Christanto Suryadarma: A Visionary Technology Leader Leveraging Success for Company and Communities

Christanto Suryadarma | Zebra Technologies: A Visionary Technology Leader | The Enterprise World

Meet a Purpose-driven, Passionate, and People-centric leaderChristanto Suryadarma, the Vice-President of Sales in Southeast Asia and South Korea for Zebra TechnologiesAn adept leader, Christanto Suryadarma has a comprehensive experience of 30 years in General Management and Leadership in various roles for Direct and Partner Sales, Enterprise and Consumer Sales, Hardware Sales, Software Sales, Services Sales, and Regional and Country Leadership roles. 

Additionally, he is a well-known driver, coach, collaborator, and communicator with well-developed interpersonal skills that have facilitated success within varied cultures and geographies and maintained productive working relationships with all internal departments and external stakeholders. 

Up and Close on Christanto Suryadarma’s Journey

Christanto Suryadarma graduated from the Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana as an Electronics Engineer and started his professional career in IT by taking on the role of a Pre-sales Engineer, before finally moving into Sales. Before joining Zebra Technologies, he was the Head of Channels, Mid-Market, SMB, Commercial, & Alibaba Cloud Partnership at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Asia Pacific. Before that, he also held various senior leadership positions at companies like the ECS Group, Intel Corporation, and Microsoft Asia Pacific.

Currently, he is the Sales Vice President for Zebra Technologies in the Southeast Asia and South Korea region and is responsible for growing Zebra’s business in Southeast Asia and South Korea as well as leading the sales team for these regions. He is involved in developing and executing strategies in alignment with Zebra’s goals and managing sales activities for the market to achieve Zebra’s overall business objectives. Additionally, he also leads Zebra’s Channel sales for Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China).

Throughout Christanto Suryadarma’s career, he has lived in Indonesia and Australia and currently is based in Singapore. He is married and has two daughters who have both graduated from Singapore universities. One of them is already working, while the other has just completed a 3-year stint as a teacher for children with Autism and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in a US seminary. 

Decoding Entrepreneurial Responsibilities

Being an entrepreneur and business leader, Christanto Suryadarma is highly driven by his goals and visions. For him, entrepreneurship is solely his passion and hence he isn’t focused on the monetary aspect of it. He believes one should not aim only for personal success and have the ability to help others in need. Leading by example, Christanto’s ultimate aim is to become significant and not successful because being successful is self-centered while being significant is going “beyond self”. 

As a true leader, Christanto Suryadarma practices everything he preaches, he started “MyBook MyCountry ” in 2017, a literacy movement focused on helping underprivileged children in remote areas of Indonesia gain access to knowledge through reading. 

To make this dream come true, he worked with one of the largest publishers in Indonesia to get new books at discounted rates and liaised with local volunteers and educators to open up their homes and schools and convert them into reading gardens that can be accessed by underprivileged children and students in the vicinity. To date, up to 72 Reading Gardens have been set up in remote areas of Indonesia, and it has helped about 10,000 underprivileged children and students. 

Moments of Triumphs

Christanto Suryadarma describes himself as a leader with an entrepreneurial spirit. His journey stands as a testament to paving his unique path and manifesting his dream at every step of the journey. 

Christanto Suryadarma first started his career in Pre-Sales in 1989 and even double-hatted as their Solution Center Manager before leaving Astra Graphia, one of the best-managed companies in Indonesia and a Sole Distributor of Digital Equipment (which later became Compaq and subsequently HPE) in Indonesia after six memorable years. Later in his career, he had the opportunity to join some big IT brands like Intel Corporation, Microsoft Asia Pacific, and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise where he gradually rose the ranks to take on senior leadership positions.

During this journey, he learned that to be significant, one needs to continue learning and knowing the “why” and “Purpose” behind everything is essential. As a leader, one has to think holistically, consider working with like-minded individuals, and build Partnerships that are driven by the same enthusiasm and passion. Additionally, it’s important to measure the impact and contribution one has made to the company, community, and society (Progress). Christanto Suryadarma calls this the Triple Ps: People, Purpose and Partnership. 

Since joining Zebra in Q3 2021, he has transformed Zebra Team in Southeast Asia to adopt the growth mindset, which is to be Inclusive, Innovative, and Collaborative. As a result, it achieved strong double-digit Y-o-Y Growth in FY21 and FY22  and gained significant market share in key segments. It doubled its earnings from its services and achieved a higher Employee Engagement Index.

