“Cloud computing can be said to be ‘post-e-business.’ It will not only transform corporate business models, but will transform society as a whole.”
Takayuki Hashimoto, President of IBM Japan, positions cloud computing as follows. e-business is a concept proposed by the company in 1997. It was also a word that symbolized the Internet age, which created new business models and revolutionized companies. The use of the term post-e-business by its proponent, IBM, is extremely meaningful.
“If e-business has changed the network environment from ownership to use, cloud computing will change not only networks, but all hardware, software, and applications from ownership to use. It will have the potential to transform,” Hashimoto continued.
What kind of development will IBM Japan do in cloud computing, which can be said to be post-e-business? I asked President Hashimoto.
■The measures we have taken in response to changes in society have blossomed
|Takayuki Hashimoto, President of IBM Japan|
— IBM Japan’s 2010 fiscal year, which began in January, has reached a halfway point. How do you self-evaluate your achievements in the last six months?
President Hashimoto: At the beginning of the year, I declared that I would aim for the year to become a true Trusted Partner. Overcoming the economic crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers and starting to get stronger, things have become more complicated than ever.
Even in domestic business, management decisions that look at the world are required, and it is inevitable that the export model will break away from the concentration of developed countries. At the same time, partnering must also be strengthened. It is a common recognition among many corporate managers that the market will expand, but at the same time, it is also a common recognition that the old ways of doing things will not work. It is in a situation where it grows while preaching a complicated equation.
In this kind of world, I feel that there is a limit to the method of simply selling IT to the information system department. It is necessary to understand the transformation of the customer’s business model itself, understand the needs, and make proposals that will help solve the customer’s problems in the true sense. In other words, what is required of IBM Japan is a deep relationship with customers that is different from the past, and the solution itself also needs depth.
That is the meaning of “a true Trusted Partner”. Looking back on the first half of the fiscal year, it can be said that the various measures we have taken in response to these changes in society have gradually blossomed.
――Specifically, what steps have you taken?
One is the enhancement of coverage. Since 2010, we have expanded our dedicated sales team to serve larger customers. Until now, we have targeted a few companies, but we have expanded this to double-digit customers, and have put in place a system that allows us to promote business with a stance that can be said to be one-on-one with our customers.
Secondly, in order to expand solutions, we created the IBDT (Industry Business Development Team) so that we can propose industry-specific solutions across the company. In addition, the Partner Business Division, which supports business partners, and the General Business Business Division 1, which is the direct sales division for small and medium-sized enterprises with less than 1,000 employees, will be integrated to launch a new Partner & Wide Area Business Division. We have created a system to develop with partners for small and medium-sized enterprises.
In addition, an alliance business division was newly established, and a mechanism was created in which IBM provided back-up technology support to system integrators and collaborated with them. Some things take time, but they are definitely moving forward.
On the other hand, in the field of value creation, we promoted the creation of a system that can propose high value through the cloud, BAO, and SmarterPlanet, which bundles them. As an industry-specific industry solution framework, SmarterPlanet utilizes the technology, hardware, software, and solutions provided by IBM and makes it possible to provide them in the form of standards. At the moment, the financial sector is leading the way, but we plan to develop nearly 10 different industry frameworks in the future.
We are also working to strengthen the skills of our employees as one of our priority issues. For IBM to become a Trusted Partner, highly skilled employees are required. IBM Japan employees have either industry skills, solution skills, or technical skills, but from now on, while having a deep knowledge of one skill, they will also have a certain level of knowledge about another skill. ” must be.
To this end, employees are honing their skills. In terms of raising the industry skills of the company as a whole, we are also hiring mid-career people who are well versed in the industry. Looking back on our efforts in the first half of the year, I can’t say that we achieved 100%, but for the time being I think we can give them a passing grade.
■Feeling the response of being deeply involved with customers
――As president, you declared that you would spend 70% of your time on value creation, other than operations and performance. Have you achieved that goal?
Last year we said we would use 60%, but it was about 55%, but I think we are on the right track this year. 70% is probably achieved. In fact, the number of meetings with customers is increasing. When I’m in Japan, there’s not a day that I don’t visit a customer, and there are days when I have 3 or 4 cases a day. In the first half of the year alone, it is clear that we have disturbed more than 100 customers.
In addition, since IBM Japan started advocating SmarterPlanet, it has become possible to visit customers who could not meet at all. There are also partnerships with municipalities and other local governments, government offices, and companies outside the IT field. The scope of partnering is expanding.
――In the first half of the year, where do you feel the most positive response?
I think that I have become able to get into the customer’s place quite deeply. This is evidenced by the increasing number of long-term projects and the ability to make forward-looking proposals.
