First Vice President
Information Technology Group
Philippine Business Bank
Keith Chan will be speaking at the Asian Financial Congress held at Marina Bay Sands Singapore on 27-28 February. If you are interested in attending, please visit the Asian Financial Congress website for details.
Keith Chan has been leading the Philippine Business Bank's IT Group for the last 10 years of his more than 20-year-long career in IT. Among his latest accomplishments there have been the successful implementation of Software as a Service for the Philippine Business Bank's SWIFT electronic payment system in the country way back in 2010, and most recently, the virtualization of the bank's data centre. Chan was recently named one of Asia's top information executives in banking by IDC Financial Insights.
What are your business and ICT priorities for the next 12-24 months?
Actually we just completed virtualization of our data center as part of our IT optimization efforts and we are planning to put this into full utilization this year.
What investments in technology or initiatives do you have planned or underway?
Improvement and addition to channels, data warehousing (for analytics) and regulatory compliance.
Tell us about SWIFT on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). What special challenges did you face with the project?
First was in gaining acceptance of the emerging technology being used. It is not the usual server/data center set up. With SaaS, all you need is a workstation and Internet connection. Even the business users were uneasy about the fact that we have no servers for the application.
Another was in the matter of control of the system. Although we have user access control, the system is running outside the bank. We don't have control over the uptime of the system. But that is addressed through a clear SLA, KPIs and regular incident reports from the SaaS provider.
Disaster recovery proved to be also a challenge. However, the SaaS provider performs annual drills. That goes to some lengths to assure us.
Yet one more issue was that of working with the regulators at the onset of the project-that was because guidelines on cloud computing were not that clear at the time.
What enhancements have you made to the existing system since then?
We put the system into production in 2010. There was a mandatory upgrade from version 6 to version 7 but the SaaS provider took care of the testing and set up. We participated in the UAT and after that on March 2012, the SaaS provider switched to the version 7 overnight. The operations were handled by the SaaS provider.