By Eimear Dodd, freelance journalist/writer

Some insights from David Rosewell, Head of Strategy, Business and Application Services EMEIA at Fujitsu. David spoke to us at the recent Fujitsu Forum in Munich. The interview has been edited and lightly condensed. I began by asking why services are important within the Fujitsu offering.

I work in the business and application services division across EMEIA (Europe, Middle East, India and Africa) and we’re all about delivering those services to customers that are going to make a difference to their business. In particular, we’re positioned to help customers with digital transformation. It’s not just about delivering point technologies; it’s about delivering that end to end business solution and the outcomes for the customers. We’ve got a wealth of different products, services and capabilities that we can bring to bear. But our customers want to know what it does for their business.

We see four things we can help our customers with. One is around mastering business innovation and helping them introduce new business models, products and services and also engage with new customer bases. The next is mastering customer engagement. This is about attracting, retaining and delighting their customers. Third, we can help them with mastering enterprise productivity and making their workforce more efficient, effective and focused on what’s important for their customers. Last but not least is mastering well-being and compliance. This is about looking after one of the most important assets that an organisation has: its people.

Does digital transformation involve the whole business?

I think digital is becoming more and more of a board level issue. Whilst IT has a really important role to play in digital transformation, digital is more about what it does for the business. I think a few years ago there was a view that digital was all about specific technologies. To an extent, you can’t do digital transformation without the technology enablers. But customers don’t really buy a standalone AI, IoT or cloud system, what they want is something which solves a particular business need.

Does the process start on the business side?

It’s very much about looking at the business side, bringing the appropriate technologies to bear then creating a solution which delivers the outcome for the customer.

One example of digital co-creation is our work with Siemens Gamesa. They asked us how can we improve the quality assurance process for our wind turbines because it can take days to check a turbine blade. We said we can help you with this problem of enterprise productivity by bringing some technologies to bear. We brought some machine learning, image recognition and integration with back end systems. We were talking to the business side of the organisation. Digital transformation is really about delivering business outcomes. In this example, we engaged with the people operating the manufacturing and the quality assurance processes. It’s all about a business sell that brings IT along rather than an IT sell.

The result was that the quality assurance process became quicker and more effective because the solution we’ve delivered is better at identifying defects than the human inspectors were. It eliminates human error. It also means the inspectors can go and spend their time doing more value add activities rather than checking images of the turbine blades. There’s been a whole set of different benefits associated with it for the business.

Could you briefly tell me about your role?

I’m Head of Strategy, Portfolio and Innovation within the Business and Applications Services area across EMEIA. I look after the team who decides what should be in our offering portfolio to customers so we make investments in delivering new offerings and propositions. I also own the technology incubation team.

We’ve got a lot of different capability within the Business and Applications Services area. I think some customers might see us more in the product or infrastructure space but actually we’ve got a wealth of capability and experience in applications both in terms of application development, transformation and enterprise resource planning. Then we also have a consulting team and also some specific industry solutions aimed at financial services, transport and retail. I think sometimes it’s the best kept secret in Fujitsu that we’ve got a substantial capability.

What are the challenges of digital transformation as you would see them at the moment?

We surveyed 1,600 business decision makers across the world and the findings fit into the areas of people, actions, collaboration and technology. I think one of the key challenges is around the skills shortage. I think almost all organisations are investing in trying to build up those skills. I also think there’s a bit of a challenge around digital culture. Digital is as much about a way of working as it is technology. I think some organisations might have a very rigid process in terms of introducing new solutions and systems. They may have lots of layers of management who all need to sign off the solution. When actually in digital, you need to be very responsive, very agile and embrace fail fast or at least prove fast.

I think also the reality is the only way you’re going to deliver digital is by collaborating and that plays well with the Fujitsu digital co-creation positioning. Even we would admit we haven’t got all the answers but if you bring together the business knowledge from the customer, our technology expertise and maybe some partners from smaller companies or academia. If you bring that altogether, you can deliver great solutions.

Is there anything you think I should have asked/would like to add?

I think it’s important to realise that digital transformation is about the people and the business. So technology is the enabler of digital but really it’s about helping customers master digital transformation in the areas of business innovation, customer engagement, enterprise productivity and well-being and compliance.

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