Seamless Philippines features future of commerce and tech innovations on payments innovation, banking, financial inclusion, e-commerce, and retail strategy, and digital identity.

Amihan Joins Seamless Philippines Virtual 2020

Amihan CTO, Francisco Reyes, to discuss how technology can drive and accelerate efforts to achieve inclusive growth 

Manila, Philippines -- September 7, 2020 -- Amihan Global Strategies (Amihan) -- an ASEAN leader in digital transformation -- joins this year’s Seamless Philippines Virtual event, a two-day online conference from September 30 to October 1.

The overall theme of Seamless Philippines Virtual is “the Future of Commerce in the Philippines,” which highlights the latest trends, technology, and solutions on payments innovation, banking, financial inclusion, e-commerce, and retail strategy, and digital identity. 

Amihan Global Strategies is an exhibitor at the Seamless Philippines 2020 Virtual Event.

Amihan’s key highlights at the conference will include:

  • A track presentation with the topic “Creating Inclusive Growth with Technology

Francisco Reyes, Amihan’s Chief Technology Officer, will deliver a talk and share insights on today’s technology enablers: cloud, blockchain, and analytics and how businesses can leverage these technologies to accelerate digital transformation and foster inclusive growth. In addition, Reyes will also be sharing real-world co-innovations by Amihan in the banking and financial services industries.

Date and Time: September 30, 2020 11:30 am 

  • A virtual exhibition

Amihan, a leading digital business transformation service provider in ASEAN, will showcase the following solutions:

 

    • Amihan Campaign Engine - Amihan Campaign Engine is a digital campaign management and engagement platform that enables marketing and product teams to send personalized campaigns across channels, devices, and platforms at scale.
    • SafePass - SafePass is an all-digital COVID19 incident mitigation and management platform that eliminates the need for businesses to rely on manual contact tracing methods, such as paper forms and logbooks. It’s designed to help organizations of all sizes easily implement health and contact-tracing protocols within their physical spaces, empowering them to deliver the best experience for their visitors, customers, and employees.
    • SafePass Enterprise -- designed for organizations with complex operational requirements and multiple locations -- enables large companies to customize SafePass to fit their needs.  For additional information about SafePass and SafePass Enterprise, visit our virtual booth or head to https://amihan.net/safepass

 

Amihan has a long-standing record of developing digital transformation solutions -- enabling its enterprise customers with technology, from cloud computing to artificial intelligence and blockchain. 

Together with its partner, Talino Venture Labs, an inclusiontech venture builder, Amihan remains committed to building a better, connected world -- contributing to a more inclusive growth within ASEAN.

“Digital transformation is instrumental and a game-changer. At Amihan, we care deeply about providing value to our customers and their customers, as well as making a positive impact on the Philippine economy. We go beyond enterprise projects; we co-innovate with our partners to develop inclusive solutions that move the needle to solve societal challenges.

When digital innovation is inclusive, it disrupts the way markets operate. Everybody in the ecosystem wins,” said Jerry Rapes, President of Amihan. 

 

Technologies that are shaping the new normal

Over the past few months, digital experiences and solutions have surged due to the pandemic’s effects. These include, but are not limited to, online marketplaces, open-architecture ecosystems, digital banking and payments, and contactless solutions.

 

Chatbot conversations and experiences - Chatbots enhance customer experience and have become widely accepted in engaging customers. Chatbots have also become a more practical substitute for traditional forms of communication. 

For instance, Saphron’s conversational chatbot called Nan.ai helps enroll new customers of micro-insurance products in a matter of minutes.

AI-powered chatbots and those integrated with other systems, such as content management software and customer relationship management platforms, are also gaining ground. In this period, when more consumers are spending their time online, chatbots offer businesses an opportunity to improve engagement processes and operational efficiency by reducing the cost of customer service.

Personalized digital services - Customers are demanding more and more personalized interactions. From the business point of view, personalization helps to enrich the customer experience and improve conversions and customer retention. 

Companies must transform the way they manage data to stay competitive. As an example, running personalized and relevant campaigns means that customer data from different systems, devices, and channels are unified in a single platform. This single platform then enables business executives to understand customers’ behaviors better, craft campaigns that best suit customer needs, and make meaningful connections with everyone.

Contactless payments and digitized financial transactions are in high demand, given the need for social distancing. The move away from cash will persist as it offers a safer way for people to transact financially.

For example, an online loan application solution that makes it easier for borrowers to apply for loans and streamline the loan approval process at the back end can improve turnaround time.

 

“Our mandate has always been about accelerating our customers’ businesses and today -- in this crisis -- we see more opportunities to scale and evolve our digital solutions to create new pathways for economic inclusion,” said Rapes.

“We are incredibly excited to take part in Seamless and look forward to network with potential partners and new customers.”

Register for Seamless Philippines Virtual for free at this page: https://www.terrapinn.com/virtual/seamless-philippines

 

About Amihan

Amihan Global Strategies accelerates the delivery of customer-centric solutions for Asian companies on the path towards digital transformation.

We are a Philippine-based company composed of multidisciplinary talents with technology, engineering, and deep domain expertise in banking, insurance, retail, telecoms, and healthcare.

