other.

Take the crowdfunding model, which allows people to seek early-stage funding not only from wealthy investors and VCs, but from hundreds of small pledges from family and friends. Popularized in the United States by Kickstarter and Indiegogo, the crowdfunding model made its mark on the Philippines through The Spark Project, which has helped creative Filipino projects get off the ground since 2013.

The platform model has allowed startups to offer financial services more efficiently than ever before. Take the traditional pawnshop, which allows people to access loans by taking appraised items as collateral and selling them in brick-and-mortar stores if the buyer defaults. The amount of the loan and the interest rate are based partially on the likelihood of selling the pawned item. By creating an online, peer-to-peer marketplace which is able to reach more people than a physical store, Philippines-based PawnHero is able to increase the likelihood of selling pawned goods and therefore give out more loans at cheaper interest rates. Also in the Philippines, Acudeen has taken this principle and applied it to the marketplace for selling unpaid invoices.

Knowing your customer

With lending in particular, one of the biggest barriers to entry is information: can you predict how likely your customers are to pay off their loans? Interest rates are calculated based on the risk of customers defaulting, and that risk is based on imperfect knowledge and proxies like credit scores and account balances.

How do you sharpen your knowledge of customers’ credit-worthiness, minimize losses, and lower costs? And in the Philippines, where an emerging middle class is looking to enter the lending market with little to no credit data, how do you begin to predict their behavior?

Lenddo was one of the first companies in the Philippines to fill in these gaps through non-traditional data — creating a “Lenddo score” for credit-worthiness and a “willingness to pay” based on information from phones and social media.

Recently, local startup Ayannah combined energy giant Meralco’s bill payment information with artificial intelligence (AI) technology to create credit profiles for the unbanked. This “Juan Credit” service is the latest in a line of products by Ayannah which harness technology to serve unbanked populations.

There, in Ayannah’s mission, lies perhaps the most important takeaway from this scan of fintech possibilities. It’s exciting that these disruptive ideas aren’t rocket science at the end of the day; these are models that incumbent banks can take and adapt to their own strengths and pain points. It’s even more exciting what that would mean for the country as a whole: a banking system that lives us to its true purpose of not only profiting off infrastructure, but by truly serving a nation’s people at the largest scale.

Learn more about the future of banking by downloading our white paper on it below.

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The New Frontier: ASEAN Powered by Blockchain

The New Frontier: ASEAN Powered by Blockchain

In the past three years, blockchain has become increasingly prominent in technology and business news feeds. More and more companies across varying industries, from Walmart to Disney, are announcing a shift towards using blockchain. Even governments and international organizations are beginning to focus their efforts toward developing their own uses for this innovative technology.

ASEAN countries must learn to harness the power of blockchain, or else get left behind. In a fast-growing region of over 800 million people, blockchain can unlock the next frontier of business by transforming how people exchange, create, and store value.

But what is blockchain?
Blockchain is a distributed digital ledger that allows people to exchange value and information directly with one another, securely, without a central authority. 

In its prototypical form, the blockchain-based digital currency Bitcoin allows people to exchange money without a central bank. It does this by taking the most important role of a bank — verifying transactions to prevent double spending and fraud — and distributing that task across a network of thousands of computers around the world.

How does it work? Without a central bank, how do you make sure that no one is fiddling with their account balance or spending the same amount of money twice?


Bitcoin gets around this through a system of competition and redundancy. Miners with specialized equipment compete with each other to solve mathematical problems tied to blocks that contain information on individual transactions. They’re competing for a chance to win new Bitcoins when they enter the system. When a problem is solved, the relevant block is added to a chain of existing blocks — that’s right, a blockchain — and the blocks are mathematically tied together in a way that is inseparable.

The entire blockchain network is programmed to refresh to the longest chain in the system. That is, these thousands of computers all contain the same identical chain of blocks. So if someone wanted to hack the system, they would need to break into not one computer, but thousands all around the world. What you have at the end is a way of storing transactions that is transparent, collectively owned, secure, and can theoretically happen without any transaction fees.

