Ignore digital transformation at your peril

Tony O'Malley, CEO Fujitsu Ireland

15 January 2017

Digital transformation is nothing to be afraid of, but there is a price to be paid for falling behind.

According to Tony O’Malley, CEO, Fujitsu Ireland, the disruptive influences of Air BnB and Uber have shown that fast IT allows those with a disruptive new model to act fast, getting to market quickly, at relatively low cost, to have a high impact.

Speaking to TechPro at Fujitsu Forum 2016, he said that organisations might not realise they have such competition in their own sector or niche until they are already being out-competed by rivals, some of which they may not even have known about.

In this context, O’Malley characterised digital transformation as “do or die” and that there really “is no choice”.

But this does not have to be a disaster scenario, he said. There is also great opportunity, with the increasing impetus that Irish organisations have felt over the last 12 months or so. O’Malley said that the level of scepticism of trends such as digital transformation, cloud computing and the Internet of things (IoT) has significantly reduced in that timeframe.

Here and real
“I think in the last 12 months it’s actually real, it’s there, it’s something that can actually help you, it’s something that can help transform your business and more importantly grow your business.”

“And I think people are seeing it now as a massive enabler and it’s something that can be done a lot quicker, a lot cheaper than the traditional routes to market as well. Also, it gives those people the opportunity to experiment, to fail fast if need be, but to move on as well, because the technology allows you to do it, the platforms allow you to do it without any sort of crazy investment of time and money from the organisation’s perspective.”

O’Malley said that the economic landscape is improving, and investment in digital is now under greater consideration.

“What you’re certainly seeing is that there’s more money for investment. There are more people willing to try, within reason. There still is a suspicion and a resistance to cloud in certain quarters, and I think some of that has been further accentuated by Brexit.”

“For those people who are getting services from of the UK, there might be implications around data residency going forward, and who knows what the final negotiated position might be in terms of the UK versus Europe, and then where data protection agreements are in place, etcetera. I doubt very much they’ll be leaving themselves at a disadvantage nonetheless.”

Central focus
The Internet of Things is likely to become much more important for enterprise, said O’Malley, and is a central focus for Fujitsu in the near future.

“In the area of the Internet of Things we have now got a platform running, it’s still in a proof of business environment, but we are again talking about a class digital project but we have a number of customers, and one customer in particular, that are using what we are referring to as a healthcare informatics platform.”

O’Malley said that in the coming year, there would be a major effort for development in this area, to commercialise and make practical the benefits of IoT.

“So you’re looking at sensors, algorithms and data. You’re looking at making a sense of that data and looking at a user interface to present this information in a very meaningful way. It’s something we’ve announced in the last 12 months. This is something we’re looking at to avail of all now. We’re talking about IoT, we’re talking about cloud, we’re talking about security and we’re talking about presenting a digital platform, so it ticks all the boxes.”

A major part of the keynote at the Fujitsu Forum by Duncan Tait, SEVP and head, EMEIA and Americas, Fujitsu, was the strategy of ‘co-creation’. This is where the company will work with partners and customers to co-develop technologies and methodologies to best leverage what these emerging technologies and platforms have to offer.

“Co-creation is a new name for what traditionally would have gone on in the past anyway,” said O’Malley, “where the customer provides the business knowledge and the supplier provides the technical knowledge and they’re creating value together.”

“Now some of it is bringing it forward whereby there’s some IP coming from both partners, that is the basic premise of co-creation. We’re about to start a project where it’s going to be in, a classical sense, an example of co-creation, whereby we’re both taking certain IP to sort a significant problem they have in their operations, but they’re bringing IP to the piece as well. And we are looking at a commercial model that would allow that to be reflected, so it’s a different type of commercial framework.”

O’Malley said that co-creation will be an important feature of engagement in the Irish market, as it has been elsewhere.

Looking out in the longer term, O’Malley said that hyper-connectivity, and how that can be harnessed for the business, will be of major importance.

“It’s all about the hyper-connectivity. And that’s the major theme of the forum as well, and again it’s looking at AI, it’s looking at cloud and it’s looking at security and it’s looking at the data that joins it all together.”

“And Fujitsu’s platform for this is MetaArc, and within that, it allows for mobility solutions, AI solutions, et cetera. Fujitsu has been investing in the whole area of AI for over 30 years.”



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