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Sinarmas: Leading the launch of SQE's corporate and career website

Role: Project lead

Collaborators: CEO, VP strategy, head of product, designer, head of engineer, QA

Platform: Website (desktop and mobile)

Tools: Figma, Google Workplace

Website: sqe.co.id

About Sinarmas and SQE

Sinarmas is one of the largest corporations in Indonesia founded in 1938, with businesses operating in numerous sectors including paper, palm oil, life insurance, property, education, and financial services. S-Quantum Engine (SQE), on the other hand, is Sinarmas' digital factory that was built in 2021 to modernize its financial products.

Just within 2 years, SQE has forged partnerships with 3 of Sinarmas-owned financial companies that were falling behind in their respective industries (ie insurance, multifinance, and banking) and undertook digital transformation of their products. SQE has additionally reengineered common internal tools used across Sinarmas in the areas of customer service, login authentication, identity verification, and campaign management.

In summary, SQE is the tech whiz that Sinarmas would go to, to bring forward digitalization. As of now, the scope of SQE lies within the financial services sector. However, there's a possibility that the company will also focus on other sectors within and beyond Sinarmas.

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Contributions

  1. Led the website project (ie design, content, and QA) from planning to deployment.

  2. Facilitated brainstorming sessions and pitched prototypes to the CEO.

  3. Informally acted as the PM and PgM (as there weren't any) and overseeing the entire operation.

Project overview

SQE as a brand wasn't popular among tech communities in Indonesia. People weren't familiar with its vision and mission, only knew it was a company backed by Sinarmas – and this was the sole reason they were interested in joining with us. From the company's perspective, only knowing it was owned by Sinarmas wasn't enough.

Essentially, we wanted everyone to understand what we do, how we work, and recognize the quality of the employees. It was also important for our brand that future talents and clients know the values we believed in, the perks we provided to our employees beyond their salaries, and many more.

Unfortunately, for a year there was no designated team to take care of this. As a result, from a recruitment angle, it was difficult to attract good talents. From a business angle, it was also difficult to attract future clients.

Having said that, it became a top priority that we needed to launch a corporate and career website.

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Goals

  1. Promote the company's brand, culture, services, and outcomes.
  2. Provide comprehensive information to attract future clients.
  3. Create a positive and engaging experience to attract future talents.

Challenges

This project started in 2022 but the website hasn't been launched when I joined in 2023. For a year the team has proposed designs with various different styles and not a single was approved by the CEO. There was even a team restructure so we could speed things up, as the project took too long to finish. However, it had no effect at all.

Frankly, the many back-and-forth iterations weren't entirely the team's fault. This was my pilot project, so I've seen how solid they worked together and how they've incorporated all the feedback into the prototype. The reason this project never reached its end was mostly due to presentation skills. So even if the team has managed to squeeze in all the feedback into a beautiful prototype, it will not pass the CEO unless they can address criticisms convincingly.

Additionally, the corporate website wasn't the only project the team worked on. They were juggling between multiple projects with similar deadlines. On the contrary, I as a new joiner had all the time I needed to go deep into this project. So that was exactly what I did. I proactively took the lead and carried multiple roles.

In this portfolio, I'll share 2 examples that we worked on and how we went from draft to finish.

Finalizing the "How We Work" section on homepage | sqe.co.id

Brief: As a visitor to the website, this section should explain to me how cross-functional teams at SQE work together in delivering a great product. It shouldn't give me any impressions that multiple teams work in silo. It needs to show that the work process is sophisticated enough to capture my interest to join or partner with SQE, but it shouldn't consume too much of my time to read through everything.

1st proposal

The rationale was to show the end-to-end work process from scratch to completion, and how multiple teams are involved throughout the process.

The snake line indicates that our process was never linear, but it was full of learning curves. It changes into a dashed line when it has reached the final stage (Build) to show there was always room for iteration. To visualize that sense of sophistication.

The line has no end point because to show how ambitious we are. That when we launch a product, we always evaluate the results afterwards. And we don't mind going back to the previous stages to make sure the designs, strategies, and research were well executed.

CEO feedback

The overall look and feel didn't portray cohesiveness. The top to bottom approach showed that teams work in silo; no clarity where the line started and ended; confusing how one would differentiate the solid versus dashed lines.

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1st proposal

2nd proposal

Based on the above feedback, the message that was missing was cohesiveness. So in order to get rid of the notion that the teams work exclusively, we decided to show something at the center of the image that would synergize all activities from different teams.

 

And to support that notion, we made sure there was interaction between teams. For several examples, the person handing over a deck to stage 2, the two pieces of puzzle connecting stage 2 and 3, and the person looking up and handing over the Figma dev mode to stage 4.

CEO feedback

Although everything was more visually-pleasing, visually they also looked too noisy. The fact it showed illustrations also resembled a cartoon. It didn't align with our brand of how we wanted to be seen as futuristic.

 

As a brand, we wanted to be recognized like other top consulting firms around the world (eg McKinsey & Company, BCG, or Bain & Company). Clearly, these firms would also disagree to show illustrations on their websites.

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2nd proposal

Final proposal

We were finally aligned to go with this one as it looked more futuristic and premium – the 2 words that often popped up during our meetings with the CEO.

 

What the CEO liked most about this was the idea that we were able to visualize the end goal using multiple layers of screens. This showed our work process was sophisticated and systematic. Other than that this one also reflected solid collaboration between multiple teams.

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Final proposal

Finalizing the "Life at SQE" section | sqe.co.id/life

Brief: As a visitor to the website, this section should explain to me what it feels like to work at SQE. It has to give me the impression that working here is fulfilling, giving me the quality time I need for both my career and personal lives.

1st proposal

The idea was to create a gallery showing all sorts of activities that weren't all work-related. We also didn't want to show too much text as the concept was gallery. So we decided to show more pictures and let the visitors interpret each photo by themselves.

CEO feedback

It didn't seem genuine. By only showing pictures also turned out it required extra thinking process to know exactly what each photo meant. "Why was it so important to show photos of meetings", "why does it matter to see how the office looks like", "what does the research photo telling them about" were some of the comments we received when we pitched this idea.

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1st proposal

2nd proposal

The idea was to show snapshots with captions. With this one we specifically highlighted the 3 things employees value most about working at SQE: hybrid work model, learning and development, and togetherness.

CEO feedback

It felt more genuine than the first proposal, but it still wasn't descriptive enough to attract future talents.

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2nd proposal

Final proposal

This was the one approved because it felt more genuine than the last 2 proposals. We changed the concept into a testimonial so we can enrich the content by capturing stories from 3 different teams.

This way visitors would know what it feels like to work at SQE if they joined the UX team, product team, or marketing.

What I learned most

​I learned how to manage a team of different backgrounds. The most challenging was to keep everyone fired up considering this project took more than 2 years to finish. 

But more importantly, I learned how crucial it was to know how to turn craft into a captivating story.

To get all these proposals approved by the CEO, it wasn't just about how well we can make stuff, but how well we can communicate it concisely, conversationally, and convincingly.

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Final proposal

Visit sqe.co.id to see the entire website.

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