How Fujitsu is preparing for the world of fast and hybrid IT

One of the oldest IT companies in the world, Fujitsu is still aiming to cater to both the CIO and the digital business officer.
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

Kosi: "Our customers want to feel the company is one."

Image: Fujitsu

Now approaching its 81st birthday, Fujitsu is one of the oldest technology companies in the world. ZDNet spoke to the company's EMEA head of managed infrastructure services Conway Kosi about 'fast IT' and more.

ZDNet: Supplying everything IT from chips to mainframes, Fujitsu is a massive company. How do you keep it up to date?
Kosi: If you look at where the market and our customers are at, they want some things from us.

Number one, and this is very true of our international customers, they want us to feel like one company.

Second, our customers are looking to bring the new Fujitsu to the discussion in terms of innovation, portfolio innovation, service delivery, and so on.

Now, where we have come from is as an organisation that delivers separately in each country. We have not had either a consistent portfolio or a consistent delivery model. So what we have been doing over the last two years, and this has been led by our EMEA organisation, is to standardise of our portfolio and our delivery model.

We have moved to organise ourselves along capability lines, in terms of the way we deliver and the way we build innovation into our delivery models.

But, on the other hand, we need to stay country-focused in the way we deliver to our customers, so our sales and service delivery management organisations are still very much aligned to each country. That model was delivered in EMEA last year.

Of course, the other big trend is the emergence of 'digital IT'. We see growth rate in the new digital or fast IT services of around 20 percent per annum, while in the traditional IT space, that market is flat or declining.

Now, among our customers, the CIO also has the same competing priorities. Digital is being driven by business value and the need to generate that value through digital while the CIO has also to deal with the pressure on traditional IT to drive cost and efficiency.

Our role is to bring those cost efficiencies into traditional IT.

There are two approaches. One is that CIOs are separating the two areas -- keeping the traditional role and introducing the new one which, more often than not, is called the chief digital officer. And, of course, the other approach is that their roles are combined.

Now, that is where we see a lot of conversations around hybrid IT. There, people are saying 'let's build up this new IT, but don't do it in isolation from traditional IT'.

At the end of the day, these two environments have to co-exist because these new digital services, whether they be in retail, financial services, or any industry, at some point these environments need to exist with existing ICT. Our offering in that area is what we call, our Digital Business Platform.

So how do we provide the infrastructures, the middleware, and the applications to make this happen? Now, that is becoming real for us in EMEA is in a couple of areas. For digital we have a proposition which is our physical and applications platform K5 which is really our answer to hybrid IT. It is the infrastructure, the platform, and the applications.

This will allow people to orchestrate not just the Fujitsu Cloud and the public cloud, but non-Fujitsu environments as well and combinations of them in one environment. That's the emerging market where we are making big investments today.

It is a global platform that we are deploying across Europe this year. We have already deployed in Japan and the UK and next we deploy in Finland, Germany, and Spain through the balance of this year.

This will put public cloud infrastructures on the ground with platform layers that will let us bring clients into the public environment and orchestrate private clouds.

We are also making investments in software IP. There is a company called Globe Ranger which does asset tracking and another company called UShareSoft, which is a unified application delivery platform for hybrid IT.

So what is the biggest part of your business?
Our product business is about a third of our revenues in EMEA. Then we have my business which I run here in the UK, infrastructure services which, if you like, is our outsourcing business and is about the same size. Then you have the mainframe business. Then we have our business and applications division which is really emerging as our digital business.

So when you were talking earlier about getting everybody in the business on a common track you said the process was taking two years?
Yes. That is how long it has taken to get us into a standard operating model, that enables us to make decisions at a global level rather than a country level.

The portfolio we are taking to market in my business - the digital workplace -- it includes out hybrid IT offering, or our cloud offerings. Our service desk which is expanding -- kind of morphing -- into this kind of expanded thing because the social command centre, which is the service desk, plus a whole bunch of other things, and our field service.

Here we make decisions for the entire business, rather than country by country. Two things happen because of that.

One is that we get better leverage for our business: we build a portfolio and invest in a standard delivery model.

Secondly, we bring a standard approach to our customers, which is what they have been asking for. We look the same and we manage our customers the same wherever they are.

And then we are trying to optimise the bit in the middle -- the traditional IT services. And then we make acquisitions and broaden our portfolio.

K5 is the physical manifestation of all of that and then there are all the services which go around that. Customers want help in all of that.

That is why the biggest demand is from CIOs who want help: ''How can I do things now so I can bring together all of my IT, both traditional and new, to support the new business demands?'

We ran a survey last year among 100 CIOs in Europe and the number one issue is how to put together a successful digital business programme, and how can we integrate it within our existing IT. Companies still need their core platforms; it is how to bring the new ones in that is the issue.

That is why the CEO and CIO roles are coming together to become one. Digital business will become a fabric part of the business.

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