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In this insightful interview with Mercury Global Reports, Mharicar Castillo-Reyes, President and CEO of Asticom Technology Inc., provides a comprehensive overview of the company’s evolution and its commitment to transformative digital solutions. From its modest beginnings in 2015, Asticom has emerged as a powerhouse in the Philippines, offering a range of digital-first services across multiple sectors.

MGR: Can you provide an overview of the core services and expertise that Asticom offers?

Mharicar Reyes: Let’s rewind to the inception of Asticom a few years ago. Originally established to tackle workforce challenges faced by Globe, Ayala, and other companies, our primary mission is to create opportunities for people by providing them with meaningful employment and enhanced benefits. In March 2015, Asticom Technology started with just five employees, including myself. 

Over our eight-year journey, we have expanded into several entities, offering diverse digital-first solutions. Asticom covers multiple verticals such as tech-enabled business process outsourcing including software development and custom build solutions; engineering outsourcing catering to the telecom, renewable energy, and facilities management sectors; talent outsourcing for both tech and non-tech talents; and our very own talent tech platform, NXT, promoting flexible job opportunities.

Asticom is the Digital Shared Services and Outsourcing arm of the Globe Group, the leading digital solutions platform in the Philippines. With a united front, we’ve achieved remarkable milestones, including serving over 200 clients across 40+ industries, such as fintech, health-tech, e-commerce, and banking and finance. Our continuous exploration of technology solutions reflects our commitment to making a substantial impact on the businesses we serve and the individuals we support.

Highlighting our expertise in people, business, and technology, we continue to receive both local and international recognition. Securing a position as one of the Philippines’ Best Employers for 2023 and 2024 by Statista, a global data and business intelligence platform. Our efforts to upskill Filipino telecom practitioners earned us the title of Technical Training Initiative of the Year at the Asian Telecom Awards. SSON (Shared Services & Outsourcing Network) and the Asian Technology Excellence Awards recognized our initiatives in Automation, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence. Both the Asia CEO Awards and the Asia Leaders Awards acknowledged the leadership within Asticom. In 2023 alone, Asticom has garnered more than 20 awards and recognitions, proving our unwavering commitment to excellence across all facets of our operations.

In 2022, Asticom surpassed our PHP3-billion revenue mark, with a 5,000-strong workforce, making meaningful impact on the lives of our fellow Filipinos. Looking forward, we aim to generate 15,000 jobs within the next five years, reinforcing our steadfast commitment to improving the lives of the people we serve.

MGR: Given the dynamic landscape of technology in the ASEAN region, how does Asticom plan to expand its footprint in other ASEAN countries?

Mharicar Reyes: Leveraging our strong footprint in our home country, where we are recognized for delivering high-quality services supported by advanced technology platforms and a skilled workforce, Asticom is poised to extend its impact to serve more businesses beyond the Philippine shores. The country’s pool of highly skilled and English-proficient talents, particularly in communications and tech, positions us as a valuable resource in the regional market.

Our expansion approach focuses on seeking strategic partners and clients in key markets to accelerate growth through innovative opportunities. Current discussions with potential partners in the wider APAC region which covers countries in the ASEAN region exemplify our commitment to this growth.

Acknowledging the importance of regional know-how, we are well-equipped to serve more businesses across the region, with a deep understanding of both the people and the business dynamics. Our strategic partnerships with tech companies, headquartered across the globe, from locations like the United States to India, enhance our capabilities, facilitating customized solutions for our clients.

At the heart of our expansion efforts is the recognition of Filipino talents’ potential to excel in the regional market. Asticom provides a bridge to a pool of highly skilled Filipino individuals with a workforce of over 5,000 experienced professionals in the fields of information technology, engineering, human resources, as well as sales, and marketing. We are dedicated to providing exposure and opportunities beyond our shores, aligning with our mission to improve people’s lives. As part of our digital transformation, we leverage tech-outsourced solutions from custom build to end-to-end software and hardware solutions.

Asticom is not only evolving with industry trends but also proactively shaping them. We are excited about the journey ahead, and confident that our initiatives will not only elevate Asticom as a leading provider of shared services in the ASEAN landscape but also contribute to the broader goal of transforming businesses and improving people’s lives across the region.

Asticom CEO, Mharicar Castillo-Reyes

At Asticom, we firmly believe that empowering and supporting our workforce is the key to assisting businesses in achieving lasting success and prosperity. 

Mharicar Castillo-Reyes

MGR: Could you elaborate on Asticom’s collaborations with Japanese companies? Are there any ongoing or upcoming projects with Japanese partners?

Mharicar Reyes: While we haven’t yet established formal partnerships in Japan, it’s a strategically important market for us, as we aim to serve more businesses in the entire Asia Pacific (APAC) region. With Japan being one of the most dynamic markets in the region, they are surely on our radar for future partnership explorations.

