True transformation means elevating lives and fulfilling dreams, and not just breaking ground in the technological aspect, according to Henry Rhoel Aguda, chairman of UBX, the leading open finance platform in the Philippines.
In the latest episode of the Orange Chair—a web series featuring today’s thought leaders and influencers—Aguda, who also sits as President and CEO of UnionDigital, debunked the misconception that digital transformation in finance is all about tech.
Cost and investment figures, as well as programming, are only second to the customer service aspect, Aguda said.
“If you get the people, you have the fighting chance of implementing your digital transformation. If you don’t get the ‘People Agenda’ right, no amount of technology or change process will result in something significant from a digital transformation standpoint,” Aguda emphasized.
Having led UnionBank’s digital transformation journey in 2016, making it the leading digitally-enabled bank in the Philippines, Aguda said digital transformation need not be as expensive as many would think.
However, despite the reduced expectation on cost, the road is paved with difficulties given that the field of banking and finance is ever evolving.
“The question should be: what do we want to become as an organization? What would be the value creation we want for our customers?” Aguda said, sharing lessons from his experience in building UBX.
Despite its status as the fastest growing fintech company in Asia, UBX started out small with only a few people congregating in one room with a shared dream of introducing changes in the financial industry through emerging technology. With only some guardrails on funding the initiative and initially a sandbox for experimenting with fintech, it has now dealt with more than P100 billion in transactions.
Beyond UBX, Aguda was also recently appointed as the Digital Infrastructure Lead of Malacanang’s Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC). An achiever in his own right, Aguda’s diverse career is backed by a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Philippines. He graduated from law school in 2008 with Latin Honors and emerged as the class valedictorian.
CUSTODIAN OF THE PEOPLE
He dabbled in acting and is also currently an educator, taking after his mother, who was an elementary school principal. True to his dedication to helping people achieve their dreams and his commitment to learning, Aguda wishes to spend the latter part of his career in his alma mater. According to him, he wishes to be a significant leader in UP one day.
“One of the tools that I use to keep me relevant in technology is to be abreast with the academe and the younger generation of technology leaders. I learn from my students first, and it gives me humility knowing that this is the new generation of technology leaders. They will learn more than I did. I am just the custodian of the people who will take over what I’m doing now.” Aguda said.
The Orange Chair series is available on the official YouTube channel of UBX Philippines.