Gokongwei Group Secures Its Digital Future with a Full Migration to the Cloud

Partnerships with ePLDT, Infosys & Microsoft power the group’s digital transformation

In strategizing for its future, the Gokongwei Group, one of the largest Filipino conglomerates, recognized the incredible value and impact cloud computing would have on their businesses. The myriad benefits of migration to the cloud include improving the group’s agility, increasing the efficiency of their business processes, building trust, reliability, and empowering them to innovate in the years ahead.

The digital transformation of the Gokongwei Group, composed of JG Summit Holdings, Robinsons Retail Holdings, and Summit Media, started in 2018, with a holistic data center modernization project that saw JG Summit Holdings migrating its main data center in the Philippines to the cloud. The following year, in 2019, JG Summit announced a strategic partnership with Infosys and Microsoft as part of its digital transformation journey.

“The Gokongwei Group has been a part of the Philippines’ history since our founding in 1957. We’ve served our community for many years, and we endeavor to continue doing so well into the future,” said Carlos G. Santos, chief information officer of JG Summit Holdings. “Our vision and purpose have steadfastly remained – an unrelenting commitment to provide our customers with better choices, creating shared success with our stakeholders. We knew that achieving that requires an entrepreneurial mindset, and our ambition needed to be on a foundation of integrity. Which is why when it came to digitalizing the organization, across all companies, we knew it needed to be through Microsoft Azure, the industry’s most trusted and comprehensive cloud offering.”

Microsoft Azure is the foundation of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud and intelligent edge strategy, providing the cloud services, developer tools, scale, and security needed to businesses of all sizes – from startups to large enterprises – no matter where they are in their cloud journey. More than 95% of Fortune 500 companies choose Azure.

When the pandemic hit, the Gokongwei Group was ahead of the curve. Through easy and secure collaboration powered by Microsoft 365, their hybrid workforce was able to ensure business continuity where needed, stay focused on their customer needs, and provide improved service – all while staying safe.

Research by The Economist shares that 72% of business decision makers across private and public sectors reported an acceleration of their industry’s pace of transformation during the pandemic.

Digital transformation, once an imperative to gain a competitive edge, became a key to business resilience and transformation. By migrating to Azure, the Gokongwei Group was able to pivot toward becoming a digital company, future-proofing each of their distinct business units.

Besides its collaboration with Microsoft and Infosys, the Gokongwei Group brought in another information technology partner, ePLDT, to help achieve its greater digital transformation ambition. With the combined support and guidance from industry experts, the group completed its cloud migration at the end of 2021.

ePLDT, the information and communication technologies arm of PLDT Enterprise, provided the colocation services at its VITRO Data Center, which enables the Gokongwei Group to host their critical IT infrastructure in a world-class data center facility.

Transformation by the Numbers

“We are thrilled to be a strategic partner in the Gokongwei Group’s drive of constantly innovating its operations to answer the growing and changing demands of the market. On behalf of PLDT Enterprise, we thank the Gokongwei Group for trusting us to be part of their end-to-end digital transformation journey through our VITRO Data Center colocation services. We express our utmost commitment to continuously invest in world-class infrastructure and industry-leading expertise to serve their evolving needs,” said Jojo Gendrano, FVP and Head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise.

Infosys, a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting, was crucial in both formulating and executing the Gokongwei Group’s transformation strategy. This involved migrating various data centers across multiple business units into a single unified Microsoft Azure-based platform and upgrading the group's SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to SAP S/4HANA. The Gokongwei Group is one of only a few organizations in the market to have completed this, considered the biggest migration of its kind to the cloud of any Philippine-based company.

"We are delighted to collaborate with the Gokongwei Group in their digital transformation journey. Our expertise in digital technologies backed by decades of experience in navigating the business landscape will definitely bring in a lot of synergy that will help them realize their vision of long-term digital transformation. We are proud to help the Gokongwei Group enhance their business journey as they seek to positively impact more consumers across the Asia-Pacific region in the future," said Karmesh Vaswani, executive vice president and global head of the Consumer, Retail & Logistics business unit at Infosys. 

Expounding on Microsoft’s role in the Gokongwei Group’s digital transformation, Sandy Gupta, vice president of Sales, Marketing, and Operations at Microsoft Asia Pacific, noted, “The Gokongwei Group and their industry-defining transformation has elevated them into an enterprise of tomorrow, which is crucial as the digital and traditional economy continue to be on a growth trajectory.” He added, “Together, Gokongwei Group and Microsoft are empowering every person and every organization in the Philippines, through innovation and digital transformation to build an inclusive, economic society. Our customers can trust that we will never compete against them. We’re not a search company; we’re not a retailer. We are an enterprise technology company.”

Moving forward, Infosys and Microsoft are working with the Gokongwei Group to use artificial intelligence to drive monitoring and operations control, which aims to increase productivity for the company in the coming years. With the Gokongwei Group’s drive to innovate, the company is a step closer to its goal of becoming the first truly digital conglomerate in the Philippines.