Banking and financial services to be Fujitsu’s focus this year

Andy Stevenson, Head of Middle East, Turkey and India; Managing Director for India, Fujitsu

Andy Stevenson, Head of Middle East, Turkey and India; Managing Director for India, Fujitsu explains the company’s focus areas, current market scenario and opportunities in the future

What are the main focus areas for Fujitsu currently?
We have a scope for products and services that really try to address the challenges that would be faced by people, looking at building any kind of digital business platform. Typically we have a portfolio of services which is called MetaArc, essentially bringing together a cloud offering, virtualization and then a whole suite of digital business, application and infrastructure delivered as a partner’s service. So, that will include things like Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and a whole bunch of new tools, which allows people to basically realize the modern API infrastructure. That will help them adapt their existing businesses and transition them into a full cloud infrastructure; and then go forward with different aspects and portfolio that they can modernize and innovate on that platform. So, that produces overarching strategies to bring MetaArc and everything that contains into the India market. Now we have a suite of Hobart portfolio as well, and that’s obviously looking at things like hyper-converged infrastructure that leads into the building box that brings in a full hybrid IT suite. That hybrid IT suite allows us to take what we have in terms of server technology; but then to put that into a virtualization concept that we can bring. Using the tools and suite around Meta Arc will allow our partners to go to market with that. What we’re trying to do with the channel partners is to bring solutions that are in the industry vertical field, so that with those partners we can start addressing specific verticals in the India market, that will help us.

We have banking and financial services too. HPC (High Performance Computing) in general is looking at the educational research organizations. Those are the kinds of key focuses that we’ll have in the market. So, we’re starting to build the capability, and we want key partners to work in those sectors.

Having a wide portfolio of offerings, which are the key areas you’ll start getting benefits from this year?
In general, this thing about hybrid IT is really what we are dealing with; so we have a suite of platforms in the primary series which is our server technology. That server technology is increasingly focused and scaled. So, we can give a real economies of scale – how people will build infrastructure or build their product ‘cloud’ infrastructure. We are pushing that very hard. We also, as part of that suite portfolio, have a suite of HPC offerings. Increasingly we are seeing HPC being adopted in the private sector. Typically it used to be academy and research, but now we’re starting to see people begin to realize the opportunities in AI. We’re now starting to see people really starting to invest in HPC in those types of environments; and specifically on the AI algorithmic basis or whether some things like Big Data and Big Data Analytics.

When we talk about areas like Hybrid IT or HPC, from the partner perspective, it requires lot of skills. What efforts are being put to train them and enable them in these areas?
We have built our HPC Competency Center in Bengaluru. Historically that was based in Germany. However, because of the talent that we can attract in India, we have built our HPC Competency Center here. Therefore, when it comes to people looking at the specific skill sets that they need to develop HPC-type solutions, we can bring them here, we can bring our subject matter experts to work alongside them, help them find algorithms or do benchmarking in terms of those algorithms on particular infrastructure. So, we built our OPM; we made our investment to bring it to Bengaluru.

What about the cloud part of it when you speak about Hybrid IT?
Essentially we’re running an internal program which we call fit for digital. We’re particularly focused on MetaArc and K5. Meta Arc is the overarching suite of technologies that we have built digital platforms. Whereas, K5 is the cloud offerin; within that, we have public cloud and virtual private cloud variants, within which we also have different delivery mechanisms that you can buy as a complete open sack – you can either buy as a VMware configured stack or you can buy SBI Metal – so we are very specific in storage of funds. We can buy SBI Metal and we can integrate that into a whole suite using MetaArc.

With new opportunities arising along with the changing market dynamics, are there more opportunities for new-age partners, and for those who’re born in the cloud and who are just focusing on the security part of it?
Cybersecurity is obviously a big focus for lots of companies; and obviously it’s a more specialist skill set that you have in security. But I think what people are beginning to understand is that, the commoditization aspect of product is no longer sufficient to engage clients. The buying behaviors of clients are changing, because traditionally it might have been a CIO or an IT expert who will actually procure things. He is seeing a lot more of business people, being involved in decisions about what technology have to be adopted. So, that has to change the selling behavior of partners. Now businesses are struggling with a variety of different things. It is much more about the engagement to marketing of CFOs or specific business owners, who’re actually looking for how can a partner or a technology provider like Fujitsu solve the particular business problem, because they know they can buy computing, they know they can go to cloud vendors. So, the buyer is becoming much more sophisticated. That’s forcing us to learn new ways of selling. So, we’re training our sales teams at the moment on something about challenges, which is really about the business conversation, giving insight to customers about what’s happening in the industry which is relevant to them and how Fujitsu may have helped those customers to solve those problems.

When you talk about getting into the new areas like HPC and Hybrid IT, do you also think there’s a requirement to have more partners in the entire ecosystem or you want to stick to the value part of it?
There’s also a bit of a dilemma. You never reject a new partner who comes with an interesting proposition. But we want to work with those partners who actually get the value for Fujitsu and how they can take it. So, the select experts that we have in the program are obviously wherein we’re continuing to develop in that; and we don’t want hundreds of those. So, the reality is that we probably limit that to a maximum of 20 partners who’ll really get the Fujitsu portfolio, who want to develop the market with Fujitsu. I think that makes more sense. And then generally other partners come on; we wouldn’t reject them. It’s just the case of what’s the value proposition that’s there.

What are the main focus areas particularly for this year?
For us, it’s really focusing on key verticals. So, my view is banking and financial services are the areas that Fujitsu is going to focus heavily this year, and we’ll also have some good wins which we’ll be talking about shortly. And I think that is opening up in that area. Any of our partners who have a real interest to be in that area can come and talk to us.

What message do you want to give to your partners, who are already in your ecosystem and who can be your prospective ones going forward?
I think they’re saying particularly about the next generation Hybrid IT, particularly around MetaArc and K5. The adoption of those technologies will really accelerate their business. So, ‘come and talk to’ is more about MetaArc. We can explain exactly how we can actually go to market together. That will be my key message. It’s big and complicated, but once you get into the methodology of using the tools, it’s very well structured, it’s very easy to understand and actually the building box uniquely come together very easily.


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