As one of Asia’s foremost mobile-first nations, with close to 72% of internet traffic originating from mobile devices and around 215mn internet users expected by 2020, Indonesia’s digital economy is one of incredible potential. If unlocked, this potential will establish Indonesia as the biggest digital economy in South East Asia that is projected to reach US$130bn in 2020. Indonesia will be Asia’s next digital powerhouse.
Tasked with realising these predictions and truly unlocking this potential are the major technology players in Indonesia. One such company that understands the key role it will play in redefining the landscape of Indonesia is Telkom with its subsidiaries (TelkomGroup). TelkomGroup is the biggest digital telecommunications company in Indonesia. Today, it has embarked on an ambitious transformation journey that will see the company become ‘the king of digital in the region’ and ‘lead Indonesian digital innovation and globalisation’.
“A new digital era is upon us here in Indonesia,” says Abdus Somad Arief, Director of Wholesale and International Service of Telkom. “We prepared for the inevitability of this digital wave of business around five years ago, now we are not only talking about connectivity and legacy business, we are looking at digital business. Our vision is to be at the very top of a digital ecosystem here in Indonesia in which we will aggregate big and smaller players in Indonesia and regional as well.”
TelkomGroup also aims to strengthen the development of digital infrastructure in Indonesia to provide the best digital experience in this growing digital sphere. This will see the company continue to develop new innovative products and services but also strengthen the business ecosystem to achieve sustainable growth in all digital segments of the market. “We’ve built the biggest digital telecommunications infrastructure in Indonesia and we have already connected with fibre optic everywhere,” says Somad Arief.
TelkomGroup deploys around 160,680km of terrestrial and submarine cable networks domestically and globally including a South East Asia - Middle East - Western Europe-5 (SEA-ME-WE 5) cable system, and a Southeast Asia - United States (SEA-US) cable system. To connect the European, Asian and American continents, the group is currently building the Indonesia Global Gateway (IGG) submarine cable system. TelkomGroup’s network is also present in 33 countries with 72 network Points of Presence (PoP) that bring traffic and connect carriers with customers. TelkomGroup also operates a world-class neutral and internet exchange data centre called neuCentrIX, which aggregates service providers, network providers and content providers from all over the world to reach more than 265mn Indonesian people through a seamless, secure and reliable network to drive the growth of the global digital industry.
Though TelkomGroup’s digital infrastructure, Somad Arief recognises that the company has played, and will continue to play, a huge role in enabling this digital economy by bringing out national capabilities and bringing in outside capabilities to truly build the nation.
On TelkomGroup’s journey to bring Indonesia as global digital hub, it can be easy to forget that for all the innovative technologies that the world has to offer, it means little if people lack the right capabilities to utilise them. This is something that the digital ecosystem helps TelkomGroup address first hand, equipping both the company’s employees and customers with the necessary understanding required to fully capitalise on the opportunity and value of this digital culture. “Through the ecosystem and working with international partners, we are given access to the latest technologies that are transforming industries all over the world,” says Somad Arief. “It allows us to prepare for the technology of today and the technology of tomorrow.
“By leveraging digital culture and adopting the latest technologies, we try to inspire the people around us,” he adds. “As a group, we are then more aware of the services and technologies that are coming, be it robotic technology or Artificial Intelligence (AI). It means we don’t reach too far where we can’t go but we are aware of what’s coming and can prepare our people for these technologies of the future.”
Digital transformations often require a change in culture and process. Even for the largest telecommunications provider, this is no different – but attempting to adopt a new operating model into a business that has been incredibly successful can prove difficult. Nevertheless, Somad Arief points to an intense focus on cultural change within the company that overcomes this challenge. This is exemplified best by the company’s Global Talent Program. Somad Arief explains: “We send our people out to our subsidiaries in over 11 countries and we do so with the purpose of training them directly in the field.
“It gives them practical knowledge and skills in digital business but looking more internally, we also have an initiative designed to nurture the creative millennial employees because they are growing to be the leaders of the future.”#
This initiative is called the Digital Amoeba program. Launched in 2017, the program was designed to incubate and accelerate ideas (digital innovation) from Telkom employees in order to create digital talents and digital businesses to contribute to Indonesia’s digital economy. Through this program, TelkomGroup inspires employees to collaborate and provides them a true platform to think differently, ultimately incubating those ideas and incorporating them into the market through new services and products.
TelkomGroup’s core mission is one of transformation and development which prepares for and stays ahead of the growing digital economy of Indonesia. As a matter of fact, the company’s vision of becoming the ‘King of Digital in the Region’ will see TelkomGroup become the top 10 market capitalisation telco in Asia-Pacific by 2020. This is a relatively short timeframe but Somad Arief believes that 2018 will go down in the company’s history as a crucial year. “This year has been our initial year as we began our journey to creating this global digital hub and it’s the year in which we aggressively built the digital infrastructure,” he says. “But of course, the infrastructure is only the foundation. Now it’s time to build on that foundation and fill the ecosystem.
“Our immediate goal is to complete our connectivity infrastructure through our data centres. We have 11 in Indonesia, but the Group has five across Singapore, Hong Kong and Timor Leste which are seamlessly connected. So, for us, 2019 is the time to fill this infrastructure with the players and to begin this ecosystem of collaboration.” The presence of neucentrIX as a neutral data centre and internet exchange and other infrastructures such as submarine cables system, PoP, satellites, along with the development of digital society, is expected to not only drive the digital economy in Indonesia but also make a global impact. Through digital transformation, TelkomGroup is building Indonesia up as a centre of digital business in the Asia Pacific region to become a true Global Digital Hub.
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