A supportive corporate culture can go a long way toward pushing a company to new heights. In some cases, it’s strong enough to break through to new levels entirely.
When Timotius Sulaiman arrived at Indonesian fiber broadband provider MyRepublic in early 2020, this was not the kind of culture he found.
“When I first joined here at the start of that year, the struggle was undeniable. We faced a tough spot, the culture was not favorable, and I believed that a breakthrough was essential to address the issue,” he tells The CEO Magazine.
“I was brought in as part of a capital restructure.”
As Vice President Director, Sulaiman was charged with reshaping the company in a way that would boost agility and efficiency. That focus had come at the cost of growth, however.
“Many internet service providers [ISPs] during the COVID-19 pandemic saw a huge increase in sales thanks to additional subscribers, but we didn’t experience that because we were in the midst of the restructure,” he recalls. “The point of which was to prepare us for further growth.”
It wasn’t until 2022 that the right time revealed itself to Sulaiman. “We’d been a bit too late to benefit from the pandemic’s momentum, and I knew at that point we had to break our glass ceiling.”
Despite the sales team’s success in acquiring additional subscribers for MyRepublic, Sulaiman recognized that there was room for improvement.
“I made a bid to become CEO and immediately, I saw a way to move beyond our limitations,” he adds.
“We didn’t realize it, but there was an invisible barrier holding us back. I knew greater motivation would inspire the breakthrough, so I took the step to improve our corporate culture and focus it on motivation,” Sulaiman explains.
By enhancing MyRepublic’s value system, or PRIDE (positive attitude, reliability, integrity, determination and excellence), as well as introducing a trust-based work ethic, Sulaiman and his team saw immediate results.
“MyRepublic places immense trust in its personnel, underscoring our commitment to valuing our workforce,” he says.
Sulaiman is confident that by upholding these values and work ethics in conjunction with teamwork, employees can embrace the corporate culture, ‘MyRep Go Far and Fast’.
“The following month, we attained numbers that exceeded our usual figures,” he says. “It was a record at the time, but afterward we said, ‘OK, we’ve proven we can do this, so let’s do it every month.’ And we have. It has become our mantra, and everybody’s really excited to achieve the target.”
With a potential customer base of 273 million Indonesians, the world’s fourth largest population, MyRepublic has embraced its challenge with gusto. To improve its offerings, it has undertaken an expansion of its networks and services, adding 27 cities to its coverage in 2023.
“At the end of 2023, we’re up to 48 cities in total,” Sulaiman reveals. “Our vision is to be the pride of Indonesia. We want to connect the nation in terms of surface area covered, and we want our ISP to be the one reliably delivering high-speed internet.
“When I talk about future growth, it’s all about expanding to more cities nationwide.”
The penetration rate of broadband internet in Indonesia is low. While 77 percent of the population enjoys internet access, Sulaiman says only 16 percent is on broadband. “There’s still a lot to do, but over the past 18 months, we’ve expanded greatly into that space.”
In 2022, Sulaiman set the network roll-out target notably higher than usual practices in the industry. “This year stands as a notable achievement for us,” he says.
“Our teamwork not only enabled us to surpass the set target, but also led to a doubling of the results, demonstrating the effectiveness of our collective efforts.”
Emboldened, Sulaiman set an even greater target for 2023. “We have not only met but also surpassed this year’s target successfully,” he reveals.
“This accomplishment has made everyone aware of our potential for even greater achievements. Our team is highly confident; even if next year’s target is raised, we have the capability and assurance.”
Under Sulaiman’s leadership, MyRepublic thrives on a vibrant energy and a drive for greater accomplishments. Through a culture centered on innovation and success, the company has achieved significant milestones.
Sulaiman doesn’t just speak about these values; he actively demonstrates them, motivating all employees to be resilient in overcoming challenges and fostering a collective dedication to success. “Impossible is nothing,” he says.
It’s a different story for mobile coverage, which far exceeds fixed-line use. Sulaiman believes MyRepublic’s focus on fixed internet is an advantage as other telcos scramble for a fixed-mobile convergence of offerings.
“The market’s saturated in that respect,” he points out. “The need for high-speed broadband at home is increasing, so by focusing on fixed broadband, MyRepublic can stand out and introduce certain products to the market, which we’ve done.”
As the future rolls on, Sulaiman believes satellite internet services, similar to Elon Musk’s Starlink, will become more common. “It’s the kind of thing that will be complementary to our country’s internet needs,” he predicts.
“Indonesia is a nation of islands; we can’t build our network to every home. Such products will become a presence in places where it’s difficult for us to build.”
The post-COVID-19 years also provided MyRepublic with the opportunity to refine its operations through automation.
“We were forced to do it in a very short space of time, but it was a good thing,” Sulaiman reflects. “It’s helped greatly in terms of sales and monitoring our network. If there’s an outage, we can let subscribers know in minutes.”
MyRepublic makes a point of embracing new technology, primarily to increase efficiency.
“At the moment our hardware comes from the biggest providers: Fiberhome Technologies Indonesia, ZTE, Huawei, Cisco and many other vendors, both local and foreign. We have healthy and open communication with them, and it’s beneficial to expand beyond just one partner,” he says.
“We can only achieve the numbers we’re hitting because we partner with so many vendors. We share our plans for expansion with them and they let us know what’s possible. It’s up to us then to place these vendors at the right location, the right size and the right time.”
None of these remarkable outcomes for MyRepublic would be possible, Sulaiman reiterates, without the change in company culture. “It’s a part of our daily work lives and it results in a great output,” he stresses.
“We know how important people are. MyRepublic has achieved ‘Great Place to Work’ certification for the third consecutive year, and it’s all because we have a strong team that shares the same vision.”
MyRepublic recognizes the looming larger challenges ahead.
“With determination and perseverance, we look forward to embracing what lies ahead and charting new heights of success,” Sulaiman states.