I’ve come to rely on technology so much that I use it to pay my bills, interact with friends on social media, and book flights and accommodations when I travel. Life has become so convenient that I even use tech to find dates! Yes, it’s like we’re living in a Black Mirror episode except this one has a happy ending.
The process of businesses using the power of technology is called digital transformation (DX). In a nutshell, digital transformation aims to make organizations more efficient, agile, and offer a user-friendly experience for its customers. Through digital transformation, we don’t have to fall in line in a bank to make deposits or go to a travel agency to find tickets.
In the Philippines, the leading figure in digital transformation is Myla Villanueva, who has helped businesses harness the potential of technology. In the past, she has helped brands like the Social Security System (SSS) and Smart Communications to find better ways to serve its customers.
Today, Villanueva runs Micro-D International, Inc. (MDI) as the chief executive officer, where she advocates for digital transformation. She believes that a great customer experience is hinged on the DX trinity: design, the physical space, and the brand’s aspirations.
It may sound like a lot of tech mumbo-jumbo, but DX affects everyone. Do you shop online? Do you have food delivered to you? Do you look forward to recommendations on titles based on your viewing history on Netflix? All those are the result of good DX.
One of the latest examples of digital transformation is MDI’s partnership with Unionbank of the Philippines. Together, they created The ARK, a new retail and banking hub in Makati.
At first sight, it looks like a lounge or even a hotel lobby. When you enter, you see a large marble counter where the brand ambassadors greet you. Around the space are couches, tables for small groups, and even a coffee bar. The last thing you’ll think about is that the place is actually a fully-functioning bank! Through digital transformation, you can do all your banking needs while lounging around with a cup of joe (another important thing, at least for me, is that there’s a clean restroom).
The experience starts when you approach any of the touch-screen TVs around the walls or use one of the provided iPads. From there, you can do all of your transactions on your own without having to deal with lines or slow ticketing systems.
I visited last week to apply for a credit card. As a frequent traveler, I felt like I needed a card that will reward me with points every time I use it (I’m also a heavy Grab user, which is linked to my credit account). I applied for the Cebu Pacific GetGo Platinum card, which gives me one GetGo point for every P30 I spend using the card. I also get early access to Cebu Pacific promo fares, free five kilos of luggage, and access to the airport lounge and priority check-in!
It took me only 10 minutes to apply. I did everything on my own but I was patiently assisted by Angel, one of their ambassadors. Even if The Ark is driven by digital transformation, good DX is complemented by the human touch. And for those worried that it will render human employees useless, Unionbank has trained staff and created new jobs for employees whose roles have been automated.
I spent the rest of the time enjoying my latte, but I saw that there’s a VR device for people to use. Those who need to do quick transactions can be assisted by the virtual teller in the ATM that’s open 24/7.
As I looked around the well-designed space, I really believe that I was in an episode of Black Mirror. The plot twist? Technology isn’t that scary and banking can be a painless experience.
The ARK is located at the Insular Life Building, Ayala Avenue cor. Paseo de Roxas, Makati City. This story is in partnership with MDI. For more information, visit the official website.
All photos provided by MDI.