Achmad Sunuadji Sofwan uses his distinctive approach to enhance the quality of his team, resulting in a better understanding of customer needs.
With more products and services being brought to the table, the information technology industry is at the forefront of advancing human civilization, according to PT Fujitsu Indonesia president director Achmad Sunuadji Sofwan.
Today, laptops and desktop PCs are seen as inseparable parts of our daily routine. Businesses and industries demand not only generic software, such as data warehouses and business intelligence, but also end-to-end IT solutions, he added.
Fujitsu has taken a brilliant step forward by providing a complete range of end-to-end tailor-made products, such as an electronic medical solution, an intelligent traffic system and a disaster management system, to name a few.
“The intelligent traffic system allows local governments to better manage their road networks. The electronic medical solution has enhanced the quality of hospitals. With the disaster management system, information dissemination for disaster preparedness and prevention instructions can now be delivered much earlier. We customize such IT end-to-end solutions according to the customer’s needs,” he explained.
“It is important to understand their needs to deliver the best value for customers. Value is established through understanding customers. A solid team is what it takes to understand your costumers.”
Achmad uses his transparency approach to formulate Fujitsu’s vision to achieve the company’s growth.
“Transparency is very effective for building the team’s cumulative strength. By jointly formulating the company’s vision, we will be able to recognize the different strengths of everyone in the team. The higher-ranked employees play crucial roles in the company’s management structure, but there are many employees in the lower bracket that know market conditions better. Transparency is my leadership tool to achieve synergy at all position levels in the company,” he said, while regretting that there were still many companies neglecting the importance of transparency in their daily operations.
To foster transparency, Achmad allows his subordinates to criticize and engage in debates. “This often leads to a consensus, which in turn benefits the company. I make decisions based on the consensus,” he said.
In his view, decision-making is a skill every leader must possess and he admitted that occasionally he and his team encountered gray areas.
“Sometimes we cannot reach a consensus. In this case, I as a leader must take a decision.”
Innovation to develop employees
Achmad embarked on his IT career after earning his degree in mechanical engineering from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in 1983. He described his journey as an “accident”.
He always wanted to work in an automotive or oil company, but his career path led him elsewhere. It’s all started when he took an IBM recruitment test on his campus. Surprisingly, he passed the test, and he stayed with the company for 18 years.
“My career at IBM was very significant. I really started building my IT career from scratch there, from entry level all the way to the top as the company’s country manager. At IBM, I learned the importance of innovation in the IT industry,” he reminisced.
Despite his achievements at IBM, Achmad said joining Fujitsu was a means of moving forward in the industry. Both IBM and Fujitsu share a common value – product innovation, but Fujitsu is ahead due to the company’s ability to create tailor-made products.
Fujitsu’s technology innovation, which aims to encourage a human-centric intelligent society, is designed not only to create IT end-to-end customized solutions, but also to enhance the quality of human resources.
Understanding the needs of customers is the beginning of creating a tailor-made IT product. This, as Achmad explained, takes innovation and is a fundamental approach to creating IT products that fit the needs of customers.
By the same token, he said innovation complemented transparent leadership.
“Transparency allows me to recognize the individual strength in the team. And when combined, the team has great resources that altogether can create new approaches to improve the team’s performance to deliver better value for our customers.”
Achmad has nine years’ experience with PT Fujitsu Indonesia as president director (2008-present), chief operations officer (2007-2008) and sales director (2005-2007). Previously, he worked for PT Multipolar from 2002 to 2005, leaving the company as senior vice president for sales. He joined PT IBM Indonesia after completing his university degree in 1983. He took in his 18 year career with IBM, including his last position as country manager.
Graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Bandung Institute of Technology in 1983.
The joy of family living
My wife Farida and I always spend time with our family. Despite their busy schedule, our 28-year-old son and twin daughter, Aji and Anindya, regularly visit us at weekends. My 3-month-old granddaughter Askha cheers up everyone in the family.
Sport has always been my hobby. It helps my mind and body stay healthy. I play badminton and tennis in the past, but now I limit myself to golf and jogging. I really like golf for its sportsmanship and competitive nature. Halim and Permata Sentul Golf are some of my favorite courses.
Mixing business with pleasure
Most of the time I travel for business, but in many cases I extend for one or two days to get to know the city. Culture and nature are the two elements of travel that I enjoy most. I especially like European cities, as they have beautiful historic buildings, like museums and palaces.
I enjoy dining out and sampling different dishes. Japanese and Solonese cuisine are at the top of my list. Sashimi is one of the most palatable items on Japanese menus. Tengkleng, traditional food from Solo, a delicious dish of meaty mutton ribs, is a must try.
By Aulia R. Sungkar. Published in The Jakarta Post on May 3, 2014.