[Katsuyuki Okawara’s Keyman Watch]Cloud computing can be said to be “post-e-business” President Takayuki Hashimoto of IBM Japan –Cloud Watch

“Cloud computing can be called’post-e-business’. It will not only transform the business model of a company, but also transform society as a whole.”

Takayuki Hashimoto, president of IBM Japan, positions cloud computing as follows. e-business is a concept advocated by the company in 1997. It was also a symbol of the Internet age, which created a new business model and revolutionized the company. It makes a lot of sense for its advocate, IBM, to use the term post-e-business.

“If e-business changes the network environment from possession to use, cloud computing will change not only the network, but all hardware, software, and applications from possession to use. The social mechanism itself is large. It will have the potential to change, “continues President Hashimoto.

What kind of development will IBM Japan develop in cloud computing, which can be said to be post-e-business? I asked President Hashimoto.

The measures taken against social changes have blossomed

Takayuki Hashimoto, President of IBM Japan

――IBM Japan’s 2010 fiscal year, which begins in January, has reached a turning point. How do you self-evaluate the results of this six months?

President Hashimoto: At the beginning of the year, I declared that I would aim for a year of becoming a true Trusted Partner. Overcoming the economic crisis triggered by the Lehman shock and starting to get stronger, the complexity has increased more than ever.

Even in domestic business, management decisions with an eye on the world are required, and it is inevitable that the export model will be removed from the concentration of developed countries. In addition, partnering must be strengthened accordingly. It is a common understanding of many business owners that the market will expand, but on the other hand it is also a common understanding that conventional methods will not work. We are in a situation where we are growing while preaching complicated equations.

In such a world, I feel that there is a limit to the method of simply selling IT to the information system department. It can be said that it is necessary to understand the changes and needs of the customer’s business model itself, and to make proposals that truly solve the customer’s problems. 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 to be deep.

That’s what it means to be a “true Trusted Partner.” Looking back on this first half, it can be said that the various measures taken against these social changes have gradually blossomed.

――What kind of measures have you taken specifically?

One is to enhance coverage. Since 2010, we have expanded our dedicated sales team for major customers. Until now, the target was several companies, but we have expanded this to double-digit customers and established a system that can promote business with the attitude of being able to say that it is a customer and Ichirentakushou.

Second, we created an IBDT (Industry Business Development Team) to expand solutions, and made it possible to propose industry-specific solutions across the entire company. In addition, the Partner Division, which supports business partners, and the General Business First Business Division, which is a direct sales division for small and medium-sized enterprises with less than 1,000 employees, have been integrated to form a new Partner & Wide Area Business Division. We have created a system to develop with partners for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Then, a new alliance business division was established, and IBM provided technology support from behind to system integrators and created a mechanism to collaborate. Some are time consuming, but they are definitely moving forward.

On the other hand, in the field of value creation, we have promoted the creation of a system that can propose high value by using cloud, BAO, and Smarter Planet that bundles them. SmarterPlanet is an industry-specific industry solution framework that leverages the technologies, hardware, software and solutions provided by IBM to enable them to be delivered in standard form. At the moment, the financial sector is ahead, but we plan to develop nearly 10 types of industry frameworks in the future.

We are also working on strengthening employee skills as one of our priority issues. In order for IBM to become a Trusted Partner, employees must have high skills. IBM Japan employees have either industry skills, solution skills, or technical skills, but in the future, while having one skill deeply, they also have a certain amount of knowledge about another skill, “T-shape model.” Must be.

To that end, employees are honing their skills. In terms of improving the industry skills of the entire company, we also hire mid-career people who are familiar with the industry. Looking back on the efforts in the first half, I cannot say that the achievement level is 100%, but I self-evaluate that I can give a passing score for the time being.

Feel the deep response to the customer

――As president, you have declared that you will spend 70% of your time in areas other than operations and business performance, so to speak, in value creation. Have you achieved that?

Last year it was about 55% to use 60%, but I think this year is a good line. 70% will surely be achieved. In fact, the number of meetings with customers is increasing. When I’m in Japan, there are no days when I don’t visit customers, and there are days when I have 3 or 4 cases a day. Obviously, we are disturbing more than 100 customers in the first half alone.

Also, since IBM Japan began advocating the Smarter Planet, it has become possible to bother customers who could not meet at all. Partnerships with municipalities and other local governments, government agencies, and companies outside the IT field are also emerging. The range of partnering is expanding.

――Which part of the efforts in the first half of the year do you feel the most responsive?