We utilize Cloud, Blockchain, Big Data Analytics, Process Automation, and Artificial Intelligence to fuel our customers’ digital transformation journeys.

Visit www.amihan.net for more information.

 


SafePass Para sa Lahat banner

SafePass, digital contact tracing app, now accessible to all

METRO MANILA, Philippines (Manila Bulletin, August 16) — “SafePass para sa lahat.”

This is now the battle cry of the developers of the contact tracing tool SafePass, a digital COVID-19 incident mitigation and management solution developed to make safety protocols easy and stress-free.

On Friday (August 14), digital transformation leader Amihan Global Strategies and inclusion tech venture builder Talino Venture Labs announced the relaunch of two versions of the tech innovation which is now accessible to all Filipino establishments, big or small.

These are SafePass Base, which is free for all types of organizations for basic contact-tracing and digital health questionnaires; and SafePass Express, which comes with employee management features, and is free for government agencies and for establishments accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Tech giant Talino Venture Labs said the development is a response to the rising threat of COVID-19 infections in the country primarily in offices, public spaces, establishments, and even in some residential communities where coronavirus transmissions have been recorded.

The tech innovation also hopes to arm more Filipinos with an easy and convenient tool to easily limit and track foot traffic, and produce digital contact-tracing reports in case of a COVID-19 incident.

“Our battle cry is ‘SafePass Para Sa Lahat’, so we made sure that SafePass can be used by as many individuals and organizations as possible, anywhere in the Philippines,” Winston Damarillo, executive chairman of Amihan Global Strategies and chief executive officer of Talino Venture Labs said.


SafePass Base helps business to reopen safely in the new normal. It is now available for FREE, enabling establishments to scan employees and visitors coming in and out for more accurate contact-tracing and incident response. It will also give them access to the digital health questionnaire and contactless scanners for better implementation of safety regulations.

Designed for bigger businesses, SafePass Enterprise offers powerful features and various options for customization. Learn more about SafePass Enterprise.


“Organizations already have a lot on their plate as they continue to weather the effects of the pandemic, so we aim to help them with health and safety protocols so that they can focus on their operations,” he added.

As the country continues to grapple with the health crisis, public safety is the number one priority of every physical establishment. This means keeping track of foot traffic data hour-by-hour and day-by-day, on top of storing and organizing health forms, contact details, and more. For some organizations, this also means keeping piles of logbooks and poring through hours of CCTV footage in case of the need to contact-trace.

SafePass digitizes and simplifies all these processes through its digital platform, which includes several features, such as an efficient digital contact-tracing solution, digital health questionnaires, monitoring of entry and exit points, and a 24-7 customer and tech support for users.

SafePass Base is offered for free and is best for micro-enterprises with single locations, market stalls, and even non-profits, small churches, and households, while SafePass Express offers an additional capacity planning tool to set how many individuals can be in a location at any given time, as well as an employee management system.

Government agencies and DOT-accredited establishments will get free access to SafePass Express.

During its soft launch in June, among the government agencies that have been using the digital solutions are DOT and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

But organizations with more comprehensive needs can also avail themselves of SafePass’s paid plans, which offer more features. These include SafePass Business which allows organizations to notify all potentially exposed individuals with one digitized process, as well as accept advanced bookings from their visitors.

While SafePass Enterprise enables large companies to customize the system to fit their needs and implement SafePass across their multiple locations.

No data plan required

Unlike other contact-tracing apps, the relaunched SafePass version can be used now even with non-smartphones, or by using free Messenger that does not require a data plan.

Damarillo said Contact-tracing can be done via SMS or through a Messenger-based chatbot, while administrative features can be accessed through any Internet browser.

“We believe that health and safety protocols do not have to be complicated, so we built a simple, easy-to-use platform for organizations to implement these protocols without hassle,” he said.

“The virus works fast and is invisible, and we have to work faster, smarter, and together to be able to stop it from spreading even further,” he pointed out.

Interested establishments, as well as private individuals, may register via SafePass.asia to access these free plans.

“Setting up SafePass should be as easy as setting up an email address or registering for a food delivery app,” he added.


SafePass was co-developed by Talino Venture Labs and digital transformation leader Amihan Global Strategies. There’s an enterprise-level version called SafePass Enterprise which delivers the right balance of flexibility and ease of implementation for bigger businesses. Learn more about SafePass Enterprise.

This article was originally published in the National and News section of the Manila Bulletin online (mbcn.com.ph) last August 16, 2020.


person working on their laptop

Alfresco - Beyond Enterprise Content Management

In today's digital ecosystem, being able to bring enterprise content management and process together is critical. Businesses require a unified platform that will allow them to effectively manage content, transform business processes into digital workflows, and securely govern information.

This is where Alfresco comes in.

Alfresco offers a digital business platform -- the Alfresco Digital Business Platform -- an "agile and completely open platform that allows the rapid development of intelligent process, content, and information governance solutions."

At its heart is Alfresco Content Services, which is a full-featured Enterprise Content Management (ECM).

Alfresco Content Services (ACS) provides "open, flexible, highly scalable ECM capabilities". It includes a centralized content and metadata repository. A web interface named “Alfresco Share” or sometimes just Share has the ability to define automated business rules and full-text indexing provided by Apache Solr. It's typically implemented as a document management and records management solution.

