Fujitsu Australia's chief Rod Vawdrey last week backed Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's $42 billion stimulus package, saying the intended consumer-led recovery was the best way forward.
Fujitsu Australia CEO Rod Vawdrey
"A consumption-based recovery is fundamental to us all coming out of this better," Rob Vawdrey said in an interview with ZDNet.com.au. "When you improve consumption, it goes right down the value chain. Our customers will come to us to help get more out of their systems."
Fujitsu's customers that would benefit from the proposed $42 billion injection included Coles, Woolworths and Harvey Norman. "They would need to come to us to talk about competitive advantage," Vawdrey said.
The opinion starkly contrasted with that of IBM Australia and New Zealand's managing director Glen Boreham, who this week proposed the government should invest more directly in technology that would facilitate cars, home appliances, and pipelines becoming "digitally aware". Boreham argued this would create jobs and drive efficiency.
IBM had announced its own investments in the field in April last year, after commencing a small joint smart metering trial with energy utility Country Energy. IBM executives had also pushed the technology in the company's predictions for 2008.
The Federal Government is already investing in some of the areas flagged by Boreham, such as e-health and broadband.
The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), which represents the IT vendor community, held a similar view to Boreham. It supported the $2.7 billion tax investment incentive, but was disappointed the government had not fast tracked the National Broadband Network and e-health plans, as well as other ICT initiatives related to climate change.
Fujitsu's Vawdrey, who is also on the AIIA's board, said he was hopeful Optus would be successful in winning work for the NBN roll-out, since Fujitsu provided it with infrastructure. He also hoped the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) would progress in delivering a national e-health system this year.
Vawdrey said he expected Fujitsu's hardware sales to be soft this coming year as customers "sweated" existing assets, such as desktops and servers. Like other IT services companies, he said the company would focus its efforts on maintaining contracts related to essential technology, such as financial and asset management systems.