Business Review Asia magazine - September 2017

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FIRMENICH’S sustainable supply chain

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The evolution on the modern battlefield

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FOREWORD WELCOME TO THE September edition of Business Review Asia. Our lead story this month is an exclusive interview with Telenor’s Dennis Keller, who discusses how data and analytics continue to play a huge role in providing insights on consumer behaviour. Next is a look at how companies are disrupting combat. Traditional manufacturers of defence and weapons technology are facing stiff competition from developmental startups as modern warfare shifts from soldiers in tanks to autonomous vehicles and cyber attacks. Jess Shanahan explores some of the ways these companies are making their mark. We travel from the battleground to the super luxury space and our top 10, which charts some of the region’s most notoriously luxurious hotels. Be sure to also read our other exclusive company interviews, featuring Firmenich, FWD Insurance, UPC Renewables and SAP India. We sincerely hope you enjoy the issue, and as always, please tweet your feedback to @BizRevAsia

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Dennis Keller, Head of Commercial Planning & Strategy at Telenor, explains how data and analytics is providing ever-more crucial insights on consumer behaviour W R I T T E N B Y: S T U A R T H O D G E

INSIGHT THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY has become so vast and such an important part of everyday life that there is a plethora of variations in strategy and approach for telcos when it comes to digital transformation. But one thing that is now becoming common across the industry is the recognition that working with partners who specialise in delivering a particular product or service is paramount to ensure that customers are getting maximum value. In order to stay competitive and relevant in the market, recognising the value of digital services has to be a fundament of the approach of any telecoms company these days, and more than that, adding value to the customer has become increasingly challenging because of the spectrum of offerings available. So, what is the key to ensuring that a telco sustains success as we progress through an increasing digitisation of our daily lives, with free messaging and voice-calling services available on the internet and on mobile phones? Well, according to Dennis Keller, Head of Commercial Planning & Strategy for Telenor Digital, a number of business models can be successful, 10

September 2017

but one thing which remains true across the industry is the requirement for telcos to recognise customers’ behaviours and needs and, more importantly, be adaptable enough to deliver new solutions based on those. “I believe right now, if you look at the buzzword of digital transformation, it’s high on the agenda for every single telco,” Keller explains. “When you look at industry events or look in the newspaper, there is no question that for telcos the challenges are different, because the market is moving so much faster and really now the challenge is actually not just at a service level, but across the entire value chain of telco. “The very basics of axis provision get increasingly challenging, and with the balloons out there and satellite-flying drones potentially providing internet to rural communities, when it doesn’t come from a telco we have to ask ourselves ‘what is the opportunity for us here? Are we missing out or are we in the same boat? Are we cold-developing that or are we just observers?’ “The easy comparison to demonstrate what I mean comes with

“You need to really understand what customers actually want. That may sound like something very simple but it isn’t” Dennis Keller, Head of Commercial Planning & Strategy of Telenor


INSIGHT the good old SMS where most of us really lost the game,” Keller continues. “That’s because as soon as MOIP came in and things like What’sApp and the like, people stopped sending SMS messages and a big chunk of revenue was lost, generally speaking. It’s not true for every single market, but the challenges are across the board for telcos. “Where the differentiator lies, is in how telcos respond to that challenge. You can see differences in where some companies are maybe focusing on internal technology and making sure they are efficient and see no problem in essentially


September 2017

being utility companies. You have the pipes through which the data flows and whatever is done with that data is up to service providers. “Or you say ‘hey, let’s not put all of our eggs in the one basket’ and let’s diversify and operate a lot more like a potential venture capital-type investment company and look a little bit at everything. “Then, another way to approach it is to say ‘let’s develop the service proposition ourselves and let’s see what products we can develop based on the understanding of a pretty huge customer base.’ So, what happens is you have all of these


different puzzle pieces or options that you can go into, and some are more compatible with others.” One way of ensuring that the jigsaw pieces together, is by working with partners to deliver the best possible service for customers – rather than going in cold to a whole new side of the digital space. Keller believes that entering into commercial partnerships with regional service providers actually provides a huge opportunity for companies to deliver increased value and negates the difficulties of “having to unravel a whole new industry from scratch”, as he so aptly puts it. He says: “Digital partnerships allow companies to stay relevant and provide commercial opportunities which otherwise would be a big gamble if they were developed in-house. “It’s one of the keys to making a successful digital transformation happen in the telco industry. That’s primarily because it really needs effort to build services and understand customers and what they do. In many cases, there are already a lot of providers and services out there that understand exactly what their customers want from whatever

specific service they provide. YouTube, for instance, knows exactly who watches what kind of video and which different age bracket or category of video they’re interested in. A music streaming provider knows exactly what kind of music a customer listens to and when they’re going to want to listen to it. “With that in mind and having already captured a large audience, there is no need essentially to try and compete with these services when we can develop a win-win situation by partnering with these providers. In many cases, for these services, they can tap into a much bigger market through us as a telco. They can access new customers and gain a better understanding of who the customers are, and for us it provides an opportunity to, in an easier way, give our customers the services that they really want.” Keller argues that although there is a big difference, in terms of strategic approach, between the commercial and technological evolutions within a successful digital transformation, a common premise underlies both. Understanding customer behaviours and exactly how, when 13


“I would say that the performance of transforming into a digital service provider relies on that understanding of the data and the behavioural change” Dennis Keller, Head of Commercial Planning & Strategy of Telenor

and why they tend to interact with a telco’s services allows companies in the space to ensure that their offerings are giving something to the customer – rather than annoying them and making them feel like they’re being spammed. And the key to doing that is by a telco interpreting its own data. Keller explains: “You need to really understand what customers actually want. That may sound like something very simple but it isn’t. To really understand the data, and the needs of the customers behind that, is incredibly important. When it comes to looking at the evolution for the commercial side and the 14

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technology side, I think there is a difference in speed and the approach of how that can be done. “On the tech side, first of all, you have to remember that all of the basic technology is there, the foundation from which you can build a whole lot of things. When it comes to providing services it’s now incredibly easy to do that. When you look at What’sApp or Facebook as an example, they are not necessarily reliant on our technology, so the key to ensuring that evolution and ensuring that our technology is, and remains, relevant is to be able to link that technology back to the market and provide the right opportunities.


Dr Socrates Mokkas, now Head of Customer Insights & Analytics at Telenor Norway Business, explaining some research findings.

