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Indonesia: Banking on digital transformation

Sri Narayanan | June 9, 2017
CIOs across the FSI sector share their thoughts and experiences on their digital transformation journeys and the challenges they faced within their organisations at the recent OpenText roundtable.

She went on to add that Indonesian companies are only now trying to address how customers interact with them on virtual platforms. "There are some concerns about how much you can sell or engage through a smartphone. At one point will it be insufficient or inadequate to convey the full benefits of the product or service through the mobile screen? Fortunately, there is room to grow and learn."


The challenge of data sovereignty

Conflicting regulations pose a challenge for the financial services sector because non-compliance can prove costly. In Indonesia, the authorities have a mandate to maintain sovereignty over the financial details of Indonesian citizens, ensuring the information stays within its borders.

Benny Markus, IT group head at Bank CTBC, noted that the conflict arises when the regulators also push for greater digitalisation and adoption of cloud computing in the sector. "The government is bound by different priorities but we don't have clarity on their exact position on these issues. All we can do is react and adjust the pace of DT accordingly."

Nevertheless, the government appears committed to promoting DT in the sector, observed Sutikno Widodo Sjarif, COO, Zurich Topas Life. "The government has suggested setting up an incubator with influential, tech-savvy individuals to consult and advise the public sector on what guidelines would stimulate growth and health in the sector," he noted.

He believes the incubator approach is an innovative forum for the community to engage regulators and maintain an ongoing dialogue around DT.


Cultural impact and skills shortage

Probably the biggest change DT has brought to Indonesian companies in the financial services sector is the changing attitudes towards embracing DT.

There is some resistance with non-IT staff. Some CIOs commented that even with training, cultural acceptance is challenging; many staff don't see what's wrong with what they've been doing to want to adapt and change.

"I think a successful DT must begin with top management driving the initiative," said  Dev Yusmananda, senior VP - IT Software (Testing & QA Head), Bank BTPN. "The problem is finding these top-level executives who have the vision to make it happen."

On the issue of digital skills required to foster transformation, CIOs agreed that people are not the core problem. Said Sutikno, "The trouble is that many in the industry don't fully understand DT. So throwing more people, even skilled staff, at the transformation process won't resolve the issues."

He remarked that companies that have a more conventional, brick-and-mortar setup with entrenched, traditional practices will not fully understand what they need to start the transformation journey. "Hiring consultants who don't know your domain will only make it worse. You need to set the right vision and the business context before DT will truly have an impact on your organisation."


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