Firms should create framework for digital transformation, says JG Summit CIO

By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

As companies join the race for digital transformation to keep pace with evolving trends and the competition, JG Summit Holdings chief information officer Carlos G. Santos said that a framework for digitization is a key enabler for such journey.

JG Summit Holdings CIO Carlos Santos (right) with SAP Southeast Asia president and managing director Claus Andresen (left) and Mitsui & Co. GM of information systems for Asia Pacific Ikuo Hayashi. Photo credit: SAP

Speaking at SAP Asia Pacific’s media event titled “Powering Customer Success in Asia” on November 7 at the Shangri-la at the Fort, Santos said that having a framework is important for a company like JG Summit, one of the largest conglomerates in the country with presence around Asia Pacific including Australia.

The group, which includes among others a bank, mall, and airline in its roster, partnered with SAP Philippines in July 2018 to help power up its own digitization efforts by deploying the SAP S4/HANA software throughout the conglomerate.

Digital transformation, according to Santos, needs a good framework to effectively drive the different business units or companies toward the same direction and gather data across the enterprise.

“You have to put in a framework or a guiding post to say ‘I’m gonna build across these four [customers, internal operations, consumer, employees],” he said. “Some companies’ mistake is they end up not focusing on the consumer side, or not focusing on the employee side, and they end up having a very distraught type of framework.”

Digital transformation should also put analytics at the core of its framework. “Analytics is telling you if a machine is breaking down, if you should ship this product, if the flights are better off taking off at this time because the rates are cheaper,” Santos explained.

SAP will fuel its employee-centric systems including payroll, performance management, and others, possibly including travel expense.

For its customers or suppliers, all 60 distributors of Universal Robina Corporation, the group’s largest subsidiary, as well as connections of sales and distribution are on SAP.

SAP will also run 90% of JG Summit’s internal operations including manufacturing, procurement, customer service, finance and accounting, manufacturing and costing lines, and others.

“Our direction is that, you know at any given point in time, an intelligent enterprise is able to tell you a machine in Malaysia is not working because it’s not actually being maintained and the last maintenance was about six months ago, from here, on your phone,” Santos elaborated. “That’s the cornerstone of a digital transformation.”

Speaking at the event’s plenary session, SAP Southeast Asia president and managing director Claus Andresen revealed that in the past 10 years, their customers in the region have been clamoring for customization and for ways to connect their supply chain from end to end and run their businesses more efficiently, among others.

“All these can be achieved today with the help of technology, with the help of innovation, with the help of data available,” said Andresen.

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