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Julyanto Sutandang, Equnix: “every software made for business is great software development unless it is only a tool”

Technology might just be the key to a better tomorrow. However, maintaining it seems less of a dream, but more often like a nightmare.

Umpteen different solutions and providers can surely help you here. But while some choose to be protected by downloading an antivirus or moving to the cloud, others just tend to leave the hassle of juggling tools and leave it all to one business IT solutions provider.

For this reason, we sat down with Julyanto Sutandang, CEO of Equnix, an IT solution provider, to find out how choosing the right IT partner can take a lot off your shoulders.

How did Equnix come about? What has your journey been like?

Equnix as a shorthand for “Equal with Unix '' is an IT solution provider. It was founded with the purpose to give alternative solutions to IT business in Indonesia and its surrounding areas with research, development, and the usage of Open Source.

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do? What are the main challenges that you help navigate?

We understand well why our business world needs (a comprehensive IT solution without any bias in giving solutions, almost vendor-based solution is biassed by the need to sell the product), what Open Source is all about (it is actually an abandoned piece of great software, you can do whatever you would with your own risk, nobody cares about you) by combining and fulfilling the gap between what it is provided by Open Source, and what it is really needed by businesses.

Our research, expertise, and experience in this field, take the ultimate responsibility, create corridors for implementation and treat the software as if it was ours, we serve the client up to principal support, and deliver solutions, trust, and peace of mind.

We can categorise Open Source into 3 types: Pure, Endorsement, and Gimmick:

  • The pure type is what we deal with, there is no hidden agenda, no politics, and no legal risk in the past, present, or the long future (past, present, or future). This project of Open Source never talks about commercial things, nor has a commercial version.
  • The endorsement type is an Open Source that was actually made by an institution that is still in control and holds the roadmap of development and of course its path and future. This isn't really an Open Source, but the developer has the kindness to share and people are still able to use it without purchasing the commercial version.
  • Gimmick, is much like above, but has even worse features and its function is unable to be used in production, to use it, people need to purchase the commercial version so it can be legally used in production. That’s why it is called a gimmick.

By understanding those, the end user can act reasonably, since not every open source is an Open Source. There is no problem with category b or c, as long as the user follows the rules of the game. The only exception is that category c is giving Open Source a bad name.

It is evident that open source is an important part of Equnix. Would you like to share more about your vision?

Thanks, Equnix believes that Open Source is the great answer for our (developing) country to gain the independence of the adoption of technology, at least in the IT sector. Our company and its operating system are an example: a thesis and a proposal to our country about what we can do to our motherland by enabling it to use Open Source.

We believe that Open Source is much like an orphan, therefore they require a foster parent. This time we did that, next time perhaps a public organization. We are trying to catalyze the creation of the ecosystem and we proposed to our Govt that public organizations are the right ones as the foster parent since its neutral and endorsed by the government as the ruler.

Our Vision is:

  • Autonomy in Information Technology adoption, Independence from any foreign vendor lock-in, and gain our sovereignty in doing business by using the everything-under-control product
  • Bringing Open Source as a wider solution in domestic business. Develop its business ecosystem so the technology can sustain itself independently.
  • Research more into IT trying to close the gap of digital technology with developed countries.

What is it like providing IT services in light of current global events? Are there any new challenges you have to adapt to?

We quite focused on our target since the beginning: To be a corporate client for Open Source implementation and our development. We indeed face a great challenge by those global trends, such as Big Data hype, VM hype, Clouds, Startup model, etc. Many of them we found are not appropriate implementations, they only go along with the general idea of good implementation.

Therefore socialising, education, and bridging such as webinars, Talks, and Guest Lectures are a big part of our public communication. We will always campaign appropriate implementation in our presentation and communication.

In your opinion, what IT and cybersecurity details are often overlooked by new businesses?

In our case, mostly RDBMS Server implementations: hardware requirements, Data Structures, etc. Business Continuation Plan, including High Availability, DRC, and so on. In security: access and privilege control and management, secure data management, etc.

In general: capacity planning, high-level design, masterplan, roadmap implementation.

In your opinion, what kind of cyberthreats will we see more of in the next few years?

More and more businesses are going online, more and more enterprises are going to use the public Cloud, and even big financial industries are also joining the Cloud. This increases the risk of a security breach since the enterprise that uses the cloud mostly does not sign the NDA while they are exposing their data in public places.

The one who uses the public cloud should have their own support (still) or can be managed by a 3rd party with enough skill to support in cloud management but still, the 3rd party may not help much in Enterprise delivery. The signing/unsigning of the NDA is not the protection, but it is more like a language that the services delivered from cloud providers are not intended for premium services, even though the provider has premium services, they are run on the same caravan.

So, when a business that serves the public and has public obligations such as saving people’s secrets/information and using Cloud services, that is a great threat.

What security measures do you think not only organizations but also casual Internet users should implement to tackle these new threats?

We all should use social media politely, never expose any confidential information and treat social media as part of our real life.

Use our connectedness to the Internet wisely, as if it is recorded by someone else and always consider that there is no anonymity on the Internet.

What are your thoughts on IT systems specifically tailored to one’s business? Is it something each organization should invest in or is it only relevant for large enterprises?

A Tailored IT System is a great investment.

Every software made for business is great software development unless it is only a tool. This software should cater to major business processes and procedures, usually, it was developed extensively and uses great resources: skill and time.

For businesses that cannot afford the cost, it would be better to adjust their business processes to a standard one and use an off-the-shelf application that fit the requirement. Not only saving cost and time but also gaining some best practices which matured from other’s problems.

Yes, tailored Software is only fit for a larger Enterprise that delivers a great benefit by using tailored one and adjusted to their dynamic requirements of management or market drive but it will help for a long to come.

Even some great Enterprise uses off-the-shelf as long as possible unless they wanted to implement their secret policy which cannot be afforded by off-the-shelf products.

And finally, what’s next for Equnix?

We are quite focused on giving IT solutions for businesses, and conducting research, especially based on Open Sources, therefore what is our next is what is our client’s next. Right now, corporations are also trying to adopt the startup experience.

While it is not quite right, there are some who try: when corporations try to use the cloud, they break their system architecture into microservices, use big data while their data is structured, and many others. Adopting what a startup is doing, would be unwise if they don't understand the underlying spirit, concept, and foundation.

For example, adopting Open Source: Startups are very agile companies, built for growth by any means possible, they tend to hire Professionals with high salaries and take risks together in a small team. This is *not* going to happen in Enterprises. Enterprise salaries have followed the order, so a new recruit has no way to get stock option benefits.

In short, adopting the agility of the Startup is still possible, but with different approaches. Enterprise will get the best benefit when using Open Source, by helping B2B professional services.

So, Equnix builds and is dedicated to delivering solutions for Enterprises, educating and growing together with them.

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