I think I’ve become able to get deeper into the customers. It is a proof that the number of long-term projects has increased and it has become possible to make more proactive proposals.

Until now, we have made proposals to the information system department from the perspective of hardware and software in a way that responds to customer requests, but now we are looking further ahead of the requests of the information system department. Proposals are increasing.

When I visit a customer, I bring the employee in charge with me. Two days before that, I was instructing customers to summarize what they have supported so far and what areas they would like to support in the future on a single sheet of paper. This can only be written by studying and understanding the customer. Two days ago is to give you time to fix any rework.

When I bring this paper, the management has organized it well, and there are cases where I want to hear about the solution here, and in extreme cases, the other person closes his eyes and looks down. be. You can also see how far IBM Japan has entered customers. In any case, we will ask the other party to spend important time, so we would like to gain mutual knowledge. I want to find out where we can collaborate.

In addition, if you have only been in the way of the information system department so far, you will understand that you are making proposals with the intention of the top management, and IBM Japan’s knowledge in terms of globalization and strengthening governance. We will also make proposals to have people utilize. “Is IBM Japan doing such a thing?”, And there are cases where new businesses have emerged.

――What did you leave behind in the first half?

I feel that we have to go a little further into creating the solution. Especially, globalization support. I want to strengthen here. The globalization of Japanese customers is accelerating more than we expected. Of course, this is also the part that IBM, which is expanding globally, is good at.

However, there is also the question of whether US-style globalization is directly in line with the globalization of Japanese companies. I believe that we must prepare something that Japanese companies can support in order to globalize.

The idea of ​​”co-creation” to create together

–In January 2010, IBM Japan set up a group vision. What is the reason? ..

In the second year since I took office as president, I was able to feel what is the axis that can draw the growth of the company. Then she thought that she would flesh out quickly and launch it externally.

Therefore, rather than launching a new group vision, we have been working since 2009 to “cultivate a free and open corporate culture,” “lead value creation for customers,” and “expand new businesses and partnerships.” It may be easier to understand if you think of it as a culmination of efforts such as “strengthening” and “social responsibility as a good corporate citizen.”

IBM Group Vision is “a leading company that contributes to the transformation of Japan from a global perspective as a technology leader and a good corporate citizen by co-creating new value with customers.” The important thing here is to use the word “co-creation”.

In the past, partners tended to end up in a relationship of buying and selling. However, “co-creation” is, as the word says, the idea of ​​making together. For future growth, the idea of ​​”co-creation” is necessary. The word “earth perspective” also has meaning. It also includes making future-oriented proposals from the perspective of Smarter Planet, and taking advantage of the strengths of global IBM to make proposals.

――I feel that the word “partner” has increased since the change to President Hashimoto’s system.

You may feel that because your relationship with your partner is about to change. In the cloud era, IBM will not provide everything as before, but the technology will be provided by IBM, but the partner A will be in charge of the infrastructure and the partner B will be in charge of the billing system. , C partners are collaborating to provide applications.

And when you enter a world like Smarter Planet, you’ll also find “co-creation” with new partners you’ve never seen before. The definition of partner has become more complex and wider than ever. Co-creation with partners is becoming more important when considering where to put a company’s growth engine. I think many companies are feeling that.

――When you enter the world of Smarter Planet, you need to cooperate with social infrastructure. Companies such as Hitachi, Toshiba, and Mitsubishi Electric are controlling that field. How much power can you exert in Japan?

If IBM Japan has a weak social infrastructure, you have the option of partnering with companies that are strong in that field, such as Hitachi and Toshiba. If you clarify the defensive area and standing position of IBM Japan and bring in the idea of ​​co-creation, I think you can definitely do it.

We are competing in the IT field, but there will be other parts that we can work on. Companies that specialize in social infrastructure may seek the knowledge that IBM has. We are already in such an era. There are many opportunities.

――What is the point that IBM Japan has changed?

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 has become possible to show the power of global IBM.

Also, for IBM Japan employees, there is no sense of discomfort in making such a presentation. The impact of the Lehman shock was certainly great, but from a different perspective, it can be seen as a plus. For example, the number of companies that feel a sense of crisis has increased more than ever, and it has become possible to take on the challenge of change to overcome it without any resistance.

An increasing number of companies, both partners and customers, are not afraid to change. It can be said that the experience of this difficult economic environment has become a driver for the next growth. Where will IBM Japan exert its power in a society where these values ​​have changed?

