Interviews of Mrs. Ita Yuliati with Global Business Guide Indonesia

03 Feb 2012

gbg

Alita Praya Mitra was established in 1995 focused on telecommunication infrastructure and has since grown and diversified. What was the background to the founding of the company and what are the current strategies being followed by the company?

Mrs Ita Yuliati

I have been involved in IT since 1983 after I graduated I began working for a state owned company in Bandung where I learned a lot about telecommunication. In 1987 I began working with a local company that was the local partner of NEC Japan. I began Alita in 1995 using the existing relationship I had with NEC. We started as a newcomer in the telecommunication sector so to differentiate ourselves from the existing players I decided that we had to make Alita a global company. Luckily I had a good relationship with Indosat and Telkomsel. At the time they had a joint venture with the Ministry of Telecommunication in Cambodia and they asked me to join and to support the project. I began doing the survey and the implementation of the telecommunication network there so Alita actually began in Cambodia and not in Indonesia. As I aimed to be a global company, we gained our ISO certification in 2000 and in 2001 we started to approach Indonesia. Our first projects were received from Indosat and Telkomsel but we really began from scratch with just a couple of people. From 2001 we had just a few projects and then in 2003-4 we got some large scale projects from operators. In 2007, business began to boom and we expanded as this was a key time in telecommunication development In Indonesia. We also began looking for a strategic partner and in 2007 the decision was made to expand into information technology therefore we needed to improve the capacity of our human resources. A subsidiary company was formed to carry out IT services and we have another subsidiary engaged in IT applications and smartcards as I believe this will be the future for payment transactions and other services in Indonesia. Today, I am very proud of how Alita has grown and the group now counts approximately 700 people with 200 people in Alita itself. We are mainly focused on telecommunication and ICT. I think that there are many companies in telecommunication now but there are very few that can offer the end to end solution that we can from the infrastructure to telecommunication to payment systems. In 2008 we re-established Alita Cambodia as this had slowed down over the past few years. The reason for this is that we have an existing network there and recently the demand for telecommunication infrastructure has risen significantly. Also, Cambodia serves as a hub for other ASEAN countries so from this base we can enter Laos and Myanmar. We also have Alita Hungary; I believe that we can really do something in Hungary and in addition it is also an entry point for Eastern Europe. From here we can enter Croatia and other countries in the region. The target is different; in Cambodia we act mainly as a system integrator and for infrastructure construction. In Hungary our focus is on grabbing the technology for broadcasting and IT through collaboration with local companies.

gbg

What are the next products and services that the company is planning on offering in the future?

Mrs Ita Yuliati

For Alita, software will be an area of focus over hardware manufacture. Currently, we are building our capacity as we established a strategic business unit for this. Also, business models for telecom operators are changing. Virtual operating networks and outsourcing are becoming key trends so we are adapting ourselves for these future developments. The network of operators will decline as the market in Indonesia is becoming saturated with almost 200 million mobile subscribers. In broadband connections, 3G, 4G and also LTE; the future will be in content and applications. It would be meaningless to have 4G speed without the applications. Therefore we are restructuring ourselves and our target is to transform into a new business model by outsourcing. This is very different from being a system integrator that provides maintenance. The contracts for the new business model will be service level agreements so we must train our people. The network has also transformed from digital to IP which also requires new skills. We will not transform completely, we will maintain our core business as a system integrator too but increase our human resources capacity to keep up with new developments.

gbg

The company has a globally orientated focus through your existing presence in Cambodia and Hungary. What further international markets would be of interest for the future?

Mrs Ita Yuliati

We are targeting Eastern Europe first through Hungary as Western Europe is already very advanced. Eastern European technology is very good and the companies there also still need collaboration and partnerships. It is therefore easier to enter and penetrate Eastern Europe first, for the future we may enter other countries in Europe. In Cambodia it is different; we are selling our expertise as their development is still 5-10 years behind Indonesia so we have plenty to offer to this market.

gbg

Considering Alita's expansion plans and Indonesia's growing attractiveness as an international investment opportunity, how is the company positioned towards foreign investment and joint ventures?

Mrs Ita Yuliati

We are open to work with foreign investors as we really are a joint venture focused company. Indonesia is becoming a target for foreign companies and investors now because they can see the rapid growth in the ICT sector. Indonesia is an archipelago which makes telecommunication infrastructure implementation difficult and expensive so the country really needs investors. Current satellites are not enough so submarine cables and fibre optic cables are in high demand. There is a lot of potential for investment but it must also be supported by government regulations so that projects can go ahead efficiently. I am eager to invite investors to work with us. In fibre optics for example we have already deployed cables for Jakarta to Bandung. There is more needed in this area and to expand we need a strategic partner. For data centres as well, companies normally put their remote disaster centres in Singapore etc. and now the Indonesian government regulations require such data centres to be in Indonesia so large investment is needed to establish data centres for companies which holds great potential for Alita and potential international partners.