This interest stems from our firm belief in the power of strategic collaborations. For us, they’re not just agreements, but vital catalysts that elevate our services and customer experiences. As a company, we champion innovative collaborations where the exchange of ideas and best practices fuels not only service improvement but also market reach expansion. 

An illustration of this is our 2021 acquisition of an HR tech company from Ayala Corporation. This move significantly broadened our portfolio in human capital management, customer relationship management, and custom-build and software development, enabling us to cater to a wider and more diverse customer base.

Similarly, our expansive network at Asticom spans various industries, forming a cohesive powerhouse that ensures stability, quality, and the ability to consistently exceed customer expectations across sectors. This foundation of expertise and adaptability serves as a springboard for future collaborations, including those in the promising APAC market.

We are actively exploring potential collaborations and entry strategies in the wider region. We’re confident that our shared values of quality, innovation, and long-term commitment, combined with our proven track record of successful partnerships, position us well for building mutually beneficial relationships with these businesses. We remain open to exploring exciting connections and suggestions, and we look forward to announcing meaningful collaborations in the near future. 

MGR: Looking ahead, what is Asticom’s vision for the future, especially in terms of technological innovation and service offerings?

Mharicar Reyes: Asticom’s vision for the future is deeply intertwined with the transformative power of technology, particularly Automation, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence within the shared services and outsourcing landscape. These advancements are not just tools; they are catalysts for us to revolutionize service delivery, enhance efficiency, and deliver unparalleled value to our customers, especially as we eye to serve more businesses in the APAC market.

Such a push for the integration of these emerging technologies is anchored on the opportunities that lie within the shared services and outsourcing spheres. In the area of talent outsourcing, data-driven and automated recruitment sees opportunities. Similarly, business process outsourcing saw increasing growth in Conversational AI, AI Financial Insighting, AI for Code Development, and AI Performance Management. Likewise, in the engineering outsourcing space, AI-based energy management systems, Workplace AI, Occupancy Sensory, and AI-powered EV Infrastructure are all projected to grow in the coming years.

We’re already applying these technologies in exciting ways. Our custom-built solutions in project management tools exemplify this, reducing manual workload and enabling self-healing automation for streamlined processes and cost reduction. We’re also harnessing data to gain deeper customer insights, anticipate their needs, and optimize resource allocation, ensuring we’re always one step ahead in meeting their evolving demands. And, we’re customizing tech solutions to specific client needs and industry landscapes, offering tailor-fit service offerings across diverse industries.

Finally, in embracing these advancements, we never lose sight of the human element. Our AI and automation efforts are designed to empower our passionate workforce, freeing them from tedious tasks and allowing them to focus on strategic efforts and building meaningful connections with our customers. We believe technology unlocks human potential, and this ethos guides our path and drives us toward growth.

MGR: Additionally, if there’s a message you would like to convey to potential clients, partners, or the tech community in Japan and the ASEAN region, what would that be?

Mharicar Reyes: To our potential clients, partners, and the tech community in the ASEAN-Japan region, our message is rooted in our commitment to people, innovation, and purpose. At Asticom, we firmly believe that empowering and supporting our workforce is the key to assisting businesses in achieving lasting success and prosperity. 

Investing in our people is not just a strategic choice; it’s a fundamental belief that drives sustained growth, not only within our organization but also within the broader business landscape. Our commitment to create a positive impact on individuals, businesses, and communities, is founded in our belief that leadership is about caring for people, helping them discover meaning and purpose in their work, and fostering a culture of growth and development.

In the field of tech and innovation, we are actively exploring the transformative power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other cutting-edge technologies. Our vision is not only to embrace these technologies but also to contribute to the economic recovery of our country. Through the strategic use of tech and innovation, including AI, we aim to streamline processes, automate routine work, and shift our focus towards more strategic endeavors.

To make the most of these emerging technologies, we have set clear goals, established a robust foundation, invested in the right tools, and aligned our processes with our business objectives. This approach ensures that we are well-prepared to face challenges and maximize the return on investment in our digital transformation initiatives.

Moreover, leaders should emphasize the importance of having a clear vision and purpose. Our role is to provide a guiding vision for the company, setting clear objectives on where we want to go and what we aim to achieve. Aligning with this vision is a clear sense of purpose, serving as the north star of the company. Why we do what we do today is intricately linked with our personal values and our overarching purpose of improving the lives of our fellow Filipinos through digital transformation.

In the world of ever-evolving technologies, particularly AI, we envision a future where technology and human connection coexist harmoniously. By putting people first, we strive to create a future where technological advancements are anchored in the well-being and growth of individuals. This, we believe, is the heart of our commitment to improving lives through the seamless integration of technology and human values.

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