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Aligning ICT to the different needs of customers globally

Ginko Kobayashi and Kenny MacIver — February 2015

Global technology vendors shouldn’t try to force universal solutions on customers, but match offerings to local requirements, says Fujitsu’s Tango Matsumoto.

Globalization means different things to different companies. For those that focus on economies of scale and centralized control it means offering ‘one-size-fits-all’ products and services to customers around the world, with little regard for local market conditions.

But according to Tango Matsumoto, CTO and CIO at Fujitsu, that model isn’t geared to the benefit of customers, who often have more localized requirements.

“When people talk about globalized business they sometimes think ‘global’ means delivering products that are uniform everywhere. That is never how it is with us,” he outlines in I-CIO’s latest Big Thinker video interview. “Customs differ from country to country, as do people’s requirements, so we aim to deliver ICT in the most appropriate form.”The customer as a mirror

Fujitsu’s belief that it can increase its value to customers by providing products and services targeted to individual needs is something the company has long pursued. But it now wants to sharpen how well it matches customer needs.

Not surprisingly, Fujitsu’s focus on developing cutting-edge technology creates an internal belief that its products and services generate major benefits for business and society. But that self-belief can sometimes cloud the reality of customer engagement.

Matsumoto feels there is an opportunity for the company to be more acute in its observations of customers; effectively, to use the customer as a mirror for its own capabilities and responsiveness.

“Ultimately, you understand yourself better as a company by observing the customer very closely and what you have achieved with them,” he says. “[But] we need to accept what we see, and [in doing so] be able to respond to the needs of customers.

“We reflect ourselves in the mirror of our customer and should be brave enough to accept the reflection [we see back],” he says.

So if a customer ultimately chooses a rival company’s products, that should not be taken as a slight against Fujitsu and signify an end to the conversation, Matsumoto argues. Rather, such a situation opens up the chance to understand their needs even better.

“We should try to learn through the customer’s eyes” — and through such interactions correct preconceptions, he argues. Such a reality check should be seen as an opportunity to get in step with customer needs, an opportunity to grow rather than diminish the relationship with the customer, says Matsumoto.

Article updated April 2015.

First published
February 2015
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About: Tango Matsumoto
As CTO and CIO at Fujitsu, Tango Matsumoto leads both technology and IT strategy at the Japanese ICT giant. Previously head of global marketing, he has also served as president of the company’s corporate planning office and president of telecoms business development.

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