With his educational background in electronic engineering and work experience at a chemical company, you might not peg Harry Surjanto for an entrepreneur. Yet today he is full-time owner and president of PT Computrade Technology International, a company which distributes world-leading brands of Information Technology (IT). Harry, who spent his youth in Central Java as a modestly educated man, made a watershed when he turned on a defunct small business into a trillion-rupiah-worth empire. The engineer saw opportunities to expand the market of IT infrastructure solutions in 2000 when he served as Chief Operational Officer (COO) at PT Computrade Indonesia. The company, however, was terminated by its holding PT Multipolar, Tbk based on corporate strategy in 2003 which stipulated that both companies had run in contradictive goals. Harry then revived the business with a different entity, PT Computrade Technology International (CTI Group). “It was a fantastic time in the IT industry considering the network we had built and having the distribution license for two leading brands, IBM and Oracle,” said Harry, CEO of CTI Group.
After graduating from Kristen Satya Wacana University in Central Java, Harry started his career as Technical Engineer in 1989 when he joined PT Indofa Utama Multicorp, which provides chemical, medical and laboratory equipment. He then moved to PT Multipolar in 1990 and began a new focus as a business representative of IT products for banking. It took nearly 11 years to his following position as COO of PT. Computrade Indonesia was the turning point of his success as an entrepreneur.
CTI preceded the business model it had with PT Multipolar and expanded the market from banking and telecommunication to numerous business sectors. Starting the company with 20 people, Harry currently employs nearly 500 people. Today, CTI has a turnover of around Rp1.85 trillion from a startup capital of Rp5 billion and deals with hundreds of business partners. In 2011, CTI split into six subsidiaries to maintain focus and services, namely Blue Power Technology (BPT) with IBM software and hardware products, Central Data Technology (CDT) with Oracle products, and Virtus Technology Indonesia (Virtus) which partners with 16 world leading brands. Aside from the three mature companies, CTI holds XDC Indonesia which focuses in retailing, Helios with Hewlett-Packard (HP) products, and Niagaprima Paramitra (NPP) which provides IT services and maintenance. CTI also distributes dozens of other brands, including EMC, Sophos, Redhat, Lenovo, Google Enterprise, Huawei, VMWare, and Wild Packets.
Focusing on enterprise project-based business, CTI invested Rp20 billion to build a technology center, one of the most complete IT facilities in Indonesia, for its business partners and customers. The facility is updated every six months to provide the latest technology in a heterogeneous platform as a showcase of IT infrastructure laboratory for proof of concept, trouble shooting, and porting purposes. CTI also broadened its
range to the education sector with a newly-established unit called CTI Education Center, to maximize the potency of Indonesian IT professionals in developing knowledge and skills. The education center provides internationally-accredited IT technical training through cooperation with world leading principals, including Oracle, VMWare and EC-Council which focuses on cyber security program.
Think big, start small: The 49-year-old man has always been a good planner and plan executor since he was at college. He analyzes each situation through research before making a decision – a characteristic which led him to where he is now. “He does not only think of two or three steps ahead but he can view multiple steps forward while calculating the risks, and return to the goal he is trying to reach,” one of his employees said. Harry believes that passion drives one’s success, encouraging his employees with the essentials of continuous learning and striving for excellence—the foundation of the corporate culture. This is why CTI has earned the trust and support from global vendors and business partners, some for over a decade despite intense industry competition.
Harry is not described as “Chief Ego Officer” by his employees. They referred him as a humble leader who trusts everyone’s competence. Harry believes that listening to others will give him new knowledge in return. “I allow my employees to fail while encouraging them to work hard and test their ideas,” said Harry. He applies flexible office hours to maintain employees’ dynamism despite discipline through a fine system for late employees in specific meetings. He also stimulates his employees’ productivity through management by objective, regular meeting, and free membership at fitness center. Although it can be hard to balance work and play, Harry can successfully mix them together. He is very committed and does not compromise on weekend family time or annual family holidays. He avoids golf session with business partners on weekend to maintain his work-life balance.
To continue its growth and become the ”Southeast Asia IT Business Hub”, CTI Group started to expand business to Malaysia through its subsidiaries Computrade Technology Malaysia and Philippines through Computrade Technology Philippines last year. Harry said the expansion could pave a way for CTI to invite more business partners and vendors when the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (“AFTA”) is implemented in 2015. “In order to remain competitive in business, you have to expand internationally. If you don’t, your competitors will,” said Harry. A wider coverage to Myanmar is also being planned by Harry who estimates that CTI could retrieve 20% of growth in 2014. He believes that CTI has what it takes to be the pioneer local IT Company in Southeast Asia region’s market.