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AboitizPower Embraces Innovation

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AboitizPower Embraces Innovation

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Companies face many challenges due to changing technologies, shifting consumer demands, the pressures of climate change, and of recent, the COVID-19 pandemic. The ability to be agile and innovative, and reinvent services and processes has become critical for keeping people safe and workplaces functioning efficiently.

For AboitizPower (AP), tackling these challenges requires an innovation mindset, creativity, insights and engagement of its workforce. For them, it is vital for companies to empower their people to take initiative and to coach them towards successful outcomes. By doing so, it allows their employees to take on a more meaningful role in creating impact for the business and its stakeholders.

 

Creating a culture of innovation

With the theme, “Celebrate your Innovation DNA,” AP held its first 1AP Innovation Summit, gathering employees from different business units to underscore the need to collectively develop the unique set of characteristics necessary to hone the culture of innovation within the organization.

The summit culminated with an ideas generation and pitching activity among the participants where more than twenty innovation projects were presented. The event also featured talks from AP executives, key industry leaders and partners, such as Emilie Sydney-Smith, chief executive of EXO Works, Energeia managing director Ezra Beeman, and Luis Gonzales, the lead for data science and artificial intelligence (DSAI) of Aboitiz Data Innovations.

In his opening speech, Aboitiz Group chief executive officer Sabin M. Aboitiz highlighted the role of innovation in the company. “Innovation is a core Aboitiz value that I have always tried my best to champion, as I firmly believe it is the only way we can profitably grow as a company and as individuals, particularly during these challenging but arguably normal times when disruption is a constant threat and opportunity,” he said.

AP president and chief executive officer Manny Rubio, meanwhile, elaborated on the importance of encouraging its people to think and act as innovators. “In AP, we don’t want to be just dreamers, because vision without an action plan is just a dream. Our innovative ideas need to translate into positive results and impact for our company, this industry, and the communities where we are present,” said Rubio.

“Being the first of its kind within 1AP, this event marks another milestone in our innovation and transformation journey. This will surely bring a positive impact to our team members as we all learn and live our 1AP Innovation DNA,” he added.

The 1AP Innovation DNA is crucial to the work of AboitizPower—acting as the guiding framework for the company to hone innovation, according to Chat Balita, AP vice president and head of innovation and digital transformation. “Consisting of five elements, namely: Future Thinker, Network Mindset, Data-Storyteller, Digital First, and Agile Execution, they serve as the building blocks of making AP a truly innovative company,” she said.

She was also a guest speaker in a talk organized by New Energy Nexus Philippines in celebration of the International Women’s Month. Entitled Women in Energy: The Epitome of Power and Hope, the virtual event featured the powerful women in the country’s energy sector and their stories of success and challenges in a traditionally male dominated industry.

In properly integrating innovation into the business, AP chief corporate services officer Carlos Aboitiz explains two approaches—core and edge. According to Carlos, core innovation is the right approach to problem solving in contexts of high certainty, where there is defined structure and available data. Meanwhile, edge innovation is the right problem solving approach in contexts of high uncertainty, where experimentation and learning are imperative.

Moreover, Carlos emphasized that taking risks and embracing it as an opportunity is what will set apart the business of Aboitiz.

One initiative that has significantly paid off was the migration of AboitizPower distribution utilities’ IT infrastructure from on-premise servers to the Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing platform of tech giant Amazon Inc. The innovation provided the company, which serves around 1 million customers nationwide, with increased system reliability and scalability, reduced operating costs, and better customer service.

“Due to the increasing dependence of our business on IT systems, there is now a greater need to ensure that AboitizPower is equipped to respond quickly and efficiently to our customer’s needs,” said Lemuel Quilos, AboitizPower Vice President for IT.

Quilos added that fully migrated and optimized systems will reduce the processing time for most vital back-end processes like bill extraction and payment posting by up to 50%. This will further streamline the MobileAP- a mobile app launched by AboitizPower in 2020 that enables its users to easily track their bills, payment history and power consumption, thereby improving overall customer service.

The move to cloud computing is an essential part of the company’s digital transformation journey under AboitizPower’s Digital Transformation Strategy or DigitaLeap program. Through DigitaLeap, AboitizPower is able to integrate innovations across all its business units with a long-term outlook for technology management and consolidation of technology direction on data.

Another initiative is AboitizPower’s Asset Performance Management (APM) Predictive Analytics System in its Therma South facility, which uses advanced pattern recognition (APR) analytics layered with machine learning and artificial intelligence to process data from the machine sensors of critical assets and diagnose early warning signs of equipment failure. The company also started installing operational technology (OT) cybersecurity systems to ensure that the minimum security levels are met in its power plants, the first of which was completed in Therma Visayas. Ensuring plant availability and reliability not only allows AboitizPower to minimize losses but more importantly, enables the company to deliver adequate and stable power supply to its customers and communities.