‘Businesses must transform for the future’

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star
âBusinesses must  transform for the futureâ
Ayala Corp. chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala talks about innovations and next-wave opportunities during the BusinessWorld Economic Forum 2019 at the Grand Ballroom of Grand Hyatt Manila in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig yesterday.
Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines — Businesses can no longer be reactive and should be able to chart new ways of doing things, Ayala Corp. chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said at a forum organized by BusinessWorld yesterday. 

At the forum, titled “Future of Business: Next Wave of Disruptions and Opportunities,” Zobel said the pace of change today is rapid, which is why companies and conglomerates must transform and invest in innovative solutions that can improve ways of doing business.

“Organizations must transform. While it is difficult to paint the future, our willingness to change has to be there,” Zobel, who was keynote speaker, said. 

He highlighted the journey of Ayala Corp. itself into a diversified conglomerate with businesses in telecommunications, property, banking, water distribution, automotive, industrials, energy, infrastructure, hospitals and education.

Ayala, he noted, has embraced changes and challenges it faced through the decades and has become a conglomerate from just a small company.

“Over the last few years, we’ve made deliberate attempts and have institutionalized innovations,” Zobel said.

Ayala has even launched Ayala Innovations, a unit focused on looking for trends and building capabilities. 

He likewise noted the transformation of Ayala Land Inc., the property giant that is now a separate company from Ayala Corp. 

“ALI has transformed. It was separated from Ayala Corp. in the early 90s and now, ALI has evolved into five companies, each with its own management and balance sheet,” Zobel said.

Moving forward, he said the Ayala conglomerate would be looking to invest in various businesses to prepare for the future. These include investing in a frictionless future, automation of businesses and new frontiers in real estate.

Digitalization, Zobel added, is a step into the company’s transformation.

During the company’s annual shareholders meeting last April, Zobel revealed that the group is indeed undergoing a massive transformation to aggressively ramp up the digitalization of its companies.  

Zobel elaborated on some key components of this digitalization strategy, such as exploring new business models and opportunities, bolder and more deliberate venture capital spending and leveraging data and analytics, among others.  

Ayala also gained a foothold in fintech, e-commerce, logistics, industrial technologies and health tech, and plans to invest substantially in tech innovations globally to help bring the country at par with the rest of the digital world. 

Zobel also noted Ayala’s investments in e-commerce and logistics, where Ayala is quickly becoming a major player.  

Among Ayala’s earliest digital investments was Zalora Philippines, an e-commerce fashion retail platform that capped off 2018 with over 100 million page views for the first time in its seven-year history and over seven million mobile app downloads.

In October 2018, Ayala spun off Zalora’s in-house logistics capabilities into Entrego, now the country’s fastest growing courier, express and parcel provider with 54 distribution hubs nationwide.



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