Until now, we have been making proposals to the information system department from the perspective of hardware and software in response to customer requests, but now we are looking beyond the needs of the information system department. proposals are increasing.
When I visit a customer, I take the person in charge with me. Two days before that, I instructed them to summarize on a piece of paper what they have supported so far and what areas they would like to support in the future. I can’t write this unless I study and understand the customer. Two days in advance is to allow time to fix any rework that may occur.
When I brought this paper, the manager said that he wanted to hear about the solution that was well organized. be. You can also see how far IBM Japan is involved with customers. In any case, we would like to gain knowledge from each other because we would like the other party to spend valuable time with us. I want to find out what we can collaborate on.
In addition, when I have only visited the information system department so far, I want them to understand that I am making proposals based on the intentions of the top management. We are also proposing to utilize the In some cases, people wondered whether IBM Japan was doing such a thing, and a new business was born.
――What was left unfinished in the first half?
I feel that we have to go a little deeper into the creation of the solution. In particular, support for globalization. We want to strengthen here. The globalization of Japanese customers is accelerating more than we expected. Of course, this is also an area where IBM, which is expanding globally, excels.
However, there is also the question of whether US-style globalization is directly compatible with the globalization of Japanese companies. I believe that we must prepare something that can support Japanese companies in their globalization.
■The idea of ”co-creation” to create together
――In January 2010, IBM Japan announced a group vision. What is the reason? .
In my second year as president, I was able to get a sense of what the axis of the company’s growth could be. In that case, she thought that she should flesh out quickly and launch it externally.
Therefore, rather than formulating a new group vision, we have been focusing on the initiatives that we have been working on since 2009: “cultivating a free and open-minded corporate culture,” “leading the creation of value for customers,” and “expanding new businesses and forming partnerships.” It may be easier to understand if you regard it as a culmination of efforts such as “strengthening” and “social responsibility as a good corporate citizen”.
The IBM Group Vision is to be “a leading company that co-creates new value with customers and contributes to the transformation of Japan from a global perspective as a technology leader and a good corporate citizen.” The key here is the use of the word “co-creation”.
In the past, partners tended to be in a relationship of buying and selling. However, “co-creation” is, as the word suggests, the idea of creating things together. Future growth requires the concept of “co-creation.” There is also a meaning to the term “global perspective”. It also includes making future-oriented proposals from the perspective of SmarterPlanet and making proposals by leveraging the strengths of global IBM.
――I feel that the word “partner” has been used more and more since the change to President Hashimoto.
You may feel that way because your relationship with your partner is about to change. When we enter the cloud era, instead of IBM providing everything, as in the past, IBM will provide the technology, but partner A will be in charge of the infrastructure and partner B will be in charge of the billing system. , C partners provide applications.
And when you enter a world like SmarterPlanet, there will be “co-creation” with new partners that have never existed before. More than ever before, the definition of partner has become more complex and broader. Co-creation with partners has become important when considering where to place the growth engine of a company. I think many companies feel that way.
――When you enter the world of SmarterPlanet, you will need to cooperate with social infrastructure. Companies such as Hitachi, Toshiba, and Mitsubishi Electric are holding back in that field. How far can you demonstrate your power in Japan?
If IBM Japan is weak in the area of social infrastructure, there is also the option of partnering with companies such as Hitachi and Toshiba that are strong in that field. If IBM Japan’s areas of expertise and standing are clarified, and the idea of co-creation is brought in, I think we can definitely do it.
We are competing in the IT field, but there may be areas where we can work together in other areas. It is conceivable that companies specializing in social infrastructure may seek IBM’s knowledge. We have entered such an era. Opportunities are endless.
— If you were to ask IBM Japan to change, what would it be?
The speed of change is undoubtedly accelerating. As is clear from the Lehman shock, the recognition that any company is connected to the world has spread. In that respect, it became possible to show the power of global IBM.
In addition, IBM Japan employees no longer felt uncomfortable with such a presentation. The impact of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy was certainly significant, but from a different perspective, there are also positive aspects. For example, the number of companies that feel a sense of crisis has increased more than ever, and they are now able to take on the challenge of reforms to break through that crisis without feeling hesitant.
An increasing number of companies are not afraid to change their partners and customers. It can be said that the experience of this severe economic environment became the next growth driver. Where will IBM Japan demonstrate its strength in a society where such values have changed?
It’s about knowledge and skills. I’m a person after all. That is why IBM Japan decided to go back to its origins by focusing on “people.” Employees of IBM Japan will understand the customer and convey IBM’s knowledge to the customer. Those skills are needed now. That’s why you should accumulate T shape skills.
■The cloud is a “post-e-business” that includes e-business
――How does IBM Japan position cloud computing?