Alfresco Digital Business Platform also includes Alfresco Process Services and Alfresco Governance Services.

Built on Activiti, an open source, Java-based process engine, Alfresco Process Services (APS) offers an enterprise-class, highly customizable workflow and business process management solution. It features tools "that make it easy to model, deploy and update critical business processes" such as graphical design tools, forms and rule editors, and data integration. 

Alfresco Governance Services (AGS) is an add-on software application that provides record management functionality to address information governance requirements.

All of Alfresco solutions are open, scalable, and modular -- allowing businesses to customize and extend the platform to meet changing and growing requirements.

 

Alfresco and its many functions as logos

Business Processes Made Simple

Our Digital Transformation team has implemented Alfresco as a Document Management System, Enterprise Content Management Platform, and Content Services Platform for our enterprise clients to help them modernize operations and achieve efficiencies.

One such project involved the implementation of Alfresco to enable a paperless, modern, online insurance marketplace platform. The platform offers a one-stop-shop for travel, health, motor vehicles, and property insurance. Using Alfresco's process automation and rich document management capabilities, Amihan worked with the client to automate processes such as enrolments, e-policy provisioning, as well as the creation of online official receipts. In addition, we built a wizard that recommended products to customers based on their needs.

Another project where we had utilized Alfresco was for a loan application program. The use case was to facilitate and quickly spin up bank loan applications via the platform. Alfresco works in the background -- automating everything from document retrieval to records management.

Bank employees, officials, and committee members who make the decisions on loan grants are now able to collaborate easily and track updates regarding the loan application in a digital manner. This has significantly improved turnaround time and they're now able to serve their customers better.

 

Streamlining Business for the Future

Alfresco is a vital tool for digital transformation and at Amihan, we have the solutions and expertise to help you implement Alfresco and accelerate transformation. Our digital transformation team at Amihan has been helping clients with Alfresco implementation services, including Alfresco Content Services, as well as Alfresco Process Services for years.

If you want to learn more about Alfresco or need help to implement Alfresco for your business, get in touch with our digital transformation team.


Renan Mendoza works as the Lead Business Analyst for Amihan. His interests include backyard astronomy, travelling and cultures, performing arts, cooking and playing sports such as basketball and swimming. Connect with him through LinkedIn.


grand reopening banner of a business

Thriving in Crisis: Opening Businesses Safely with SafePass Enterprise

Whether it is the ‘new normal’ or otherwise, enterprises today have several opportunities and challenges to consider. Among these is the mad dash for new digital solutions- companies are now more open to adopting technologies they would not have considered months ago.

E-commerce sites, digital payment channels, and other online digital services are just some of the solutions gaining traction in this new business environment. It's difficult to imagine now not being able to pay for a purchase without your bank account connected to your mobile banking app or e-wallet or to meet your friends or colleagues through video conference calls.

Part of this rapid digitization is the urgent requirement to open businesses safely amidst the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Currently, most companies have health and safety guidelines in place to ensure the safety of both employees and customers. However, these strict measures often involve slower, manual data capture methods such as paper logbooks and forms, as well as long lines that risk people to further exposure.

SafePass is a digital incident mitigation and management, health declaration, and capacity planning solution that makes safety protocols and contact tracing efforts easier for businesses, employees, and customers. An enterprise-level version called SafePass Enterprise allows companies with bigger, more complex operational needs to customize the workflows of their safety guidelines with a suite of enterprise features, across multiple locations.

SafePass Enterprise for Stress-Free Incident Management

With the need for speed in effective contact tracing, SafePass Enterprise combines the use of accurate health data collection and advanced technology to implement an incident mitigation and management platform. This eliminates the need for businesses to use log books or other paper-based health forms in contact tracing and speeds up and improves the response time of incident management personnel.

SafePass Enterprise allows bigger businesses to tailor-fit and implement COVID health and safety protocols according to their needs. Safety or operations officers and branch managers have a full set of tools to ensure safe, stress-free spaces for their employees and customers:

  • Run establishments safely by customizing operation schedules and customer capacity. Configure multiple or custom schedules and fix the specific operating hours that your establishments will run on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Handle employee shifts and run batch employee data uploads through an easy-to-use dashboard.
  • Faster contact tracing through a list and batch notification with multi-level filtering
  • Accurate data capture of customer health data through a customizable digital health questionnaire
  • Manage Entry Requests to your establishments through SMS, chatbot, and web
  • Quick Incident Management with message notifications via chatbot or SMS
  • A customizable back-end and consolidated reports across all establishments

Customers who will sign-up for a SafePass to enter establishments will find that the safety protocols, such as the health questionnaire, can be accomplished through their mobile phones. They can apply for a SafePass even without a wi-fi connection or mobile data, and they can even request one through SMS.

“We wanted to develop a solution that will not only help businesses reopen -- but a solution that would also contribute to safer spaces throughout the country,” said Winston Damarillo, Executive Chairman of Amihan and CEO of Talino Venture Labs. “The more effective we are in our incident mitigation and management, the sooner quarantine restrictions can be eased and the sooner everyone can get back to business.”

