Developing the Digital Society by Achieving “Trust and Co-creation” through Cutting-Edge Technologies

Hidenori Furuta
CEO, FUJITSU LABORATORIES LTD. &
Corporate Executive Officer, SEVP
Head of Technology Solutions Business & CTO, CIO
FUJITSU LIMITED

Message from the CEO

R&D and Business Units work together to speedily produce maximum results

How is Fujitsu Laboratories positioned in the Fujitsu Group?

Fujitsu Laboratories is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited established in 1968 as an independent research organization to engage in developing technologies that contribute to the development of society, economy and industry from a medium- to long-term perspective. Among other subsidiaries in the Fujitsu Group, we are proud of having continuously worked on R&D from this standpoint without being affected by the short-term performance of the parent company to support the Fujitsu Group business with our technologies for half a century. Based on our founding philosophy, which is to “develop the world’s top-level technologies to drive the growth of the Fujitsu Group in an autonomous and free atmosphere for researchers with broad consideration for what research and development ought to be”, I want our researchers to continue to take on challenges.

I took office as CEO of Fujitsu Laboratories in January 2019, but am also responsible for all business units at Fujitsu. This is an exceptional case in the history of the company and I would like you to see it as the manifestation of the Fujitsu Group’s determination for change for the future. Taking responsibility for both R&D and business, I intend to commit myself to management that ensures a sustained connection between the results of future-looking R&D and business.

In its long history, Fujitsu has changed its business strategies and portfolios in response to market changes, starting with communications equipment and expanding to computers, software and services. Today, as digital transformation is accelerating, the priorities of the R&D and the allocation of resources must be carefully decided according to changes, and the important thing is the speed of making decisions.

I myself have long been engaged in the development of customer systems in the manufacturing and distribution industries as a systems engineer and take pride in my excellent familiarity with customers in those industries in Japan. Subsequently, I have led various other divisions including overseas regions, which has provided me with a consistent and long background of facing customers from the perspective of “services business”. By making use of this perspective, in cooperation with business units I intend to facilitate speedy development of superior technologies that contribute to the businesses of the entire Fujitsu Group.

New R&D management for growth as a service-oriented company

Could you tell me specifically about the new management policy?

After I took office as CEO, I reorganized domestic laboratories into two major divisions, which are functional laboratories and special projects. The former pursues development of cutting-edge technologies from a medium- to long-term perspective and the latter works on integrating individual technologies into various "Technology suites" for promoting their commercialization.

Functional laboratories work on R&D on cutting-edge technologies while building up various hypotheses about technical approaches to resolving difficult issues faced by customers. By expanding technological frontiers, we hope to achieve solutions to problems that have not yet been solved or have been given up solving in the past. This leads to expanded coverage of Fujitsu’s services business. We have a reservoir of front-line researchers in wide-ranging fields including computer architecture, software algorithms and networks. Seeing the company from the position of CEO has impressed me afresh with the high technical capabilities and researchers’ pride in technology.

The role of special projects is to combine cutting-edge technologies developed at Fujitsu Labs and relevant technologies to build common technology suites that constitute the “core” of the Fujitsu Group business. This will enable us to deliver our advanced digital technologies to customers, who draw up new growth scenarios to promote digital transformation, through our sales representatives and systems engineers. Up to now, Fujitsu Laboratories has used the phrase “technology value chain” to refer to covering and correlating a wide range of technology areas, including materials, devices, computers, networks, software and solutions, to apply them to business. However, from now on we will pursue promotion of differentiation and expansion of the coverage of the services business of Fujitsu, which is aiming to be a “service-oriented company” by developing trailblazing technologies to resolve the issues faced by our customers before anyone else and reorganizing them into suites, or forms widely applicable to a variety of services provided by Fujitsu. We are committed to realizing a business value chain to utilize technologies for business through cooperation between these two major divisions and connecting them with business.

Contributing to development of society by achieving new “trust” and “Co-creation” in the digital era

What kind of ideas will be important for technology development in the future?

We, at Fujitsu, currently focus on providing “trust” to customers.

In 1976, Fujitsu announced the slogan “Reliability and Creativity” and has pursued reliability and creativity ever since, by offering high-quality products and services to customers. At present, the role of ICT is not limited to improving operational efficiency of customers but spreading into various areas including digital transformation, which is the movement to make use of digital technologies for customer business expansion and generate innovations for new business development.

Meanwhile, in the digital era, there are unlimited interconnections between companies, individuals, business activities, systems and data, and there are a huge number of distributed factors that require trustworthiness such as quality, integrity and transparency, which makes it extremely difficult to control everything. For example, achieving corporate compliance (observance of the laws and regulations) and sound business transactions between companies requires the “reliability” in ICT services and products concerning their functions or robustness, and at the same time, it requires “confidence” in the correctness of information and its proper handling. In the field of AI, which is recently attracting a lot of attention, there are many technological issues that must be overcome, such as a technology that explains the reasons and evidence of AI judgment, a technology for managing the history of data to prove the authenticity of learning data and a technology for preventing and detecting alterations to AI algorithms from outside. These issues must be resolved before people can use AI reliably. While what I have mentioned here are just observations of one aspect, in the digital era, the definition of “trust” itself must be revised to match the era.

Meanwhile, “creativity” is also undergoing a significant paradigm shift. This is because, in a society where all things are connected, many of the new values are born out of co-creation by various stakeholders. We ourselves intend to go beyond the conventional relationship with customers as a supplier of ICT products and services, for strengthening and expanding business through co-creation with customers based on our strong technologies for growing together with them. We also think that our major mission is to develop digital technologies to accelerate co-creation and build a platform for co-creation and support the growth and prosperity for people, companies and society.

My favorite motto is: “Careful deliberation followed by resolute action.” As a result of detecting changes and signs in society and industry and identifying what we should do under the circumstances, Fujitsu Laboratories has redefined the slogan “Reliability and Creativity,” which has been used by Fujitsu since 1976, as “Digital Trust and Co-creation.” To meet this major challenge, we are determined to further promote R&D.

I would like to conclude by saying that, to meet this challenge of ours, we need to always maintain a broad perspective and have an open mind for resolving issues. To take a view of the world, technological innovation is progressing rapidly and what we can achieve by ourselves represents just a fraction. It is also essential to have the capability for judging and identifying excellent technologies to positively make use of external resources. In addition, researchers are required to make efforts including visiting customers to apply customer requirements and issues found there to subsequent research. To that end, I am considering dynamic fluidization of human resources including the business units. Given this perspective, moving ahead openly with a plan for achieving Digital Trust and Co-creation is close to my idea and, in the end, “Digital Trust and Co-creation and Open” may suit the philosophy I have in mind.

I intend to continue taking on challenges together with the researchers for the sustainable growth of Fujitsu and for the development of society and industry.

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