Staying ahead of the game

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Teddy Sumulong, managing director, Computrade Technology Philippines Inc.

Teddy Sumulong, managing director, Computrade Technology Philippines Inc.

Like most entrepreneurs, Teddy Sumulong agrees that, sometimes, success in business is all about being first. While most Filipino entrepreneurs have recently started organizing talks on the implications of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) integration in 2015, several companies in other member countries have already started quietly expanding their horizons ahead of others.

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In February, Sumulong started incorporating a new information technology (IT) company that would serve as the Philippine subsidiary of a leading IT company in Indonesia. Several months later, Sumulong, along with his Indonesian principals, formally launched Computrade Technology Philippines (CTP), with Sumulong as managing director.

CTP is a majority-owned subsidiary of Computrade Technology International (CTI). CTI was established in Indonesia in 2003 as an IT company which distributes global IT brands. The company originally positioned itself as an IT infrastructure solutions partner, focusing on project-based IT infrastructure and service through its business partners.

Over time, CTI has formed a number of strategic alliances and transformed itself into a holding company with several subsidiaries. According to its corporate data, the company started with a US$9.9-million performance growth in 2003, which ballooned to US$185 million in 2013.

Currently, CTI has six IT companies in several areas based on product and service differentiation. It also expanded its focus from the enterprise market to the small medium business (SMB) market segment. It has also set its expansion sights into the region, with the objective of becoming the most preferred IT solutions partner in Southeast Asia. Its latest foray into the regional market is its formal entry into the Philippines.

Like its parent company, CTP is an information technology solutions provider. According to Sumulong, CTP was established to help support Filipino resellers move up the business value chain. He said that CTP formally opened in June, carrying with it global brands including Thales, FireEye, Zscaler, Riverbed, and Dell. Its value proposition is hinged on what Sumulong sees as the four major trends in the growth of IT, namely: big data, mobility, cloud, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). Sumulong said the products they carry are specifically intended to respond to all these trends and address issues on managing and analyzing big data and security.

Sumulong, meanwhile, said that CTP caters to both the enterprise markets and small and medium-sized enterprises. In particular, he said, “We specialize in providing IT info solutions for end-users through channels.” This is why he also wants to tap independent software vendors (ISVs) to maximize their potentials in reaching out to their intended markets.

Looking further at industries, Sumulong said he is keen on marketing to banks and financial houses, as well as government institutions. At the same time, he is also looking at sectors such as business process outsourcing (BPO), retail, manufacturing, and even gaming and casinos.

Like most leaders of start-ups, he is quite bullish on CTP’s growth in the country. According to CTP’s recently released corporate data, the Philippines’ computer hardware sale is estimated to be pegged at P99.1 billion in 2014, growing at a rate of 8.1 percent from last year’s figure of P91.7 billion. Software sales are estimated to be P25 billion this year, growing 12.2 percent from P24.1 billion in 2013.

When asked about his short-term goals, Sumulong said he wants to build brand preference while building his brands portfolio to hopefully triple the brands that they have now. He also expects the company to grow by around 400 percent, with the goal of “tripling the size of his organization in terms of manpower.” He also sees Computrade Philippines as eventually expanding to key areas nationwide, such as Cebu, Davao and Pampanga.

The newly minted managing director of CTP admitted that he has his work cut out for him. With two solid decades of experience in the IT industry, he feels he knows the sector well enough to avoid the pitfalls and guide his company to healthy growth. Looking back, he said he never envisioned himself to be part of the vibrant IT industry. “While in college, I never really thought of myself as an achiever from an academic standpoint. I probably have at most, average grades,” he sheepishly revealed. But he said things have a way of falling into the right place, and he somehow found himself in the world of IT, starting his career at IBM, handling business partners and key clients of the company.

These days, he said he is fortunate to have found the right balance for work and his personal life. Apart from work, his family is his top priority, he noted. Still, he finds time for some of the things he enjoys doing, such as running at least two times a week and playing golf on a regular basis. He also likes reading books like “The Outliers,” which, he says, embodies one of his passions in life—”having non-traditional information and translating it to something more relevant.”

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