Doing Business Successfully in the Digital Era
Doing business in the digital era is not as simple as we may think. A few clicks and the order arrives. Superficially this is what it seems. Online businesses make it easy for people to place order and settle transactions. Yet, the success of an online business in the future requires much more beyond moving a traditional shop to an online platform, even though Amazon or Lazada almost did just that.
Look at some other major online companies that disrupt traditional business practices, such as BukaLapak, eBay, Go-Jek, Grab, and Air BnB. They did more than just opening an online store. BukaLapak, for example, created a mechanism that connects sellers and buyers. eBay created an online auction system. Go-Jek and Grab make it easy to share idle capacity for motorcycle and cars, and by doing that they have become a threat for conventional taxi services. And Air BnB introduced a room sharing model that threats hotel chain businesses.
Or, notice how financial technology (fintech) companies are rapidly undermining the role of conventional banks as intermediaries between lenders and creditors. These fintech companies have also created new transaction systems which allow us to make transactions only by tapping thus minimizing the need for and use of cash.
Most new online companies have a common strategy. They cut off the role of go-betweens or agents with the help of the Internet. They also launch various applications that answer the different needs of their consumers: enjoying entertainment (games, videos, music), art (photo and design applications), and education. To meet these growing demands, they also use cutting edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.
Thus, the first key to success in the digital era is the ability to generate new ideas that can better meet customers’ needs or answer new needs. Creativity is an absolute requirement here.
The second key is the ability to transform ideas into products or services that meet customers’ expectations. To do this, a combination of IT and operational management skills, such as supply chain and customer relations management, is indispensable.
The third key is the ability to generate maximum shareholder values (wealth) from the business. The time when business people value companies solely based on actual profit is long gone. Today, investors may give very high valuation for online companies that are still losing money, as long as the ventures have promising future revenues through unique business model and large number of users.
In Indonesia, however, few higher education institutions have specifically responded to the change in the business landscape. The Online Business S-1 program at Harapan Bangsa Business School is proud to be among such rare institutions in the country. The program, aiming at future needs, brings together three well-known departments at Harapan Bangsa Campus into a collaboration. The Visual Communication Department, with its national achievements, will be developing students’ creativity by stimulating them to explore fresh and innovative ideas. The Informatics Department, whose graduates now have bright careers in prominent global online and digital companies, is responsible for developing students’ ability to design technologies to support the business model. The Management Department, which recently won a prestigious national business plan competition, will be developing students’ ability to create values through business planning and management skills.
The Harapan Bangsa Online Business program will also offer an exciting way of learning. First, it will adopt a project-based approach, where knowledge will be acquired both from classrooms and also from doing real projects. The learning process will also be supported by a wide range of facilities including discussion rooms and co-working spaces, access to communities of developers, and even links to potential investors. Courses are taught by academicians and practitioners, providing applicable technology and business skills. In the second year, students will engage in practical work or job training sessions during which they can explore how companies run their businesses. In the final year, students will work on their final project for two full semesters. The final project requires them to develop a product prototype and a business model, of which readiness and applicability are to be assessed and tested by real investors and business actors.
In conclusion, the Harapan Bangsa Online Business Study Program is carefully designed to answer future needs and supported by faculty members with years of experience in producing graduates with successful professional and business careers. Candidates who are interested to pursue a successful career in the digital era are highly recommended to consider the opportunities offered by the program.