Building Trust and Confidence

With proven expertise and experience driving technology projects for leading businesses, Amihan’s digital transformation team will provide consultation and guidance for businesses adopting SafePass Enterprise, including customizations and integration. This will allow enterprises to focus on what is important- providing service to their customers in safe, stress-free environments.

“Safety remains a critical issue. Many businesses have reopened, but employees and customers have issues about their safety,” said Jerry Rapes, President of Amihan. “With SafePass Enterprise, businesses will be able to provide safety for their employees while in the workplace and the peace of mind for their customers.”

Several partners of Amihan who are leading companies in their industries are early adopters of SafePass Enterprise. Using the solution to not only re-start their operations in the new normal, these partners would also want to build trust and confidence with their employees and customers:

Leading Insurance Provider deploys SafePass Enterprise

A leading insurance and financial services company deployed SafePass Enterprise in several sub-locations such as several floors and departments in their main office building, and in other crucial facilities and offices. Their need for a quick-to-deploy digital contact tracing and case management solution was born out of their urgency to reopen their offices safely after weeks in strict quarantine.

By adopting SafePass Enterprise, they were able to not only get a digital solution that is well-integrated into their safety protocols, but they are able to assure their people that the business will operate efficiently through the current pandemic. “We want to instill the value of trust and confidence in working with our employees and in engaging with our customers,” said the President and CEO of the company, “With SafePass Enterprise, we can keep this promise as we look to thrive in this ‘new normal’ and contribute to rebuilding the economy.”

Top Conglomerate Secures Offices through SafePass Enterprise

A major holding company in the country (with interests in consumer goods, utilities, financials, and industrial products) has adopted SafePass Enterprise to secure its office premises. Instead of relying on paper and pen registration to trace the whereabouts of employees before entering their offices, they have begun using SafePass’s digital incident mitigation and management features- employees are each given QR codes or passes after passing the digital health questionnaire. Office entrances are then equipped with QR scanners to capture data from these QR passes.

In case of an incident, safety officials can use their incident management dashboards to run immediate contact tracing and send out notifications to those who were in close contact with the reported individual case.

Major Office Building Kept Safe Through SafePass Enterprise

Another Filipino holding company is using SafePass Enterprise to safeguard one of its primary office buildings. With investments in education, steel products, business process outsourcing, property development, and energy, implementing SafePass for this facility required covering multiple floors and department offices, as well as the efficient coverage and protection of the building’s many employees.

With its unlimited capacity planning feature for multiple locations, the company’s safety and management officials use SafePass Enterprise to institute custom operating schedules and capacity rules per floor, department office, or tenant. They can configure the day or specific hours in each schedule, and adjust according to the safety and capacity needs of the company. This makes operations simpler and much more predictable.

Digital Transformation through Crisis

Enterprises require the flexibility and speed to digitally transform their businesses to become much more resilient against crises. Rapes underscores how SafePass Enterprise can be a way for businesses to thrive again in the ‘new normal’. “With SafePass, we are determined to apply our deep technical expertise and domain experience to help our partners drive the changes they need to emerge stronger from the current crisis.”

For more information on SafePass Enterprise, as well as to get a Quote, visit http://amihan.net/safepass.


Hart Ang is a content writer and digital marketing specialist.


COVID incident management solution SafePass releases free version

COVID incident mitigation and management solution SafePass releases free version

The digital platform aims to make physical locations safer amid the pandemic 

SafePass, a digital incident mitigation and management solution developed to address COVID-19 safety protocols, is now available to all organizations in the Philippines for free

Following the announcement of the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and other nearby provinces last August 3, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) urged all business establishments to implement a contact-tracing platform within their locations. SafePass has free digital contact-tracing and health declaration features for organizations of all sizes, and lets them register and begin using the platform in as fast as five minutes.

“The core mission of SafePass is to make every physical establishment in the Philippines as safe and as stress-free as possible, which is why we decided to offer free plans that any organization or location can begin using right away,” said Winston Damarillo, CEO of Talino Venture Labs and Executive Chairman of Amihan Global Strategies, two of the companies behind SafePass. “Organizations already have a lot on their plate as they continue to weather the effects of the pandemic, so SafePass aims to help them with health and safety protocols so that they can focus on their operations.” 

 

Health Protocols Made Simple and Easy

Once they sign up at the official SafePass website, location managers will have the tools they need to offer a safe and stress-free experience for their visitors. Packaged under SafePass Base, these features include:

  • An efficient digital contact tracing solution
  • A digital health questionnaire that visitors can accomplish on their phones
  • The ability to monitor entry and exit points, through entry requests done via web and free Facebook Messenger
  • Online reports that establishment owners can refer to in case of an incident

These features also simplify safety protocols for the visitors themselves, as all of the necessary safety procedures can be accomplished through their mobile phones— even without a data plan. And in case of a COVID-19 incident in a SafePass-protected location,  location managers will have access to a digital list that lets them efficiently reach persons at risk—without the need for logbooks, paper forms, or hours of CCTV footage.

“We believe that health and safety protocols do not have to be complicated, so we built a simple, easy-to-use platform for organizations to implement these protocols without hassle,” explained Damarillo. “Setting up SafePass should be as easy as registering for a food delivery app.”