“When it comes to the commercial side, again I think it depends on the approach of the company, and the relevancy of how they wish to look at things according to their objectives. The area that depends on most, is what position a company wants to take. Do you want to be the company that provides services yourselves? Or does it make more sense to understand the market and tap into it with a partner?” Essentially then, he argues, it’s about interpreting the data at your disposal, and maintaining the necessary perspective to make the right decision both for the

company and its customers. Keller adds: “It’s about not just comparing ourselves to other telcos, but understanding the wider market and looking at data within the context in which we’re situated now – meaning: do we understand the big internet companies? Do we understand the small apps that are just appearing on the App Store and will maybe end up growing massively? Of course, they might not, but are we aware of what’s happening? And that is incredibly important. Data, as a very first step, needs to go into the wider context of strategy and that then leads to the point of ‘how can we perform well?’ 15



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“Secondly, I’d say, understanding the value of digital services to the telco is really the prerequisite to making things work, and it takes a whole host of things. It’s about building up the data scientists’ capacity in the company, being able to apply machine learning and big data, complex methodologies to ideally automate as much as possible the understandings of the behaviours which underly the digital services, the customers and ultimately the value that that brings to the business. “Then, further to that, it’s about understanding the indirect effects. What is the trigger for behavioural changes and how can we test that?

Are there some spillover effects? Say, if someone starts using a specific game, are they inclined to use three other services – maybe YouTube if they want to stream their playing of the game through live video, for example? “Understanding these correlations and behavioural links is something that allows us to then understand the key message and key value of a product or a service, and through that how we can build up the right portfolio and strategy to respond. I would say that the performance of transforming into a digital service provider relies on that understanding of the data and the behavioural changes that happen as services change and customers adopt these new services.”


TECH WARS Traditional manufacturers of defence and weapons technology are facing stiff competition from developmental startups as modern warfare shifts from soldiers in tanks to autonomous vehicles and cyber attacks‌ Written by: JESS SHANAHAN

TECHNOLOGY MODERN WARFARE IS already a battle over the latest technology. In fact, for centuries, countries have been competing over whose army is the most technologically capable. This has seen huge spending on research and development by armies across the world. Technology, however, is unpredictable, so these competing corporations scramble to uncover every single advantage technology has to offer. Being able to anticipate any and all technological disruptions means armies can avoid any strategic surprises further down the line. The days of simply developing weapons and vehicles are long gone. Having the most technologically advanced army was once the way to ensure military superiority, but that’s no longer the case with even basic, prolific technology such as mobile phones presenting a significant threat – as with phone-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq and Afghanistan. The technological landscape is constantly evolving. US President Donald Trump has just given support to a Barack Obama-era project that enlists startup companies to come up 19

TECHNOLOGY with solutions to the military’s toughest technological challenges. Secretary of Defense James Mattis recently visited the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUX); a two-year old project that’s investing in ‘private companies building experimental drones, new cybersecurity technology and advanced communications systems for soldiers’. Since opening its first office in California’s Silicon Valley, DIUx has awarded $100mn in government contracts to 45 pilot projects, most of which have gone to startups and smaller firms that aren’t among the big, traditional military suppliers. ST Engineering – a Singaporean defence corporation with offices around the globe – recently announced a startup venture arm to invest in disruptive technologies such as data analytics, robotics, cyber security and autonomous technology. ST Engineering has announced that it’s putting aside US$150mn for ST Engineering Ventures to use as investment capital. With new offices in the US, Israel and Singapore, the company is set to expand as it begins to invest in a wealth of new technologies. Vincent Chong (pictured right), President and CEO of ST Engineering says: 20

September 2017

‘ST Engineering – a Singapore-based defence corporation with offices around the globe – recently announced a startup venture arm to invest in disruptive technologies’


“As a technology and engineering Group, ST Engineering has been delivering innovative and gamechanging solutions for our customers. With the increasingly dynamic and competitive technological and business landscape, we see a need to adopt open innovation, moving beyond traditional R&D (research and development) approaches to seek new technologies and ideas outside the Group that complement our internal capabilities. “We are not looking for one-hit wonders, but breakthrough innovations that will either strengthen our current portfolio of businesses or generate new lines of businesses. This requires astute technology investments and partnerships, a pervasive culture of innovation and an environment where our engineers can brainstorm freely outside of business and operational constraints to develop new ideas and solutions.” As well as investing in technology startups, ST Engineering Ventures will offer access to its established business network and distribution

channels, giving startups a quicker route to market as well as muchneeded funding. On top of this, ST Engineering Ventures will give individuals and startups the opportunity to see their ideas go to market through an Open Innovation Lab that offers a unique collaboration platform with a dedicated applied engineering team, and access to advanced equipment. Again, this could dramatically speed up the development of these technologies. This has huge implications for the defence industry, but also from a wider technological perspective too. The defence industry has been responsible for more technological advancements than perhaps we realise. We already have military robots responsible for bomb disposal and cyber security is a growing concern for governments around the world. While this has implications for modern warfare and defence, there’s also the chance that rapid developments in autonomous vehicles, robotics and cyber security could be made to benefit other sectors and consumers too, as we saw in the nineties with GPS. Global Positioning Satellites were launched 21


‘Autonomous vehicles could be used to collect stranded soldiers, map and explore unknown areas and could be developed to better house the troops inside when there’s no need for a driver’ by the US Department of Defense long before becoming available to the public in 1996. We also have the military to thank for programmable computers, microwaves and the Jeep. The AI arms race Naturally, the first thing people think of when considering the applications of autonomous technology in 22

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defence is weaponry that needs no human interaction. Already, there are groups set up to fight against these technological gains. Mary Wareham is global coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and she recently spoke to Spectrum about this technology. She says: “Drone technology is starting to proliferate from the handful of


countries that had it into more hands... We expect the same to happen with autonomous weapons if it’s not brought under control very quickly.” Of course, delving deeper into autonomous tech doesn’t just have implications for weaponry, but also for the safety of troops. Autonomous vehicles could be used to collect stranded soldiers, map and explore unknown areas and could be developed to better house the troops inside when there’s no need for a driver. Investing in next-level technology For a defence corporation to get directly involved in the technology industry by investing in start-ups means a company such as ST Engineering can get ahead of the latest technologies and apply them to its own efforts in the industry. For companies such as ST Engineering, it’s important to get ahead of all technologies and to closely monitor what’s being developed. This could be as much about developing their own technologies as it is about seeing what others might be doing.


TOP 10

SUPER LUXURY HOTELS IN ASIA Asia is resplendent with luxury hotels whose features and services exceed all expectations. Because different travellers define luxury using a variety of matrices, the following list highlights extraordinary examples of luxury within the region Writ ten by: ANDRE W WOODS


TOP 10


Sharma Springs INDONESIA

A jaw-dropping six-storey tree house made entirely of bamboo, this eco hotel will give you incredible views of the Aying River Valley and the Green Village, below, as you dine in its wonderful open-air restaurant nestled into treetops. This is not just a hotel, it’s a work of art.


