INFORMATION IS POWER

Panama 2018 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Giovanna Cardellicchio, General Manager of APC Intelidat, on improving the public's financial knowledge, protecting its data, and identifying strategic partners.

 Giovanna Cardellicchio
BIOGRAPHY
Giovanna Cardellicchio is the General Manager of APC Intelidat. She has over 20 years of experience in managerial, sales, and technical positions.

APC Intelidat celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2017. How was the year for your operations?

2017 was the best year to date for the company, as we recorded 31% YoY growth and was the first year we surpassed the USD2-million mark in terms of gross margin. We also did two major projects under the new branding of the company, APC Intelidat. This name gives us the opportunity to expand our business on credit as well as other information that could be interesting for people. We also formed a partnership with Thomson Reuters for compliance solutions in terms of blacklist verification and other services. The second major project was the launch of our consumer product for Android and iPhone applications, as well as a website. This is a subscription that gives users their complete credit record history and score. It notifies subscribers when a company inquires into their information. It is a new service, with already more than 15,000 subscribers. We are extremely pleased with the current figures and expect them to continue to grow. We intend to add more products to the platform.

APC Intelidat has a wide portfolio of services. What is the core of your business?

We have two major markets. One is corporate, which includes banks, finance corporations, and commerce in general. These companies use our services as part of their decision-making processes related to credit and finance applications. This allows companies to take the necessary precautions for clients that might default. We also have information regarding the market. We sell information to companies regarding credit in the market. Corporate is our major market. We also have the consumer market, for which we have the application as well as training. We train any individual in the country for free under our Social Responsibility Program: “Finance Under Control." We have already trained over 100,000 people. We provide advice on how to create a home budget, manage credit cards, and so on. We provide many tips and answer a great deal of questions. We have other social responsibility programs as well, for example for women at risk, senior citizens, children, and more.

How do you keep your data safe from attacks or leaks?

We have over 1,000 corporate customers and over 3 million Panamanians and residents in the system, which is mainly the whole economically active population. A data breach could happen to anyone. However, if we take the necessary security measures in order to avoid breaches, such as implementing a comprehensive cybersecurity methodology, then our system will be better protected. In our case, we decided to implement the Information Security Management Maturity Model and are preparing the company to get the ISO 27001 certification soon. We value the information we have, which is why we invested more than USD3 million in the last 16 months to improve the security of our data centers and have state-of-the-art technology. This is significant for a company with USD2 million in annual profits. We invest a great deal of our revenues in hardware, infrastructure, and staffing brilliant engineers whose chief goal is to keep our data available and protected. In addition to securing this information, it is important that we control access to the system. No one person has access to the entire system.

What would you like to accomplish in the year ahead?

It is key to define our strategic partners. APC Intelidat and our customers need more products. Whether this is done ourselves or through a partner is a decision that has to be made as soon as possible. We will likely achieve this in the calendar year, not the fiscal one. The second priority is to identify other business opportunities.