Amihan Launches Tech Briefings with Partner GitLab

IT developers and security experts met up at the Amihan office in the Zuellig Building, Makati last March 7 for the first Amihan Tech Briefing, organized in partnership with GitLab.

The Tech Briefings is a series of free learning sessions created to share the latest technologies and strategies for digital transformation. Titled Driving Innovation with DevSecOps, the day’s event, organized by Amihan and GitLab, centered on the current role of DevSecOps in modern software development.

Amihan’s Chairman, Winston Damarillo, kicked off the session with a short opening message about the driving force behind the new event.

“We were looking for opportunities to talk about our innovations with our partners, but we wanted something that was more casual. The ideas that we will share here, if used well, could be game changers in the industry”, Damarillo said in his message.

Joining the Briefing as speakers were Amihan’s Vice President for Enterprise Architecture, Alistair Israel and GitLab’s Technical Account Manager, Guenjun Yoo. Israel focused on the advantages of adopting a DevSecOps environment, while the latter half featured Yoo conducting a practical demo of GitLab’s latest software platform.

“Enterprises are facing growing consumer demand from customers who are now digital natives,” Israel said on the current state of technology, “What used to take decades to reach 50 million users now only takes several days.”

“Sometimes, we don’t commit to security checks because most often we push things to market as quickly as possible. People make mistakes, but not out of sheer malice to destroy work, but because we’re only human,” Israel explained as he positions the need for better security and control in DevOps processes.

Yoo, meanwhile, presented GitLab as a timely solution to an old problem. “In most organizations in the past, the engineering teams do their own processes and make working cohesively very difficult. This lead to the massive number of tools users had a hard time using.” He goes on to say that the simplified pipelines in GitLab are meant “to address the toolchain crisis through one, simple tool.”

Jerry Rapes, Amihan’s President, connected with Damarillo’s remarks in his closing address, emphasizing the importance of creating and scaling advanced technologies today for the needs of tomorrow’s consumers and businesses.

“Today is a good reminder of how far our industry has come in terms of enterprise development. The market rewards institutions that prioritize agility and service delivery while keeping an eye on the future,” Rapes remarked.

Thank you to our guests for joining us and we look forward to seeing you in the upcoming Tech Briefings!

To learn more about our DevSecOps Platform, click here.


3 Ways Companies Use Data for Better Business

Today, companies are realizing the wealth of insights they can gain from studying the data they collect on a daily basis. Digital tools (mobile apps, client reports, etc.) have allowed today’s businesses to gather information systematically in order to become better.

From improving operational efficiency to innovations in targeted promotions and in inventory forecasting, these three cases have proven how data analytics can achieve real business impact.

Creating Targeted Promotions

Businesses can rely on data analytics to optimize promotions and drive business growth. Digital technology has allowed marketing professionals and agencies to create data-driven campaigns that lead to better customer acquisition and retention.

2017 was the year US digital ad spend surpassed the combined total of TV, broadcast and cable advertising. Online advertising provides a good alternative to the traditional, “spray and pray” kind of advertising because it allows for more specific audience targeting and recording of valuable metrics. Enterprises now use platforms such as Facebook to create promotions that target various audience sets. For example, marketers can use the social network’s database and pick subcategories under purchasing behavior (such as Buyer Profiles, Clothing, Food & Drink, etc.) to create more relevant campaigns. They can even find out how many user profiles could be targeted per campaign based on offline purchasing data.

Beyond Facebook campaigns, businesses can harness the power of their own customer data to segment their customer base and design their customer-facing activities around these segments. Campaigns and offers can be adjusted and optimized accordingly, and messages can be delivered through the most relevant digital channels - whether that be through mobile apps, SMS, chat, email and others.

Targeted campaigns can also take into account various activities in the customer journey that can serve as real-time triggers. By reaching customers during their moments of intent (e.g. browsing through products with the intent to buy, reading product reviews, looking for guides to complete a task, etc.), marketers are able to increase their relevance and move the customer along the buying journey.

The goal is to deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time, and ultimately, provide the best customer experience possible.

Improving Supply Chains Through Machine Learning

How logistics companies use data play a big role in optimizing modern supply chain management. With the volume of data produced in supply chains increasing exponentially, the demand is growing for more sophisticated solutions. Further enhancements in the capabilities of artificial intelligence (or AI) and machine learning could also mean more efficient processes and higher productivity.

 

Adopting new systems also allows suppliers to solve traditional problems in supply chain management. Most suppliers depend on legacy management and supply methods without the use of modern data analytics or AI. With these new technologies, supply chains can modernize their processes to keep up with the demands of clients.