September 2017


09 Rosewood CHINA

A modern luxury hotel that combines contemporary sophistication with an elegance that accentuates the city’s history, geography and culture, Rosewood Beijing is situated in the heart of the capital. Replete with curated artwork that showcases the region’s contributions to history and culture, the result is an authentic style that welcomes guests. Each of its 282 guest rooms and suites features spacious accommodations with distinctive natural finishes and textural overlays that complement modern amenities like built-in TVs and floor-to-ceiling windows.

TOP 10

08 Xiangshawan Desert Lotus Hotel CHINA

A stunning shell-shaped hotel complex, situated in the remote desert of Xiangshawan, the Desert Lotus looks like something from a Star Wars film. Three hours and 800km from Beijing (by plane and then car) in the middle of nowhere, this really is getting away from it all. If you want, you can surf the surrounding dunes of the Gobi Desert or navigate them by camel.


September 2017


07 Seaventures Dive Rig MALAYSIA

One of the most unique hotels in the world, this converted oil rig is very popular with divers wishing to explore the Coral Triangle. A lift – which also doubles up as a ‘rig jump’ – takes you straight down into the clear blue waters of the awaiting reef below, where you will see barracudas, whale sharks and turtles. The former ‘jack up’ rig from the oil and gas industry, has 27 rooms as well as a movie theatre, bar and sun deck on what was a former helipad.

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06 Viceroy INDONESIA

Nestled in Bali’s famed ‘Valley of the Kings,’ Viceroy Bali is Indonesia’s finest resort hotel. Deftly combining luxury, comfort and privacy, the Viceroy Bali provides a peaceful sanctuary with private villas appointed with the most luxurious amenities. The Viceroy’s infinity pool overlooks the Petanu River Valley below and its spacious rooms provide unfettered views of the lush outdoor spaces that invite travellers to unwind with drinks out on the balcony.


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05 Hotel Everest View NEPAL

If you want to stay somewhere higher than this Himalayan hotel’s 3,960 metres above sea level, then you will be disappointed. This is as high as it gets. The 360-degree views aren’t bad either; the rocks opposite belong to Mount Everest. You don’t have to climb to reach this complex either; a chopper can drop you off and pick you up.


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Taj Lake Palace INDIA

A speed boat will pick you up from the mainland to take you to your four-acre hotel, situated slap bang in the middle of Lake Pichola in Udaipur. Built in the mid-1700s, every room in this incredible structure is hued from white and black marble, peppered with semi-precious stones, and the current ‘royal butlers’ are direct descendants of the original palace staff.


September 2017


03 Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur INDIA

Set amidst 26 opulently landscaped acres of gardens in Rajasthan, India, Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur is just minutes away from the Bhagat Ki Kohi railway station with the Mandore Garden nearby. Situated high above the desert capital, this hotel features 347 rooms – all with breath-taking architecture – as well as a family museum. The views of Mehrangarh Fort and the gorgeous Kalyana and Balsamand lakes are incredible.

TOP 10

02 Hurawalhi MALDIVES

You can enjoy an incredible view of the area’s sea-life in this hotel’s unique underwater restaurant (the largest in the world). Just sit back and enjoy the cast of this amazing display as you get to sample the local delicacies. The hotel itself is situated on a beautiful circle of soft-sand beach and you’re greeted by manta rays and dolphins as you snorkel the surrounding waters.


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01 The 13 MACAU, CHINA

A hotel so ostentatious it looks like every Bond villains’ lair, The 13 – named after billionaire Stephen Hung’s lucky number – is charging £70,000 per night for some of its rooms. Standard accommodation has a Roman bath that can house eight people, complete with a retractable marble floor. The hotel owns a fleet of complimentary Rolls Royce Phantoms should you need a ride, driven by specially-trained chauffeurs who graduated from the Rolls Royce academy. All of this in a city known globally as the ‘Vegas of China’.

Firmenich and the sweet smell of success Written by: Catherine Sturman Produced by: Charlotte Clarke


Private company Firmenich has expanded its operations to become one of the most sustainable perfume and flavour companies in the world


oday, consumers are drawn by the goodness of Nature, actively seeking out products that are natural, traceable, sustainable and environmentally-friendly. Increasingly they want to know where products have come from, how they are sourced, and how farmers and producers benefit from collaborating with large manufacturers. Firmenich has a long legacy of leading its business responsibly. As an industry-leader in sustainability, the Group has set itself the most ambitious 2020 environmental goals in its industry with the vision to become carbon neutral. Advancing this objective, Firmenich is committed to sourcing the best of nature in the most sustainable way possible, to offer world-class taste and scent experiences to its customers and their consumers. Building on his previous experience at multinational manufacturer Procter & Gamble (P&G), Corporate Vice President and Chief Purchasing Officer Bhavesh Shah seized the opportunity to join Firmenich. The possibility to contribute to


September 2017

Sourcing the scent


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We are a producer of aromatic chemicals supplying the F&F industry with superior quality products. We make concerted effort to be responsible to our clients, employees and products, in protecting the environment and in complying with relevant government and industry regulations. We value clients who recognize and support such behaviour.


the company’s vision to be carbon neutral, while making a difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of farming families confirmed his decision to join the company. “My experience with P&G was very entrepreneurial, and I was looking for a company where I could truly make a difference,” Bhavesh says. “The opportunity to build a worldclass, global purchasing team to support the company’s longterm vision was very exciting.” Bhavesh has brought in a new era of purchasing excellence, introducing best-in-class, sustainable purchasing management practices to advance the company’s ambitious sustainability agenda. Engaging his passionate team, he has successfully positioned Firmenich as a leader in naturals based on innovative partnerships at source to drive the most sustainable value chain from field to shelf. He has also established Firmenich as the number one player in the use of renewable energy across its operations by refocusing its energy purchasing strategy.

Leadership in naturals Firmenich has the broadest and finest portfolio in the industry, cutting across natural, synthetic and bio-based ingredients. Having access to the most pristine natural ingredients is essential for Firmenich’s creators, as these ingredients are the essence of their unique olfactive signature. From jasmine sourced in India and oud from Bangladesh, to patchouli from Indonesia and vanilla from Madagascar, Firmenich’s mastery of naturals is second to none. When you consider it takes 3.5 tons of rose petals to produce 1 kilo of rose essential oil; and 1 million roses to produce the 3.5 tons of rose petals; there is no other option than to

Sustainable sourcing

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harvest them sustainably. “We partner with smallholder farmers around the world to harvest the earth’s most precious resources sustainably,” explains Bhavesh. “Today I am very proud that Firmenich supports the livelihoods of 250,000 farming families at the source of our 170 varieties of natural ingredients”.

