On the edge of Philippine innovation

On the edge of Philippine innovation

By Bjorn Biel M. Beltran, Special Features and Content Assistant Editor

When Integrated Computer Systems, Inc. (ICS) started out in 1978, computers were still a relatively new thing in the Philippines. No one, except for those who had a mind towards technology and innovation such as those in the company, knew how much this technology would change the world.

ICS was among the first to adopt and offer computing products and services, effectively becoming one of the pioneers of the microcomputing business in the Philippines, a field of expertise that very few understood at the time.

When it originally began operations, the company was known for being RadioShack’s official country distributor. An essential pillar of computer history, RadioShack had expanded its business overseas from the United States, contributing much to the spread of the technology in the 1970s and 1980s.

ICS President George Barcelon receiving a recognition award from IBM in the 1990s

At the time, ICS’ reputation became known based on the pillars of quality service and dedication to excellence it provided its customers, and that image has only grown alongside the company as it has kept up with technological advancements over the years.

By providing worry-free, around-the-clock premium services to its rapidly expanding clientele, ICS set the gold standard for deploying servers and productivity applications throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

In the 2000s, ICS had already become a major force in the computing industry, providing state-of-the-art storage, unified communications, security, networking, virtualization, printing, and even power and cooling infrastructure to some of the largest companies in the country.

When new technologies emerge, ICS is usually right on its heels. ICS has kept pace with the rapid development of technology and has applied its long-honored technical principles to deliver the latest and most innovative solutions in cloud computing, mobility, and business solutions.

(From left) ICS Senior Vice-President William Chua and ICS President George Barcelon

Fast-forward to today, as the company celebrates its 45th year of business, ICS maintains this level of commitment to bring to the country the latest and most cutting edge of technologies for businesses and individual consumers alike.

“ICS has always strived to be a trusted and preferred choice for corporate IT needs, a vision that we have been working towards for the past 45 years. Our motto of ‘Integrity, Commitment & Service’ is at the core of our dealings with both principals and clients,” said ICS President George T. Barcelon.

Even during the pandemic, when technological innovation was at its fastest, spurred by international government restrictions and difficulties, ICS recognizes its role in empowering Filipino businesses with the technology to stay ahead during challenging times.

“The pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital platforms. At ICS, we recognize the increased importance of managed services, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and business continuity.”

Due to this accelerated rate of adoption, the world is changing faster than ever before as a result of the widespread adoption of digital technology and computing across virtually all industries. Digital transformation is sweeping sectors and lifestyles, with everything from banking to grocery shopping being automated, digitized, or made available in some way over the internet.

ICS, a corporation that has been at the forefront of innovation for 45 years, seeks to capitalize on this opportunity to continue to grow as the leading provider of tech products and services in the country.

“Our vision for the post-pandemic world is to continue to upskill and reskill our workforce and provide innovative and reliable IT solutions. We are committed to leveraging technology to drive growth and innovation while maintaining our core values,” Mr. Barcelon added.

“We are pleased with the current performance of our company, especially given the challenges we’ve faced in recent years. The pandemic forced us to adapt quickly to remote work and find new ways to provide our clients with the innovative IT solutions they need. Despite these challenges, we have sustained growth and further strengthened our relationships with clients.”

A partner in digital transformation

ICS’ consistent offering of a comprehensive suite of products, systems, and solutions for many years has been one of the reasons for its success, catering to the needs of both existing and prospective customers.

The company’s long-term success can be attributed to its ability to adapt to changing market conditions while continuing to build and nurture strong relationships with its clientele. ICS has spent years cultivating these connections, which has earned the company not only the trust of the industry but also the respect of its peers and the acclaim of some of the most prestigious names in information technology.

As a partner of ICS since August 2021, just a year after the agency went online, the Philippine Space Agency noted that “ICS provided us with a wide range of general and specialized IT needs as we jump-started our operations, striking the right balance between quality and cost.”

“ICS provided us sufficient guidance as we implement our HPC, private cloud and enterprise network infrastructure, offering top-of-the-line products and delivering high-quality services,” the agency added.

As a major player in the Philippine financial industry, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) highlighted the importance of companies like ICS to their development.

“Digitization is a key focus of the industry today, and among the many characteristics required by an organization to achieve this, the critical are: a sense of commitment and urgency, domain expertise and synergy,” the bank said in a statement. “RCBC has had a long-term relationship with ICS and in every acquisition, implementation, and service provided by ICS, it has always shown these strengths that have contributed to the success of these engagements.”

The bank considers ICS as “a key pillar in our engagements,” from the know-how of the small and medium businesses ICS works with across a broad spectrum of technologies, their project management skills, to their negotiation skills with various industry principals.

“The pandemic had brought about disruption in existing processes that were set up for vendor engagement and project delivery. ICS was able to adapt to these disruptions quickly and come up with engagement models which took into consideration the various constraints imposed due to the pandemic,” the bank also shared, noting that ICS had been integral to the success of RCBC’s various projects to fulfill the growing unprecedented demands for digital financial services.

“As part of the financial industry, which was one of the designated frontliners during the pandemic, RCBC was a leader in ensuring minimal disruption to the financial services we provide our customers; and ICS has been one of the partners we are proud to have been associated with, whose support made this possible,” RCBC concluded.

