The transformation integrator

The Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2022 has concluded its search for the country’s most undaunted and unstoppable entrepreneurs. Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines is a program of the SGV Foundation, Inc., with the participation of co-presenters the Asian Institute of Management, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippine Business for Social Progress, and the Philippine Stock Exchange. BusinessWorld will feature each finalist in the next few weeks.

Allyxon T. CuaPresident and CEOAccent Micro Technologies, Inc.

ALLYXON T. CUA, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Accent Micro Technologies, Inc. (AMTI), was born into a low middle-income family. Despite this, he learned resilience and determination from his parents, which made him strive for greatness. After graduating from Mapua University, Mr. Cua decided to stay in the Philippines unlike most of his schoolmates who left to work in the United States. He wanted to provide opportunities for Filipinos so they would not have to leave the country.

Founded in 1997, AMTI is now a multibillion-peso business, one of the most dynamic and diversified companies in the local technology landscape, and a digital transformation enabler. AMTI was initially incorporated to distribute Dell computers, a one-brand personal computer (PC) company at a time when unbranded or “clone,” computers had an overwhelming PC market share.

Two years after AMTI was founded, Mr. Cua joined the company as general manager. He recalled being selected because the investors were not just looking for a professional manager to run the company but because they wanted a competitive individual with an entrepreneurial mindset. At the time, AMTI’s path for growth was slow and limited due to its niche positioning as a one-brand company.

Mr. Cua started AMTI’s journey to become a multi-brand company, offering different international computer brands to provide customers with more choices to suit their preferences and budget.

AMTI’s next goal was to grow its market share in the PC market, but it faced challenges due to increasing competition and declining margins. Mr. Cua’s first solution was to diversify and go into events management, but this was a mistake.

“It wasn’t close to what we were good at. I then realized that I had to change the company culture and build a foundation and that I should just stick to what we know, which is technology,” he said.

One of his strategies against competitors was always to have a unique service or innovation for their customers. While the rest were selling hardware, Mr. Cua was already selling network solutions simultaneously.

To bring the company’s services outside Manila, Mr. Cua had the idea of creating a Technology Alliance Partner (TAP) program. TAP is a by-invitation program for small and established local IT companies in major cities, such as Cebu and Davao. AMTI trains its partners for onsite service and after-sales support for its products. The company also set up an automated trouble ticketing system for its partners.

“Before, if you were in the province and something needed repair, you had to send it to Manila,” he said “This makes it easier for our customers to avail of tech support.”

Mr. Cua described AMTI as a diversified company offering ICT products and services, and a digital transformation enabler. “We are so diversified today that we are like a mall. We almost have it all except for software development,” he said.

What differentiates AMTI from its competitors is its people or “AMTIZENS,” Mr. Cua said. The company’s most significant strength is building an ecosystem of diverse professionals, regardless of background, who work towards a single goal of providing products, technologies, services, and the digital transformation needs of their clients.

Always looking ahead, he started the company’s digital transformation journey in response to the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila. “No one believed in work from anywhere during that time,” he said.

AMTI started experimenting with remote work as early as 2018, setting up satellite offices so employees could have more productive hours delivering client services. As a result, it overhauled and automated its internal processes, making them cloud-ready and embracing the new way of doing business. This early investment in digital transformation allowed AMTI to operate the business as usual during the strict lockdowns and serve their client’s needs, especially in the global business process outsourcing and financial sectors. In addition, AMTI introduced managed services, which enable companies to accelerate their workforce and digital transformation initiatives by using the latest devices, software, and infrastructure by subscribing to these services. This comes in operating expenses form, allowing companies to save their precious capital and does not require significant technical workforce. It also allows customers to concentrate on their core business functions to deliver better business outcomes and innovations.

Mr. Cua’s goal for AMTI is to be the country’s go-to company for innovative technological solutions. AMTI has delivered impactful projects to the government, such as the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction, where the system reduces leakage and corruption at the local levels and allows the allocation of scarce resources to deserving poor Filipinos.

The company also trained and equipped regional offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources with ground penetrating radar systems, allowing them to survey land areas for sinkholes and cavities. These systems were also used to identify illegally installed drainage pipes in Boracay, saving the whole island from further pollution and deterioration.

The next goal of AMTI is to grow significantly by 2025. Mr. Cua is constantly looking for new technologies, partnerships, and solutions worldwide to sustain this growth. Mr. Cua knows that technology and service businesses are dynamic and continuously changing, so he invests in partnerships, people training, building infrastructure, sales, engineering, and project management capabilities to support growth and to prepare the company for any eventuality.

Throughout the many growth phases of AMTI, Mr. Cua’s vision has remained the same, relying on the ingenuity of Filipinos.

“Filipinos are great at technology. It’s been my calling to set up a strong and globally competitive business here so that our citizens don’t have to leave the country,” he said. “I believe there will come a time when they stop seeking opportunities outside the Philippines and instead focus on seeking greener pastures locally and being with their loved ones.”

The media sponsors of the Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines 2022 are BusinessWorld and the ABS-CBN News Channel. Gold Sponsors are SteelAsia Manufacturing Corp., Uratex, and Navegar. Silver Sponsors are Intellicare, OneWorld Alliance Logistics Corp., and Regan Industrial Sales, Inc.

The winners of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2022 will be announced on Nov. 21 in an awards banquet at the Grand Hyatt Manila. The winner will represent the country in the World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2023 in Monte Carlo, Monaco in June 2023. The Entrepreneur Of The Year program is produced globally by Ernst & Young (EY).

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