Naturals Together: Driving excellence from field to shelf Firmenich is committed to operating the most traceable, sustainable and ethical value chain in the industry from field to shelf. Through its “Naturals Together” initiative,


September 2017


the company builds long-term partnerships with some of the world’s best natural producers. Firmenich works with the producers to address pressing challenges, such as rural exodus, climate change, and access to healthcare services, education or training. One of the most important achievements of its Naturals Together initiative is the forming of two Joint Ventures between Firmenich and Naturals Together members: one with Jasmine Concrete, the leader in Indian florals, and one with Essex Laboratories, a world-leader in natural mint solutions based in the USA.


68 3 1 Berjé has strived for excellence as a supplier of Essential Oils, and Aromatic Chemicals since our early days in New York City. In those six decades Berjé has built an inventory of over 3000 ingredients that covers the esoteric to the everyday. Rigorous QC standards, comprehensive traceability programs, and our recent SQF certification have established Berjé as a top tier distributor. With that foundation Berjé is breaking new ground on improving the industry’s standard of service. Coupled with Berjé Trakia, a European rose and lavender production facility, our global network of partners gives us the reach to sell in over sixty countries on six continents. As we further our commitment to promoting environmentally stable solutions, Berjé guarantees the quality of the past and the good sustainable business practices of the future.

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Deep Roots: Supporting sustainable livelihoods Taking its commitment to the next level, the company’s ‘Deep Roots’ program, brings Firmenich’s entire supply chain closer together, to enhance the livelihoods of 100’000 smallholder farmers by 2020. Working with farmers, as well as distillers and suppliers, key customers and NGOs, the program focuses on supporting the sustainable livelihoods of its farming communities. Together they explore new business models and share innovation to turn their challenges into opportunities, from the selection of crop varieties, crop rotation, soil management, all the way to irrigation technologies. Firmenich develops sustainable financial models which enable the company to invest in projects that enhance the sustainable livelihoods of the local farming communities, from healthcare and education to hygiene and sanitation. For instance, last year, the company opened a kindergarten for 100 children in Indonesia, built a school in Haiti and established a dispensary, as well as wells for water access in Madagascar.

Award-winning naturals This sustainable, global sourcing focus has not gone unnoticed. Partnering with Indonesian manufacturing company Indesso, Firmenich supports patchouli farmers in Indonesia, who produce this signature perfume ingredient. Supplying more than 90% of the global market, patchouli oil from Indonesia is considered the highest quality in the world. Consistent with its responsible sourcing approach, Firmenich buys approximately 20% of this highly sought-after crop, working hand-in-hand with local patchouli farming communities.

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Acknowledging the broad societal benefits of Firmenich’s work, the company recently received Indonesia’s ‘Primaduta’ Presidential Award, gifted by President Joko Widodo for its Deep Roots project in Java. “Our vision is to have over 40 projects by 2020, impacting 100,000 farming families in a positive way,” explains Bhavesh. “This means looking at improving things like agronomy, yield factors, how producers can go to market, while providing premium pricing to secure a stable and sustainable income.”


September 2017

Partnering with like-minded visionary companies To scale up its commitment to responsible sourcing, Firmenich joined the Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming (Livelihoods 3F) in 2015, alongside founding investors Danone and Mars, Incorporated. Launched in February 2015, Livelihoods 3F aims to help companies sustainably source the materials they need from smallholder farmers, while improving their productivity, incomes, and living conditions. The fund will invest 120 million euros by

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Our value offerings • Reliable and sustainable supply chain • Consistent high quality • Stable price • Year-round production • Pesticide free


2025, providing upfront financing and technical support to NGOs and farmers’ cooperatives across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Bhavesh commented: “Vanilla is one of the most popular flavors in the world, and Madagascar represents 80% of its supply. That’s why Firmenich has been working with smallholder farming communities in Madagascar for many years to support their sustainable livelihoods. Taking our

aims to increase farmer’s food security and triple their revenues, while providing high-quality, sustainable and fully traceable vanilla over a 10-year span. This investment comes on top of Firmenich’s longestablished presence in Madagascar, since 2005, having developed its first partnership with Authentic, a member of its Naturals Together program.

commitment to the next level, we are now innovating with a new vanilla farming model, based on diversifying farmers’ crops for more balance and security.” Building on this partnership, Firmenich, together with Danone and Mars, recently announced through Livelihoods 3F, it is investing in a large-scale, innovative vanilla farming model in Madagascar. Involving 3,000 vanilla producers, the project

As the most sustainable, perfume and flavor company in the world, Firmenich is firmly focused on delivering its ambitious 2020 environmental goals, to become carbon neutral. For instance, by 2020, the company is committed to all of its manufacturing sites being powered from 100% renewable sources or offsets; and its absolute CO2 emissions going down by 20%. Purchasing has been a driving

1895 The year Firmenich was founded

Advancing Firmenich’s vision to be carbon neutral

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force in enabling Firmenich to be the industry leader in renewable energy. Most recently, Firmenich shifted its Princeton and Port Newark plants in the US to use 100% renewable energy sources. “As part of our global approach to combatting climate change, purchasing worked with a major energy supplier in North America to meet the needs of our US plants today and in the future,” said Bhavesh. “This is just one of the ways we are accelerating Firmenich’s vision of a clean and sustainable manufacturing footprint.” “Today, we lead the industry in renewable energy with more than 65% of our manufacturing electricity generated from renewable sources globally. We have a total of seven “100%” clean energy manufacturing sites, including two plants in the US, two plants in Switzerland, one in the UK, one in Norway and one in Belgium,” adds Bhavesh. Expanding its commitment to value chain, the Purchasing team is also embarking its suppliers on the journey. That’s why Firmenich was the first in the industry to engage its


September 2017

suppliers to disclose their climate and water performance data through the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Supply Chain Program. A recognized industry-leader in environmental management, Firmenich ranked in the top 1% of Ecovadis’ “Gold Standard” companies. The Group was also featured on the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) “A List” for the third consecutive year, and was named CDP’s Best Supply Chain Company in “Switzerland, Germany and Austria”, a region that counts some of the most sophisticated and sustainable industrial groups in the world.

Future growth In the years ahead, Firmenich is committed to investing in even closer collaboration between farmers, producers, perfumers, flavorists and its customers, to be able to successfully secure the most exquisite, sustainable and traceable ingredients in the industry. Bhavesh concludes: “Building on our 122-year heritage of leading

As a responsible member of global community, Indesso has long started sustainable business practices in producing ingredients for flavor & fragrance industry. Green chemistry initiatives, sustainable sourcing, water & energy usage reduction are part of our essential activities. It’s simply because we care.




