Sunday, 14 December 2008

"Think Fujitsu" - the Christou vision

(By Richard Holway) Further to bringing you the news, on 10th Dec 08 ,that David Courtley had departed as CEO of Fujitsu Services, I said that I was due to meet with Richard Christou on Thursday on other matters. But, of course, we discussed Courtley’s departure too.

I think it would be stretching my credibility with my readers a little if I went along with the Fujitsu line that Courtley had “decided that the time is now right for him to seek new challenges elsewhere”.

But, rather than crawling over the bones of the past, let’s concentrate on the now and tomorrow.

Firstly, Christou is in no hurry to appoint a replacement. Christou knows Fujitsu Services (FS) well (he has been the CEO before afterall). He has a lot of confidence in the second level management (which I would have thought was a major complement to Courtley) and has no intention of making any cuts there – unlike the situation when he last took on the CEO mantle in 2000. One should not forget that Christou is also overseeing the integration of Fujitsu Siemens Computers (FSC) - fully effective from April next year. My own view is that Christou will wait to see what kind of new top-level executive talent he needs for both businesses before going a-hiring.

Secondly, Christou is now very much a “Think Fujitsu” man. Just as in my 17th Nov 08 article,discussing how FSC would work with FS, he looks upon Courtley’s departure as an opportunity to review how FS will be remodelled to best meet the global challenges faced by the group.

Christou sees services being much more ‘product-led’ outside the UK; in particular in the developing world which Christou regards as all important for Fujitsu’s future. If you “Think Fujitsu” then the product is hardware and it is of great importance. I must admit that EDS, Accenture, CSC etc see hardware as being much ‘lower down the food chain’ than software and services.

Maybe there is now a new divide appearing. HP (with EDS) and IBM are now the two largest IT Services players globally and they are both very much into – indeed their pedigree is – hardware. Just like Fujitsu. Maybe the future global IT competitor landscape will be between the ‘Product-led’ and the ‘Services-led’ providers? Maybe, just maybe, is was at the root of the differences in approach between Christou and Courtley?

But Product is not just (or even only) hardware. It’s Application too. Although FS is pretty much into Application Management, it’s not a big player in Application-led implementations. Eg implementing SAP systems. Christou sees that as a crucial emphasis for the next stage.

Christou sees major opportunities for a much more global approach – binding all divisions and companies – for such functions as co-ordinating the use and growth of off-shore capabilities and methodologies (for example the global use of datacentres) Christou also sees an important role for a much strengthened Consultancy operation – something we have favoured for a long time. The ‘Consultancy-led’ sale is a key differentiator for several of FS’s competitors. Of course, Fujitsu has variously organised Consulting activities already – many resulting from the DMR Consulting acquisition in 2002.

I see Christou’s vision being much more global in the future. Translating vision into execution is going to be quite a task particularly against the current backdrop of a global recession.

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