Special Deal for Public Sector Establishments

SafePass is also offering its SafePass Express plan to all government offices for free

On top of all the features in SafePass Base, SafePass Express also includes the following tools:

  • Free software for two (2) mobile scanners (scanning phones to be acquired separately)
  • Digital capacity planning to help organizations set their location’s maximum limit for employees and guests
  • Employee scheduling platform to manage shifts and rotations

“We encourage our government offices, especially those with skeletal work forces that need to report to work, to use SafePass Express to keep their locations safe as they continue to attend to the needs of our countrymen during this critical time,” urged Damarillo. “We understand the strain that this pandemic has caused on our healthcare system, and we’d like to contribute to the country’s COVID-19 response by offering this solution for free to the public sector.”

Free tutorial webinars will be offered by the SafePass team to help organizations set up their SafePass accounts. For more information, visit www.safepass.asia or follow the SafePass Facebook page at www.facebook.com/safepass.asia.


Designed for bigger businesses, SafePass Enterprise is a solution that delivers the right balance of flexibility and ease of implementation to help enterprises operate efficiently while ensuring employee and visitor health and safety. Learn more about SafePass Enterprise.


For media inquiries, contact Nina Terol, Chief Marketing Officer, Talino via [email protected].


A whale shark pictured swimming in the waters of Cebu province, Philippines

DOT: 'Domestic-focused tourism to allow rollout of digital tools for new normal'

CEBU CITY, Philippines (Cebu Daily News, July 16) — The deployment of digital tools is among the factors that the Department of Tourism sees as crucial as the tourism industry starts to open its gate, first, for local travelers.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, in her keynote during the Smart Communication’s #TravelSmart Webinar Thursday, July 16, 2020, said a recent study has found that majority of those who are willing to travel, despite the absence of a vaccine, are at least expecting innovations for more contactless transactions.

These include self-service processes, electronic booking, and payment, contactless check-in, among others.

“Focusing on domestic tourism will provide an opportunity to roll out new digital tools while bringing back the livelihood of many Filipinos employed in the tourism sector,” Romulo-Puyat said.

The DOT, last June, has introduced the digital applications SafePass Express and Dine-In Express, which is specifically designed for restaurants to lessen interactions with guests when they browse through menus or order their meals.


SafePass Express helps business to reopen safely in the new normal. It is now available for FREE for all DOT-accredited establishments, enabling establishments to scan employees and visitors coming in and out for more accurate contact-tracing and incident response. It will also give them access to the digital health questionnaire, employee and capacity management features, and contactless scanners for better implementation of safety regulations.

Designed for bigger businesses, SafePass Enterprise offers powerful features and various options for customization. Learn more about SafePass Enterprise.


In Cebu, the Capitol is now developing a web-based booking platform that will provide for cashless transactions as Cebu province gears towards reopening its tourism industry under the new normal.

Last Wednesday, July 15, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia met with tourism operators in the town to discuss the practices that it will implement, including the digitization of some transactions for its visitors.

Garcia also visited Moalboal town, also in the south, which is also famed for its beaches.

Romulo-Puyat said even the DOT offices use the SafePass app, enabling them to monitor who and how many of their personnel are inside the facility at a given time.

The Secretary said the app would also be a reliable tool should there be a need to conduct contact tracing as it would provide the data as to who was present in the office at the concerned period.

The features of SafePass include space planning, registration, and health questionnaire, which can be used in the booking and the check-in of guests; and protocol enforcement, and digital incident management.

The tourism chief said they have been conducting webinars to train the tourism stakeholders on the use of the app in preparation of the opening of the gates of the tourism industry safely “by phase.”

The digital programs, Romulo-Puyat said, can be used for free by the DOT-accredited establishments.

Romulo-Puyat said the restart of the tourism industry banks on the local tourism market to regain the confidence of the international market.

“After months of economic contraction and joblessness, we are thrilled to start the economy back up but not, of course, at the expense of public health and safety,” Romulo-Puyat said.

The DOT has already issued a set of guidelines that accommodation operators under MGCQ, the only quarantine status where tourism activity is permitted, and in the new normal.

Romulo-Puyat said further guidelines covering the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) sector, travel and tour operators, tour guides and tourist attractions will also follow.

These directives are consistent with the current global tourism best practices of the World Health Organization and the Department of Health,” Puyat said.


SafePass was co-developed by Talino Venture Labs and digital transformation leader Amihan Global Strategies. There’s an enterprise-level version called SafePass Enterprise which delivers the right balance of flexibility and ease of implementation for bigger businesses. Learn more about SafePass Enterprise.

This article was originally published in the Cebu Daily News section of inquirer.net on July 16, 2020.


Digital transformation in the new normal

Road to recovery -- digitally enabling your business through this new normal

To say that digitization has accelerated in this new normal is an understatement. The rapid adoption of digital technologies driven by the pandemic will show no signs of stopping, especially with social distancing and quarantine measures not likely to be going away soon.

Many companies -- from the food supply chain to the insurance industry -- have digitized or have begun digitizing parts of their business.

E-commerce stores and online grocery platforms were built (almost) overnight. Banks, utility, and a number of firms shifted to offering online and digital services. Meetings pivoted to online syncs and discussions. Digital classrooms emerged. Tele-medicine faced a resurgence. The list goes on.