For almost 50 years, Indesso has been widely known as the world leader for clove oil and its derivatives and the key manufacturer in producing ingredients for food, flavor and fragrance industries. Starting with rigorous raw material selection, Indesso ensures that all customer get high quality products, which comply with international standards and regulations.

INDIA’S LEADING MANUFACTURER, SUPPLIER AND EXPORTER OF AROMA CHEMICALS. Prosperity with Orderliness. Privi started manufacturing aroma chemicals in the year 1992 with only two products, which it gradually expanded to a range of over 35 products today, having a capacity of over 25000 tons per annum with current annual turnover of 100 Million USD & is preferred supplier to all top ten F&F houses & FMCGS. Privi also develops and produces custom-made aroma chemicals as per specific requirement of the customer. The research specialists at in-house R&D centre continuously thrive to develop new products and processes.

Tel: +91 22 27783040-41-45 | Website:

WANXIANG INTERNATIONAL Established in 1992 in China, Wanxiang International have been professionally engaged into R&D and production of natural and synthetic ingredients for Flavors and Fragrances industry. Our products have been widely used in Oral Care, Home care, Personable care, Fine fragrances, Foods, Beverage, Pharmaceuticals, Tobacco, Animal feeds, etc. Quality, Safety, Environment protection and Corporate Social Responsibility is our core value for our sustainable business growth. The qualified certificates we have obtained are ISO9001, ISO14001 and ISO2200. Also we are the member of SEDEX for international recognition of the CSR. On REACH, we have our OR in England for registration the REACH for all our products. All issues linked with REACH have been fully complied. Having warehousing facilities in Europe and USA, we provide professional services to the local customers with on time delivery. Wanxiang International is your reliable partner in Ingredients. | Tel: +86 21 6812 6648 No. 4309 Hunan Road, Pudong, Shanghai, 201318, China

our business responsibly, we will continue to invest in win-win partnerships with our farming communities, while driving the most sustainable global footprint


September 2017

possible. Not only does this enable us to offer our customer’s the best of nature, but it also ensure we have a lasting positive impact on the planet and society.�


Corporate Vice President and Chief Purchasing Officer, Bhavesh Shah

“OUR VISION IS TO HAVE OVER 40 PROJECTS BY 2020, IMPACTING 100,000 FARMING FAMILIES IN A POSITIVE WAY” w w w. b u s i n e s s re v i e w a s i a . c o m


SAP: TRANSFORMATION WITHIN PROCUREMENT Written by: Catherine Sturman Produced by: Charlotte Clarke

A market leader in enterprise application software, SAP helps organisations generate new opportunities for innovation and growth, to stay ahead of the competition


he rise of new apps, cloud services and mobile technologies has transformed the way in which consumers live and work. With increased expectations and need for businesses to adapt against ever-changing market conditions, businesses want information at the click of a button in order to gain insights how to manage spend, strengthen relationships with stakeholders and suppliers, and to look at potential processes to unlock savings. With a GDP of $2.4trn, Southeast Asia remains the third largest population in the world, and is a significant driver behind a number of digital services. Businesses are looking for services and technologies which enable increased scalability and efficiency, providing significant value for money. The region has seen an unprecedented rise of small and


September 2017

medium sized enterprises (SME’s). Over 7bn people will be connected to the internet by 2020, granting businesses with the need to uncover new opportunities within procurement, and develop a robust, digitally-savvy workforce which enables technical innovation. SAP is responsible for developing solutions, applications and services enable business and public sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. The company’s focus is to help customers transform into intelligent enterprises by leveraging the cloud and building a digital business framework. In order to execute this successfully, SAP has had to transform its procurement services. “We’ve been focusing on adopting cutting edge technologies and solutions, and have been adopting SAP Ariba’s full suite,” explains


Regional Procurement COO Lead Deepak Gopalakrishnan. Procurement 2025 By 2025, it is predicted that the procurement sector will become one of the most significant value creators for businesses worldwide. Consequently, SAP is placing increased focus in this area, safeguarding its future interests and enabling further business opportunities. Whilst procurement has mainly been perceived solely as

a traditional governance function, Deepak explains that “SAP Global Procurement Organization has positioned itself as a value enabler,� and focuses on outcomes, rather than solely policies and procedures. SAP now strives to provide longterm sustainable business practices, and drive service value throughout a number of strategic and corporate objectives, communicating these goals to its stakeholders. “We have a very clear ambition to

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Being IoT ready with Bosch There are many inconspicuous components of a vehicle that are largely ignored and taken for granted. However, these parts contribute highly to the running expenses of a vehicle. Tyres are a beautiful example of a complex and intertwined functional product. They contribute more than 25% to the fuel efficiency of the vehicle, determine comfort, speed, traction and other vehicle dynamic parameters and yet, it is the most disconnected amongst all parts. A connected tyre that predicts its own health curve, prevents its own deterioration, diagnoses its own faults and advices its own performance settings is a great example of how IoT can be leveraged for performance and cost benefits. The necessity of building system engineering processes and employing a business case oriented approach to the Internet of Things makes Bosch a frontrunner in this space. Bosch has a proven record of reinventing business models and designing large programs that involve all round aspects of sensors, engineering solutions and accompanied software. We offer a construct to identify IoT readiness and transformation by defining the services and solutions, the current state of the enterprise, and the layers required for transformation. Our array of IoT solutions enable companies to digitize their product development, manufacturing and supply chain processes. If there is a key mechanical part of a vehicle or plant system that needs to be given a voice, Bosch can! With over 20 years of experience in providing quality SAP solutions, and exclusively owning and maintaining several global templates for different customers, Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd has a unique insight into the challenges that customers face. We have been running SAP solutions in over 75 countries worldwide and provide solutions encompassing the entire SAP lifecycle spanning conceptualization, development, rollout and support.

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help our lines of business by becoming a business value enabler,” he says. Supplier partnerships Transparency and the mitigation of potential risks remain key objectives within SAP’s procurement organisation, which extends towards its relationship with its local, regional and global suppliers. “Our suppliers have been with us for a long time and are trusted partners, bringing innovation and cutting-edge products, technologies and services to our doorstep,” comments Deepak. Increased collaboration through Ariba Business Network will only seek to strengthen these relationships and the development of new products and services. With an understanding of each parties strengths and challenges, SAP is able to deliver value for money through new technological innovations and remain efficient and transparent throughout its procurement services, whilst remaining competitive in the markets in which it operates. SAP Ariba Utilised by over 2.5mn businesses,

SAP’s end-to-end solutions enable businesses to successful manage its risk and supplier information through one centralised platform. Clients are able to receive enhanced analytics, incorporating risk alerts, the delivery of supplier and performance management. “It’s about bringing market knowledge to the table,” Deepak adds. “SAP procurement is helping the lines of business of the company to run better and how to run simple.” “The company has always believed in pioneering in areas that it has expertise in. We’ve got a robust organisational structure which helps us drive strategic initiatives as well as operational efficiency.” With focus on providing increased transparency and credibility, procurement teams will become adaptable to such technological shifts, where it will be essential for the industry to speak with not only suppliers and partners.

