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As the COVID-19 pandemic changes consumer behaviour and puts increasing pressure on traditional business models digital transformation has never been more important. But to reap the benefits, organisations must seamlessly integrate applications, data, and devices. This requires an organisation-wide API integration strategy.

In the financial services sector, digital transformation provides vast opportunity for innovative companies to use an API-led strategy to build consumer and merchant networks that will drive economic development across ASEAN.

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This is not solely the responsibility of IT but requires a company-wide commitment to innovation. This is why we’ve built innovation into the DNA of PayMaya. Our vision extends beyond introducing a simple e-wallet into the under-served Philippines market — where around 77% of our adult population are unbanked and 97% un-carded.

Rather, we’re building a digital payment ecosystem that will bring millions of customers into the digital economy and give thousands of merchants the tools they need to build their businesses.

We are sitting on the edge of a huge untapped market and have already onboarded millions of customers onto our platform.

We’re focused on merchants too — only around 1% of the Philippines’ 1.4 million businesses have an online presence and online payment acceptance capability. PayMaya enables merchants to accept all forms of digital payments, and at the end of 2019, we were processing hundreds of billions of pesos in gross transaction volume.    

But we’re not stopping there. By the end of 2020, we aim to triple our monthly active users and gross transaction volume. We know that kind of growth isn’t achieved by accident — it requires a company-wide commitment. For us, that means building scalability into everything we do. We use MuleSoft to integrate our IT and engineering architecture and a layer of APIs to support our business and create a seamless experience for our customers at scale.

It surprises me that so many businesses in ASEAN have yet to recognise the need for a company-wide integration strategy. According to the MuleSoft’s 2020 Connectivity Benchmark Report, ASEAN companies are among the least likely (8%) in the world to report that their organisation has a company-wide strategy for API integration.

At the same time, 94% of respondents stated that data siloes are creating business challenges, while the same proportion also admit that integration challenges are slowing digital transformation. This is having obvious impacts at the coalface with only 18% of ASEAN IT leaders delivering all projects asked of them last year.

These findings are certainly in line with my market observations. I recently reconnected with colleagues from a former employer that is one of the large conglomerates in the Philippines. I asked them how they manage integration, and I was shocked to learn that they are still using a point-to-point integration model with little to no API use. The company has the resources to develop a company-wide integration strategy, so I’m forced to wonder if innovation is part of the company culture. Do they have the right mindset to drive the company into the future?

This is by no means a unique position. Many of the companies I speak to are also still following project-to-project integrations with no real company-wide strategy and no API reuse.   

At PayMaya, we’re the opposite. As we grow the business today we need to prepare for the scale up. And support for that scale up is already built into our company-wide integration strategy and therefore into every business solution we implement.

We are building APIs that are reusable, which enables us to easily expand capacity while improving productivity and efficiency. We are not satisfied to become just another financial services provider. Our mindset is to become a complete technology company. To achieve that, we are preparing not just for today but for the future as well.

Download the full MuleSoft 2020 Connectivity Benchmark Report for more insights.