It is knowledge and skill. After all, it’s a person. That is why IBM Japan is trying to return to the starting point of focusing on “people.” IBM Japan employees understand the customer and convey the knowledge that IBM has to the customer. Such skills are now needed. That’s why you should accumulate T-shape skills.

The cloud is a “post e-business” that embraces e-business

–How does IBM Japan position cloud computing?

We see cloud computing as an infrastructure that will bring about social change. IBM once advocated the idea of ​​e-business. The 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 further transformation. Not only IT innovation, but also a catalyst for business innovation, it will significantly change the speed at which companies start new businesses, accelerate M & A, and create an environment where entry from different industries will increase.

Even with a single development environment, it used to take three weeks to a month at the earliest to purchase, install, adjust, and operate a server to build an environment in-house. If you use the cloud, you can use it in the world for minutes. This will happen everywhere.

Since the world will change from “day” to “minute”, there is a possibility that more destructive things will happen than ever before. In retrospect, the biggest change in e-business can be seen as the shift in the network environment from a world that “owns” a leased line to a world that “uses” the Internet.

In the world of cloud computing, hardware, software, and even applications are standardized, changing from ownership to use. Greater social change will occur than the change by e-business. The world of “post-e-business” that includes e-business can be said to be 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 to be deployed on the cloud, from development test clouds to analysis clouds such as BAO.

The third is “introduction record”. The development cloud used internally by IBM has already been used by 110,000 developers for more than two years. In addition, we have already introduced more than 200 cloud computing projects.

And finally, “global scale”. IBM has nine cloud data centers around the world, of which two are located in Japan, Makuhari, Chiba Prefecture and Nanko, Osaka. In addition, one of the 10 cloud laboratories around the world is located in Harumi, Tokyo. One of our strengths from a global scale is that we can make proposals while mixing the strengths of having a data center in Japan and the strength of having a data center overseas.

――What kind of achievements have you made in Japan?

We have already achieved a number of achievements. For example, in Hokkaido, we are participating in a local government cloud development demonstration project in collaboration with HARP Co., Ltd. based on the “Hokkaido Electronic Local Government Platform Concept (HARP Concept)”.

Here, we deliver IBM products such as IBM BladeCenter for blade servers, IBM Tivoli Service Automation Manager, and IBM WebSphere Process Server. We are building a cloud computing environment that aims to allow local governments to share business services inexpensively and efficiently. There are 179 cities, towns and villages in Hokkaido, of which about 10% of the local governments participate in this demonstration experiment.

In addition, when utilizing the development / test cloud at Nippon Life, we will stop building the infrastructure at the peak of development and utilize the cloud for the part required at the peak, which is a unique fusion of our own infrastructure and the public cloud. It is a usage proposal.

Furthermore, Kokubu is building a mechanism to realize stable business continuity by utilizing IBM Smart Business Desktop Cloud and satellite lines to access data centers in the Tokyo metropolitan area in the event of a disaster. increase.

In addition, Japan Business Computer (JBCC) is using the cloud as a development platform, and Mitsubishi Research Institute DCS is adopting IBM Cloud Burst as a 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.

In a unique case, data on trouble reports provided by some US government agencies is once stored in the Makuhari data center of IBM Japan and provided. As information disclosure progresses in the United States, it will be possible to analyze trends from data using IBM’s analysis technology, and it is possible to propose utilization by having the analysis results utilized through the cloud. Government agencies will be able to build an optimal environment without investing in new infrastructure. There will be more and more such cases.

The use of cloud computing should increase in areas such as global cash management, global risk management, and human resources management. However, cloud computing is not always successful in all areas.

――Why is that?

At IBM, based on the experience and know-how accumulated in-house, we are systematizing areas where the cloud can be applied and areas where it is not aimed.

For example, as we have seen, the cloud is easy to use in terms of analytics, industry-specific applications, and collaboration. In addition, with the evolution of cloud computing, it will be used in areas such as chart sharing among multiple medical institutions, advanced image processing, financial risk management, and energy management.

But on the other hand, applications that deal with sensitive data, highly customized applications, complex processes and transactions, non-virtualized third-party software, and legal requirements are all about cloud computing. I don’t think it’s suitable.

IBM Japan provides a simple analysis tool “Cloud Goodness of Fit Simple Analysis Session” that analyzes whether the application that the customer is thinking is applicable to cloud computing based on the experience so far. .. For each customer’s system, engineers perform a simple analysis from the business and IT infrastructure aspects to determine the suitability of cloud computing in a short period of time.

At this point, the concern of user companies is what can be done in the cloud and what kind of effect it can have. There is a great deal of interest in cloud computing. First of all, we must 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 adopting a cloud environment entirely, and there is also a cloud demo corner inside.

