Always dreaming big dreams

Juan Victor Hernandez, first vice president and head, PLDT Alpha Enterprise. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI

Juan Victor Hernandez, first vice president and head, PLDT Alpha Enterprise. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI

As the saying goes, there is no one straight road to success. Some climb the corporate ladder the traditional way, while others take a more circuitous route. But while people might come from diverse backgrounds, there are some things in common among those that make it to the top. In corporate evolution, these people are what are known as alpha males and females. According to Juan Victor “Jovy” Hernandez, this is also the concept upon which PLDT Alpha Enterprise was formed. Hernandez is the first vice president and head of PLDT Alpha Enterprise.

Their division serves the largest of the large enterprises, Hernandez explains. Often in the past their clients would find themselves in a situation where they have to deal with someone from PLDT for a specific need, while having to deal with another group from SMART to handle their other business concerns.

“PLDT Alpha was created to be the single point of contact for corporate customers. So if you need something from PLDT, if you need something on the wireless side with SMART and Sun, if you need something on the data center side or the ICT side, you only talk to one person,” he said.

Creating a one-stop-shop for their customers who fall under the category of large enterprises makes good business sense, Hernandez says, especially with the realization that technologies come and go and the only constants are their customers.

So what do they now offer under this one-stop-shop set-up? Hernandez says that from the PLDT standpoint they have everything from the basic legacy infrastructure, which is essentially “anything and everything a corporation would need from internet connectivity, including global communications.” They have also capitalized on new technologies, and offer unified communications. These are solutions that are tailor-fit to what specific corporations might require. He gives as example mobile phone solutions. “If you look at wireless concerns, these are normally corporate subscriptions for the mobile phones. Today, we have solutions where you can check the inventory of a company online, while the executive is on the go, and do this on his mobile phone.” On the other hand, the ICT side of the business is the data center side of the business, which he says is critical for large enterprises today. This is where their cloud platform sits for all cloud services.

For Hernandez, today’s business is not about the technology platform anymore, but about the solutions. This is why their corporate business group has evolved into what it is today, offering personalized solutions to their customers, because evidently, he says, one-size does not fit all.

One of the main goals of the group is to grow the business internationally. “We are in the process today of trying our luck in terms of becoming a regional player. We are already in the US and I have six people there under the PLDT Alpha Enterprise.” He concedes that one of the first things he is often asked is: “Why in the US?” He responds by acknowledging that the US is the biggest market out there; at the same time it is the most challenging. “However, if you take a look at the traffic of the Philippines, it is still 90 percent US entry,” Hernandez notes. He explains that their target market would be US companies that have a presence in the Philippines, especially the BPO companies.

Hernandez is confident that their business in the US would grow to about 50 percent this 2014. Aside from the US, the group is also eyeing Singapore and Hong Kong, as they aim to capitalize on countries where they see opportunities to serve global companies.

Personally, however, Hernandez sets for himself a rather lofty goal. “My personal aspiration has always been to be like Tata Communications of India. The first time I went to their headquarters for a visit, the first thing I saw was a map of the globe which had Tata logos wherever they were.” Today, he says, he has in his office a map of the Philippines, which shows where PLDT Alpha is. “My dream is to see PLDT elsewhere in the globe as well,” he says.

Hernandez says he’s been with the PLDT corporate group for 13 years now holding various positions. The big trend that he foresees is big data analytics. He sees the Philippines as a potential hub for big data analytics if the industry stakeholders play it right. He likens the odds of this happening as being similar to the rise of the BPOs.

“I’m not even confident that somebody else in the world is already big on it. There are a lot of people who are playing in it. It’s similar to the BPOs. We were nobody before, and we’re now number one in the world,” he said.

Hernandez says he’s always been one to dream big dreams. He is not afraid to take risks and is no stranger to challenges early on in his life. “I got married very early, while in 2nd year college.”

He candidly admits that he was not originally a telco person but a banker and, before that, a recording artist. “I was a drummer for a rock band called Gnash in the 90s, where my hair was longer than yours,” he states, laughing.

On the more serious side, he declares that music is still one of his passions and while he has stopped playing professionally, he proudly says that he at present manages the PLDT band. He also says he loves to race with go-karts, even competing for the Philippine team together with his son a few years back.

When asked what else would he want to do given more choices, he laughs some more and says he wants to do all of the above. Which is quite a handful, really, as not everyone is able to overcome obstacles early in their lives, bounce back and achieve so much in such a short period of time. Some say life begins at 40, and Hernandez couldn’t agree more. He knows he still has the energy of youth compared to some of his peers and he believes this is all he needs to take him to the next level—wherever his passions take him.


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