We see cloud computing as an infrastructure that will bring about social change. IBM once proposed the idea of e-business. e-business, brought about by the Internet, has created a business structure that transcends time and space, and has revolutionized the business models of companies around the world.
However, we see cloud computing as a technology and infrastructure that will bring about even more transformation. It is not limited to IT innovation, but is a catalyst for business innovation, greatly changing the speed at which companies launch new businesses, accelerating M&A, and creating an environment that increases the number of entries from other industries.
Even for a single development environment, it used to take three weeks to a month at the earliest to build the environment in-house, purchasing a server, setting it up, adjusting it, and running it. If you use the cloud, you can use it in a world of minutes. These things will happen everywhere.
Since the world will change from “days” to “minutes,” it is possible that more destructive things will occur than ever before. In retrospect, the biggest change in e-business can be seen as the shift in the network environment from a world of “owning” leased lines to a world of “using” the Internet.
In the world of cloud computing, however, hardware, software, and even applications are standardized, shifting from ownership to use. A big social change that surpasses the change caused by e-business will occur. The world of “post-e-business” that includes e-business can be called cloud computing.
–What are IBM Japan’s strengths in cloud computing?
|Cloud data center in North Carolina, USA, opened in February|
I believe that IBM Japan has four strengths. The first is technology leadership. IBM has over 40 years of experience in the virtualization and automation technologies required for cloud computing.
The second is the “Solution Portfolio”. We have a lineup of solutions deployed on the cloud, from development test clouds to analysis clouds such as BAO.
The third is “introduction track record”. IBM’s internal development cloud has already been used by 110,000 developers for more than two years. In addition, we have already implemented more than 200 cloud computing projects.
And finally “global scale”. IBM has nine cloud data centers around the world, two of which are located in Makuhari, Chiba Prefecture and Nanko, Osaka, in Japan. In addition, one of the 10 cloud labs around the world is located in Harumi, Tokyo. From the perspective of global scale, we can make proposals by combining the strengths of having a data center in Japan with the strengths of having a data center overseas.
――What kind of results have you achieved in Japan?
We have already achieved a number of results. For example, in Hokkaido, based on the “Hokkaido e-municipal platform concept (HARP concept),” we are participating in a local government cloud development demonstration project in collaboration with HARP Co., Ltd.
Here, IBM products such as the IBM BladeCenter blade server, IBM Tivoli Service Automation Manager, and IBM WebSphere Process Server were delivered. We are building a cloud computing environment that aims to enable local governments to share business services at low cost and efficiently. There are 179 municipalities in Hokkaido, and about 10% of them are participating in this demonstration experiment.
In addition, Nippon Life’s use of the development and test cloud is a unique combination of the company’s own infrastructure and the public cloud. It is a proposal for use.
In addition, Kokubu has built a system that realizes stable business continuity by utilizing the IBM Smart Business Desktop Cloud and satellite lines to access data centers in the Tokyo metropolitan area using satellite lines in the event of a disaster. increase.
In addition, Japan Business Computer (JBCC) is using the cloud as its development platform, and Mitsubishi Research Institute DCS is adopting IBM Cloud Burst as its service platform. Large-scale cloud utilization such as the desktop cloud service “IBM Client Environment Virtualization Service” at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ is also increasing.
A unique example is a case in which data related to failure reports provided by some US government agencies is once accumulated in IBM Japan’s Makuhari data center and provided. As information disclosure progresses in the United States, it will become possible to analyze trends from data using IBM’s analysis technology. Government agencies will be able to create an optimal environment without investing in new infrastructure. Such cases will continue to increase.
The use of cloud computing should also increase in areas such as global cash management, global risk management, and human resource management. However, not all areas can benefit from cloud computing.
――Why is that?
|Based on the experience and know-how accumulated in-house, IBM has systematized areas where the cloud can be applied and areas where it is not.|
For example, as we have already mentioned, the cloud is easy to use in terms of analytics, industry applications, and collaboration. In addition, with the evolution of cloud computing, it will be used in areas such as medical record sharing among multiple medical institutions, advanced image processing, financial risk management, and energy management.
On the other hand, however, applications that handle sensitive data, highly customized applications, complex processes and transactions, non-virtualized third-party software, and those related to legal requirements are not suitable for cloud computing. is not suitable.
Based on our past experience, IBM Japan provides a simple analysis tool called “Cloud Adaptability Simple Analysis Session” that analyzes whether a customer’s application can be applied to cloud computing. . For each customer’s system, our engineers perform a simple analysis from the operational and IT infrastructure aspects, and quickly judge the suitability of cloud computing.