It is dangerous to aim only for cost reduction for cloud introduction

–What do user companies need to be aware of when introducing cloud computing?

Introducing the cloud just to reduce costs can be dangerous. The cloud is premised on standardizing operations. By standardizing, the cloud can be utilized even in overseas expansion and M & A, and new IT investment can be minimized.

The benefits of these cost savings are certainly great, but they are not the only ones. If we propose cost reductions, we should not only propose top-line proposals at the same time.

BAO’s proposal is a good example. By using the cloud, we will invest in new places by the amount of reduced infrastructure costs. With cloud + BAO, user companies can obtain more effective IT with the same investment amount.

We believe that cloud computing has five benefits. Cost reduction, improvement of business speed, variable cost of assets, strengthening of security governance, creation of new business. From this point of view, I would like to propose the merits of cloud computing.

–IBM Japan established a cloud management organization under the direct control of the president on January 1, 2010, and formed Team Cloud. What is the reason for the direct control of the president?

Cloud computing is not only a hardware business, but also a cross-type business involving software and services. In addition, we are at a stage where we are not familiar with operations such as immediately producing results and reporting on financial results every three months. You need to think of it as an area where you invest in different timelines.

And if you make it an organization under the direct control of the president, it will stand out externally (laughs).

These are the reasons why it is under the direct control of the president. When you leave the direct control of the president or dismantle it, you can think that it has entered regular operation. Perhaps it will be under the direct control of the president for about two years.

――What are you saying as a position under direct control?

Anyway, I’m trying to create a new market. On the other hand, I haven’t said anything about raising this number in the third quarter.

Always recognizing where IBM Japan’s strength in cloud computing lies, what to do faster than other companies, how to line up solutions, how to view segmentation, and how to take mind share. I want you to include it. Rather, it doesn’t say anything that this shouldn’t be done.

There are voices from sales that IBM Japan’s sales will decrease compared to conventional systems when it is converted to the cloud, but he said, “That’s good, do it” (laughs). It would be good if the customer could make another investment for the cheaper price and get a return from each other. It’s not just about the cloud, it’s about looking at it from a wider perspective.

――But the sales department has numbers.

To be honest, there are some conflicting opinions on that point at the sales floor. If you install hardware and software, sales will increase at once. On the other hand, when it comes to cloud computing, you pay monthly, so it’s a long-term business that lasts for five years.

It may not be familiar to the sales department, but this is the trend of the world. We need to change our way of thinking.

–At the beginning, Team Cloud was supposed to train 300 cloud specialists.

At present, we have expanded to a system of 450 people. In addition, the system that initially educated 1,000 people for sales, marketing, consulting, etc. has now expanded to just over 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’s something that 3000 people can’t handle, the 450 Team Clouds behind will help. We believe that we have a team that can work as a team regarding cloud computing.

After that, I would like to strengthen the service delivery organization. The concept of cloud computing is different from person to person. I think it would be a good idea to add outsourcing, which is a fixed charge, to cloud computing with a variable charge, but if this is added, it will involve 10,000 employees, and IBM Japan’s 3 minutes. One of the businesses is calculated to be in the cloud (laughs).

Supporting offensive IT with the property of “people” owned by IBM Japan

――What kind of measures will you take in the second half of 2010?

In the second half, we will accelerate what we have done so far. There is no hesitation there. In particular, I would like to support the globalization of Japanese companies, and I would like to support the shift from defensive to offensive IT using weapons such as cloud, BAO, and Smarter Planet.

So far, I have been looking ahead of the market to some extent with experience and intuition. However, as business models have become more complex, they are no longer valid and more things need to be visualized. Unprecedented computing power is required, and cloud computing is suitable as a means to solve it.

On the other hand, it has been said that IT is good at cost reduction, but not so good at offensive (laughs). I would like to proactively present methods for increasing sales by utilizing IT. It is also an aggressive IT to analyze purchasing characteristics, change the sales approach, review the supply chain, and prevent opportunity loss.

However, while cost-reducing IT investment makes it easy to calculate ROI, aggressive IT has some parts where it is difficult to calculate ROI. Therefore, it may be difficult for customers to make a decision to invest in aggressive IT. I would like to support it with the property of “people” owned by IBM Japan. That’s why IBM Japan is once again investing in people.

――The past few years have been tough.

Although it is a harsh environment, the current environment is getting harder. However, numbers are not made, they are made. We believe that the result of providing value is sales and profits.

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