General trend towards cloud with telcos benefiting in some countries and full-service cloud providers in others
Sees the term ‘mobility’ disappearing from use within a few years, as everything will be mobile
AS Fujitsu Malaysia gears for the highlight event of its calendar year, the Fujitsu Day conference and exhibition on Thursday (Oct 11), Digital News Asia (DNA) posed some questions to one of its senior executives who will be in town for the event.
Craig Baty (pic), executive general manager and chief technology and innovation officer (CTIO) of Fujitsu ANZ (Australia/ New Zealand) will be presenting a talk on Accelerating the Future with the 3Is.
But rather than ask him to share the highlights of his talk, we were curious about his dual role as CTO and CIO. He gave an interesting answer which should I am sure corporate leaders can gain some insight from as they consider the merits of such a role in their organizations.
Baty also shared Fujitsu’s experience in rolling out cloud services and what trends it was seeing in this space. And with the inevitable migration to mobile, he claims something surprising -- Fujitsu actually created the first tablet device 20 years ago and will continue to play a leading role in this space. In fact, he predicts it is a matter of time before the term “mobility” is not used anymore, as mobility will just be part of the DNA of business (pun intended).
DNA: Your role as CTIO is an interesting one as many large companies are now splitting the two with the CTO managing operational issues while the CIO ensures that IT plays the enabling role it must to support the business objectives of the company.
When did Fujitsu create this role and how effective is it to combine a technical role with a business one?
Baty: Yes, the role of the CTO is quite varied. In fact, the definition of a CTO can range from industrialist/ technologist to evangelist/ internal change agent.
Within a technology user organization, the CTO tends to be very focussed on understanding and exploiting technology to maximize the advantage it can give to a specific organization – so they are very focused on the needs of their organization and the industry they operate in.
The user/ IT department CTO works hand in hand with the CIO – sometimes reporting to the CIO, sometimes the other way around, and sometimes both reporting to the CEO or head of corporate services or CFO. The roles are sometimes interchangeable and each company decides the boundaries and responsibilities for both.
In my case as CTIO for a large Fujitsu region Australia & New Zealand (ANZ), I spend about 70% of my time engaged directly with customers through presentations, meetings, roundtables and the like.
My role is to work with them to make sure that we understand what they need through direct discussion and a formal research program (http://www.insightsquarterly.com.au/) and help them understand Fujitsu, and drive innovation within their organizations via appropriate Fujitsu solutions.
Fujitsu in ANZ created this role in May 2010 and I was the first to fill it. On occasion (like this week) I support Fujitsu Asia (and other regions) for special events like Fujitsu Day.
On a global basis however CTO roles have existed for many years within Fujitsu. As you can see it is absolutely critical for a CTO to have a solid blend of technical and business experience. In my case, a blend of computer operations, systems engineering, sales, marketing, GM and CEO roles. My time managing research and consulting firms and international experience works well in the Fujitsu environment.
Time in the industry and a bit of ‘grey’ hair is also important when dealing with C- and Board-level people.
DNA: Every vendor promises to reduce complexity but the reality is that IT infrastructure can never be simple, simply because there are too many moving parts served by different specialists (read vendors). Hence some customers have begun asking their telcos if they can manage this for them.
How strong is this trend and does Fujitsu see this as a possible threat to your business?
Baty: I agree, IT complexity is causing many challenges for CIOs, and not just at the infrastructure level. This is one of the key reasons that cloud is gaining popularity rapidly.
Cloud is not just another form of outsourcing , and not a new technology. It is a commercial game-changer that enables the IT department to purchase the resources they need, when they need them, and pay only for what they use. This facilitates a focus on running the business and innovating in the business – rather than managing technology and data centers and applications and all that goes with that.
CIOs are moving to the cloud so that they can transform themselves from technology enforcers/ controllers or “ROBO CIOs” to business leaders who make use of technology to innovate and drive business growth. Many of our customers have discovered that the way they think about the business and their ability to support and drive the business has been significantly enhanced by moving to the cloud.
In terms of CIOs asking telcos if they can manage this for them, this is not a general trend just for telcos. It’s a trend toward cloud providers in general.
In some countries this may mean that a telco will be the best choice, in others it will be a full-service local and global cloud provider like Fujitsu. It depends on the maturity of the offerings, location by location.
DNA: Many vendors have shared that customers are leaning towards a hybrid cloud model. Has this been your experience too and is this trend mainly among large customers? What about SMB (small and medium business) customers, what is the average adoption trend with them?
Baty: I can’t comment on the average adoption trend (you will need to get that from Gartner, IDC or Frost & Sullivan). However, from our experiences, there is no one correct answer to this question. We have signed thousands of cloud deals across the world over the last 18 months or so … and each one of them probably has a different driver for moving to the cloud. There is no ‘one size fits all’ cloud.
Some customers want a hybrid cloud, some will ask us to build a private cloud, or will want to use one of our public clouds like our Fujitsu Global Cloud which has an ‘Island in Singapore connected to our other regions. Some clients will want a completely locally-based cloud (which we have also built across Asia Pacific – mainly in Singapore and Australia).
Clients also have different levels of maturity in adopting the cloud. Some will want base level Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) which is where we provide a platform of storage, hardware and maybe the OS (operating system) … and they use it to run their apps or do development or testing work or just use for storage or archiving.
Others will want us to provide packaged Software as a Service (SaaS) such as productivity suites like email, collaboration, or even IT Management as a Service (ITMaas). Others will want to take advantage of SAP IaaS where they can run their entire SAP production environment on a Fujitsu cloud – and there are a number of customers in Asia Pacific who already do that.
The size of the customer also doesn’t seem to matter – there is no common pattern as far as we can see so far.
DNA: The increasing adoption of iOS tablets at work is due to the secure nature of the ecosystem. More and more CTOs seem to be making the move to adopt that platform as you cannot separate mobility from the enterprise ecosystem today. Mobility is not a trend anymore; it is the reality of business.
How are you addressing the questions customers have for you around mobility?
Baty: Fujitsu is one of the world leaders in mobility solutions. To start with, we make, build and sell the complete range of mobile devices from phones to tablets, PC, laptops, and hybrid devices (with some variations depending on the region). Plus we are a major provider of telecommunications equipment and systems, from hardware through to satellite communications and subsea cables.
We are not just part of the mobile world - we helped create it (for example we created the world’s first tablet device more than 20 years ago) and we will continue to lead in these areas.
The advent of the cloud, increase in the availability of high speed broadband, and the rapid uptake of mobile devices are all working together to create incredible opportunities for our customers.
The more apps in the cloud, the more people will use mobile devices and the more bandwidth will be needed and then delivered … which in turn will drive more mobility and apps – each driving each other.
Fujitsu has developed a range of offerings around mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application design development and management, and we are rolling these out globally. We can manage fleets of devices whether they are owned by the staff for work use, or owned by the company - and ensure a high degree of security, flexibility and control via remote services.
We have literally hundreds of customers with millions of devices and apps under management today, and the volume is growing rapidly.
And yes, we see the term ‘mobility’ disappearing from use within a few years. Everything will be mobile, and we will consider it strange if it isn’t. We no longer talk about ‘e-commerce,’ it’s just ‘commerce’ now. We are probably the last generation that will even use PCs ... and for that matter, we won’t talk about the ‘cloud’ either.