The advancements in AI are now paving the way for better product quality inspections using advanced image recognition software. In lieu of manual inspections in logistics hubs, automated systems controlled by AI can accurately scan for product defects and faults before shipment. Meanwhile, machine learning models are streamlining auditing and compliance monitoring of component parts found in highly regulated industries, such as aerospace and healthcare.

A New Process for Inventory Forecasting

For international fashion brands, it’s not enough to just have the right kinds of apparel well stocked per season. It is crucial to have extremely agile development cycles to ensure the timely delivery of in-demand products, from concept to sale floor.

New technologies and data gathering methods allow fashion houses to adapt quickly to the needs of their shoppers. By adjusting their internal controls based on their consumers’ shopping habits, they were able to better anticipate which items were selling better, and which ones should be changed out.

An international clothing company uses its customers’ data on purchasing decisions to better forecast inventory changes. They developed an app with a catalog that is constantly updated with the latest items. They use this to collect information on what items are selling out quickly. Data on purchasing behavior also allow merchandising teams to make better inventory decisions to reduce over and under-stocking.

How Do I Start Using Data in My Company?

Understanding the value of your data and how it can help improve your business is the first step in your data analytics journey. Amihan can help companies use data to map out viable analytics strategies. Just fill-up the form and we can help you get started.

    To learn more about our Agile Analytics platform, click here.

     


    Digital Transformation Accelerator Amihan Becomes Premier Member of The Ceph Foundation

    Manila, Philippines (November 15, 2018) - Digital transformation accelerator Amihan has announced that it will serve as a premier member of the Ceph Foundation and its global community. As one of the Foundation’s founding members, Amihan will take part in leading the continued development of the Ceph open-source project.

    A leader in the region’s technology industry, Amihan’s innovative solutions and platforms are purpose-built to push the boundaries of long term, sustainable growth by enhancing and scaling the IT framework in enterprise systems.

    Ceph, an open-source software, is a unified distributed storage system providing applications with object, block, or file system interfaces for advanced storage capability. Efficient and highly scalable, Ceph can significantly lower the cost of storing large data in the cloud or on any object, block, or file system.

    “Investing in open-source technology such as Ceph is a step towards a better digitized future,” said Winston Damarillo, executive chairman of Amihan. “As a premier founding member of the Ceph Foundation, Amihan is committed to working with the other members of the community in expanding the possibilities of the Ceph ecosystem.”

    A top mandate of the Ceph Foundation is to setup a coordinated, vendor-neutral system to distribute financial contributions for the immediate benefit of the community. This in turn will lead to faster adoption rates, additional training for developers and users, and fruitful collaboration efforts within the greater Ceph ecosystem.

    “The launch of the Ceph Foundation is a testament to the strength of a diverse open source community coming together to address the explosive growth in data storage and services," said Sage Weil, Ceph co-creator, project leader, and chief architect at Red Hat for Ceph. "We welcome Amihan's participation as part of the Foundation’s work to foster continued innovation in scale-out storage.”

    The Ceph Foundation was established through the Linux Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to enabling mass innovation through open-source technologies. According to Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, the Ceph Foundation “will be able to harness investments from a much broader group to help support the infrastructure needed” for the continued stability and growth of the Ceph project.”

     

    About Amihan

    Amihan is a leading digital transformation company. We are innovators and thought leaders in Blockchain, AI, Analytics, and Cloud Native Infrastructure. We draw on our partnerships with the Apache Software Foundation, the Linux Foundation, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Sovrin, Hyperledger, and the Ceph Foundation to develop strategies, solutions, and platforms for the top enterprises in the ASEAN region.


    Blockchain pioneer Amihan Global Strategies joins Sovrin Network as a Founding Steward

    MANILA, PHILIPPINES (June 12, 2018) – The Sovrin Foundation announced the addition of Manila-based digital transformation company Amihan Global Strategies as a founding Steward and the first Steward representing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). As a Sovrin Steward, Amihan will be an active contributor to the intellectual and infrastructural resources required to keep the Sovrin Network available and secure.

    Well-known for its leadership in ASEAN blockchain innovation, Amihan’s key blockchain initiatives include a partnership with the Bankers Association of the Philippines.

    “Our digital identity is a detailed story of who we are,” said Winston Damarillo, executive chairman of Amihan Global Strategies. “And for too long, we’ve allowed centralized institutions to write and share that story. As a Sovrin Steward, Amihan is excited and dedicated to help Filipinos and the ASEAN community reclaim their stories.”

