Developing Business Skills in The Digital Era

The number of internet users in Indonesia has been increasing significantly. The Indonesian Association of Internet Service Providers (APJII) reported that internet users increased 51.8% compared to 2014. Data from the Association also showed an increase from 88 million users in 2014 to 132.7 million in 2016. Similarly, the number of smartphone users is also on the rise, making business transactions much easier anytime, anywhere. The US Census Bureau Data mentioned that in 2015, there were already over 281 million smartphone users in Indonesia. Infrastructure-wise the existing networks have been expanding on a promising track.

Yet, knowledge and understanding about digitalization is still pretty much needed. How to do business in the digital era is still foreign to many people, even entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are constantly demanded to adapt fast amidst the inevitable innovation of new technologies and their applications. We have witnessed how Gojek, Uber, Traveloka, and Air BnB have suddenly changed the map of businesses in Indonesia. Both business people and consumers at large are stunned by the massive entrance of new competitors into the market. Instead of adapting to these changes, many chose to go to the streets, rallying and demanding protection from the Government.

Sooner and later, the business world must change. The concept of sharing economy will continue to prevail and online business will claim more dominance. In this situation, people need to update themselves with some core understanding about business in the digital era. Business in the digital era is differentiated among others by the following characteristics: knowledge-based, i.e., it uses knowledge as an added value; digitization, i.e., it digitizes all its activities; virtuality, i.e., it takes place in the cyber world; internetworking, i.e., business is run over interconnected networks; disintermediation, i.e., direct or without mediation, convergence, i.e., it is integrated; innovation; prosumption, i.e., consumers are often also producers, immediacy, i.e., everything happens fast and immediately; and globalization, i.e., there are no geographical barriers.

To succeed in the digital era, companies must prepare themselves to anticipate changes by: redefining their sustainable business models, ensuring added values in supply chains, exploring non-conventional means of communication, combining different business models, focusing more on end-users’ needs, and developing Big Data management system to meet the needs of different consumer segments more effectively and efficiently.

Thus, the curricula of higher educational institutions in Indonesia need to continually adapt to and maintain their relevance with the ever-changing situation. The Management Study Program at Harapan Bangsa Institute Technology is an educational program that aims to produce graduates with excellent competence to enter the business world in this digital era. Focusing on Digital Marketing, the Program’s up-to-date curriculum is specifically designed to answer the needs of the society for a more scientific approach for the digital business, thus contributing significantly to the nation’s economic development.

Dr. Laura Lahindah, S.E., M.M.

Chair, Management Study Program, Harapan Bangsa Business School ITHB