Staff development These changing shifts within

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“We have a learning development approach and actually encourage people to go cross-functional and cross-geographical, which has worked well for us” DEEPAK GOPALAKRISHNAN Regional Procurement COO Lead

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September 2017

procurement will only become successful if SAP continues to house a multi-skilled workforce, with advanced knowledge in a number of business areas. To this effect, it empowers its staff through a number of training and development programs. Exposing staff to different faces of the business is something highly encouraged within SAP’s procurement organisation. Deepak explains: “Within procurement, we’ve always believed in calling ourselves ONE global team. We give people opportunity in crossgeographical assignments and responsibilities, which help them get maximum exposure. Adopting a learning culture and gaining a diverse workforce, he stresses, is not just about training, but obtaining the best possible knowledge sources in the market. “We encourage people to have a clear development plan and opt for learning opportunities that are relevant to their work Unmatched service delivery SAP continues to improve lives of people in the communities we operate in, and helps businesses run at their best. Supporting businesses in their digital transformation journeys by providing end-to-end solutions which are unmatched in the market, its endto-end supply chain solutions and exceptional

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Deepak Gopalakrishnan procurement services have led to the delivery of world-class services. “With the fastest growing database in the world with SAP HANA, we are helping people and businesses transform digitally to intelligent enterprises,” Deepak concludes. “We are redefining the way businesses are engaging with their consumers digitally which is key to our vision to help the world run better and improve people’s lives.”


September 2017

Regional Procurement COO Lead, Global Procurement Organization, SAP APJ

Deepak Gopalakrishnan joined SAP Global Procurement team to lead the India Procurement team working closely with the Lines of Business delivering value and driving strategic alignment. Over the recent years, he has been focusing on partnering with key regional stakeholders driving strategic partnerships and alignment to help them do what they do even better. Deepak has nearly 15+ years of experience in Procurement across various domains like Retail FMCG and IT/ITeS. While majority of his experience has been in indirect sourcing in the IT/ITeS sector, he has spent considerable time on areas like Compliance, Risk Mitigation with the last few years focused on deploying world class Procurement Solutions like Catalogs, P2P and Business Network to global customers.


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POWERING THROUGH Down Under Written by: Niki Waldegrave Produced by: Mariana Lee



September 2017


Global energy giant UPC Renewables has just launched in Australia. Founder Brian Caffyn tells Niki Waldegrave its plans for expansion in Australia and elsewhere


PC, led by UPC Group Chairman, Brian Caffyn – who founded the company – developed more than 50 wind farms and 20 solar projects in countries including Italy, the US, Indonesia, Morocco, China, Canada, Vietnam, India and the Philippines, UPC Renewables has finally launched Down Under. The leading energy player develops, finances, constructs, owns and operates a portfolio of wind power generation assets as an IPP (Independent Power Producer) and its Australian arm went live in June. Its first project is to develop one of the southern hemisphere’s largest wind farms at Robbins Island and Jims Plain in Tasmania. The projects, once built, will cost between $1.0bn

and $1.6bn and boast an aggregated output potential of between 600MW and 1,000MW of wind energy potential. This is a nice addition to the company’s 3,500+ MWs of renewable energy and $6.6bn capital that’s been deployed across three continents over the last 21 years. “The Australian opportunity is really quite big, both in wind and solar energy,” says Caffyn. “We typically look at three to five-year cycles from the start of our Greenfield projects in wind. In solar it can be quite a bit shorter, maybe one to two years. You spend a lot of money for a long time and then you hope you hit it big. “The Robbin’s Island project development will be shorter in time - there’s a lot of work that’s already being done. But we’re going to have

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to move on the environmental side as some of the rules have changed since they did the original work.” Connecticut-born Caffyn has spent the last few years living between Indonesia and the Philippines, but has moved to Australia to ensure things move quickly. “We’ve got a decent shot of getting planning permission within 18 months and then it’s really down to, ‘are we going to be able to sell the power into Tasmania or are we going to need to have a second connector before we start delivering the power?’ “Either one of those options is going to take some transmission work. There’s some onshore work in Tasmania that needs to be done, then the whole programming for the undersea cable.” Caffyn says UPC is agnostic on the technology, using “whichever wind turbine or solar panel which happens to be the best and most economical at the time”, and prides itself on supplying renewable energy at the best price possible in a socially responsible way. UPC has enjoyed strong growth


September 2017

in China over recent years, and plans to continue growing this aggressively over the next 18 months. In China, UPC is constructing the Feicheng Wind Project 50MW and Kangping II and III Wind Project 98MW. French utility giant, Electricite de France (EDF), came in as an 80% owner in June, 2016. “That was a big deal for us,” he says, “because we had other investors, who were not really allowing us to grow the business properly, so we had to take them out and bring EDF in.” In Indonesia, it has the 75MW Sidrap Wind Farm in South Sulawesi in construction, which is the country’s first utility scale wind farm which consists of 30 Gamesa G114 2.5MW turbines and is scheduled to begin selling power to PLN when it goes live near the end of this year. “That took a lot of work,” he explains, “because we had to educate the government and utility (PLN) about how Wind works. Having negotiated the first power contract for wind, Caffyn explains. “We’re hoping to get three more projects into construction in Indonesia, which

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The year UPC would be close to 100 Renewables MW in total in 2018.” was founded The company is “In expanding rapidly in Indonesia, Southeast Asia and has just there’s only one utility – PLN,” he launched in Vietnam and India. In says. “But in China, you sell to one of India, UPC just became an owner of the grid companies. In Vietnam, it’s the two in-construction solar projects, same – one, big state utility. There are totaling almost 100MW - the first a few different models in Australia. projects for its regional solar initiative. “You have private parties with “We are focusing on solar in a large more potential different players, number of countries in Southeast but you also might have a state Asia. India and Vietnam are two of government giving you a longthem, Vietnam also looks like a good term contract for differences.” wind market over the medium term. He claims UPC is eyeing at least We expect to be able to get into six more new projects over the next some additional countries at least on 18 months in Australia and Indonesia the solar side over the next year.” and while each country has its own

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set of challenging circumstances, Caffyn says it’s really a matter of coming up with different or imaginative ways of doing things. “In Australia, as an example,” he adds, “it was a power contract market, meaning that nobody was really building anything unless they had a power contract. Recently it’s moved into more of a merchant market.” UPC’s competitive edge is that it’s smaller than the big utilities


September 2017

and large independents, and has the ability to bring in low cost equipment and financing and handles its own construction and operations management and as a long term owner commits to staying with projects rather than just selling out at the end of development. “If you have the expectation that you’re just going to get out of it soon, then all you care about is, ‘How do I make sure that I can get to the next stage, then make this money to sell it, right?” Caffyn says. “It’s very different than looking at it and saying, ‘it may not happen but I’m going to assume that I

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“If you have the mentality that you’re going to be in the business long-term, then you care a lot more about all the decisions along the way” – Brian Caffyn, Chairman, UPC Group


own this thing for 20 years’. In Australia, a lot of developers do the front-end development work –permitting, permissions and stuff – then they try to sell it to somebody who takes the next step. “That step is more detailed, incorporating design and build, machinery etc. And you have to figure out getting final planning permission, all of the construction arrangements and then packaging, financing of debt and raising equity. Then it’s construction, management and operations.