Bitcoin is only the beginning. This same protocol can be transferred across industries, from tracking where food comes from, to storing your healthcare information  — all without having to count on a central institution. That is why so many companies, not just financial institutions, are investing in Blockchain technologies.

What happens to institutions that depend on the centralization of large infrastructure and processes? Some banks are experimenting with using blockchain themselves to save costs.

But ultimately, blockchain will lead us to a world where success based on authority or owning infrastructure will no longer be possible. Like a butterfly in chrysalis, companies must envision new purposes and forms for themselves in order to survive.

Amihan Global Strategies, a technology company that accelerates digital transformation, has joined Hyperledger, an open-source collaboration project by the Linux Foundation that hopes to develop cross-industry blockchain technologies. Read more about the partnership here.

If you’re interested in transforming your business through blockchain, leave us a message here


AMIHAN joins the Hyperledger blockchain collaborative

AMIHAN joins the Hyperledger blockchain collaborative

Open source blockchain project seeks to revolutionize business

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Amihan Global Strategies, a technology company that accelerates digital transformation, has joined Hyperledger (hyperledger.org), a global collaboration to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. AMIHAN is the first Filipino company to join the Linux Foundation’s initiative to advance open-source blockchain technology for all.

Blockchain revolution

Blockchain is the technological backbone that powers digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. A blockchain is a peer-to-peer, distributed ledger that allows people around the world to link their computing power to create permanent records of exchange and build systems that have trust, accountability, and transparency at their core.

Thanks to blockchain technology, everyday individuals have formed networks that allow them to transfer money in a way that is faster, more efficient, cheaper, and more secure than existing banks. But the implications go beyond finance. Blockchain technology has the potential to solve problems that run that gamut from storing health records to tracking ethical consumption, monetizing digital content, optimizing supply chains, tackling voter fraud, and more.

Foundations of a distributed future

Hyperledger brings the world’s best minds together to create open-source blockchain technologies for business. Hyperledger incubates eight business blockchain and distributed ledger technologies including Hyperledger Sawtooth, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Iroha and Hyperledger Indy, among others.

Hyperledger is housed under the Linux Foundation, a nonprofit that develops sustainable ecosystems around open source projects. By doing so, it aims to grow the pool of shared technology resources, thereby accelerating technology development and commercial adoption.

“We believe that blockchain and smart contracts are the key to preparing Southeast Asia for the digital age,” said Winston Damarillo, Chairman of Amihan Global Strategies. “We look forward to working with our clients – some of the largest enterprises in ASEAN – to transform finance, healthcare, retail, and customer loyalty in one of the fastest growing economic regions of the world.”

Amihan has several Blockchain initiatives underway, including working with financial institutions to create a permissioned blockchain network that can enable secure and frictionless transactions between different business entities.

“As leaders of digital transformation in the the Philippines, we see Amihan as a key partner for Hyperledger’s impact in the ASEAN region,” said Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director of Hyperledger. “We are excited to work together to advance blockchain technology for the world at large.”


A Beginner's Guide to DevOps

A Beginner's Guide to DevOps

Why DevOps is a whole new way of doing IT

Digital is the new kingmaker for businesses, institutions, and movements — and the game is becoming exponentially more complex. The Digital Filipino spends more time on their mobile screens than on TV. Their connected devices generate more data, introduce them to more content, and connect them to more people faster than ever before.

“What’s not growing exponentially is our ability as individuals,” said Alistair Israel, AMIHAN’s Enterprise Architect and co-founder of Yehey.com, one of the nation’s pioneering web portals. “That is, unless we start being smarter about how we do things.”

Established institutions find themselves in a dilemma: how does one adapt and innovate when they are held back by systems, processes, cultural inertia, and not to mention all the security risks that come with the Internet? That challenge demands more than just the latest gadgets and buzzwords — it requires an entirely new way of doing things.

What is DevOps?

Let’s start with what DevOps isn’t. DevOps is not a tool or technology. It’s not a task to be delegated to a role or a team. It’s not a methodology with specific steps to roll out of the box.

