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(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Service Businesses Must Use IT Efficiently: Fujitsu Pres. Naoyuki Akikusa
  • August 20, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Nikkei Computer chief editor Yoshiyuki Furusawa interviewed Naoyuki Akikusa, who was appointed president of Fujitsu Ltd. in June, focusing on the computer company's business strategies.
    "Fujitsu's strength lies in its excellent customer base and a wide range of products," Akikusa said.

    With regard to Microsoft Corp.'s near control of the information industry, he emphasized that Fujitsu will take on Microsoft for the industry's No. 1 position.

    Nikkei Computer: In your view of Fujitsu's overall IT business, what do you see as strengths and which areas will Fujitsu promote in the future?

    Akikusa (photo): One of the reasons that Fujitsu is in a strong position in Japan is because we have an extremely good customer base. Through our long relationships with customers, they have benefited in a variety of ways by making use of Fujitsu's technology.

    Fujitsu has rewarded customers' investment with its wide range of products. This refers to hardware and networks, as well as systems development and training. That is what I mean by products. Our strength is providing customers with excellent products.

    Supporting our technology assets is the large number of skilled engineers at Fujitsu. This is what gives Fujitsu its powerful stance, and thus I have no intention of changing the structure. It is important to develop this structure, increase the number of our products and continue to upgrade products.

    Nikkei Computer: Which areas do you see as weaknesses for Fujitsu?

    Akikusa: Our weakness is the need to significantly improve the competitive power of Fujitsu's own hardware products. The competitive power consists of hardware performance and other matters. We intend to strengthen our competitive power in all aspects including performance, pricing and delivery of hardware.

    Nikkei Computer: Is there any specific category in Fujitsu's product range that must be strengthened in the future?

    Akikusa: In terms of software, it would be application packages. The structure and technology of such packages have been improving and the range of packages have been extended. Fujitsu definitely needs to refine its application packages.

    Nikkei Computer: Which aspect of the service business would you like to take on?

    Akikusa: We need to provide customers with services that use information systems as much as possible.

    For instance, maintenance activities have traditionally been supported by skilled maintenance engineers. That is still necessary, of course, but why not consider performing all maintenance activities by remote access as a principle? That is what I mean by using information systems.

    It is necessary for us to make much greater use of information systems.

    Nikkei Computer: IBM Corp. of the United States has been rapidly extending its service business. Is what you have just explained primarily the same as what IBM is doing?

    Akikusa: Yes, it is.

    Nikkei Computer: Is there anything that would be specific for Japan or unique to Fujitsu?

    Akikusa: Not much. Fujitsu has traditionally provided Japanese-type hospitality to customers, and we have the necessary technical know-how. Therefore, the ways that we make use of such know-how as data in our information systems are important.

    Nikkei Computer: After the announcement about your appointment, you commented that IBM is a shining star in every aspect of the computer business including the service business. Do you plan to use IBM as a model?

    Akikusa: I do not consider IBM to be a model. However, IBM as a company, be it IBM Japan, IBM Korea or IBM UK, maintains a single concept of being IBM throughout the enterprise and applies it to everything, which make it a wonderful company.

    We have a large number of corporations with various origins and backgrounds including the Japanese Fujitsu, Amdahl, ICL of the U.K. and Fujitsu Australia and Fujitsu Korea. I believe that there must be a solution specific for the United States or solution specific for Asia in the future rather than a solution limited to Japan. Localized solutions will be important.

    Having said that, we plan to actively promote coordination of common infrastructures such as sharing of tools and know-how. I believe that Fujitsu's globalization will derive from being a company that is capable of organizing a combined concept of global methodology and localized solutions.

    Nikkei Computer: How do you evaluate the traditional Japanese way of business?

    Akikusa: We should not forget the spirit of the services offered by Japanese inns. The hospitality spirit for customers is the basis for good service.

    Ultimately, the fact that Fujitsu provided traditional Japanese hospitality for a long time has resulted in the success of the business. That is why Fujitsu is where it is today.

    Nikkei Computer: When I met chairman Tadashi Sekizawa about three years ago (when he was president), he explained to me that the days of Microsoft and Intel would be over before long because Fujitsu was certain to deliver a core technology or product that would be a driving force of the future information technology industry.

    We have been waiting for a long time for such technology. Do you have any comments on this matter?

    Akikusa: It may happen suddenly one day. It is extremely important for us to continuously tackle a wide variety of technical subjects.

    As you are aware, Microsoft is becoming more generalized and increasingly gigantic. The more gigantic it becomes, the harder it will be to manage, as it is likely to lose its focus. In the meantime, if something new becomes available from a niche market, it will lead to a new type of competition. This applies not only to operating systems but to everything else in the world.

    We need to challenge something new constantly. Fujitsu does not intend to stay under the presence of Microsoft forever. Not that I consider Fujitsu to be directly under it right now.

    Naoyuki Akikusa
    March 1961 Graduated from Waseda University
    April 1961 Entered Fujitsu
    June 1988 Member of the board
    June 1992 Executive Vice President
    June 1998 President (photographer : Takeshi Nanba)

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    Related story: New Fujitsu President to Challenge IBM in Services

    (Nikkei Computer)

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    Updated: Wed Aug 19 18:36:36 1998 PDT