UnionBank CTO: Culture and infrastructure are key factors to digital transformation


The Asset’s four-time Digital Bank of the Year Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) Chief Technology and Operations Officer and Chief Transformation Officer Henry Aguda shared the Bank’s digital transformation story to inspire those who are still at the early stages or those who struggle with this urgent need brought about by the pandemic. 

In a Zadara webcast featuring data and analysis from IDC, Aguda emphasized that digital transformation involves two key factors: culture and foundational infrastructure. 

Aguda first talked about the culture of UnionBank which enabled them to be more flexible, agile and efficient in transforming their business model. He lauded former UnionBank Chairman and current Vice Chairman Dr. Justo A. Ortiz in starting the digital revolution and effectively inspiring all UnionBankers to move in pace with technology and become more consumer-centric. 

Aguda then discussed the foundational infrastructure that enabled them to scale and efficiently provide products which are helpful before but proven to be essential especially in current situation. 

Considering the rapid adoption of cloud technology in the industry, UnionBank wasted no time and laid down a more robust digital infrastructure early on. The Bank started by coming up with a blueprint where they mapped out architectural layers the technology, application, processes and risks. 

It decided early on that most of its processes will be automated so it deployed business process automation tools and used APIs. It also took into consideration the infrastructure needed to employ strong data analytics in order to mine the insights helpful to aid in improving consumer experience. 

UnionBank has pioneered many firsts in the country’s banking industry starting with EON, twenty-one years ago. It was first in linking Paypal or Visa online and it launched the first internet hub for government transactions. The Bank has also launched the convergent online app allowed customers to open an account, put in money, disperse money, pay bills while at the comfort of their homes. 

To enable these innovations, the Bank partnered with various solutions providers such as Zadara’s Cloud Services for cost efficiency, simplicity, and ultimately agility in the way it delivers its services. 

“It's (infrastructure) an essential component because you're only as fast as your infrastructure but there are also other things that you can build on top of it. The rule of thumb is for everything that you put in your transformation journey, you have to make sure that everything doesn't everything, as this scale, won't slow you down and in Zadara, we found the best mix of efficiency, scalability and agility,” added Aguda.