Setiawan D. Atmojo is the general counsel of data centre, colocation and hybrid cloud solutions provider BDx Indonesia. Throughout his career, he worked as an in-house counsel in a wide range of companies, including Berca Carrier Indonesia and Indosat. Having assumed the role of general counsel at BDx last year, he believes he could not have joined the company at a more opportune time, given the rapid rise in the importance of data security.
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ALB: What have been some of your highlights from your time in charge? And what are some leadership lessons you have learnt?
Setiawan: There are many highlights to share regarding my legal career, but the one that stands out the most is learning to successfully navigate the challenges that come along with working in the digital infrastructure industry, such as the fierce competition and the demand for timely responses and precise execution. Having a strong, proactive legal support system is key to BDx to thrive in this industry, and I am very proud of our legal team and the world-class expertise we provide.
ALB: Apart from legal work, how do you participate in your company’s business?
Setiawan: At BDx, we are dealing with a crowded marketplace where we have to stand out if we want to succeed. That means every team, even the legal team, needs to live and breathe the BDx value proposition, going the extra mile to contribute to the organisation's success. As a leader, I am fully committed to engaging with all team members to ensure we meet our customers’ needs.
ALB: How would you describe your strategy for the legal team?
Setiawan: Our strategy is simple. We stay laser-focused on the needs of the customer. Customers are at the core of our business, and to ensure BDx is providing the best data centre and colocation services, we also need to provide the best legal services to support company goals. We carefully and effectively navigate regulatory complexities, and identify risks and liabilities to get the best results possible. Our legal team helps the company take its strategies from the very early stages of development through the execution phase — ensuring the efforts are supported along every step of the journey with a sound, locally and globally compliant legal framework.
ALB: How important is the company’s culture, according to you? What kind of internal culture are you looking to foster both within the team, as well as your business as a whole?
Setiawan: Company culture is vital to the success of an organisation and the individual teams within it. It all comes down to people; keeping employees engaged can go a long way to boost productivity and retain and attract new talent. I encourage an open dialogue with employees to help them feel comfortable sharing their ideas and to keep the stream of communication flowing. We also take part in team-building activities and regular check-in meetings. This helps us build stronger relationships, understand each other better and overcome challenges when conflicts occur.
ALB: On that note, how would you describe your hiring and talent retention strategy? What kinds of lawyers would make the best fit for your team?
Setiawan: I have always believed the best lawyer is not the smartest but the one who delivers. There is no point in having genius lawyers on your team if they can’t step in and do the work to solve problems for the company. Also, a talent retention strategy doesn’t have to be driven by compensation and benefits. It can be driven by the recognition of achievements, the ability to develop employees’ strengths, promoting a positive, inclusive company culture, being open to honest feedback and acting on it for continued improvement.
ALB: What kind of compliance system have you established for your company? What are the advantages of it? What parts need further improvement?
Setiawan: We have established a robust compliance system at BDx. It is global in nature, allowing the entire company to work within the same standards, same understanding and the same mechanism for more efficiency and productivity. Operating in multiple locations across APAC, including Hong Kong, China, Indonesia and Singapore, the universal system helps us maintain due diligence processes that comply with various local regulations across the region.
ALB: How would you rate the current standard of legal services available in your jurisdiction? What do law firms do well, and what could they do better of?
Setiawan: The current standard of legal services available in our jurisdiction is quite satisfactory. We work with reputable firms that are customer-focused and provide fair and accurate legal opinions. However, just like most legal services in any area, pricing could be adjusted to better meet the needs of clients from a financial standpoint.
ALB: How have your legal requirements evolved in recent times? How does that change the way you use external counsel and other legal services providers?
Setiawan: Generally, I think legal requirements evolve only when the regulation changes. For example, legal requirements did not change as a result of the pandemic. The need to use external counsel during the pandemic increased only slightly as the in-person working environment was impacted. Any work requiring in-person services, such as representing a company before the court, has remained the same.
ALB: When it comes to cooperating with external lawyers, what qualities or capabilities do you believe are the most critical to not only the work itself but also a sustainable long-term cooperating relationship?
Setiawan: In my opinion, it is most important for a lawyer to have a thorough understanding of three major factors: business, technical and legal. Only by understanding these three factors, a lawyer will be able to build a sustainable, long-term relationship with the client because they will see them and trust them as a true business partner.
ALB: Where would you like to see the team five years from now?
Setiawan: Five years is an eternity in tech! Still, in the future, our team will continue to be an integral part of the organisation, providing strong, independent legal support that elevates BDx to greater heights in the Asia-Pacific region and across the globe.
ALB: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Setiawan: It’s quite simple. Those who fail to prepare should prepare to fail.