Real Leaders

Bringing Google to the Next Level of Digital Maturity

Speaking with Strategic Leaders at Google, Ari tells us about his experiences in the past and his new position at Google. Additionally, he gives us an overview of the digital trends in 2017. Ari has over 15 years of experience in Banking, Insurance, Education, IT and the Telecommunications industry across Sales, Marketing and Operations roles in North America & Southeast Asia. He has been the catalyst for Digital Transformation & Innovation globally and will be part of Global Digital Leaders 2017!

Ari, you recently moved from AXA to Google in Indonesia. We congratulate and wish you all the best for this new and exciting career path. What are your plans in bringing Google to the next level of digital maturity?

My ongoing passion is to have global impact by bringing all the amazing innovations that Google is building in Silicon Valley to Indonesia, making them accessible to all. I hope to bring the most value to Google by bringing regional market knowledge and relationships to the organization. 

How did your previous role and experience prepare you for this?

Having had the opportunity to transform traditional organization’s mindset to leap frog through Digital Culture adoption has really been one of the best and satisfying learning opportunities in my career. Now, I feel very lucky to join Google at one of the best periods. Google itself is currently transforming from a Mobile First to AI (Artificial Intelligence) First focus for the next 10 years. It is a humbling opportunity to be at the forefront of innovation while also having impact to millions of people.

How do you plan to leverage and push Social Media for your business in 2017?

Social Media will continue play an important role to promote most businesses in 2017. The focus on producing and distributing engaging and relevant content for customers will primarily shift through short-form and long-form video storytelling. We are also seeing the global rise of Influencer Marketing, who can also educate Brands how to master engagement and storytelling to its consumers.

What are the top trends that you see happening in 2017 and how will these trends influence the future of digitalization?

For a lot of companies, 2017 will be the time they adopt Customer Centricity or Customer Experience (CX) metrics to be able to show how their Digital Transformation projects have impact to the business. And at the forefront of Digitalization, we’re seeing the shift from Mobile First to AI First, made possible through the advancements in the Machine Learning field. The focus here will be on how services can be delivered to consumers at a very personalized level never seen before. Think of a Digital Personal Assistant that understands and anticipates each of its customer needs. As this technology matures, it can help organizations to be truly customer centric at an almost magical level.


The concept of cultural change emerges again and again in the context of transformation, in your opinion why is it so important?

Top Leaders in the organization have the most important role in creating an effective Digital Culture which actively engages their employees with a mindset for risk-taking, agility and collaboration. Driving Digital Culture is so important because it is the only sustainable way to adapt in an always changing environment and to retain the top talents needed to succeed.

What do you think is the biggest obstacle to a successful implementation of digital transformation?

In a traditional organization, getting Leadership Buy-In who only wants to see significant short-term impact to the sales bottom line will be the hardest to start with. After that is achieved, the next challenge would be creating an effective Digital Culture across all functions and levels in the organization.

What kind of people, skills and experience does a company need in order to succeed in a digital project?

People with High-Curiosity, High-Persistency and High IQ. In an always changing era “Intellectual Humility” is a must for Digital Talent to succeed. Companies need to think creatively to attract these talents through authentic and engaging Employer Branding campaigns which reflect the company’s core values and mission to transform through Digital.

“Companies also need to show their willingness to invest in these Digital talents and let them take short-term risk through transformation projects in order to win for the long-run.”

How do you see the role of a CDO evolving in the long-run? And how do digital leaders take decisions in a complex business context?

CDO’s is mostly needed in the early stages of transformation to bring a clear focus and deliverables, while engaging the rest of the board to foster Digital Culture and Digital IQ across the organizations. CDO’s also need to exemplify how data driven decisions can be used across the organization to make sense of complex business situations. In the long run however, it is debatable whether CDO titles are needed. What is certainly needed is CEO, CMO, CFO, etc. that have a high Digital IQ.

Who are your digital heroes? Why?

My Digital Heroes are leaders who defy the status quo and having successfully transformed the mindset of organizations, industries and even societies through ambitious and sometimes high-risk visions. Yet they are able to execute them excellently with agility and collaboration. Basuki Tjahja Purnama or Ahok (Current Governor of Jakarta City) is on his way to transform a clogged and an inefficient megacity of 10 million into a smart city by 2020. He is defining what is possible when e-government and technology empowered society collaborate together to make a better livable city. Elon Musk (Co-Founder of Paypal, Founder of Tesla & Space X), I see him as the real life Tony Stark, progressing technology for the benefit of humanity. How many people can claim that they make Sci-Fi ideas into Science Reality? Well, Elon can.


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