I have always been fascinated with transformation like an ugly duckling blossoming into a beautiful swan or a plain canvass turning into an art masterpiece. Little did I know that this fascination will turn into passion which impacts both my personal and professional life. It is also something that every start-up or venture-backed company must go through in order to survive and thrive.  

 

I am a “get it done” type of a person who started my career at the Bank of the Philippine Islands in 1991 as a New Accounts Clerk and moved all the way up to Vice President, IT Transformation at Globe Telecom– the largest provider of telecommunications services in the Philippines. My first job as an accounts clerk was a dream come true because I had always envisioned myself working for a top bank. I became an officer at the bank after only a year and a half– a big achievement, especially for a woman, since the average tenure for promotion to an officer position was three years. I spent the next five years learning about the banking industry in different roles from operations to systems deployment.

This prepared me for my next opportunity in the insurance industry where I was responsible for the successful deployment of a major IT system at Ayala Life Assurance Inc. as Head of Systems and Procedures from 1997 to 2000.

After my stint in insurance, I decided to join another big company Ayalaport– a data center pioneer in the Philippines as Head 0f Finance, HR and Administration from 2002 to 2005. It is in this role that I realized that any product or service should have local market buy-in to become successful, even if it has been widely accepted in other countries. I should say that what we were offering was disruptive at the time, may be a good if not the best solution. However, we were not prepared for the Philippines market. This is a lesson that so many enterprises fail to grasp when entering a large market like the Philippines. What may work in Silicon Valley, may not work in markets like Southeast Asia.

My stint in the data center environment paved the way to an opportunity to join the telecom industry as Head of Sales Support from 2007 to 2010 and then VP Transformation from 2010 to 2015 at Globe Telecom. Telecommunications is a cut-throat industry anywhere, but in the Philippines it is especially competitive where market dominance is achieved through winning a price war, even at the expense of service quality. This is something the market in many parts of the world has tolerated until recently when customers have become more demanding and sophisticated. Now, market dominance goes beyond price. Dominance is the added value that goes with the service i.e., better customer service for a delightful customer experience, offers that can be customized to the customers to be more relevant, reliable service which works especially when you need it the most.

As VP, Transformation at Globe Telecom, I was part of a talented team of IT, business, and management executives responsible for creating new and innovative telecommunications products and offers which gave Globe a competitive edge and leading market share.  All of these while hurdling the daily grind of operations and making small changes to meet customer demands.

What many start-ups in the telecommunications domain do not understand is that carriers have built multi-billion dollar enterprises by offering service quality that cannot be matched by other channels in the ecosystem. However, for start-ups to succeed in selling into the carrier space, they must not only show the carrier how their solution will assist the carrier launch new and innovative products and offers faster than the competition, but also how robust the technology is; how prepared the support organization is, and how informed the customer needs to be in using their solution.

Being part of the transformation team at Globe Telecom brought me knowledge, learnings and skills which greatly influenced my career shift. This is when fascination of transformation turned into passion. I believe that transformation or pivots are inevitable if a start-up wants to survive. It is part of embracing change and creating something new and extraordinary until it becomes ordinary and transformation needs to happen again.

After contributing to the successful implementation of the BSS and POS systems at Globe Telecom, which by the way led to increased revenues and market share,  I am now into my next journey of managing system transformation for an upcoming major player in its industry. A new and exciting transformation unfolding.

I have an Honours Cum Laude from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and on my way to pursuing a Master's Degree.

Terry Sabile
Technical Associate

BPO, Data Center, Telco Transformation

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