Sutanto Hartono: Welcome to the Cloud Computing Era!

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IT is not only tight competition that one faces today in this century’s IT world, but also the opportunity for collaboration that employs tech savvy innovations that help us live comfortably amid current challenges.

Sutanto Hartono, 44, who, while relaxed, is smart, driven and full of spirit really fits the bill for the top position at Microsoft Indonesia.  He is often compared to Bill Gates who has taken Microsoft to the world’s leading position amid the stiff competition in IT business globally.

Sutanto, before taking his current position in early 2010, had succeeded in taking Sony Music Entertainment Indonesia (SMEI) and RCTI (Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia) to the enviable top position in the entertainment and media world. Indeed Sutanto, who is a graduate of Dame University (Chemical Engineering), Indiana and holds an MBA from California University, Berkeley, has a glorious career. In spite of his obvious success Sutanto comes across as a warm personality during the interview.

“Our people and human resources have a fantastic potential in IT and this is acknowledged by many countries in the world. However, we fully agree that we have to develop a more conducive environment for further growth in this field to face the current and future challenges,” said Sutanto.

As a matter of fact the stiff competition in the IT business is unavoidable for all players, whether individual or corporate.  “And today’s era is the era of collaboration that makes it possible for all parties to enjoy maximum achievements with the help of innovative technology,’’ said Sutanto, who received The Best CEO award for 2003.

Clearly Microsoft has made the right choice by appointing Sutanto, the founder of SMEI, with such a promising market. One must take into account that today more than 45 million Indonesians are connected via the Internet, said Sutanto, which is an unimaginable figure when one looks back to the 90s when there were only one million users.  “I have a brand new viewpoint and approach on how Microsoft serves the business community, the government, the education sector and Indonesian consumers in general,” he said.

Indonesia must realize its potential as a huge market and at the same time its human resources have to be prepared for the highly dynamic digital communication era in the near future.  The Internet world which is the adrenalin of the IT industry is indeed the reflection of the potential growth here. That is why, he said, Microsoft is inviting all components of Indonesian IT to grow together in an excellent environment.

After years of surprising development in the world of IT that has created tight competition in the software, hardware and services, he added that Indonesia now must prepare to leap into the Cloud Computing Era where all IT players will collaborate to provide the best online services for users whether individuals, corporate or small and medium sized enterprises. According to Sutanto, Cloud is a new phenomenon offering integrated IT services.

In Indonesia, Microsoft Indonesia is collaborating with four local partners to support this integrated online service. These are AGIT, PT Telkom Indonesia, the largest telecommunication company in Indonesia focusing on corporations for Virtual Private Server and unified communication, INFYNIS for online exchange and online unified communication as well as GREENVIEWS for infrastructure and market education. “This is the kind of collaboration that we have built with local business players to synergize our actions in facing the current and future challenges,” he continued.

It is of course undeniable, said Sutanto, that new players keep entering the IT market that pose more challenges for Microsoft to keep on innovating. However, he is fully confident that Microsoft and the management have all the prerequisites and are fully equipped to stay ahead of the competition by launching various useful products to meet the market’s demands.

He cited one example. In the second half of 2010, Microsoft introduced Lync. Lync is a single platform that integrates message services, online presence, audio, video, web conference and voice to unify the best communication method based on business applications already popular and known today, including Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange. ‘’For such matters Microsoft has long been famous as a company that produces products which are user friendly and familiar to the market,’’ he said.

Microsoft also keeps focusing on educating the market continuously. It pays attention on two sectors, the small and medium enterprises as well as academies and universities. Microsoft launched a special program for the education world here in 2007 to compete with other Asian countries. Microsoft [email protected], is an online package provided to empower lecturers or teachers as well as students for excellent interaction, collaboration and study.

Microsoft needs to anticipate every new development in IT as Indonesia is a highly competitive open market. Indonesia also has to develop its human resources for all sectors in this situation. “A knowledge based society can be achieved by seriously developing skilled local human resources and infrastructure,’’ said Sutanto, commenting on the future prospects of Indonesian IT.

What is clear in this technology century that has enabled more than 45 million Indonesians to engage in virtual communication is that it will be a challenge for any company striving to enhance its competitive edge in the online world. Ready to compete? Welcome to the Cloud Computing Era! (Burhan Abe)

The Jakarta Post, April 09, 2011

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