A vision of digitalization on a human scale
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A vision of digitalization on a human scale

Maxine-Laurie Marshall — April 2016

Executives, customers and partners kick off the 22-city Fujitsu World Tour by showcasing how digital is reshaping business and society at an unprecedented pace.

Organizations need to fully embrace the momentous changes that digitalization is driving across both business and society — or find themselves left behind. That was the stark message delivered by Ravi Krishnamoorthi, senior VP and head of business and applications services EMEIA for Fujitsu, at the kick-off conference of the 22-city Fujitsu World Tour last week in Helsinki. 


We are on the brink of a fourth digital age, he said, where artificial intelligence and robotics will build on the internet, mobile technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT) to further transform industry and society. But, he emphasized, given the nature of some of the digital challenges, such developments need to have a human dimension at their core.

There are some early examples of that kind of Human Centric Innovation in action, as the 1,000 delegates at the conference heard.
Game-changing applications

Krishnamoorthi highlighted the case of a major Swedish retailer that is using beacon technology to observe how customers engage with its products in-store, responding with a personalized service that enhances the customer experience. He also cited the example of a Texan police department in the city of Richardson near Dallas, which has seen major efficiency and governance gains over the management of its equipment by implementing an RFID platform that gives real-time visibility and tracking of every item in its inventory — from police cars to weapons.

Glen Koskela fujitsu cto
Glen Koskela, CTO, Fujitsu Nordic


Glen Koskela, the CTO of Fujitsu Nordic, who stressed the urgency around taking action on digital transformation, echoed the sense of these possibilities. “For CIOs the message is that the digitalization wagon has already left. It’s happening now. We see in a number of industries already there’s a huge gap between those who are leading and those who are not.” 


This is showing up in game-changing applications that, for example, combine sensors embedded in industrial machinery and augmented reality to provide preventative maintenance, says Koskela.
Putting people at the center

Speakers at the Helsinki event emphasized that advances in technology need to be set against the context of what they mean for people.

Indeed, according to conference panellist Maarit Heikkila, vice president of OP Financial Group, IT leaders must do more to keep users front-of-mind in an era where the pace of change is moving at an unprecedented speed. “Changes in customer behaviour are happening so fast. OP was the first European bank to implement web banking [in 1995]. Around five years ago we started mobile banking. Now the use of mobile has exceeded the web.” The challenge, she says, is that despite these rapid changes organizations like hers have to deal with internal legacy systems and people who are perfectly happy with older, outdated ways of working.

Keeping up with both the expectations of customers and rapid technology developments is a reality all organizations face today, in both private and public sectors, said Krishnamoorthi. But digital transformation can only be successfully achieved when it is driven from the top down. It needs to be looked at “not from a technology view, but as a business problem,” he said. “Digital transformation is a board level agenda [item] because it involves the cultural change of an organization.”
The new-age CIO

Krishnamoorthi didn’t dismiss the importance of the role that CIOs are playing in this new digital era. However, he did say that there needs to be a distinction between the scope of activities of CIOs in previous years and the type of tech leaders who are needed today. “The traditional CIO is definitely not the person to own digital transformation, but the new-age CIO is going to contribute in a big way,” he said.


“For CIOs the message is that the digitalization wagon has already left. It’s happening now.”


Traditional CIOs have concentrated primarily on controlling cost, data centers and managing upgrades, he said. In contrast, CIOs who are able to drive digital transformation are focused on engaging with the business and the potential of new business models, as well as dramatically enhancing the customer experience.

The overarching theme — that digitalization is already having a significant impact in most sectors — led several speakers to underscore the requirement for strong and digitally minded leadership. As Fujitsu Finland acting MD Jari Mielonen told the audience: “Digital transformation is all about great leadership.”

Helsinki was the initial stop on the Fujitsu World Tour. Over the next five months the ICT giant will take the roadshow of industry thought leaders and technology demonstrations to 21 more venues in 18 countries. For a full tour itinerary, see below:

  • Australia (Sydney), July 21
  • Australia (Brisbane), July 26
  • Austria (Wien), June 2
  • Belgium (Brussels), June 16
  • Colombia (Bogotá), TBC
  • France (Paris), June 9
  • Germany (Düsseldorf), May 10
  • Germany (Stuttgart), June 21
  • India (Bengaluru)TBC
  • India (Mumbai) TBC
  • India (New Delhi) TBC
  • Italy (Milan), July 5
  • Netherlands (Utrecht), June 13
  • Poland (Warsaw), April 12
  • Russia (Moscow), TBC
  • South Africa (Johannesburg), August 18
  • Spain (Madrid), May 25
  • Sweden (Stockholm), April 26
  • UAE (Dubai), TBC
  • UK (London), June 28
  • USA (Orlando), May 5

Portrait photography: Antti Vettenranta

 

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