By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

CLOUD SERVICE provider Amazon Web Services (AWS), a subsidiary of the American multinational technology company, Amazon, is keen on helping more Philippine firms address technological and skills demands of the “new normal.”

“What we are focused on right now is helping our customers and partners in the Philippines not only to manage the unprecedented crisis, but also build future resilience by investing in the right technologies and right skills for their people to be future-ready,” Conor McNamara, AWS managing director for ASEAN, told BusinessWorld in a recent e-mailed reply to questions.

He said AWS has been working with its partners and local customers to respond to the ongoing pandemic crisis.

The immediate focus when the pandemic unfolded, he said, was to help businesses communicate and keep their services functioning.

He noted cloud services have been supporting industry needs in various ways — “from supporting accelerated research and development in healthcare, to enabling enterprises to rapidly scale remote work options to employees and provide secure virtual workspaces, to supporting education institutions deploy online learning, to helping startups develop innovative applications.”

An example in the Philippines is UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc., which shared that AWS’s services have allowed 85% of its employees to work from home during the pandemic.

“With AWS, UnionBank is also able to ensure the security of its customers’ data, reduce backup time from eight to two hours, offer annual cost savings of $380,500 for storage, save 75% of data retrieval time, and facilitate more strategic work roles for its IT team,” Mr. McNamara explained.

He added UnionBank was able to garner 250,000 new accounts, 90% of which were accessed from digital channels with the help of AWS.

AWS has also powered fintech startup PearlPay to offer Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) core banking software to rural banks.

The company enabled rural banks working with PearlPay the ability to handle “50 concurrent users and up to one million accounts and transactions at a much reduced and affordable cost ($99/month),” he said.

“PearlPay is now looking to migrate over 200 core banking systems to its platform,” Mr. McNamara added.

AWS also offers support to small and medium enterprises through credits, technical support, and training.

“Since June 2019, Amazon has provided more than $1 billion in AWS credits to help startups accelerate their growth and development as they build their businesses. We also offer extensive cost optimization services to our customers. AWS has reduced the prices of our products and services 85 times since we launched in 2006, our team members are actually tasked with reducing a startup customer’s cloud bill, ensuring startups make the most economically efficient use of our services,” Mr. McNamara said.

The company offered no-cost usage of its productivity tools such as Amazon Chime, Amazon WorkSpaces, and Amazon WorkDocs until Sept. 30, he noted.