At present, user companies are interested in what can be done in the cloud and what effects can be achieved. There is a great deal of interest in cloud computing. Among them, first of all, we have to clarify whether the desired application can be realized by cloud computing.
|On the 7th floor of the head office in Hakozaki, Tokyo, there is an “IBM Solution Center” that uses cutting-edge technology, such as a fully cloud environment, and a cloud demonstration corner is also set up inside.|
■It is dangerous to make cost reduction the sole purpose of cloud adoption
――What do user companies need to be aware of when introducing cloud computing?
Adopting the cloud for the sole purpose of reducing costs can be dangerous. The cloud is premised on the standardization of operations. By standardizing, the cloud can be used for overseas expansion and M&A, and new IT investment can be kept to a minimum.
These cost savings are certainly significant, but they are not the only ones. If we are to propose cost reductions, I believe that we should also make top-line proposals at the same time.
BAO’s proposal is a good example. Invest in new places for the amount of infrastructure costs that have been lowered by the cloud. With cloud + BAO, user companies can obtain more effective IT with the same investment amount.
We believe that cloud computing has five advantages. Reduce costs, improve business speed, convert assets to variable costs, strengthen security and governance, and create new businesses. From this point of view, I would like to propose the merits of cloud computing.
――On January 1, 2010, IBM Japan established a cloud management organization under the direct control of the president and formed Team Cloud. What is the reason for making it under the direct control of the president?
Cloud computing is a cross-type business involving not only hardware business but also software and services. In addition, we are at a stage where we cannot get used to the operation of producing results immediately and reporting the financial results every three months. It should be viewed as an area to invest on a different time axis.
And if you make it an organization under the direct control of the president, it will stand out from the outside (laughs).
This is the reason why I put them under the direct control of the president. When you leave the president’s direct control or dismantle it, you can think that it has entered normal operation. It will probably be under the direct control of the president for about two years.
――What kind of things are you talking about as a position of direct control?
Anyway, I’m telling you to create a new market. On the other hand, I never said that we should raise such figures in the third quarter.
Always be aware of where IBM Japan’s strength lies in cloud computing, do things faster than other companies, line up solutions, how to view segmentation, and how to take mind share. I want you to do it including Rather, nothing says that you shouldn’t do this.
Some sales people said that moving to the cloud would reduce the sales of IBM Japan compared to the previous system. It would be nice if the customer made another investment with the reduced price, and we both got a return. I’m telling you to take a broader perspective, not just the cloud.
――However, the sales department has numbers.
To be honest, there are places where opinions collide on that point in the sales field. If you introduce hardware and software, sales will rise at once. On the other hand, when it comes to cloud computing, you pay monthly, so it’s a long-lived business that spans five years.
It may be a system that is difficult for sales departments to get acquainted with, but this is the trend of the world. You have to change your way of thinking.
――Team Cloud originally planned to train 300 cloud specialists.
At present, we have expanded to a system of 450 people. Furthermore, the system, which was originally intended to educate 1,000 people for sales, marketing, consulting, etc., has now expanded to more than 3,000 people. In other words, more than 3,000 IBM Japan employees are now able to talk about what cloud computing is.
And if there is something that 3000 people can’t handle, Team Cloud of 450 people in the back will help. I believe that we have a team that can act as a team regarding cloud computing.
Also, I would like to strengthen our service delivery organization. The concept of cloud computing is perceived differently by different people. I wonder if outsourcing, which charges a fixed fee, should be added to cloud computing, which charges a variable fee. 1 business will be calculated on the cloud (laughs).
■Supporting Aggressive IT with IBM Japan’s “Human” Assets
――What kind of moves will you make in the second half of 2010?
In the second half, we will accelerate what we have done so far. There is no hesitation. In particular, we would like to support the globalization of Japanese companies, and we would like to support the shift from defensive to offensive IT while using weapons such as the cloud, BAO, and SmarterPlanet.
Until now, the future of the market has been seen to some extent by experience and intuition. However, due to the complexity of the business model, it no longer works, and the number of things that must be visualized has increased. An unprecedented computing power is required, and cloud computing is suitable as a means of solving this problem.
On the other hand, it has been said that IT is good at cutting costs, but not very good at aggressiveness (laughs). I would like to actively present methods for increasing sales using IT. Analyzing purchase characteristics, changing sales approaches, reviewing supply chains, and preventing opportunity loss are also aggressive IT.
However, while it is easy to calculate ROI for cost-cutting IT investments, it is difficult to calculate ROI for aggressive IT. For this reason, it is sometimes difficult for customers to decide to invest in aggressive IT. I would like to support that with the assets of “people” that IBM Japan has. That is why IBM Japan is once again investing in people.
“The past few years have been tough.
Although the environment is tough, the environment under our feet is becoming tougher. However, numbers are not made, but made. We believe that the result of providing value is sales and profit.