NextICorn International Summit 2019 in Jimbaran, Bali, features an outdoor venue for matchmaking between startups and investors. (JG Photo/Diana Mariska)

To Catch the Big Fish in Indonesia, Digital Companies Must Take It Slow


NOVEMBER 14, 2019

Jimbaran, Bali. When a company wants to offload its information technology burden, such as running data centers or data analytics, to a third-party service provider, it is crucial for both the company and the provider to do it gradually, and if necessary, slowly.  

Speaking at a panel discussion during the opening of the NextICorn International Summit 2019 in Jimbaran, Bali, Dani Sumarso, the chief executive of CBN, a local information and communication technology company, said process, not goals, is the most important thing to consider when helping clients take the plunge into digital.

"We need to understand what they [clients] do, how their business works. From there, we have to do everything step by step," Dani said. "We can't just jump over everything, especially when we start off."

Dani said this go-slow approach is necessary, especially for big companies, since most of them would already have a well-established, even if outdated, system before they decide to ring up changes.

"Most big companies have their own system already. What we offer are new services and assistance for them to build new infrastructures. Once they have those under their belt, we can slowly start explaining to them what we can do with all these new additions," he said.

CBN provides internet services, data center, cloud computing and interactive TV for a range of big-name clients, including e-commerce sites Tokopedia, iLotte, Elevenia and

"It's often a good thing to educate these companies about how other big companies, say those in the US, have adapted to the digital era," Dani said.

He added that it is important for providers to stick with offering services that companies really need.

"When we explain our services to company managers and advise them, it's important not to overshoot. If you do, they might think the whole thing would be too expensive, not feasible for their net. This would make things very difficult," Dani said.

However, Dani admitted some big companies sometimes just refuse to change. 

"When you deal with a company that already has billions of dollars and is not broken, it's not easy to make them change even just a few things," he said. 

He said Bank Central Asia, Indonesia's most valuable lender with a market capitalization of $55 billion and one of CBN's clients, is a good example of a big company that has managed their digital transformation smoothly.

"The good thing about BCA, they rung the changes gradually. They know who they are as a company, what their business is all about. But when it came to it [digital transformation], they were ready for a change," Dani said. 

"One good example is their internet banking. BCA was not the first to offer it, but is now one of the best and one of the most consistent at it," Dani said.

Irzan Raditya, the chief executive of Indonesian artificial intelligence company, said digital service companies need to be innovative to satisfy and keep their clients.

"We need to make sure clients achieve their goal [after we give them the services they want]. We also need to keep innovating so we can solve multiple problems for them. For example, after customer service, we are now expanding our business into marketing, using data to improve engagement with customers," Irzan said. 

The NextIcorn International Summit 2019 is being held in Jimbaran, Bali, on Nov. 14-15. The event is attended by 103 local startups and 169 venture capitals from around the globe as well as important figures such as Research and Technology Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro and former Communication and Information Technology Minister Rudiantara.