Above all, DevOps is a culture that dissolves the boundaries between development and IT operations. At the core of many organizations’ inability to innovate is a disconnect between the people who develop new technology and those who manage and operationalize those IT systems. This results in slow release of new features and many missed opportunities to improve or identify new opportunities.

In a DevOps organization, developers and IT administrators work as one team and are involved in all stages of process: from defining new products, to designing and developing the technology, all the way to deployment. This allows developers to create new things with a better understanding of how they affect current systems; at the same time, it allows administrators to quickly communicate what needs to improve or change in future releases.

What makes DevOps possible?

If it sounds like a common sense way of doing things, that’s because it kind of is. So why doesn’t every company work this way?

DevOps wasn’t always possible. Not too long ago, you needed to buy, manage, and maintain your own servers yourself and by hand. That required a lot of specialized manpower, and gave birth to IT operations as a separate team. At the same time, varying hardware and software environments spelled potential compatibility issues that made it difficult to push out new software quickly.

But cloud computing and its related developments have paved the way for the DevOps movement to emerge. Rather than procuring and maintaining their own hardware, companies can now rent space on Google, Amazon and Microsoft’s data centers. These cloud providers manage and automate the more menial steps of setting up and managing infrastructure, thus freeing up time for innovation, problem-solving, and communication.

The cloud also gave birth to cloud-native tools, practices, and architectural elements that further narrow the gap between development and operations:

  • Containers allow apps to be packaged with their own unique operating environments, thus eliminating compatibility issues;
  • Cloud federation allows companies to grow or shrink their infrastructure instantly in response to changes in demand;
  • Microservices allow developers to create or modify small parts of a larger service independently, without adversely affecting the entire system. These services can also be distributed and moved across multiple servers as needed.

Together, these breakthroughs allow companies to organize around small teams that are involved from conceptualization all the way to the release of a new feature.

Facebook, a DevOps pioneer that releases new updates every week to billions of users, is known for its famous mantra: “Move fast and break things.” But in 2014, they changed it to “Move fast with stable infra.” This phrase captures the core idea behind DevOps: that by automating and simplifying the relationship between services and infrastructure, a culture of innovation can take root.

How can DevOps transform my company?

“DevOps is the start of a new culture,” said Israel. “It’s a command decision: we won’t deliver software every 4 months. We will do it as fast as we can, but with security and privacy. The end goal is continuous improvement.”

In 2012, ING had 4 software deployments a year and a mobile app rated 1 out of 5 stars. By 2014, after committing to DevOps, their app went up to 4 stars and the frequency of deployments went up to 18,000 per month. In the same span of time, their number of network outages per year went from over 30 to zero.

“Shipping cadence defines your company,” said Israel. “Even your support becomes instant. When a customer tells you they’re experiencing an error, the customer support team is now empowered to get that technical issue fixed in real time.”

On the other side, BPI’s recent system error is an example of something that is completely avoidable in a DevOps environment. When an internal glitch occurred, the bank shut down their entire online banking system for several days and took over a week to resolve the issue. A cloud-native company built on DevOps culture may have resolved it in minutes without halting operations.

“When your business is about the IT system, it’s not a business,” said Israel. By simplifying infrastructure and dissolving boundaries between operations and development, DevOps eliminates the distractions and unites everyone around a common goal: to serve the customer in the best way possible.

How do I start?

To start moving to a DevOps environment, sign up for a demo of our cloud-native infrastructure solution, Amihan Cloud Blocks.


The Beginner’s Guide to RA 10173 (Data Privacy Act of 2012)

In 2012, the Congress of the Philippines passed Republic Act No. 10173, also known as the Data Privacy Act (DPA) of 2012. Five years later, the DPA’s Implementing Rules and Regulations was put in effect on September 9, 2016, thus mandating all companies to comply.

The act is a necessary and important precaution in a world economy that’s swiftly going digital. In 2014, it was estimated that 2.5 quintillion — or 2.5 billion billion — bytes of data were created everyday. This includes unprecedented knowledge about what real individuals are doing, watching, thinking, and feeling.

Companies must be held accountable not only for what they do with customer data — but how they protect that data from third parties. The past few years of security breaches, system errors, and ethical scandals within some of the country’s major banks have reminded us that there is much work to be done.

