Published on February 16, 2024, 11:30 pm

At the recent Future Enterprises Awards 2022, Maria Beatriz “Abet” Adversalo emerged victorious, claiming the CIO of the Year award for her exceptional contributions to Malayan Insurance’s Digital Transformation Program (DXI). Malayan’s DXI initiative encompasses a range of tech solutions like web applications, portals, APIs, OCR/RPA automation, analytics, and cloud services. Notably, this comprehensive strategy led to significant outcomes such as digitalized policy issuance premiums skyrocketing to Php475M in 2021 (796% increase from 2020) and API-based premiums reaching Php742M in 2021 (484% higher than 2020). Moreover, the implementation of robotization saved 114K man-hours by streamlining processes and resulted in annual savings of Php9M through prudent software subscription management practices.

In addition to her role as CIO, Adversalo has taken on the responsibility of being Malayan’s Customer Experience (CX) Champion. She also leads the Malayan Innov8 Squad and actively participates in various IT organizations such as IT Interaction Philippines and the Philippine Insurers’ and Reinsurers’ Association (PIRA).

FutureCIO had an insightful conversation with Adversalo not only about her achievements at Malayan Insurance but also about her perspective on technology adoption, inclusivity, and navigating the path to becoming a successful CIO in 2023.

Abet Adversalo shared that before her tenure at Malayan Insurance, she accumulated 35 years of experience in IT roles within the insurance sector. She kickstarted her journey at Malayan by spearheading the creation and integration of new web-based applications into the company’s existing systems while laying down a robust digital transformation roadmap.

When discussing challenges faced as a woman technologist, Adversalo expressed that she was fortunate to work in an environment that values gender equality. In fact, Malayan Insurance boasts a workforce where women make up 53%, showcasing a commitment to diversity and inclusivity across all levels.

Adopting new technologies is paramount for Adversalo; however, she stresses the importance of approaching innovations with a hint of skepticism. Her team actively explores emerging technologies through Proof of Concepts (POCs) provided by vendors to ensure seamless integration that aligns with business objectives.

Regarding selecting suitable technologies for the company, Adversalo highlighted the role of their Innov8 Squad in evaluating solutions that align with enterprise strategies. They emphasize conducting POCs to assess viability before moving forward with full-scale implementations or pilots.

In navigating regulatory compliance within a heavily regulated industry like insurance, Abet emphasized segregating resources dedicated to compliance projects from those involved in innovation initiatives. This separation ensures focused attention on both aspects without compromising on either front.

Moreover, addressing team cohesion and individual development within the IT department is crucial for Adversalo. She outlined various engagement programs like WIGOs meetings and cybersecurity drills aimed at fostering collaboration and personal growth among team members.

As sustainability gains prominence within leadership priorities globally, CIOs are expected to play pivotal roles in driving ESG initiatives within their organizations. Abet discussed how CIOs can influence ESG projects by steering them towards practical applications that contribute to societal well-being.

In parting advice for aspiring CIOs based on her experiences, Adversalo encouraged mastering data utilization, promoting experimentation while embracing failure as part of learning experiences. She also stressed creating focus times for deep thinking and urged embracing change over clinging onto outdated solutions for continued success in today’s rapidly evolving tech landscape. Lastly, recognizing one’s achievements along the journey was highlighted as a key aspect of self-motivation essential for sustained growth and progress in one’s career trajectory.

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