This CIO Executive Forum, in association with VMware, outlined the operational foundations required to instigate transformative change in Indonesia, acknowledging remote working challenges while outlining examples of best practice.
How CIOs can achieve operational excellence to drive transformation in Indonesia
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As Indonesia adjusts to the economic realities of Covid-19, a transformative wave of change is starting to flow through the enterprise.
Amid the downturn and negative market impact, forward-thinking CIOs are emerging to guide businesses out of continuity and into resiliency mode, motivated by a boardroom desire for innovation.
Such desire comes with a caveat however, as technology executives examine the operational and business model requirements of implementing widespread digital transformation agendas, spanning security, scale and agility.
“Over the last few months, VMware has been focused on helping businesses in Indonesia and across the region ensure business continuity, build resiliency and keep employees safe,” outlined Cin Cin Go, country manager of Indonesia at VMware.
“In Indonesia, businesses are prioritising the effective transition to a distributed and remote workforce and to that end, we have been working closely with our customers to build digital workspaces that enable employees to work remotely, maintain productivity, increase connectivity and provide more secure access to applications regardless of the endpoint.”
In guiding local CIOs during the early stages of the pandemic, Cin Cin acknowledged that widespread transformation “does not happen overnight”, cautioning against the pursuit of an “instant quick fix” in favour of a strategic, three-pronged approach to innovation.
“The first step is focused on ensuring business continuity,” she said. “Businesses in Indonesia found themselves in a situation where they had to update and upgrade existing technology limitations quickly to enable employees to continue working. This also ensured the sustenance of business operations and the ability to deliver on customer commitments, while maintaining financial and operational stability.”
Stage two, as explained by Cin Cin, is centred around the evolution of “systems, people and processes”, with a specific focus on business resiliency.
“Once organisations have ensured business continuity, they must then focus on investments that return a business to growth, strengthen operations and increase viability of the organisation even in the face of economic uncertainty,” she advised. “In this stage, technology remains a key factor that strengthens the business and creates competitive differentiation.
“Every investment will be evaluated on business impact, even as budgets and spending contract and remain uncertain. This is a period of changing systems, changing business models, changing processes and changing team structures.”
Within this context, the third phase is focused on embracing a “digital-first” mindset to help withstand future market difficulties, shaped by an agile approach to future transformation.
“Organisations equipped to adapt and evolve during the current climate are in a position of strength to make radical investments that drive them forward with a focus on growth and innovation,” Cin Cin added. “The goal is to increase the speed and agility of the business while fuelling results without jeopardising future flexibility or resiliency.
“Leading edge innovations can help to define the future business state, reshape long-term customer engagement models, expand the effectiveness of employees and even define marketplaces and industries.”
With the pandemic creating a new global reality, Indonesia is equally not immune to significant market change, evident through a surge in digitalisation efforts to future-proof business operations in 2020 and beyond.
“Indonesia has established itself as the fastest growing start-up ecosystem in the region which is also on a rapid path to digitisation,” Cin Cin said. “With the impact of Covid-19, businesses had to scale quickly overnight to enable a mobile ecosystem that supports the implementation of remote working, online education (home-based learning) and tele-health services.
“Several administrative regions including the capital Jakarta have since moved into the so-called ‘new normal’ era. Many businesses in Indonesia have also taken the plunge during this time to embrace digitalisation and digital transformation in an effort to create a sustainable workplace of the future.”
CIOs assume central transformation role
In assessing the local market – and the heightened role of the CIO post-pandemic – Cin Cin observed that technology executives are playing an integral role setting new boardroom agendas, helping organisations navigate such an unprecedented time through digital solutions and services.
“We see a growing importance for CIOs to harness technology to steer the strategic business direction for the organisation with a clear focus on ensuring business continuity while architecting new business models for growth in this new digital paradigm,” she said. “That said, the significance of the role of the CIO had already been on the rise in recent years with the proliferation of digital products and services.”
As a result, Cin Cin said CIOs in Indonesia are now assuming “business disruptor” status within the organisation, leveraging technology expertise to achieve improved levels of outcomes at CEO level. Irrespective of size or sector, such an approach is placing technology – and CIOs – at the centre of sizeable industry change.
“Delivering a seamless, advanced banking experience is a priority for us at Bank Mandiri,” stated Toto Prasetio, senior executive vice president of IT at Bank Mandiri. “As we find ourselves in a mobile and digital-first environment now, we must continuously innovate with next-generation technologies to enhance business agility and stay ahead of the curve.
“With VMware Cloud solutions, we’re well positioned to spearhead innovation, strengthen resiliency and drive transformation for Indonesia’s banking industry. This in turn enables us to deliver a holistic banking experience for our customers and to realise the culture: Bersama Membangun Negeri (Together we build our nation).”
Innovation in financial services is equally mirrored in retail, evident through the priorities shaping Alfamart’s go-to-market strategy.
“Speed, innovation and superior customer experience are critical success factors retailers require to stay ahead of the competition, amidst the rapid transformation of the retail industry,” added Bambang Setyawan Djojo, director of International Business and Technology at Alfamart. “As one of the largest retailers in Indonesia, our extensive network of branch offices plays an important role in driving seamless business operations and customer service excellence.
“With the adoption of VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud, we are able to enhance the connectivity and security of our entire operational network, enabling optimised access to resources to transform the retail experience for our end customers.”
Amid plans to prepare for an increasingly digital future, Cin Cin said CIOs must remain “one step ahead” of market changes to help guide organisations when adapting to rapidly evolving macroeconomic variables.
“This involves up-skilling themselves as well as their co-workers so they are well positioned to implement future-forward transformations that will deliver business outcomes,” she explained.
“In this new economic reality, CIOs must be able to define a strategy for remote work through defining clear guidance, rules and policies. This involves training employees on remote etiquette – virtual meetings are different than in-person meetings – and how your company’s culture will inform the way they work remotely.”
Delving deeper, Cin Cin advocated the benefits of creating a digital environment for remote working through providing tools capable of enabling employees to effectively access all applications remotely.
“CIOs must allow employee choice for aspects of the work environment such as preferred devices but standardise critical productivity platforms such as virtual collaboration spaces and communications tools,” she advised.
Accepting that the risks of working from home differ compared to those present in the office, Cin Cin also cautioned CIOs to ensure cyber security remains a leading agenda item, highlighted through the need to regularly update policies and tools to account for changes in technology and ways of collaborating.
“CIOs must also empower senior leaders to lead from anywhere,” she said. “While senior leaders may rarely think of themselves as ‘work from home’ employees, events such as the current pandemic can suddenly transform everyone into a remote worker. Collaboration tools that enables the leadership team and board to collaborate effectively must be deployed.”