ANALYSIS: The system integrator might be behind the times but its range of technology may mean it is unique placed in the business of digital transformation
Digital transformation and disruption; these are two buzzwords the technology industry has leapt upon with gusto, constantly citing Uber and Airbnb as companies that eschew traditional asset-heavy business models for ones that embrace digital services instead.
And Fujitsu is no different. At Fujitsu Forum 2016 in Munich, the company best known in the UK as a systems integrator and laptop maker, outlined a strategy to move from its roots into a provider of systems and services that embrace the doctrines of digital transformation.
“What is going in the world of this digital revolution is the most fundamental thing to have happened to our world since humans beings were able to communicate with each other,” said Duncan Tait, director head of the Japanese giants EMEAIA region,
“As soon as we were able to communicate, our species exploded and took over the planet and this thing about digital transformation, revolution, whatever you want to call it, is as fundamental as that point in history of humans.”
This may all seem like a healthy dose of hyperbole, but behind it is a more modern Fujitsu. The company is looking to bring all its disparate divisions together with a major focus on cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and security.
These four pillars of tech are how Fujitsu envisions digital transformation for enterprises; a connected, automated, data rich yet secure business operation.
Moving with the times
Fujitsu is arguably behind the times with adopting a digital transformation doctrines especially when other major technology companies like Microsoft, IBM and HPE have forged ahead with the concepts of empowering businesses with data and enshrining cloud and AI at the heart of enterprise operations.
But Fujitsu may have an ace up its sleeve. As an established systems integrator and electronics giant, Fujitsu effectively has all the plumbing and techniques available to rollout the technology needed for taking a company from analogue IT to digital services.
It has the servers, networks, private cloud services and sensor electronics that allow it to create connected IT platforms from scratch, and investments into AI and cyber security allow it to offer automation, data analysis and protection as part of that package.
In contrast, other companies like Microsoft focus more on the software side and cloud side of digital transformation, while Fujitsu has its fingers many aspects needed to fulfil such a doctrine. Throughout the conference, we heard the company also champion how it has and will work with partners to fill in any gaps it has, such as working with Microsoft to use its Azure public cloud platform.
Disruption with collaboration
While in areas like the IoT Fujitsu can offer a complete system of secure services, servers and connected devices, James Maynard, offering management director of Global IoT & Innovation at Fujitsu, noted the company is now taking a more bespoke approach to delivering services as well as offering established platforms for customers to take wholesale.
“We’re about joining those [products and services] together. It’s about how do we actively begin to co-create with our customers; how do we engage with them and how do we understand their business problems,” he said.
The reason for this is rather than force digital transformation as a way to completely overhaul old and established IT systems creating a waste of systems and money, Fujitsu wants to tap into its system integration expertise and connect new systems with old yet robust infrastructure, notably with the IoT using sensors and connected device data with information contained in established systems of record.
Although the likes of Dell, HPE and Microsoft are all offering this form of hybrid IT, Fujitsu arguably has both the tech and electronics clout to cover a broad range of industries.
And by tailoring its products and services to meet a customer’s bespoke business needs a well as linking in with systems and cloud platforms from other technology companies, Fujitsu seems to be taking the approach of modernising its systems integration models but applying it to digital technologies.
According to Fujitsu’s head of EMEA, Michael Keegan, this approach is needed to help big businesses move away from old IT in a measured way that does not pull the carpet out of their existing operations.
“There are very few silver bullets in this world,” he told TechWeekEurope. “It’s actually not possible for most of these current large enterprises to get there in one step.”
As such, taking an approach that offers both standardised platforms and services as well as a bespoke mix of AI, security, cloud and IoT services, Fujitsu seems to be using its gargantuan scale to both embrace digital transformation but still lean heavily on its systems integration past.
Given how large IT companies like HP have been forced to split or sell off divisions due to their unwieldy size, it will have to wait and be seen if Fujitsu can adequately pursue the provision of digital transformation through mashing together all its technologies when it has so many of them and customers in all manner of industries.
Still, if the merger of Dell EMC into one supercompany is anything to go by, perhaps Fujitsu can use its scale and scope to deliver digital transformation rather than trip over all of the services and products pouring out of its corporate mass.
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