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DTA Exclusive Interview Series: Five for Five With Former APAC IT Director at PZ Cussons
July 9, 2021 News


The CxO Five for Five is Disruptive Tech Asean’s (DTA) exclusive interview series where we get Chief Executives from around the ASEAN region to answer rapid-fire questions on everything technology-related.

For this CxO Five for Five, we interviewed Maita Cabinian, former Regional IT Director and Asia SAP Deployment Lead at PZ Cussons, a healthcare products and consumer goods manufacturer headquartered in the UK. Maita also worked for Abbott Laboratories and Unilever Philippines, with professional experience in IT operations.

In over 30 years in the industry, Maita has led several business and IT transformation initiatives that have delivered double-digit growth and multimillion-dollar ROI. Maita is passionate about technology that will create business value and make the lives of people easier. Here are her takes on the questions:

1 – (Crystal Ball) – What is the top technology that you think will transform your business in the coming years?

Data Analytics (or Data Science) augmented by machine-learning and AI. Looking at companies that are thriving in this transforming digital world, they are clearly the ones that have managed to monetise data and treat it as a strategic asset, like Netflix, Amazon or Google. In the Consumer-Packaged-Goods (CPG) industry, there are so many players, both MNCs and local entrepreneurial entities, that companies need to evolve into digital entities that can draw on data to drive business value and use it as a strategic advantage through innovative decision making and improving operational processes. Using diverse types of structured and unstructured data, finding correlations and analysing trends will allow CPG companies to know what product innovations to invest in, how to reach customers faster, improve satisfaction and increase lifetime value.

2 – (Out to Pasture) – What technology do you think will phase out of your business?

Legacy on-premises servers and data centres. As cloud computing becomes more available, affordable and secure, companies no longer need to bear the high cost of managing their own infrastructure if it is not their core business.

3 – (Chatter Box) – What is the best collaboration tool?

Microsoft Teams and Office 365. Being able to share things we’re working on in real-time and meet anytime from anywhere, in a secure manner, has allowed us to truly drive collaboration both internally and with external partners. Using these tools, we have effectively broken down the barriers of working together across multiple locations and time zones.

4 – (Be Safe) – What is the biggest cybersecurity concern?

People! As new forms of viruses, malware, ransomware and other cybersecurity threats continue to crop up, our users and operators must be even more vigilant to take notice of even the littlest things that are out of the ordinary and take the appropriate preventive actions such as reporting these odd observations, scrutinising unsolicited messages, safeguarding their access, not clicking unfamiliar links, etc. No amount of technical prevention will secure an IT estate if the users and those responsible for maintaining it end up opening a door for these threats.

5 – (When I Grow Up) – If you hadn’t gone into tech, what would you do instead?

If I hadn’t gone into tech, I would either have had a career in marketing or taught in the academe. I like analysing people and understanding what makes them tick and complete a purchase but I am also passionate about sharing my knowledge and developing others, which is what a teacher essentially does.