Winston Damarillo mentioned this on his Pandemic Chapter, a bonus chapter to his recent Ready or Not 2020 book: "The lockdown has brought about a unique situation that has changed the daily lives of every Filipino—and where there’s change, there’s opportunity for innovation. From startups developing a product in a few weeks to entire organizations created from scratch with hundreds of volunteers, Philippine businesses have consistently proven that they can find opportunity within adversity."

Digitization had played a huge part in addressing these problems.

And now, more than a hundred days past start of lockdown -- as the economy starts to re-open -- businesses are not just looking to rebuild but really to get ahead (or should I say power forward) given an unstable environment.

And again -- to reiterate -- digital infrastructure will play a critical role ... businesses need to actively scale up their digital capacities if they want to improve resilience and stay alive.

Just as an example, I've witnessed the abrupt shift to online insurance enrollments at the second-biggest life insurer in the Philippines. Just a few weeks after the lockdown started, Pru Life UK, had to drive a massive digital transformation in its new business process -- a shift away from manual, paper-based documents and workflows to digital. I'd say massive because I've always thought of the company was very much traditional in its processes -- which really hindered growth.

The potential to make insurance radically accessible through technology is already a reality, through the help of AI Chatbots for instance.

Back to Pru ... its new business processes were manual and required significant amounts of time and passing of information from one department to another. In this health crisis, everybody wanted to get insurance, but the agents who had been doing face-to-face appointments and meetings couldn't do so and close new accounts because of the lockdown. As you can imagine, this presented serious ... challenges as the business had to continue and more people wanted to get insured (or take advantage of the market downturn). A solution was badly needed -- on that would drive operational agility, speed up the new business process, and respond to consumer demands.

And so the digital transformation started...

By shifting its policies and gradually adopting digital technologies, such as editable PDFs, eSignatures and online conferencing, finance advisors had eliminated all the paperwork involved in the insurance application process, allowing them to sell policies at double the rate it was when everything was paper-based. Now, finance advisors are able to take client information digitally, easily populate fields in editable PDFs, and then send these documents back to clients for e-signatures.

BUT this sort of "digital transformation" seems like it was one of those unplanned moves -- something quickly done in response to the crisis. Then again, becoming digital is not easy.

There are many challenges to digital transformation, such as lack of clear vision and strategy, resistance, inflexible processes, and tech stack, limited budget, and many more. And often, to catch up, companies adopt and use technology that's not valuable for their customers. They end up losing customers.

Another example where I've seen "quasi" use of digital technology is related to the use of online forms (Google Forms) to "digitize" the capture of information, such as for example capturing health-related data of employees, as part of the general mandate by the government whenever a person has to enter a particular establishment. I'd call it quasi because sometimes in the end, these companies end up with more work trying to put the data of these forms together ... or worse, failing to secure and protect the privacy of their people's data for that matter.

But there are those (innovations) which are inclusive, that makes real impact.

When an innovation is inclusive, it prioritizes providing access to those who are often not reached by the products and services commonly available in the market. This includes the low-income population who cannot afford the services they need, far-flung areas that do not have reliable ways of connecting to city centers, and other marginalized groups that are often excluded from acquiring basic necessities.

Thanks to homegrown innovations such as SafeForm which enables business owners to create digital forms securely and SafePass, which gives businesses the ability to contact trace when an incident arises, which is made possible through digital health questionnaires and registration forms that visitors accomplish electronically. These innovations bring together the best of technologies and Filipino ingenuity to help businesses -- especially MSMEs -- operate better in the new normal.

Because now that more people are spending most of their time online and that the preferred interaction is contact-less, the more that businesses need to take action to deliver value now. Businesses cannot afford to be reactive and must rapidly make decisions and mobilize their resources to operate forward through disruption.

For industries with broad customer-facing operations, like retail and financial services, YES -- implementing digital solutions is not always an easy undertaking. But working collaboratively with the right partner can propel your business forward during these uncertain times.

How can your business power through amidst the COVID-19 crisis and digitally transform your organizations?

1. Assess existing customer engagement channels. As already mentioned, today's consumers have shifted towards digital interactions. Businesses will have, on one hand, digital-savvy customers, who will expect and demand personalized conversations, while less digital-savvy customers may feel inundated. As an example, whenever I deal with customer service reps from e-commerce shops -- I expect them to fully know me -- and that means my purchase history, preferences, on top of the personal details which I already have provided to them.

WHERE your CUSTOMERS want to interact with you today is where you want to be. This means: putting customers at the core of your business — unifying all of your customer’s data so you can then understand customers’ expectations, demands, and behavior and re-thinking about how you engage with them that takes advantage of disruptive technologies.

2. Focus on quick and incrementally-built digital projects with the biggest impact for customer engagement. I personally enjoy banking with RCBC and UnionBank -- the way they've responded to the market and how they're able to ease and address even the smallest pain points, ex online check deposits, Viber OTP confirmations. These things from the consumer POV are valuable. But these weren't quasi-built. These were built because these companies listened to the consumers and they addressed those gaps.

