Sutikno Sjarif, Chief Operating Officer for Manulife Indonesia

Manulife Indonesia: Stepping into the Digital Age


MAY 13, 2015

Sutikno Sjarif is regarded as one of the few corporate leaders who advocates the integration between digital space in the insurance industry, especially in an era where the world has become more interconnected due to the emergence of a global digital economy.

In an interview with the Jakarta Globe, Sutikno Sjarif, Chief Operating Officer for Manulife Indonesia, shared his thoughtful insight on the importance of adapting to the digital age without sacrificing the core business values of the company.

In December 2011, Sutikno officially joined Manulife Indonesia as Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, and became a member of the board of directors of PT. Asuransi Jiwa Manulife Indonesia. He has worked in different industries including banking, agriculture, manufacturing, and distribution in different areas such as Operation, Finance, Strategic Planning, and Business Development. He has worked extensively in Asia and in North America.

As one of the largest financial institutions in Canada, Manulife gave Sutikno the motivation to provide the best service in the Life industry. Asia plays an important role for Manulife to reach its global footprint. “In Asia itself, Indonesia is ranked in the top tier countries, which makes Manulife Indonesia one of the most important growth areas worldwide,” said Sutikno.

In the Life Insurance industry, Manulife has been known for being prudent, emphasizing risk management as the company's long term growth strategy. According to Sutikno, despite the company's strong risk culture, Manulife is also highly progressive in how it views technology, as it is embedded as one of the pillars of the company's overall strategy.

“We embrace the digital era with open arms as we believe that social media is reshaping the way business is done,” explained Sutikno.

Our sales representatives today can simply load the potential customer’s data to a touch screen laptop and use the online system to find the types of products that will suit the customer's needs. Technology enables us to integrate on and off line applications coupled with electronic signature by using a combination of mobile phone and internet to obtain approval on-line.

The final impact includes a reduction of overall turnaround time from weeks to a mere hours and provides the opportunity to reach a much larger footprint to connect to remote areas that were not possible to reach in the past.

"Moving towards a digital process will improve our service quality exponentially," Sutikno exclaimed enthusiastically.

Studies by top consultants highlight that the typical brick-and-mortar way of selling in general is going to be slowly replaced by digital processes. The digital economy allows certain parts of our population to have access to information with just a click of a mouse. Sutikno believes that it will change the basic concept of selling. Businesses must find a new competitive advantage to stay ahead of the game; building a customer-centric approach focusing on sales acquisition, customer satisfaction, and customer retention needs to be well executed to create that competitive advantage. Providing the customer with the ability to compare the type of products offered on the market will give them access to information that was not available in the past.

A more informed and educated customer base will demand better and different type of services. Manulife acknowledges this fact and is strategically building its infrastructure to allow transactions to be done online or on smart devices.

When asked about the future of Manulife in Indonesia, Sutikno believes that Manulife's long-term goal is to be able to grow in parallel with the country’s progress and to educate the general population of the importance of insurance. Part of Manulife’s goal is to grow the awareness of financial literacy to the average Indonesian.

In sum, Sutikno believes that Manulife understands the importance of technology in the era of a digital economy. Its effects are far reaching and are redefining a wide range of industries,including Life Insurance. To have strong digital strategy is an important factor in an increasingly customer centered world place.