So, where to begin for institutions who want to comply with RA 10173 and be proactive about their consumers’ digital privacy?

What is RA 10173?

RA 10173, or the Data Privacy Act, protects individuals from unauthorized processing of personal information that is (1) private, not publicly available; and (2) identifiable, where the identity of the individual is apparent either through direct attribution or when put together with other available information.

What does this entail?

First, all personal information must be collected for reasons that are specified, legitimate, and reasonable. In other words, customers must opt in for their data to be used for specific reasons that are transparent and legal.

Second, personal information must be handled properly. Information must be kept accurate and relevant, used only for the stated purposes, and retained only for as long as reasonably needed. Customers must be active in ensuring that other, unauthorized parties do not have access to their customers’ information.

Third, personal information must be discarded in a way that does not make it visible and accessible to unauthorized third parties.

Unauthorized processing, negligent handling, or improper disposal of personal information is punishable with up to six (6) years in prison or up to five million pesos (PHP 5,000,000) depending on the nature and degree of the violation.

Who needs to register?

Companies with at least 250 employees or access to the personal and identifiable information of of at least 1,000 people are required to register with the National Privacy Commission and comply with the Data Privacy Act of 2012. Some of these companies are already on their way to compliance — but many more are unaware that they are even affected by the law.

How do I remain in compliance of the Data Privacy Act?

The National Privacy Commission, which was created to enforce RA 10173, will check whether companies are compliant based on a company having 5 elements:

  1. Appointing a Data Protection Officer
  2. Conducting a privacy impact assessment
  3. Creating a privacy knowledge management program
  4. Implementing a privacy and data protection policy
  5. Exercising a breach reporting procedure

To learn more, schedule a free consultation or read the full text of the Data Privacy Act of 2012 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.


PRESS RELEASE: AMIHAN to release a comprehensive Cyber Resilient Infrastructure

AMIHAN to release a comprehensive Cyber Resilient Infrastructure

The Filipino customer has gone digital. The Philippines has the 2nd fastest growing population of internet users in the world, and Filipinos spend more time on social media than any other country. But as companies move to engage them through digital platforms, they expose themselves to cyber attacks, scaling issues, and system problems that can jeopardize their customer relationships.

Amihan Global Strategies, a Filipino technology company that accelerates digital transformation, is now offering a comprehensive resilient infrastructure solution that includes fault-tolerant cloud architecture, end-to-end threat monitoring, and data privacy consulting. Amihan aims to empower enterprises to innovate digitally on a stable and secure foundation that ensures the protection of their customers’ digital assets.

Cloud Computing Goes Native

Amihan Cloud Blocks is a fault-tolerant, hybrid cloud infrastructure that allows enterprises to distribute workloads, tolerate failures, and recover quickly with little or no impact to end users. By integrating the public cloud with companies’ private servers, Cloud Blocks enables enterprises to access the agility of cloud-native applications while strengthening the security and integrity of their legacy IT systems.

Amihan Cloud Blocks is 100% pre-engineered solution based on industry standards OpenStack, CEPH and Kubernetes – but optimized for the ASEAN region. Fault-tolerant, software-defined storage uses replication to safeguard against drive failure. Microservices and containerization allow companies to respond to specific threats and points of failure without bringing the entire enterprise to a halt. All of this is fully-managed and locally supported by Amihan’s team of experts.

Cyber Defense Gets Analytical

Locking your front door is no longer enough. Enterprises must use big data and analytics as new weapons to detect, deflect and deter cyber attacks before significant damage is done.

Amihan Shield is a tool for end-to-end monitoring and analysis of cybersecurity threats, powered by best-in-class cybersecurity technology providers Cloudflare and Anomali. Cloudflare ensures that enterprises are protected from online threats ranging from comment spam to malicious denial of service (DOS) attacks. Amihan’s Modern Honey Network, in conjunction with Anomali, an enterprise management system for honeypots that act as bait, mimicking vulnerable servers and desktops to deceive, slow down, or detect hackers, malware, or misbehaving users.