3. Align with strategic digital transformation initiatives. It's especially important for companies to develop a digital roadmap. There has to be a CLEAR STRATEGY vs just modernizing as you go and one's approach needs to be disruptive and iterative because the world is always changing.

We can help. We've worked with industry giants to help them move quickly and successfully in this digital era, even before pandemic started. Get in touch with us today for a discussion.


Macelle Legaspi is a digital strategist & tech marketing professional.


business analysts working at a startup

Working as a Business Analyst in Amihan

At a certain point in our careers, we decisively take actions that lead us closer to our goals. For me, it was moving to Amihan to become a business analyst, and being assigned to a particular novel role.

Working as an SAP consultant and a business analyst for a big cargo firm has its advantages. The job gave me a sense of reliability, comfort and structure. Once I had a grasp of how the system works, I eventually built my ability and expertise to answer any issues raised by any internal, or more often, external stakeholders. And that’s good. But at a particular point in time, I started noticing a sense of repetitiveness in the tasks I was doing. The work was challenging yet not challenging enough to let me grow and learn more as a professional. 

Eventually, I decided to move forward with my career and started working for Amihan last year. And with a fourteen-year corporate stint under my belt, I felt confident that I can manage. However, being in a company which embodies a Google-start-up culture was particularly new to me - thus, I felt uncomfortable. 

Amihan’s open, radical, and unconventional approach in finding solutions for clients was an eye-opener. Besides the energy and passion of my colleagues, the way they handle their respective roles was initially intimidating. But I later found out that that energy makes me want to be more passionate and focused on what I needed to do. The thing is, that uncomfortable feeling I felt was actually the beginning of my journey in becoming a better professional.

Working with younger people and their energy and enthusiasm for new ideas pushed me to be more flexible and creative in handling work-related issues. I remembered during a discussion session, my initial idea captured the requirement for a reported issue in a project. Yet, as we went along the discussion process, we discovered more holistic solutions that better answer the root cause! It is these moments that allow me to improve my way of handling and dealing with different scenarios and to assess, compartmentalize and hone into the core problem. Over the past few months, I also have become a teacher and mentor to my younger team members as I was tasked to oversee their daily tasks.

Another thing that struck me working in Amihan as a business analyst was their trust in your work and recognition of your efforts. Being in a startup environment greatly magnifies each individual’s contributions. When the resulting output is excellent, Amihan’s management acknowledges and shares it to the rest of the company. This way, all members are made aware of each team’s participation and that their collaborations help clients digitally transform their processes. That these solutions provide answers to their core needs and requirements and enhance their competitiveness. 

Amihan also challenged me as a professional - I was put in work situations I had never been. Despite the challenges, my teammates and I continue to learn to become better analysts. I believe that having experienced such obstacles would allow us to be more equipped for our future projects. 

Working in Amihan challenged me to my core, reignited my passions to become a better professional, and added value to my career. 


Renan Mendoza works as the Lead Business Analyst for Amihan. His interests include backyard astronomy, travelling and cultures, performing arts, cooking and playing sports such as basketball and swimming. Connect with him through LinkedIn.


cellphone with SafePass app in it

DOT launches SafePass app to help businesses under new normal

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 3) — Tourism-related establishments can now count on an application called SafePass to operate under the new normal that was launched by the Department of Tourism.

"It basically provides digital solutions, no, pagdating sa space capacity planning, no, ilan ba pupwedeng pumasok diyanyung contact tracing, no, to make sure that we're able to monitor yung movements ng ating mga customers doon sa establishment, sa restaurant, and then yung protocol enforcement," said Tourism Undersecretary and Spokesperson Benito Bengzon Jr. on CNN Philippines' Newsroom Ngayon.

[Translation: It (The app) basically provides digital solutions when it comes to space capacity planning, as in how many people can actually come inside (an establishment); contact tracing, to make sure that we're able to monitor the movements of customers in the establishment and protocol enforcement.]

The agency launched the app with the Department of Trade and Industry and inclusion-tech venture Talino Venture Labs "to meet the new normal in a post-lockdown or post-pandemic scenario," said Bengzon.

Through SafePass, establishments will be able to determine their maximum capacity provided social distancing requirements are in place, explained the official. Meanwhile, customers may use the app to help map out their visit to their establishment of choice.

"Pagdating naman dun sa booking, pupwede tayong pumunta dun sa app tapos alamin natin kung ano oras ba tayo pupunta dun, ilang tao tayo, and you know, we will be able to get information if we can be accommodated. So nawawala dito ngayon yung problema na pagpasok mo dun eh siksikan pala, hindi ka makapasok," Bengzon said.

[Translation: When it comes to booking, we can go to the app and check what time may we proceed (to the establishment), what is our headcount (going there), and you know, we will be able to get information if we can be accommodated. So this eliminates the problem of (the establishment) already being crowded once you get there, preventing you from getting inside.]

Given that the app is able to benefit establishments and customers, Bengzon said they expect users to avail of its services.


SafePass helps to build trust and confidence with everyone who matters to your business. It enables you to better implement social distancing rules and ease crowds within your physical space while empowering you to deliver the best experience for everyone who walks through your doors.

Designed for bigger businesses, SafePass Enterprise offers powerful features and various options for customization. Learn more about SafePass Enterprise.