Moving forward, Christanto Suryadarma’s vision is to make Zebra Technologies and its Partners the leader for industry transformation in Southeast Asia. His secondary role is to build and manage a strong channel ecosystem in the Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China) through the Engage-Enable-Excite (Three E’s) strategy and execution.

Before Zebra, here’s to share some key projects that he has worked on previously:

  • The First Intel Teacher’s Notebook in Asia Pacific 
  • Microsoft Dream Project for 1 Million Genuine Windows in SEA
  • The First Cloud for Distribution in South East Asia
  • Grew 5x of HPE Greenlake for Channel
  • HPE and Alibaba Cloud Global Partnership from Scratch

Inculcating a Work Environment Driven by 3P’s 

As a leader with an entrepreneurial spirit, Christanto Suryadarma believes in People, Purpose and Partnership and this needs to be executed with Integrity and Resilience. He tries to apply the same when it comes to motivating his team members. 

For instance, during the COVID period, Zebra worked hard to help their team stay positive by taking care of their well-being. Because they are the ones who are taking care of the customers and collaborating with the partners to ensure continued business growth. 

With that approach, the company achieved high double-digit growth and gained more market share. It even achieved a higher score for its Employee Engagement Index. Making Zebra a Great Place to work will help the company to win more business. 

An Overview of Zebra Technologies

Zebra Technologies helps organizations monitor, anticipate, and accelerate workflows by empowering their frontline and ensuring that everyone and everything is visible, connected, and fully optimized. Its award-winning portfolio spans software to innovations in robotics, machine vision, automation, and digital decisions, all backed by a +50-year legacy in scanning, track-and-trace, and mobile computing solutions. 

With an ecosystem of 10,000 partners across more than 100 countries, Zebra’s customers include over 80% of the Fortune 500. Newsweek recently recognized Zebra as one of America’s Most Loved Workplaces and Greatest Workplaces for Diversity, and we are on Fast Company’s list of the Best Workplaces for Innovators. 

Zebra Technologies was born out of a conversation at a dining room table between the founders Gary Cless and Ed Kaplan, and it started with a $1,000 capital investment in 1969 (more than 50 years ago). There were certainly times of uncertainty, though. By January of 1970, less than a year after the idea for Zebra was born, Gary and Ed had left their full-time jobs and put all their time into their new company, which was originally called Data Specialties, Inc. 

In the beginning, they focused on engineering paper tape punches to record point-of-sale (POS) transactions. The young entrepreneurs took risks and, at one point, were $20,000 in debt. However, the use of thermal transfer technology for printing barcodes, as well as the release of the model Z-130, propelled the young company on a path to success. Zebra has not stopped growing since.

Today, it is a multi-billion-dollar company that has designed, engineered, manufactured, and deployed mobile technology solutions credited with empowering innovation, facilitating game-changing breakthroughs, and providing the tools to generate business growth for retailers, healthcare providers, manufacturers, governments, supply chain organizations and field service providers worldwide. 

Since 1969, Zebra Technologies has been working behind the scenes in many industries around the world. Its solutions enable businesses from across varying verticals (Retail/E-Commerce, Manufacturing, Transportation & Logistics (T&L), Healthcare, Public Sector, Hospitality, and Banking) to gain a performance edge by intelligently connecting their people, assets, and data to help them gain business visibility to make business-critical decisions swiftly and decisively. 

Zebra’s growth has always been fuelled by our constant pursuit of innovation. But the biggest breakthrough would be its acquisition of Motorola Solutions Enterprise Business in 2014.

With its rich history of innovation, Zebra is recognized today as an industry leader in the following segments:

  • #1 Enterprise Mobile Computing
  • #1 Barcode Scanning
  • #1 Specialty Printing 
  • #1 RFID Reader & RFID Printing 
  • A Leader in Workforce Management 
  • A leader in Magic Quadrant for Indoor Location Services – Global

Its current success would not be possible without the tenacity, faith, hard work, passion, and creativity that Gary and Ed exhibited throughout their careers. They add, “We hope you will join us in celebrating the legacy that they have gifted us as we move forward on our journey to achieve a new set of milestones over the next 50 years.