These tools and others allow Amihan to create an industry ISACO (Information Sharing and Analysis CyberOps) which collects, analyzes, and disseminates critical threat information to enterprise Security Operations Centers.

Data Privacy Protection Becomes Paramount

In a digital economy with endless choices, digital consumers are fickle and can switch quickly. Protection of personal data will become a foundation of trust.

Amihan offers data privacy consulting to help businesses protect their customers’ personal information and comply with the Data Privacy law. Amihan’s team of legal and technology  experts help businesses revise their Privacy Statements and consent forms, modernize their data storage systems, and more.

“Digital transformation requires end-to-end execution of infrastructure that brings together innovation, cyber protection and trust,” said Winston Damarillo,  “The Amihan Cyber Resilience Suite of Cloud Blocks, UNAWA and Shield accelerates our customer’s journey into cyber commerce.”

 

To learn more about Amihan Cloud Blocks, visit this page.

To learn more about Amihan Data Privacy Consulting, visit this page.


Big Data and High-Impact Business Analytics

This is the second post of a series about how companies can transform into Cloud Native enterprises. To check the first post click here.


Understanding the Need for a Big Data Platform and High Impact Analytics

For companies who want to make their organizations more digital, installing new hardware and altering core systems architecture is not enough, developing a big data platform is key.

Big Data Platform

A big data platform is a complete stack of technology that enables three important functions: 1) collection, ingestion and storage of data from various databases, 2) synthesis and processing of data points using algorithms, 3) visualization of analytic output.

The benefit of creating this platform is it allows companies to unleash the power of the data they have been collecting over the years and may not be fully harnessing. When data is fed into a common platform and data points are explored, patterns could be uncovered to look at relationships over a period of time. From these patterns, new insights may surface, especially when putting variables that may not have been paired together before.

A common example is analyzing transactional (sales) data and media metrics. When overlaying variables such as media spend and sales, business leaders might see that a certain of range of media spend may equate to a certain level of sales. With observations like this, executives may draw the insight that media spend is a lever to pull when looking to increase sales toward a growth objective.

Another type of analysis that can be conducted involves customer-level data. This means that the data contains information to identify a transaction belonging to a specific customer. When a customer’s history of purchases and visits to a store is analyzed, companies will better understand their customers and identify which behaviors or groups are driving the highest revenue. This impacts marketing strategy and an outcome may be for the CMO to allocate his or her budget toward targeting customers who drive the highest revenue for the company.

Enterprise Data Lake

The concept of a data lake means putting various types and quantities of data into a platform that allows for the interaction of data points, resulting in breaking down of silos and enablement for deeper analysis.

This data platform not only acts as a storage for various datasets, but also as a conduit that enables organization to better mine their data and prepare for analytics projects.

Typical types of data that can be ingested into the data lake include: sales data, marketing data, and data from external sources. Having this system is one of the first steps on how a company can become more customer centric and data driven– by capturing and analysing customer data in one place– and uncover market opportunities.

This platform ingests data points that are synthesized using algorithms that are created in the data exploration layer. Additional tools are typically added to the data lake, which may include business analytics and other data mining capabilities.

Diagram 1: An Enterprise Data Lake ingests and integrates data from various sources and prepares it for exploration and analysis.

Data Exploration Layer

While it’s typical that historical data from an organization’s core systems are ingested first, data collected as part of the data lake may also include new data being collected, either as part of the data collection strategy of core systems, or new data sources are connected to the lake.

When data is collected on an ongoing basis and not limited to a specific initiative, algorithms are set in place in order to merge data points and explore trends in the data. The merging of old and new data could inspire new ways of looking at organizational challenges and enhance business strategies.

Data analysts typically go through a process that involve discovering, defining, designing and deploying analytics. Each phase is marked by the following activity:

  • Discover: Taking stock of current systems and available data sets.
  • Define: Creating the measurement strategy for analytics and insights generation.
  • Design: Designing the analytics project (methodology, reporting, data governance) and visualization requirements.
  • Deploy: Generating reports, interpreting results, and creating models to replicate analysis on other or larger data sets.

