Stimulate collaboration – Facilitate integration
Masami Yamamoto, President, Fujitsu
Masami Yamamoto is the President of Fujitsu, a globally leading information and communication technology company. In 2013, Fortune named Fujitsu “one of the World’s Most Admired Companies”. In this IEC Global Visions interview Yamamoto explains how active participation in IEC work enables Fujitsu to accelerate product development and facilitates the integration of technologies from different providers into total systems solutions.
Masami Yamamoto, President, Fujitsu
Why is participation in international standardization important for Fujitsu?
Yamamoto: Since its establishment, Fujitsu’s corporate policy is to provide products and services based on technologies that can be globally accepted and used. To achieve this, we must make certain that our technologies are standardized. Only when they can be widely used are they useful for society. For this reason Fujitsu participates actively in all IEC standardization activities that are relevant to its products and we will continue to do so.
I believe business will always be global and technology will be used globally. If technology can’t be widely used it can’t advance. So when you look at the next 5 to 10 years, participation in global standardization will be a must for companies.
In this era business is ever changing. In the past it was enough to make a good product and to have somebody use that product for a long period of time. That was considered good for business. But today, you need to make a product that many people around the world really want, and you must do so very quickly. It’s an ever repeating very fast cycle, from market feedback to new product development, again and again. Speed is really important. Of course quality remains equally important: you need to know how to develop good products in record time and then manufacture and sell them everywhere. The world is getting flatter and people are more and more connected. When cycles are this fast, you can no longer do everything alone and therefore you need to be able to collaborate with others. That’s where international standardization enters the picture.
You mention that you have to collaborate more with others, in what way?
Yamamoto: I believe the world is increasingly horizontally, rather than vertically, integrated. In a horizontal business model, different players have different roles. As a company you need to develop your core competencies, be unique and create products that are widely accepted. Fujitsu provides services through integration. To achieve this, we combine our own products with those from other vendors. With our know-how we are able to offer a total integrated systems solution to the customer.
In your view how does standardization contribute to innovation?
Yamamoto: I believe standardization is very important for innovation and development, because what you can do alone today is limited. There are numerous things we need to achieve in business and more often than not you need to work with others in an ecosystem to build a product. You need to know how to best leverage standards; this is both a challenge for companies and also key to their success.
Do you believe quality perception improves if a company uses International Standards?
Yamamoto: Global products have to evolve and improve daily, also in terms of quality and you need a certain level of standardization otherwise that can’t happen. Standardization provides a foundation on which further improvements can be made. As such it impacts product quality greatly. I believe it is easier to innovate and develop new products based on the solid basis that is a part of Standards.
What is your view on intellectual property protection in the context of standardization?
Yamamoto: For a company IP is a very important asset, but IP alone will not produce products. Of course we need to protect IP but on the other hand we also need to standardize and create an ecosystem so that products and services can be developed and are able to interconnect. The relationship between IP and standardization needs to be a balanced one. I believe it is important to use IP as a weapon to develop products based on Standards.
Of course when participating in the standard setting process you need to ensure that your experts understand how to protect your company’s intellectual property. But overall we believe that the advantages in terms of volume and speed outweigh any potential risks. That’s why we participate in international standardization.
What area will be of special focus for Fujitsu in the coming years?
Yamamoto: I believe IT can be of special use in an aging society. On the one side it will allow the elderly to stay in contact with those they care about, reducing their feeling of isolation. But IT will also allow them to lead a healthier more independent life for longer. Last but not least, IT will be an increasingly crucial component in providing better healthcare. With advancements in IT we can collect data and optimize care to patients. We believe there will also be a big business opportunity in providing elderly-friendly IT solutions.
What would you tell a CEO whose company is not yet actively participating in the IEC?
Yamamoto: It would be difficult to make a globally relevant standard yourself all the time … so, while sometimes it may be sufficient to use a Standard that already exists, other times it is better to participate in developing a global Standard with others. By using this approach you can advance more quickly and make better products.