SKYBIZ, a division that caters chiefly to the connectivity and content services needs of businesses big and small. Connectivity solutions refer to broadband, data and cloud, while content services can be in the form of cable TV, through SKYcable, and direct-to-home TV through SKYdirect.IN 2013, SKYcable launched
SKYBIZ was created after SKY saw the need for an alternative provider that can help ensure clients’ smooth and seamless operations, in line with its mission to empower businesses in achieving sustainable growth.
Businesses normally engage two broadband providers, with one serving as backup in case of outages or issues with the main provider.
While SKYcable is the acknowledged market leader in cable TV, SKYBIZ was a start-up and had to jostle for space against bigger and older competitors. Head Jon Arayata and his team had to demonstrate the agility of the enterprise, which took “Helping You Build Your Business Better” as its battle cry and tagline.
“SKYBIZ is a business that needs mastery and skills that were beyond cable TV. There was an immediate need to ‘run and conquer’ despite the startup situation SKYBIZ was dealing with. We had to fast-track the introduction of fiber internet and data services, customize content plans for the hospitality industry and fit processes for our corporate/commercial clients,” Arayata recalls.
The strategy helped grow SKYBIZ to become a P2-billion business in only four years. The two business units—Enterprise led by Dicky Liwanag and MSME under Rina de Guzman—chipped in P1 billion each.
“SKYBIZ is growing by 24%, with broadband/data driving the growth at 35%. This is better than the market growth rate of 14%,” Arayata notes.
SKYBIZ’s success rode on the back of three key drivers—pay TV, business-grade broadband and data services, Arayata notes.
“SKY’s flagship cable TV service continues to dominate the hospitality market because of our unmatched content and HD shows. Through SKYcable, SKYBIZ is able to offer the latest shows, access to live coverage of sports events, blockbuster movies, news and most requested foreign channels,” he elaborates.
“On the other hand, DTH, through SKYdirect, offers entertainment anywhere in areas with no cable TV coverage with SKY’s exclusive content and must-have channels.”
SKYBIZ’s business-grade broadband services, which are flexible and scalable, can be tailor-fit to meet the requirements of any size of enterprise. The access points, routers and office tools on offer with SKYBIZ’s broadband bundles make running a business even more seamless and connected.
According to Liwanag, SKYBIZ Enterprise Broadband is comprised of data products such as E-LINE (Ethernet Virtual Connection) and E-LAN.
“E-LINE is a dedicated point-to-point service that uses fiber cable connection and is designed for organizations that have single or multiple applications that do not require a preset amount of bandwidth,” he explains. “In comparison, E-LAN transmits information across three or more locations and is ideal for organizations that require any-to-any communication between locations.”
For the first three years of its existence, SKYBIZ operated as a single business unit led by Arayata. As then head for sales, Liwanag was in charge of skippering both the Enterprise and MSME segments.
In mid-2016, SKYBIZ was spun off into two business units—Enterprise and MSME (multi-dwelling units, micro, small and medium enterprise). The Enterprise group remains under the aegis of Liwanag as business unit head, while Rina de Guzman took the reins of MSME, now a hybrid group that encompasses the MDU and MSME segments.
“MDU or multi-dwelling units are residential buildings with multiple units inside, while the MSME market is comprised of microbiz, small and medium businesses. Each has different requirements, with the latter requiring business-grade connectivity. Both though are serious about costsavings, value-for-money offers and converged services,” de Guzman says.
Liwanag retained the original marketing team which worked on SKYBIZ from 2014 until the present, as well as the sales personnel covering the Enterprise/Corporate businesses.
De Guzman, meanwhile, acquired the sales teams of MSME. She also put together her own marketing team to handle the commercial products.
Both the Enterprise and MSME business units are serviced by a common customer engineering and sales operations groups.
With this, Arayata says they have “two powerful forces" that will propel SKYBIZ to its journey to reach P2 billion in revenues in 2017.
Despite its “newbie” status, SKYBIZ has racked up a number of milestones that would be the envy of bigger and more established companies.
It became the first provider to create customized programming for the hospitality industry with its Hotel Enterprise plan; this innovation allowed SKYBIZ hotel partners to provide checked-in guests’ requested shows and channels. As an added tweak, it integrated digiboxes with TV sets, a move that won over countless hotels, which are known for their stringent aesthetic requirements.
Thus, SKYBIZ today is the preferred cable TV provider of some of the country’s premier hospitality establishments. SKYcable’s programming can be viewed in OKADA, City of Dreams, Solaire, Resorts World Manila, Shangri-La Group, Marco Polo Ortigas, Ascott Group, Ascott Hotel BGC, Sofitel, Dusit Thani, Holiday Inn, The Bellevue and Radisson.
SKYBIZ has enhanced its network capacity to 100G in order to ensure the flexibility and scalability of its broadband and data services. The initiative translates into seamless internet access-related transactions such as large-file sharing, video conferencing, VOIP and inventory management system.
“These are transactions that are very relevant among the industries of banking, BPOs, retail and manufacturing, and services,” Arayata points out.
The network upgrade and expansion also includes the availability of fiber-to-theoffice services that provide business-grade connectivity through multi-service infrastructure such as broadband, pay TV, data and other IP services. With its enhanced network capacity, SKYBIZ can seamlessly connect businesses within widely-distributed locations, with a fully redundant and resilient network.
SKYBIZ has built a wide fiber-optic infrastructure that covers key central business districts.
To date, SKYBIZ has ventured into Eastwood City, Ortigas, Manila, Alabang, McKinley, Quezon City and Makati. Its infrastructure extends to Cavite and Laguna where SKY has cable operations, as well as Cebu, Davao, Bacolod/Iloilo and Baguio.
Keeping all these networks and systems humming and delivering “wow at saya” to clients are the SKYBIZ network operations center and “techxperts” technical support personnel, who are available 24/7.
These teams strive to find solutions to problems and help customers work through technical difficulties. They perform investigation and analysis, problem reproduction, and resolution of customer problems.
In the short term, Arayata says SKYBIZ will continue to focus on building its capability in fiber technology and to strengthen its penetration within the banking, BPO/ICT, retail and manufacturing, and service industries.
“We will continue to offer converged solutions among MSME businesses in order to build their business better,” he adds.
As for their long-term outlook, things can only get better for the fledgling venture.
“By the time 10 years have passed, we want to witness ourselves growing better together with our partners as they entrust their connectivity and content needs to us. We will continue to be in the service of the Filipino, to contribute to nation-building by offering more innovative solutions in data services that will bring sustainable progress to our partners as they, in turn, contribute to the economy,” Arayata says.