When was the last time you bought products like food or electronics through an online app?
From the start of 2020 until the third quarter of 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a lot of people to stay indoors due to tight travel restrictions. Hence, the economy started going digital, with more Filipinos learning how to set up accounts so they can buy stuff online. In fact, according to global technology company Visa, around 52% of the Filipinos it surveyed started shopping online for the first time during the pandemic.
The large increase in the number of online sales transactions has led to the growth of the fintech industry.
Among the many giant fintech companies in the Philippines that help people pay for their goods or services through digital money is PayMaya, one of Eskwelabs’ company partners. Since this company deals with digital money, PayMaya has dealt with an extremely large volume of data related to customer profiles and purchases.
Do you want to know how PayMaya uses its large store of data to improve the way people buy their needs and wants online? Read on to learn more about this and some words of career wisdom from the company’s data governance head.
Did you know that the small but beautiful “maya” was once the official national bird of the Philippines?
Though this title has now been taken over by the big Philippine Eagle, the “maya” is making a comeback, at least in the world of financial technology. Though PayMaya does not mention its reasons for using the small bird’s name, like many companies, it is safe to say that PayMaya also wants to spread its wings towards growth and sustainable profits.
How does PayMaya strive to stay on top of the fintech industry?
Data has become a major business asset in the 21st century. Even PayMaya bases its growth-oriented decisions on the collection and analysis of data. For instance, the company has a data analytics team which works with both the marketing and product teams.
On the product side, everytime PayMaya launches a new way for customers to pay for goods or services, the company’s data analytics team is on high alert to make sure that data from clients are captured in a timely and organized manner. This is to ensure that figures like sales data and customer profiles are stored in systems for future reference. PayMaya’s data analysts process this stored information and cross references it with company key performance indicators (KPI) to check whether or not a new financial product is actually helping the company grow its profits or improve its standing in the industry.
Making a mark on marketing is another way that PayMaya’s analytics team contributes to the company’s development. The marketing team is in charge of promoting the fintech firm’s products to customers to help PayMaya achieve its KPIs. The company’s data analytics team, who is in charge of data collection, works with marketing in designing promotional campaigns. For example, if the marketing team needs to send out emails to promote a new product, the data analytics team provides the customers’ email addresses. The analytics team is also in charge of making sure that information like phone numbers and email addresses are consistent across the different information systems of the company (i.e. no conflicting or wrong addresses for a particular customer). This ensures that the marketing department sends the right message to the right people to put PayMaya on the right growth track.
PayMaya’s flight trajectory in the world of fintech has been impressive.
According to Statista, it holds 41.9% of the mobile wallet market in the Philippines as of 2020. In fact, only one other fintech enterprise beat it to the number one spot despite the fact that PayMaya is around three years younger compared to the top-ranking company.
The success PayMaya is enjoying can be partly attributed to the strength of the company’s data governance efforts. At the helm of this endeavor is Mel Valerio, the company’s Data Governance Head. Mel graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and a master’s degree in database administration from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. Prior to his stint at PayMaya, he was also the Data Governance Head of a handful of the country’s top financial and banking companies.
His top-notch credentials are only the tip of the iceberg. The insights he imparted to our Data Analytics Bootcamp learners are as noteworthy as his achievements.
According to Mel, data analysts should not merely collect and process data for business insights. For him, data analysts should promote the use of data and analytics throughout the business departments of a company. This ensures that a company’s data analytics team and those involved with the business are “speaking the same language.” In other words, the promotion of data literacy ensures that the people involved in operations and the members of the analytics team have a common understanding of business and technical terms.
Also part of data literacy advocacy is equipping the business departments with the right skills to perform simple data analysis. This imparting of data skills is important to ensure that there is no overdependence on the data analytics team (Mel calls this self-service analytics). The more self-sufficient the production team is in generating and analyzing its data, the more the data analytics team can focus on highly complex business intelligence work that is critical to helping the company in its policy-making and goal-setting. Aside from this, the business units within the company are also given a sense of empowerment in terms of handling data for better decision-making.
Data analytics in the Philippines is still in its early stages. Therefore, there is still a big room for improvement in terms of using analytics effectively to drive the country’s businesses and organizations forward.
Mel encourages Eskwelabs’ learners to start with small actions. He explains that data analysts should do what they can to transform their companies into an analytics-driven enterprise and not get stuck in “analysis paralysis.” He also advises our students to use the Agile Approach in innovating new data analytics capabilities for their future companies or workplaces. According to him, the use of this approach involves breaking up large-scale analytics goals into manageable chunks of short work periods called sprints. This ensures that, little by little, a company or organization gets closer to more effectively using analytics for better decision-making and growth.
Mel also emphasizes that success in data analytics cannot be achieved overnight, it is a journey. He assures our students that if they cultivate patience, maintain passion for data, enjoy the journey and focus on adding value to their prospective employers’ operations, they will succeed as data analysts.
Shifting to a career in data analytics can be scary for some people, especially for those who come from a non-technical job or academic background.
The talk Mel conducted in the presence of our Data Analytics Bootcamp learners is not one-sided. Like in any Fireside Chat we have with company partners, we have a Q and A section where our students can freely ask our resource speaker any relevant questions they have in mind.
In one of his responses to our students’ queries, Mel encouraged career shifters by sharing that he himself is a career shifter. He narrated that prior to his service as data governance head in financial companies, he was a semiconductor test engineer. Despite the big leap into a new career, he emphasized that he took the risk and kept on asking questions so he can learn and transition to a new job. Mel encouraged our career-shifting learners to develop the same spirit of risk-taking and bravery in asking even the seemingly stupid questions to help them succeed in their shift to a new role. He also advised our students that failure is okay as long as they learn from failure.
Mel also shared that even if it took him ten years to realize that he wanted a data-oriented job, it was one of the best decisions he ever made because the onset of COVID-19 emphasized the value of data in business or organizational operations. The fact that he mentioned that many organizations and businesses are on the way to digital transformation emphasizes how the pandemic became a catalyst in digitalization. This fact is confirmed by hard news from trusted sources. According to a 2020 survey featured in BusinessWorld, around 55% of Philippine small and medium enterprises in the study indicated being at the “very early stages of digital transformation.” This research was conducted when COVID-19 was at its peak.
Last but not least, Mel also stated that skills in data analytics opens up a diverse set of job opportunities.
Mel has been tasked to build and roll out company-wide data management standards, processes and policies for PayMaya. He does this in collaboration with teams involved in data engineering, business or data analytics, and data science.
In other words, he is at the center of PayMaya’s data-driven transformation towards business growth and development.
Do you want to be a part of a career story as rewarding and influential as that of Mel? If your heart says yes to this question, perhaps you can take a look at what our data bootcamps offer to help you transition into a career in data analytics and data science.
Our 8-week (now 9-week) Data Analytics Bootcamp and our 12-week (now 15-week) Data Science Fellowship offer engaging and industry-relevant education to help our learners transition to a new role and increase their chances of landing a job after graduation. Lectures are complemented with close guidance from our mentors to ensure that none of our learners are left behind. Aside from this, all our classes are online for the convenience of those who are working yet want to study for career growth.
Our two bootcamps also give our learners the chance to work, earn, and learn right after graduation through our Industry Apprenticeship. Unlike the traditional on-the-job training model found in many colleges and universities in the Philippines, this apprenticeship happens after graduation and is a paid endeavor.
Like Mel mentioned in his Fireside Chat, risk-taking is one of the best ways to successfully jump to a rewarding career. If you decide to take a chance with us, click on the links below and see how rewarding data science and analytics can be and how money should not be an issue in pursuing your career goals.
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