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Data Science, AI to accelerate Aboitiz businesses’ growth

Pioneer in Digital Banking. UnionBank is at the forefront of leveraging DSAI in banking solutions

The Aboitiz Group is fully embracing the use of digital technology, pushing for further innovation, a change in the way that it operates its various businesses through the use of data-driven solutions and Artificial Intelligence.

For a hundred year-old company that has witnessed how technology has progressed from the beginning of the 20th century to what it is today, Aboitiz has no plans on stopping.

“Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (DSAI) are transformative capabilities that will accelerate the Aboitiz Group’s productivity, drive business value, and open up new revenue streams,” Aboitiz Group president and CEO Sabin M. Aboitiz said.

A strong advocate of innovation, Aboitiz believes that DSAI will become a permanent aspect of the business landscape of each of the conglomerate’s strategic business units (BU),  to develop and support its business models and decision-making capabilities.

Aboitiz also recognizes the potential of the data science workforce as it reorganized its DSAI talents across the group. “This new structure helps create a better alignment of standards, processes, and policies, within the Group and, at the same time, moves us closer to our DSAI ambitions by nurturing our  Aboitiz talent through experience and exposure in our different businesses,” Aboitiz shared.

The company formed working groups on Data Governance, Data Science, and Innovation, which will serve as avenues for alignment, consultation, and discussions  to maximize and optimize the reuse of DSAI solutions, knowledge, and source sharing among SBUs. At its helm is global data science expert Dr. David R. Hardoon, UnionBank Senior Advisor for Data and AI and Aboitiz Group Data Committee Chairman.

“DSAI is a core differentiator enabling organisations to flourish digitally. Our focus within the Group is to innovate and systematically operationalise DSAI benefits for all BUs in areas such as customer engagement, operations and in materialising ESG (Environmental, Social, and  Corporate Governance) goals, ” Dr. Hardoon said.

DSAI across business units

Banking and Financial  Services

Aboitiz banking subsidiary Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) pioneered in leveraging DSAI in banking solutions as part of its digital transformation. The bank saw a surge in digital banking transactions over the years due to evolving consumer behavior. And with the lockdowns brought about by the pandemic, consumers were forced to embrace digital banking.

In 2019, UnionBank encouraged aspiring data scientists to elevate the profession with the launch of its own Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Institute, which is aimed at producing and nurturing big data professionals to help usher innovations at the bank.

To date, more than 65 future data scientists are part of a learning program that covers data processing, programming visualization, analysis and mining, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

PETNET, a financial services unit under UnionBank, has one goal in mind: ensure that team members are data-driven and analytically capable in running the business. Hence, the company formed a Data Analytics team which will help in reading trends and drawing insights to make data-driven and informed decisions to provide better customer service.

Power

Distribution unit Davao Light manages its first digital substation. The streamlined operations and technical assessment through the digital substation allow for greater reliability of power in surrounding areas.

For the Aboitiz Group’s energy arm, Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower), DSAI will play an integral role in driving the company’s 10-year growth strategy. This is to address the energy trilemma of the availability, cost-efficiency, and sustainability of the country’s energy supply.

DSAI will be a key component of AboitizPower’s 1AP Digital Strategy, called DigitaLeap, which aims  to implement several initiatives as part of its digital transformation. These include  remote plant operations, convergence of information and operational technologies, next-generation energy trading capabilities, and advanced metering infrastructure, among others.

Food

For its DSAI implementation, the Food Group built a tool called Analytics Central ー a one-stop portal that not only addresses ease of access to data-driven solutions, but also data security by using a double-layer solution.

Current applications available in the tool are Pilmico’s retail meat shop “The Good Meat,” the Food Group Covid-19 Health Pass, Feeds and Farm Division’s operational dashboards, and budget presentation for management meetings.

Infrastructure

Meantime, Aboitiz cement manufacturing unit Republic Cement & Building Materials, Inc. (Republic Cement), sees the value of DSAI in operations planning and optimization of production costs. The precision that data science offers will not only provide Republic Cement with data-driven insights but also allows it to remain steadfast in delivering consistent and high-quality products for the Philippine market.

Republic Cement teamed up with UnionBank’s Data Solutions Team to create a tool that predicts cement quality based on historical chemical concentration combinations. It helps operators and quality managers optimize concentrations of raw materials and efficiently save time, resulting in better resource management and increased operational efficiency.

Land

Real estate unit AboitizLand is jumpstarting its journey into DSAI as it prioritizes providing better services to its customers. The launch of its contactless homebuying campaign at the onset of the pandemic marked its successful pivot into the digital sphere.

The company recently teamed up with UnionBank for an improved customer profiling system and a predictive model that will detect construction delays. Also in the pipeline is the update of its Sales and Vecino Portal for a smoother end-to-end home-buying process making it easier for buyers to reserve units, track payments made, monitor construction milestones and easily apply for a housing loan.

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