"On the part of the establishment, nam-manage mo yung pagpasok ng mga turista at tsaka nasisiguro mo that during the entire operating hours, meron kang kliyente. On the part naman of the customers, sigurado ka na maa-accomodate pagpasok mo dun," he explained.

[Translation: On the part of the establishment, you're able to manage the entry of tourists and ensure you have clients all throughout your operating hours. On the part of the customers, you can ensure you will get accommodate upon entering (the establishment).]

The app also contributes to the ongoing shift to cashless, contactless transactions, with the pandemic forcing the public to reduce as much physical contact as possible, Bengzon said.

At present, hotels are the only tourism business permitted to operate at limited capacity. They may only accommodate overseas Filipino workers, overseas Filipinos, workers in essential businesses like business process outsourcing firms and banks, and medical frontliners, the official said.

Meanwhile, restaurants in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas are restricted to take-out and delivery options. However, those in modified GCQ areas may already provide dine-in operations but only at half their capacity.


SafePass was co-developed by Talino Venture Labs and digital transformation leader Amihan Global Strategies. There's an enterprise-level version called SafePass Enterprise which delivers the right balance of flexibility and ease of implementation for bigger businesses. Learn more about SafePass Enterprise.

This article was originally published in CNN Philippines on June 3, 2020.


A photo of a cellphone with the Zoom app being installed and an open laptop

3 Factors for an Adaptive Culture During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Before March, we were given a 1-day work from home (WFH) privilege as the news of growing COVID-19 cases came in. On March 2, our 1-day WFH increased to 3 days. Then the number of confirmed cases multiplied. Company management then announced a full week WFH by March 9. Three days later, the government announced the Metro-Manila community quarantine would start on March 15.

In my head, I asked myself, “what will happen now?” Events were happening so fast and the only clarity was uncertainty.

The restrictions imposed by the quarantine did not make a huge difference in how Amihan would operate through the pandemic. With offices spread across the country, Amihan’s operations are mostly set up to mobilize digitally -- our meetings can be done online, documents are shared and signed digitally, and solution developments are delivered virtually. Employees can choose to work at home as long as they can deliver on projects. Our offices are open spaces where we can sit anywhere and work with our laptop. Solutions architects, software engineers, analysts, designers, and project managers - everyone is enabled to do their work remotely.

As for me, I manage client and partner relationships at Amihan where face-time meetings and handshakes are important. While I can complete many of my deliverables remotely, the main challenge for me in this quarantine is building and nurturing relationships with customers. I found it a tough situation to be in.

About 3 months after the quarantine, the situation is still full of uncertainty. The main difference we can see is how we’ve coped and have adjusted our working norms relatively quickly. It wasn’t exactly a smooth transition but we have noticed 3 Adaptive Culture Factors that have contributed to Amihan’s ability to adapt to the current paradigm.

Transparency. In the first week of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), we started our bi-weekly company stand-up meetings, a time for the leadership team to give announcements and project updates, at the start and end of each week. Initially, the announcements were mainly related to the quarantine situation and served as a venue to raise concerns on the matter. This gave a heightened level of assurance for everyone, knowing that the company is prioritizing its employees’ welfare and would continue to improve its status based on various changing factors, such as government announcements, health bulletins, and employee feedback. Eventually, the stand-up meetings included team accomplishments to celebrate on, targets to push for, and project highlights. Unlike our previous experience of working as separate teams, these meetings allowed us to show greater appreciation for the work all our colleagues put in.

Employee Engagement. While nothing beats socializing in a shared physical space, the Human Resource and Marketing teams took the opportunity to keep social connections alive and even level up employee engagement through weekly Amihan Virtual Parties (AVPs). They have hosted fun quizzes, insightful fitness talks, engaging coffee chats - all of which have become one of the items in my calendar that I look forward to. This promotes a fun atmosphere to interact with colleagues virtually. It’s also amusing to learn about colleagues you didn’t know but now notice because of the skills and knowledge they have. Moreover, it’s an enjoyable experience to see when even the bosses join the games and are as competitive as everyone else!

Valued Feedback. It was encouraging to know that Amihan’s leadership listened to employee feedback and suggestions as part of the solution building process. The concerns raised during Q&A sessions were noted and we did surveys where challenges were identified, such as intermittent connectivity and domestic distractions. The results of the surveys were also shared and presented, creating a conducive environment for us to voice our concerns and share ideas to create a better virtual workplace.

At Amihan, we believe conducting digital transformation is not just about the technology, but more so about developing the right culture. Being empowered by technology, along with using these Adaptive Culture Factors, enabled Amihan to quickly respond to the pandemic There’s still plenty of room for improvement and that’s the beauty of it - the learning never stops.

There’s an image going around social media with the question “Who led the digital transformation of your company?” Was it 1) CEO 2) CTO or 3) COVID-19? It’s funny because it is true. The pandemic accelerated the realization that we need to digitally transform to swiftly adapt to evolving situations. As Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” I believe the same applies to any organization.


Haifa Carina is a Business Development Manager at Amihan Global Strategies. She also leads various initiatives for the Philippine tech community, volunteers for DEVCON Philippines and curates for Startup Digest Philippines. Connect with her on LinkedIn.