Gabriel Louie H. Cubelo, IT field support senior manager Southeast Asia at international service company Majorel’s office in the Philippines, lauded ICS for consistently supplying premium products they can rely on, especially during challenging times like the pandemic.

“Our clients demand the best from Majorel, and ICS is one of our partners to ensure we deliver our commitment to them. ICS has been our rock for premium products for the past several years,” he said.

“This partnership was further tested during the pandemic when resources were scarce. ICS understands the very fast-paced timelines of the BPO industry and has moved mountains to ensure we get our orders on time,” he added.

Roberto Pe Benito, Jr., chief finance officer at Teleperformance, said, “Our business and processes have always been changing, coupled by the pandemic, it made the market situation even more complex. We are glad to have a reliable, customer-centric partner that has helped us get through those difficult times.”

Solid relationships

ICS at the HPE Philippines Partner Appreciation Night last February: (from L-R): Jessica Powell-Bragas, Channels, Partner Ecosystem & Commercial Sales Country Leader, HPE; Mary Anne Felix, PMD-AVP, ICS; Lailah Dizon, Product Manager, ICS; Loh Khai Peng, Vice-President, Account Management, APAC & Managing Director, Growth & Emerging Markets (GEMs), HPE; William Chua, SVP, ICS; and Adel Sy-Lu, VP, ICS

Dave David, procurement manager at HR platform Savii, pointed out how he has maintained an exceptional working relationship with ICS over the years.

“I’ve been a client of ICS since 2017. Handling Procurement, I have always considered ICS as my go-to supplier for IT solutions. Even when I moved to a different company, I always maintained my relationship with ICS as they provided competitive pricing and superb customer service,” Mr. David shared.

Lloyd Chuah, country IT infrastructure manager at 3M Philippines, Inc., echoed the sentiment: “Our journey with ICS started when our partner for our office printing solutions chose them to take over the project that we have globally. With our evolving requirements, they were able to provide other products that fit our budget and needs. When there came a time again that our global partner could not serve the country and gave us choices to partner locally, we chose ICS again since we know that they have delivered and we have worked with them for so long.”

This excellent working relationship extends to ICS’ partner suppliers as well. Ronnie Latinazo, country manager at Dell Technologies Philippines, said, “For nearly two decades, ICS’ continued commitment and reliability has been a cornerstone of our partnership. We share common values, anchored on excellence, commitment and focus on serving our customers, and maintain open and transparent communications.”

“Transparency and integrity have always been and continue to be the foundation of our strong and long partnership with ICS. ICS has helped grow the customer base, extend our reach to more customers, and further strengthen Dell Technologies as a trusted brand in the Philippines.”

Meanwhile, Christian Edmond Reyes, managing director of HP Philippines and Pakistan, said, “ICS has been one of the longest HP partners for 29 years and has been key to the success of HP Philippines since we started operating in 1994.”

“As one of the longest MVC (Most Valued Customer) partners and one of the first partners to offer supplies business online, ICS has always been among the early adopters of HP’s programs and initiatives. I’m proud of the strong relationship we have built for years, and I’m looking forward to our continued journey toward sustainable growth!”

Veronica “Bambi” Escalante, managing director of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) in the country, described their longstanding relationship with ICS, and how the company has allowed them to deliver a wide range of their technologies to its customers in various industries.

“At the heart of our partnership lies a commitment to helping customers reimagine and redefine their daily operations, unlock value, and accelerate digital transformation. We believe that by working together, we have the power to make a significant impact on the technological landscape of the Philippines,” she said.

“It is through our joint efforts that we have been able to provide our customers with tailored solutions that meet their unique business needs. Whether it’s through servers, storage, or networking solutions, we are confident in ICS’ ability to deliver the latest and most innovative HPE products to our clients. As we move forward into the future, we look forward to continuing our partnership with ICS and exploring new ways in which we can help our customers achieve their business goals.”

For Walter So, country manager of VMWare Philippines, their strategic partnership with ICS has provided the cloud computing company with access to ICS’ expertise and knowledge in the IT industry. This partnership has also enabled them to extend their reach and effectively serve a broader customer base.

On top of these, Mr. So added, ICS has been instrumental to delivering VMWare’s comprehensive solutions tailored to specific business needs.

“Their in-depth understanding of the industry and their ability to align VMware’s technologies have been invaluable. With ICS’ support, we have successfully implemented VMware’s multi-cloud solutions, enabling clients to optimize their IT infrastructure, enhance operational efficiency, achieve cost savings and enjoy the flexibility of cloud anywhere, whether private, public or on-premise,” Mr. So said.

He looks forward for this partnership to deepen through venturing to new areas of collaboration that go beyond product offerings.

“We foresee engaging in joint initiatives such as knowledge sharing, training programs, and co-marketing activities to enhance awareness and adoption of VMWare’s technologies,” Mr. So shared.

What sets ICS apart as an IT solutions provider is this commitment to quality, to seeing its partners through issues from end to end, a commitment that has been constant from the company’s foundation.

ICS President George Barcelon

“At ICS, we are confident that we can keep up with the rapid pace of technological advancements. With the full support of our principals and the dedication of our team, we are well-equipped to handle changes as they happen and provide innovative solutions to our clients,” Mr. Barcelon said.

“We are committed to staying up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies and investing in the training and development of our team to ensure that we can continue to provide exceptional service and solutions to our clients.”