“We like to stay in the whole thing all the way through. If you have the mentality that you’re going to be in the business long-term, then you care a lot more about all the decisions along the way.”



FWD Written by: Fran Roberts Produced by: Kiron Chavda




Market newcomer FWD Insurance has already disrupted the Philippine insurance sector with its innovative IT developments as the company looks to change the industry’s image


September 2017

he Philippine life insurance industry is poised to post one of the fastest growth rates in the next nine years among emerging markets, and is expected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.1% from 2017 to 2025. FWD Life Insurance is certainly looking to leverage on this predicted growth, as Rogelio ‘Nooky’ Umali, CTO, explains: “There’s a distrust of insurance companies – only about 3% of Philippines have life insurance. This is a market prime for FWD because we are changing that perception.” Indeed, a 97% market penetration opportunity is one that will appeal to any company. FWD Insurance’s advantage is how it utilises disruptive IT to offer unique products to its clients, as well as offering them first-class customer service. CREATING RIPPLES Headquartered in Hong Kong and with a pan-Asian presence, FWD Insurance is a comparatively new player in the Philippines, having


commenced operations there in 2014. Despite this, the company is already having a dramatic impact. “In the Philippines, there are a lot of terror activities and insurance companies were not covering those. We became the first company to offer financial coverage for this through our Peace plan options. That created a ripple in the industry,” comments Umali. Peace is not the only coverage plan to disrupt the Philippine insurance industry. “Another one is the Set for Health product. In medical insurance, there are normally long list of exclusions – for example, no extreme sports. We cover those. We want you to forget about the worries of extreme sports and let us do the worrying for you,” explains Umali. “Additionally, we offer Fight Plan – this covers you upon diagnosis of any type of cancer at any stage. When this product was launched it raised a lot of eyebrows. The industry does not cover such critical illnesses, but we were the first. “These medical financial products are disrupting the industry and

others are now asking, ‘How is this working for FWD?’ It’s eating up their share,” Umali continues. “Three years ago, we were nobody; last year we were already number 12 in the Philippines. This year we intend to break into the top 10. Our track record speaks for itself. We are getting noticed, not just in terms of revenue and customers, but also ranking.” A CHALLENGER BRAND Some competitors have begun to adopt FWD Life Insurance’s practices as their own. “We look at our competitors. We have seen their processes and found some very similar looking e-commerce functions to ours. The best praise is that if we are being copied we are clearly doing something good,” notes Umali. In fact, such actions by competitors only increases FWD Life Insurance’s drive. “It makes us realise we should not rest on our laurels,” Umali states. “We shouldn’t forget our start-up mentality, we should remain a

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REINVENTING INSURANCE DISTRIBUTION. TRANSFORMATION ASSURED. FWD group began its journey in Philippines Insurance market as a new entrant in the Insurance landscape. FWD group’s vision was to create a new technology driven insurance enterprise with ability to adapt to “New Age Disruptive Operating Models”. FWD Philippines aspired to have a ready Omni-channel Platform to leapfrog ahead of established insurers in a short time. C2L BIZ Solutions - a leading insurance business solutions company in Asia, has been a partner of choice for FWD group since its inception. The alignment of FWD group’s technology leadership vision and C2L’s transformational solution components has been the cornerstone of the alliance between FWD and C2L BIZ. To maximize the impact, strategy focussed on very aggressive roll out timelines. Thus, the focus from day one was to leverage the “ready system” to launch the business rapidly. For the FWD group, C2L’s Insurance domain knowledge and its unique Insurance distribution focussed - SymbioSys Solutions Suite were a key to its strategy to bring in the necessary agility and sustainability to the digital ecosystem. Challenges were galore. In addition to aggressive timelines, the key challenge was to attract and retain new breed of advisors and channel partners to the FWD organization. It was thus mandatory to provide exemplary service levels, with a paperless office. Also, to support the growing business dynamism a proven system with configuration driven agility was critical for business success of FWD in Philippines. To achieve the same, the focus from day one was to leverage SymbioSys Suite’s best practices & features “as-is” and gradually adapt to unique business needs of the Philippines markets later. The field sales force empowered with proven point of sale tool like SymbioSys Sales Tools. To complement the said field force enablement - the SymbioSys New Business solution with its embedded SymbioSys Underwriting Engine provided the critical underwriting automation. SymbioSys Underwriting Engine not only provided the best Straight Through Processing (STP) but also provided seamlessly integrated and decentralized “Expert Underwriting” decisions. To provide unique discerning service adaptation to its channels, another of C2L’s flagship solution - SymbioSys

DMS (Distribution Management System) played a crucial role to attract, quickly onboard, and even differentiate services for different segment of partners. It was also able to quickly launch many innovative campaigns and contests, leveraging the powerful configurability in C2L BIZ’s SymbioSys DMS. In addition to the automated distribution management, for channel /customers self-servicing, needed enterprise-wide integrated view of relationships which was consolidated through C2L’s SymbioSys Insurance Operational Data Store (ODS). SymbioSys ODS thus provided a single consolidated data repository for all downstream systems and MIS needs. After successful entry, focus shifted to leverage the rapidly emerging digital ecosystem by learning quickly and rapidly adapting the products, processes and rules to the digital ecosystem. C2L’s SymbioSys Solutions Suite has not only helped FWD set new norms to conventional operating model but also provides a new age services oriented platform to thrive on the rapidly emerging digital omnichannel ecosystem. At the end of the 3 years journey, FWD Philippines has been rated high in the Digital Business. FWD Philippines has not only been able to attract and achieve largest growth of agents, but has also recorded one of the highest new business issuance growth rate in Philippines. With 100% paperless and intelligent decentralized processing, the NIGO (Not in Good Order) ratio is significantly lower than industry average. With comprehensive self-servicing and automated communications, the channels could maximize feet on the street. FWD has not only been able to live up to its promises to its’ young and aggressive channels, but exceed the same by providing best of breed services and flexibilities to its channels. The above has yielded in aligning the business growth to a more profitable and sustainable long term business for FWD. Both FWD and C2L BIZ teams embarked on this journey demonstrating exemplary collaboration, realizing the FWD group’s vision, ably supported by a sustainable, flexible and transformational SymbioSys Solutions Suite from C2L.


