Sebastian Jammer, deputy vice president for IT Transformation at Indonesia’s telecommunication giant Telkomsel, shares with CIO Asia his experience in aligning the Indonesian telco’s IT strategy with their business objectives.
Sebastian Jammer of Telkomsel, Indonesia.
For years, there has been much talk about aligning IT to meet business strategies within the boardroom. However, many such initiatives have either failed to meet corporate objectives or have continued to languish despite early efforts. Yet, there are some companies that have defied the odds. This is the story of how Telkomsel, Indonesia’s largest telecommunications provider, overcame the challenges to successfully align their IT with their business goals.
Innovation is the name of the game for the telecom industry. With an insatiable thirst for the latest telecom services to meet their communications and entertainment needs, customers are expecting more from of their telecom companies or telcos.
With near market saturation and the trend towards mobile convergence, it is not surprising that the telecommunication sector, especially the mobile telecom industry, experienced a considerable wave of changes that influenced the way the business is modelled.
The Case For Change
It all began two years ago when Sebastian Jammer was hired as Telkomsel’s deputy vice president for IT Transformation to look into how best his organisation could leverage on IT to be competitive in the rapidly changing domestic telecom market. Jammer and his team quickly discovered that there were several issues not caused by the organisation’s legacy IT infrastructure, but by the way the IT department was organised and how ah-hoc business requests from marketing or other departments were managed. Project priorities were often superseded by more immediate requests, causing more chaos in resource allocations and project management.
Jammer knew he had to implement some order by adopting a systemic approach to prioritising projects in a dynamic environment. This meant he needed a case for change, also known as a burning platform, before anything else. “We had to change the mindset of the people and their way of working to a more structured way,” said Jammer. “Hence, we looked at the process aspects first. We needed to create buy-in with the teams before we could look at getting software that can help us implement the changes more effectively.”
“The first and foremost objective for Telkomsel is to speed up time-to-market significantly,” added Jammer. “We need to be able to bring new price-plans into production within a few hours or days to support the marketing department’s action to counter a competitor’s move. In such cases, IT has to work like a well-oiled machine that is flexible and agile enough to deliver quickly without cutting corners or sacrificing on quality.”
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