Boost Indonesia

We needed the scalability of PaaS and SaaS, without the dependency on third parties, and Salesforce could deliver that.”

Joseph Lumban Gaol | CEO, PT.


faster from ideation to release


Boost Indonesia is helping micro entrepreneurs access the digital economy with Salesforce

Boost Indonesia is making great strides towards achieving its goal of connecting 1 million micro entrepreneurs with vital financial services as the company drives economic inclusion throughout the country.

Boost Indonesia is bringing economic inclusion to Indonesia’s millions of informal micro entrepreneurs with an innovative digital financial services platform that is putting the power of the digital economy into the hands of the country’s most under-served business owners.

“At less than 40 per cent, the financial inclusion rate in Indonesia is one of the lowest in Southeast Asia,” says Joseph Lumban Gaol, CEO at PT. Axiata Digital Services Indonesia, the parent company of Boost. “63 million micro entrepreneurs contribute around 60 per cent to the Indonesian economy, but most are unregistered or informal businesses such as shop owners and stallholders – and many are unbanked or at least under-served by financial institutions.”

Lumban Gaol believes that economic inclusion is the vital first step to achieving financial inclusion for the country’s hard-working micro entrepreneurs, and the Boost platform is the tool to make it happen.

But Boost is much more than an e-wallet payment app. The company follows a genuine partnership model where merchants receive in-the-field support from a community-based ‘Boostpreneur’. 

“Our Boostpreneurs are part of the local community,” Lumban Gaol explains. “They are responsible for the onboarding and registration of merchants. As many merchants are illiterate, Boostpreneurs also help to nurture and educate our end users on how the use of financial services can help them to build their businesses and empower them to maximise their use of our services.”

Driving financial inclusion for all

Boost connects merchants with a virtual bank account. Merchants then may choose to give in-person cash to the dedicated Boostpreneur, who deposits it into the merchant’s account on their behalf.

“It’s a personal concierge service for banking,” says Lumban Gaol. “Merchants can, with assistance from their Boostpreneur, digitally transfer funds from their virtual account to a wealth management account or access a range of other financial services.”

The model is a win-win for merchants and Boostpreneurs. Boost connects merchants with financial services suppliers, and then shares profits from administration fees charged to suppliers back to merchants and Boostpreneurs.

“Boostpreneurs are advocates for their merchants, so it’s in their interests to create long-term partnerships with merchants and build communities where everyone wins,” says Lumban Gaol. “Once the merchant is in our system, their Boostpreneur can help them to unlock a range of beneficial financial services – such as micro lending, insurance and cash management – that they would not have had access to without Boost. This is how we drive financial inclusion.”

And when you consider that the unbanked micro entrepreneurs that make up Indonesia’s informal economy contribute, according to Lumban Gaol, around 60 per cent of GDP, it’s easy to see that what’s good for the merchants on the ground is also good for the country.

Building meaningful relationships at speed

The beauty – and challenge – of the Boost model is how the company uses cutting-edge technology to build in-the-field relationships that benefit both the Boostpreneur and their network of previously unbanked or under-served micro entrepreneurs.

Drawing on his own entrepreneurial background in the mobile banking industry, Lumban Gaol knew that the success of the Boost model would depend on the software that underpins it. He also knew that building on premise at the scale required would come with a heavy CapEx burden.

“We needed the scalability of PaaS and SaaS, without the dependency on third parties, and Salesforce could deliver that,” he says. Lumban Gaol and his team have already built two apps on Heroku with two more to come, and Boostpreneurs use Service Cloud to manage relationships with merchants.

“Heroku has increased the speed of release with the timeline from ideation to release down to two weeks from one month,” he explains. “And, through Service Cloud, we now have access to real-time analytics for each user, which enables us to connect merchants with the best available products and services for them.”

Lumban Gaol notes that the impressive speed of release is, in part, driven by the close relationship between his in-house developers and the Salesforce Customer Success team, with communications between the two teams collaboratively managed in Quip.

“We engage with the Customer Success team very intensively to educate our people on how to use Salesforce in order to achieve the greatest benefits,” he says.

Competing to achieve one million merchants

Lumban Gaol also advocates Trailhead as a driver of internal education and engagement. He says the Salesforce online learning tool, Trailhead, provides a competitive element that helps keep his 140 employees at Boost head office motivated.

“I can’t assume that all our people are always on the same page of understanding, so we need to have a way of educating them continuously,” he says. “Trailhead has become our human capital engagement program. We can relate their Trailhead journey to their next assignment or job promotion, and incentivise them appropriately.

“For example, I recently took the top five per cent of Trailhead performers to Dreamforce with me. In this way we can build in a competitive element that becomes part of our company culture.”

This is all part of Lumban Gaol’s objective to build a Salesforce-first culture at Boost as he considers future Einstein analytics and Tableau deployments when the company achieves the 1 million merchants milestone.

“As more merchants come onboard, we’re gradually transforming into a big data company,” he says. “Artificial intelligence (AI) will become a mandatory requirement as we look to build good data hygiene now so we can have clean data ready to use later.”


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