Rogelio ‘Nooky’ Umali CTO Nooky has been in the IT Industry for 25 years. Specializing in the field of Applications Design & Development, Business Intelligence & Project Management covering the Government sector, Financial / Banking and Telecommunications Industry. He started his IT career in the public sector working as a programmer for the Philippine Navy Computer Center in 1992. He later moved to the private sector in 1994 by joining the Banking Industry. As AVP for IT, he was in charged of the development and maintenance of core Mainframe applications for Financial Systems (CASA, ATM, Loans and GL). He also worked as a technical consultant for the largest banking consortium in the Philippines working on Inter Bank Fund Transfer systems and policies. He was part of the elite Core Committee acting as Technical Advisors for the automation requirement of the biggest banks in the country. After his successes in the Banking industry, he wanted to try new IT challenges in the exploding industry of telecommunications. He joined the biggest Company in the Philippines in 2007 starting as a Data Operations Manager manning the 24/7 team for the Financial Services group. After a year in Operations, he moved back as a Development Manager overseeing a 60 man team of Database, Web, Portal & Report Developers and Business Analysts. In 2011, he focused on Project Management handling a team of Technical PMs covering Financial, Telecommunications and Digital technical projects. His team created the Technology storyboard which became the blueprint for the Technology Roadmap for Services. He manages a portfolio of technical projects in excess of 2bn Pesos (50M USD). In 2013, he was tasked to oversee a new growth area in the company by managing the Mobile Applications (Apps) and API Program of the Tech Group. He was mandated to lead the innovation of Mobile Apps development.


September 2017

In 2015, he returned to the Financial Industry, serving as IT Director for Manulife.


challenger brand, regardless of how well we are growing. We want to be within the top five within five years in the Philippines, and we are well on our way to achieving that.” OVERHAULING THE INDUSTRY The main driving force for FWD Life Insurance, however, is working to change the perception of the industry within the Philippines – something that initially enticed Umali to join the business. “What drew me to the company was the vision – the company wants to change the way people feel about insurance. That’s a strong statement for me,” comments the CTO. “What also drew me here was the work I have done in the last four years of my professional life, looking at disruptive solutions for the market. FWD has the same approach, they want to overhaul the industry. Insurance carriers are deemed as traditional villains by the people. They are only after the money – that’s the assumption – and that they do not truly care about

the customer,” Umali continues. BUILDING TRUST In order to change the perception of the industry, FWD Life Insurance has worked to change the way that customers feel when they interact with Umali reveals. “Technology played second fiddle, the primary change was in the people. In order for you to change the way people feel about insurance you must change the way people feel about IT. You must find and include people who feel strongly about

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WE HELP INSURERS AND BANKS CONNECT THE DOTS BETWEEN ENTERPRISE AND DIGITAL We are an IP-led technology firm that helps insurers streamline operations and better engage with their customers. Our products span: • Process automation platforms and frameworks, which include products that leverage Robotics Process-Automation (RPA) • Customer Engagement Platforms that leverage machine learning and enable omni-channel engagement. The platform includes an AI based Chatbot for both customer service and sales • Digital point solutions, including Product Configurator and Legacy Modernisation (green screen modernisation) Tools • A Blockchain solution for Smart Contracts

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The annual revenue for FWD Insurance in USD

22 bn

creating solutions for people.” Having hired employees to focus on the problem, not the solution, FWD Insurance then looked at technology. “C2L BIZ has been a strategic partner for our digital transformation initiatives. Their one of the flagship mobility solution “SymbioSys Sales Tool” that allowed our sales team to sell our insurance products using tablets. This paper less process allows the customer to digitally sign an application form and view sales quotations on the devices. Digital images of the documents are processed by the new business

and underwriting teams of FWD using C2L BIZ’s “SymbioSys New Business” and “SymbioSys Underwriting” solutions. Agents hierarchy, performance and compensation are also monitored with “SymbioSys Distribution Management” using flagship solution of C2L BIZ. As well as C2L, the company has also worked with Candela Labs to advance its technological transformation. “Our partnership with Candela Labs (formerly AWPL) greatly contributed to our digitalisation efforts. FWD has been using AWPL workflows

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to automate our new business processes. We also conducted a number of digital experiments to beef up customer experience and our product line up,” advises Umali. “We also have a number of digital experiments conducted jointly by FWD R&D team and Candela Labs that will disrupt the insurance business and obviously we cannot reveal them yet. However, I am excited to share that we are beta testing another innovative service for our CX team that utilises AI and deep learning algorithms that will complement

our existing live chat service.” DEVELOPING FASTER Technological transformation has also occurred on the non-customer facing side of FWD’s operations. “Previously, the developers preferred to use old methods – the ‘hammer and nail’ approach,” recalls Umali. “They were using their own tools in their native and comfortable programming language, but it would take them a long time to build from scratch.” Umali – a developer when he first entered the industry – set out to

“Three years ago, we were nobody; last year we were number 12 in the Philippines” ROGELIO ‘NOOKY’ UMALI, CTO


September 2017


change this. “Before we got into the rapid application development tools, we had to ensure that the developers were going to use it. We had to let them test it and to create proof points from these new tools – we refer to this as the ‘nail gun’ method, which allowed us to develop faster.” INSTILLING CHANGE Development is significantly quicker using this method – the Peace product was developed in 21 days, in stark contrast to FWD Life Insurance’s previous turnaround times. “When I joined FWD, the last product launch was two years prior to my joining. That was a big challenge for me, having been used to a two weeks’ cycle in the

telecoms industry to every two years – that’s worlds apart,” reveals Umali. “I don’t like that pace, I want it faster.” Despite already shortening the development times, Umali wants the cycle to be even faster in the future. “I want to be able to launch or evolve products every two weeks – from concept to launch. That’s my dream, that’s what I want,” he advises. “We want to instil change in the industry. Sometimes we are labelled as an Insurtech, and not an insurance company, but we aren’t. We think like an Insurtech, but act as an insurance company. We are grounded by insurance, but we happen to be tech guys,” concludes Umali.

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78 NOVEMBER 2017


Heading for a collaborative & digital supply chain


20-23 MARCH 2018


International Week of Transport and Logistics


20-23 MARCH 2018


Materials handling exhibition for industry and distribution


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