Fujitsu's service strategy

No longer lurking on the fringes of IT, Fujitsu Technology Solutions promises IT services that support a wide range of vendor hardware. Bill O'Brien examines Fujitsu's plan.

commentary When last we looked at Fujitsu Technology Solutions, Inc. (FTSI) it was lurking on the fringes of IT, fraying the edges of the big boy's market share while garnering 4 percent of the business for itself in a little less than a year.

Of course you're thinking that there's a strategy for success embedded in there somewhere because, well, it certainly appears that FTSI was being successful. Strategeries are funny things. After two months of poking the IT bubble and picking up pieces, FTSI has now redirected its efforts. Rather than crash into the arena and take prisoners, its new plan is to envelop the market and take it over en masse.

When you're a company as huge as Fujitsu, that's not really such a large concept to envision or even initiate. In this case, all it meant was taking the existing FTSI and adding Amdahl to it. You remember Amdahl IT Services. It's been involved in building and maintaining mission critical IT systems for the last 30 years--and it's been a subsidiary of Fujitsu for a while now. What Fujitsu did was simply squeeze the two together and then unroll a new entity, Fujitsu Technology Solutions, Inc.--FTSI. (No sense in wasting a recognizable name that already had a track record and just happened to also identify the parent company.)

There's a lot to be said for combining resources; in this case, Fujitsu claims that has made it the third largest IT services group in the world. According to the adspeak, the new goal of the new FTSI is to assist companies in becoming "Adaptive Enterprises." As with many marketing blurbs, there's no direct English translation available for that phrase which doesn't also involve additional outbreaks of adspeak. "… FTSI will complement its world-class open systems server and storage solutions offerings, including Fujitsu's Solaris-compatible PRIMEPOWER servers and GR Series Storage Systems, with a comprehensive array of project and managed services that span the full lifecycle of IT solution delivery, from evolving, to delivering, to assuring the adaptive infrastructure." See?

What it means is that change is constant. Your IT department may be focused on a particular arena and then suddenly you find yourself needing to add a new center of expertise or even change tracks entirely. Such diversions are typically costly both during initial implementation and ramp-up. They're also time consuming and they can cause your TCO to skyrocket. Larry Fillmer, president and CEO of Fujitsu Technology Solutions, Inc. wants you to think of his new company as having a wide array of both hardware, software, and service easements that will make your journey from here to there as smooth and as quick as possible. FTSI will help you adapt your infrastructure to the normal--and sometimes abnormal--gamut of innovation you're likely to encounter during the course of doing business.

Both Fillmer and Rick Schell, FTSI's Strategic Marketing Director are Amdahl guys, which means they are solutions-oriented rather than usual run of the mill hardware hucksters. FTSI is creating infraforum.net, a customer-populated online meeting area where problems can be hashed out within as wide a practical knowledge base as possible. As well, the new FTSI has grown a Solutions Integration and Assurance Center in Silicon Valley. It's a place for integration testing and assurance, proof of concept assurance, functionality and interoperability assurance, hands-on skills and experience, and a corporate briefing center.

There are certainly other companies that will do somewhat the same for their own equipment. If that was all FTSI did, it would hardly be worth a mention. While FTSI will certainly sell you hardware, that's not its focus. In fact, the Assurance Center includes a wide variety of different vendor's equipment to mirror the world in which you operate. FTSI's goal is to offer core competencies to complement those you presently represent, not to have you clean house and start doing things its way.

It all really sounds too good to be true, and it's much too soon to know for sure if this new FTSI can actually deflate the TCO bloat that creeps up on us all. Fujitsu's track record over the years, however, seems to indicate that it is serious about its goals. At the very least, it's worth a call.

Bill O'Brien is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to CNET and ZDNet. He writes Tech Update's weekly hardware column.

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