Visualization

In order for data to be meaningful for the organization, it cannot sit in storage, with its access only limited to the IT team. Unleashing the power of data has a lot to do with preparing the analytics output into charts and tables that can be accessed by various stakeholders. A typical visualization set up involves the use of modern dashboard tools such as Tableau or Qlikview, and it starts with the analytics team collaborating with business leads to do a design session, which involves understanding business objectives, KPIs, frequency of reporting required, and what kinds of charts and tables are most useful to be visualized. Analysts will recommend a dashboard design, which also includes an approach on how best to visualize data, given their familiarity with the organization’s existing data found in the data lake.

Diagram 2: After ingestion, developers and data architects create a Data Exploration Layer which allow analysts to explore the data. An enriched data stream is created that can be used by various applications and data visualization tools.

Conclusion

Organizations can now address challenges using the power of data and technology. New ways to putting together data points and analyzing them help uncover solutions, or even a new dimension to an organizational challenge.

In order to mobilize data throughout the organization and make it smarter, an enterprise could look into big data platforms. Key phases include data collection and storage, processing and computing, and producing an output that visualizes the data in a meaningful way in order to make insights useful immediately.  Ultimately, the goal is to leverage existing assets and empower the organization to make use of its own resource (proprietary data) in order to sustain and move itself forward into the digital economy, connecting with customers better.

DOWNLOAD: Legacy to Cloud Native Enterprise Architecture (PDF)

If you haven’t yet, you can download our complete Cloud Native Enterprise Architecture guide here.




Infrastructure for Innovation: Why Legacy to Cloud Native (L2CN) is the New Architecture for Digital Transformation

This post is the first part of a series on The Cloud Native Enterprise.


It took some time, but it seems digital disruption has finally broken through the barriers and arrived in the Philippines full force.

Everyone is realizing the need to transform: Last month, Summit Media, the nation’s largest print magazine publisher, rebranded itself as a digital media company and subsequently launched a Content Lab for branded storytelling across physical and digital channels. Last year, PLDT began a massive pivot away from its dwindling long-distance revenue, prompting PhilStar to spell out its (and soon every giant’s) unofficial mantra: “adapt or perish.”

So it’s safe to say that the pressure is on for corporations to innovate and go digital. The question is how — how to transition culture, systems, and processes in institutions that employ tens of thousands and serve tens of millions of people.

The IT Dilemma

The initial barriers to digital transformation are often strategic and cultural: making a commitment to adapt, and then getting the organization to see and buy into that new direction.

But even the most determined and aligned companies are held back by the infrastructure and IT systems that their companies are built upon. 9 out of 10 IT decision-makers report that they are held back by their outdated IT systems, and it was found that 80% of IT workers spend over half of their time troubleshooting and maintaining legacy systems . These old systems keep companies from adopting new technology due to incompatibilities or difficulties in integration.

People have increasingly looked to the cloud for an answer. Cloud computing, in plain terms, is a service that allows you to rent remote server space rather than own it. This allows you to pay for server space as you use it, which in turn enables companies to scale up new services that work and scale down services that don’t with little risk.

Cloud-native apps, which are optimized for the cloud environment, employ elements like microservices, which break down complicated apps into small functions that can be upgraded and deployed independently, and containers, which allows software to work with different forms of hardware. These characteristics allow apps, services, and systems built on the cloud to be modified, adapted, changed, deployed, and scaled rapidly in the spirit of experimentation.

But the cloud comes with its own risks: cloud security has improved significantly, but will never be on par with a well-managed private server. It requires a massive shift in culture: from siloes and long production timelines to maximum collaboration and once-a-week updates. Furthermore, leaving the legacy system altogether isn’t really an option: old IT systems often contain wells of valuable information, are informed by many years of troubleshooting and experience, and are connected to countless business and operational processes that would be thrown into chaos without it.

So what’s the CTO of a large bank to do in the face of this dilemma? Waiting around isn’t an option either: upstarts with little to lose are starting from scratch and harnessing the cloud to grow and carve out market share seemingly in warp speed. Incumbents must figure out a way to keep pace, launch their own breakthroughs, while minimizing their exposure to risk.