    The Sovrin Foundation was created in 2016 to administer the Sovrin Network and the purpose-built distributed ledger at its core. It is Sovrin’s mission to provide every individual, organization, and connected device with true self-sovereign identity, meaning digital identity that is decentralized, permanent, secure, portable, private and completely trustworthy.

    “Self-sovereign identity is an ideal that crosses all borders and is as ubiquitous as the Internet itself,” said Heather Dahl, executive director of Sovrin Foundation. “Ensuring the enduring independence and accessibility of the Sovrin Network is vital to our mission. Adding a Steward as progressive and transformative as Amihan and in a region as vital as southeast Asia is an important step in Sovrin’s evolution and we’re very pleased about it.”  

    Worldwide, there are currently 38 Stewards operating the validator nodes that maintain the Sovrin ledger. Amihan joins this community helping to keep the Sovrin Network reliable, independent, and secure. Stewards are governed by the Sovrin Foundation’s constitutional Trust Framework within which the ‘diffused trust model’ seeks to prevent any single organization having undue influence over the network.

    ###

    About Sovrin

    The international, nonprofit Sovrin Foundation is governed by a constitutional Trust Framework that ensures its independence from government or industry influence, and codifies its dedication to providing self-sovereign digital identity for all. The Sovrin Network is operated by independent Stewards and uses the power of a hybrid distributed ledger as a fast, private, and secure framework for providing every person, organization, and connected device a permanent identity with which to transact and operate securely online in everyday life. Learn more about the Trust Framework underlying the Sovrin Network here.

     

    About Amihan

    Amihan Global Strategies is a leading ASEAN digital transformation company. We are innovators and thought leaders in Blockchain, AI, Analytics, and Cloud Native Infrastructure. We draw on our partnerships with the Apache Software Foundation, Linux Foundation, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Sovrin, and Hyperledger to develop strategies, solutions, and platforms for the top enterprises in the region.


    Blockchain Hackathon: Making the Philippines a “Blockchain Bayan”

    Blockchain Hackathon: Making the Philippines a “Blockchain Bayan”

    Developers, entrepreneurs, and students filled the Amihan Innovation Center at the Orient Square Building this past weekend for a Blockchain Hackathon hosted by Amihan Global Strategies and Hyperledger, a project of the Linux Foundation. In celebration of Blockchain Week Philippines 2017, the hackathon was centered around solving a Philippine problem using the decentralized technology.

    Hyperledger leaders Julian Gordon (VP of Asia Pacific) and Tracy  Kuhrt (Community Architect) kicked off the hackathon on Saturday with welcome remarks for the fourteen registered teams.

    “Use these technologies, as you go forward, to really kickstart what you’re doing,” Kuhrt expressed. For the next few hours, the teams did just that, creating platforms that ranged from blockchain-based electoral voting systems to blood donation networks. The teams created a range of solutions from good governance, disaster response, education, healthcare, and small business financial inclusion.

    On Sunday, each team had four minutes to present their product and/or platform for a chance at the P50,000 grand prize. Judging was based on four criteria: quality of idea, implementation of idea, potential impact, and completeness of solution.

    Noel del Castillo, a member of the RxVault team, enjoyed a four-year hiatus from hackathons before attending the Blockchain Hackathon. Intrigued, he put together a team and dived into the event for three reasons: one, to force himself to learn blockchain from Amihan and Hyperledger experts; two, to test a new skill set; and three, to inspire young developers under his wing. “Overall, the experience [was] very rewarding,” he summarized on his blog. “I just hope someday, I can be in the same position and be able to help others as well.”

    He’s on the right path. His team, which built a platform centered around authenticating medical prescription from doctors, won Judge’s Choice. EduChain, a blockchain platform created to store, gather, and exchange educational information, was awarded People’s Choice.

    “There’s some great, great talent here,” Gordon said at the end of the awarding. The products and platforms that took form at the hackathon were testaments to the potential of the Philippines in the hands of innovative, collaborative Filipinos.

    Winston Damarillo, the Founder and Chairman of Amihan Global Strategies, echoed Gordon’s statement. Having built Amihan and other tech start-ups throughout the past few years, he stressed the importance of recognizing events like the Blockchain Hackathon as means for progress and not merely ends to themselves.

    In speaking things into existence, Damarillo concluded the event with a call to action that is perhaps greater than one participant, team, or event: “We’re looking to forward to making the Philippines a blockchain bayan.”

    ___

    For more information on the participating teams and final projects, check out hackathon.io.


    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.

    Download Now!

    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.


    A 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