Breaking Records

Based on Zebra’s annual reports published from 2013 to 2022 as per the table below, Zebra’s net sales have grown from $983 million in 2011 to $5,781 million in 2022 in 11 years, which translates to a +488% growth. 

Innovation is the Secret behind Zebra’s Long-standing Success 

Zebra is a keen believer in innovation. From the very first handheld laser barcode scanner it built in 1979, to the Zebra Savanna Data Intelligence Platform that it introduced in 2017, Zebra spends around 10% of its annual revenue on R&D (about $570M in 2022). 

Additionally, Zebra has made several acquisitions in recent years to bolster its product offerings: 

  • Matrox Imaging (2022) – Machine vision solutions 
  • (2021) – AI-powered Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions 
  • Fetch Robotics (2021) – Intelligent industrial automation 
  • Adaptive Vision (2021) – Machine vision software
  • Reflexis Systems (2020) – Intelligent workforce management and execution solutions 
  • Cortexica (2019) – Computer vision solutions 
  • Temptime (2019) – Time-temperature monitoring solutions 
  • Profitect (2019) – Prescriptive analytics 
  • Xplore (2018) – Rugged tablets 
  • Motorola Solutions Enterprise Business (2014) 

Zebra’s Top-Notch Offerings

Zebra is an innovator at the edge of the enterprise with solutions and partners that enable businesses to gain a performance edge. Its products, software, services, analytics, and solutions are used to intelligently connect people, assets, and data to help its customers in several industries make business-critical decisions.

The industries that we serve include retail and e-commerce, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, healthcare, and the public sector, amongst others

Zebra is continuously working to provide its customers with best-in-class offerings, it aims to take a step further in terms of its offerings and stand out amongst its competitors. 

Zebra works closely with more than 10,000 partners across more than 190 countries to understand the needs of its customers before offering them a solution because it believes there is no one-size-fits-all solution to every challenge faced. With the rise of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and the on-demand economy, companies are racing against time to digitize their businesses to keep up with the growing demands of their customers. 

Therefore, Zebra is in a very exciting space to contribute to a fast-growing on-demand economy and the next industrial revolution by making the world work better with intelligent automation, connecting people, tasks, and data, and creating insights with AI and Machine Vision to help businesses make faster, better decisions. 

Catering to the Needs of the People

Zebra’s solutions can be used in many ways within the healthcare industry. For example:

Positive identification: The company’s solutions can be introduced to ensure patient safety, reduce errors, and instill confidence with accurate, positive patient identification at every step – from admissions to discharge and every surgery, procedure, or test in between.

Untethered mobility: Its solutions can be adapted to support talking, texting, and the sharing of images instantly and securely. This enables instant connection with colleagues, information, and applications that medical workers may need. The collection and retrieval of information, and accessing of Electronic Health Records from the palms of their hands.  

Tracking and Locationing: Its solutions can help locate medical staff and critical medical equipment that goes missing in busy places. By turning such real-time data into actionable insights, it offers hospitals greater visibility into their operations and even their supply chain management.  

Zebra’s Takes on the Global Healthcare Industry

The global healthcare industry is facing a seemingly insurmountable number of challenges – from aging populations and staff shortages to rising costs – that are placing enormous pressure on institutions, doctors, workers, patients, and communities. As a result, there is a higher demand for services and support that are not sustainable with existing resources and methods. Hospitals are increasingly turning to technology and automation to reduce the strain on an already fragile system.

The good news is that there is a solution that can help ease the stress on the system, improve patient care, create workflow efficiencies, and better utilize limited resources. Thanks to the adoption of clinical mobility, hospitals around the world are eliminating manual, error-prone procedures and replacing them with digital solutions that increase the accuracy of patient identification, streamline processes, improve the quality of patient care, and enhance overall visibility. By digitally capturing information, data can be transmitted in real-time to clinical staff, reducing – even eliminating – errors and delivering critical time savings. Therefore, clinical mobility is the answer. 

Key Takeaways for Budding Entrepreneurs

  • To always start with the objective (Why), then develop the plan (How), before executing it (What). 
  • To always stay connected to what they are working on and learn from it by observing its developments, identifying the problems, and solving them while scaling it with the resources on hand (capital and human resources). 
  • To adopt the People, Purpose and Partnership Framework, and to always treat people (be it customers, partners, or employees) the way they would want to be treated themselves.  
  • Don’t just be successful, be significant. Making others successful will in turn grant you even more success.

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