Why not have it both ways?

When we first spoke to the team of the largest bank in the Philippines, they were puzzling through this very challenge.

Though they were committed to reinventing themselves for the digital world, they were feeling constrained by their legacy IT systems, which made it difficult to try new technologies without exposing themselves to security risks. On the other hand, they had seen banks diving completely into the cloud — something that, for them, could be a recipe for disaster. This was the banking sector, one of the most high-stakes of them all, and as the bank’s CEO put it: “People don’t like to be told that you’re experimenting with their money.”

When we asked, “Why not do both?” it felt like a dozen lightbulbs going off across the room. What we’ve found with our clients from banking, retail, healthcare, and beyond is that moving to the cloud isn’t a binary decision or an on/off switch. It’s a process. That process hinges on a hybrid cloud which connects public cloud servers, private cloud servers, and privately-owned, often legacy, servers and systems.

More than just a hybrid cloud, we at Amihan believe in a Legacy to Cloud-Native (L2CN) Enterprise Architecture which merges the best of both the cloud ecosystem and your own legacy IT systems.

The idea behind L2CN is to minimize risk and maximize the opportunity for innovation. In an L2CN enterprise, the company invests in extending and strengthening their legacy system — while at the same time building new services and products for the cloud, where they can be deployed, modified, and scaled with ease.

Over time, as breakthrough services scale up and become more central to the whole enterprise, the balance of the company’s operations will naturally shift towards the cloud. But this migration happens gradually, not all at once.

To learn more about how to build a Legacy to Cloud Native (L2CN) Enterprise Architecture, join us at our April 25 event or download our 1-page guide:

DOWNLOAD: Legacy to Cloud Native Enterprise Architecture (PDF)

How do you merge your legacy systems, the private cloud, and the public cloud in order to achieve breakthrough innovation?




Amihan and Summit Media Launch "Ready or Not"

On March 9, we celebrated the public launch of AMIHAN Chairman Winston Damarillo’s new book, Ready or Not: The 6 Big Disruption That Will Change the Way We Do Business at the National Book Store in Glorietta 1. The event was co-organized by the book’s publisher, Summit Media.

The audience was treated to Damarillo describing the story behind the book and his vision for the future. His talk was followed by a panel of entrepreneurs and leaders who shared their views on the future of small business, politics, creativity, and the workforce.

Their calls to action: read up on the coming technological trends; think critically and take nothing for granted in the next decade of rapid change; and finally, hone in on the creativity and spirit that makes us uniquely human in the new age of machines.

Panelists: Richard Dacalos, Upstart the Board Game; Niña Terol, McCann Worldgroup Philippines and Kickfire; Sam Ramos-Jones, Pampubliko; Rexy Josh Dorado, Kaya Collaborative

“The next 10 years can be a lot of fun, and it can be a boon for the creative economy in the Philippines,” said Damarillo, “but only if we’re ready.”

The event ended with a book signing and a raffle where members of the audience received free books, shirts, and Google Home AI speakers. We were lucky to be joined by Summit Books President Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng, whose company had just rebranded itself as a digital publisher at the core.

Thank you to those who attended and we look forward to shaping the next decade with you!


Decoding Digital: A Primer to the Future of Industries

Welcome to the age of digital disruption. Over the past decade, the Internet has unleashed a new wave of technologies that are destroying old business models and redefining what is possible. Banks, retail brands, media companies, telcos, and even political establishments have struggled to find their footing in the new digital landscape: one in which upstarts can scale and take down incumbents in little time.

How to transform? The process starts with understanding what the digital future has in store. This primer, a companion to AMIHAN Chairman Winston Damarillo’s book Ready or Not, aims to shed light on 3 key technologies that will disrupt business in the Philippines: blockchain, artificial intelligence, and big data.

You’ve heard them all before, but what do these words even mean? What does it mean for you, the Filipino business leader? This document will serve as your key to unlocking the meaning and opportunities behind the jargon.

DOWNLOAD: Decoding Digital (PDF)

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