Be part of solutions
Fujitsu’s Derek Yiu wants to double his technical and consulting headcount to meet demand for IT services, writes John Brennan.
Outsourcing processes through the IT as a service (ITaaS) model has been around for many years. However, the recent pace of change in digital technology and the growing ease of access through cloud computing have transformed the demand for people skilled in the deployment of ITaaS.
“A lot of companies have their own [core] business [functions] to cope with, and if they have to groom their own internal IT management to use different products and technology, this will create problems for them,” says Derek Yiu, general manager of solutions and services business at Fujitsu Hong Kong.
Along with the simplification of an organisation’s workload, ITaaS also represents an opportunity to better manage costs. “[It] will allow companies to keep down their initial investment,” Yiu says.
As a global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) services, Fujitsu has a wide product portfolio that includes IT, server storage, laptops and telecommunication infrastructure products.
“Nowadays, if you have to connect different devices, or if you have to monitor their status or that of different environments, you don’t simply require a data-centre platform,” Yiu says. “You will have cameras, sensors and a lot of different devices to connect to the cloud. We call this concept a hyper-connected world.
“In 2013 there were about 10 billion devices connected to the internet all around the world, and it’s going to be around 50 billion by 2020. Lots of different household devices will be connected to the cloud – the internet-connected fridge is already on the market – because people want to take control of their lives. You will be able to remotely control your air conditioner and switch it on before you reach home.”
With this world comes a host of new privacy issues. Yiu says Fujitsu directly addresses each customer’s concerns about such issues when it comes to the storage and accessing of their data in the cloud. “The most important thing is to look into the customer’s security policy because different sectors have different security requirements, with, for example, government, military and financial institutions having the highest security standards.
“Fujitsu is a solutions broker. We have our own security products, but we can also leverage third-party products to address the customer’s security policy. We can customise and add local security requirements to our solution.”
Yiu cites the example of Fujitsu’s infrared palm-reading identity verification system Fujitsu PalmSecure, which has been deployed by banks in Spain and Brazil to control access to ATM terminals.
The company is looking to expand its operation in Hong Kong in order to handle a variety of new projects for a range of industries and government departments. “We also have a key part to play when it comes to service delivery for some global [Fujitsu] deals coming into Hong Kong,” Yiu says. “We have the goal of making Hong Kong one of the IT and cloud hubs in Asia-Pacific. Along with Singapore, Hong Kong has a very mature telecommunications infrastructure and less natural disasters compared to other countries in Asia-Pacific.”
Locally, Fujitsu is intending to increase its workforce by 40 to 50 per cent for technical and consulting positions.
“We are looking at application development, service delivery and solution consulting people,” Yiu says, adding that the latter category is particularly important because of the fast pace of technological change. “This year, we have reorganised to concentrate more on professional services and service delivery. Once we have understood the customer’s requirements and delivered the solution, we then have to ensure operational excellence.” The aim, he explains, is to offer an end-to-end solution.
He admits that, as is the case with so many other industries in Hong Kong and Asia, finding the right people isn’t always easy, although there are some special factors leading to a shortage of digital skills. “Fifteen years ago, at the height of the dotcom boom, there were many people studying IT,” he says. “But when [the dotcom bubble] burst, a lot of these people retrained in other areas, such as retail and financial services. So we see about a 10-year gap until recently, with the emergence of social networking, iOS and Android, and online gaming, which have led to people going back and studying IT and learning programming.”
Despite the competition from other sources of employment, Yiu says Fujitsu has its own appeal for the new talent coming on stream. “Fujitsu is an Asia-Pacific-centric company with a global brand image. We have a lot of flexibility to provide talent management and talent enhancement training. We have the Fujitsu University, we have a global leadership training programme, we have online training and we have product training in Japan or elsewhere in Asia – all supported and paid for by headquarters.”
In an evolving industry, this ability to constantly update and broaden one’s skills can be a powerful draw, he says. “Because we are a global ICT company, our people can join our global projects in other countries. At the moment, we have a product initiative going on in the UK and they are recruiting heavily within Fujitsu around the world.
“Our organisation is very dynamic with an effective talent mobility policy. Today you may be a service consultant and in two years’ time you may want to work in sales. You can shape your own career within our company.”
The future ‘Aas’ you like it
Derek Yiu describes what he sees to be the most popular cloud services.
Infrastructure as a service “A pool of scalable, robust, secure and standardised virtual IT resources, available on demand over the internet on a cost-effective, pay-per-use basis.”
Platform as a service “A category of cloud computing services that provide a computing platform, application development and execution environment as a service.”
Software as a service (SaaS) “A software distribution model in which applications are hosted by the vendor and made available to customers.”
IT management as a service “A suite of SaaS-based applications providing the infrastructure, application-monitoring and service-desk capabilities needed to underpin an efficient and cost-effective IT management operation.”
Back-up as a service “A highly flexible, fast and efficient cloud-based back-up and disaster-recovery service that can be used to secure cloud and traditional systems.”