Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) had a decision to make when looking for a strong leader to take its Indonesian operation to new heights. The COVID-19 pandemic was moving further in the rearview mirror, a healthier economy was in the forecast and Indonesians were embracing digitization like never before.
HPE could have looked externally for that leader, but not when it had someone of the caliber of Michael Thiotrisno, who had already led the country’s business unit for the past six years. He had helped the company in many breakthrough strategic deals and to achieve several industry firsts in the Indonesia market focusing on driving the edge-to-cloud transformation agenda.
“I think the challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic over the past few years have made HPE Indonesia more resilient and have proven that HPE has the right strategy for our customers and partners,” Managing Director Thiotrisno tells The CEO Magazine.
“The pandemic made Indonesians realize that they needed to prioritize the digital transformation of their businesses. In Indonesia, businesses had not digitized as quickly as other markets in the region.”
The silver lining of the pandemic for HPE was the realization by Indonesians that they needed to prioritize the digital transformation of their businesses, Thiotrisno explains.
“In Indonesia, digitization hasn’t really been accelerated because the people were really averse to the risk of moving to digital,” he says of life prior to the pandemic.
“But then, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone became aware that a hybrid mode of working was essential, and that successful enterprises had to embrace the digital economy to survive. We’ve only started to see retailers and consumers in Indonesia really start moving away from cash to online mobile payment systems in the last two years.
“So in terms of moving to business-to-business engagement, we believe that when those enterprises or small and medium-sized enterprises plan to go digital, they have to get some assistance or guidance from those technology partners that are able to assist them.”
HPE is a leader not only in the delivery of digital transformation solutions, but also in the implementation and ongoing support for businesses utilizing its technologies.
“We provide assistance to our customers by providing them with blueprints and ongoing guidance,” Thiotrisno points out.
“We have even taken this engagement to another level, implementing a workshop called the Digital Next Advisory. It is a channel through which we can advise and consult.”
Thiotrisno joined the company in 2005 as a solutions architect, and spent much of his early career in tech roles before moving across to customer-facing positions and business development.
“In my 18 years at HPE, I have learned under some amazing leaders, and they all contributed to building a culture of investing in your people and giving everyone an equal opportunity to succeed,” he says.
“In 2022, HPE Indonesia actually won a spot among the Indonesia winners in the HR Asia Best Companies to Work for in Asia Awards, which recognizes companies that demonstrate a high level of employee engagement and excellent workplace cultures. That is something we are very proud of.”
Thiotrisno has expressed his aggressive plan to drive the commercial growth of the company and, at the same time, unlock the enormous potential of Indonesia as this market is strategically important to HPE’s global business.
“Indonesia is one of the fastest-growing emerging markets in South-East Asia with enormous potential, and there are a lot of opportunities for us to unlock and address that,” he says.
Strong partnerships are key to expansion, and HPE has developed a solid partner ecosystem over the years, with more than 100 active business partners.
“We are a company with a very clear direction, a very clear strategy. And it’s not just us promoting that, our partners and customers are echoing the same messages, the same perception of HPE,” Thiotrisno says.
“We have a lot of suppliers or technology vendors that support our R&D in order to build the products and develop the solutions. At our core, we are an edge-to-cloud-focused company that brings the cloud experience to our customers.”
To accomplish that, Thiotrisno wants to use what he calls an outside-in approach to business.
“If you want to have a very positive business in Indonesia, you need to learn more. You need to listen more to the feedback that we receive from customers and partners,” he states.
“That feedback would then provide a very strong foundation for the next stage of planning. And we are all very excited about where HPE is heading.”