Fujitsu’s Focus and Vision for Meeting the Challenges of the Rapidly Changing World of Advanced Technology – Futurum Tech Webcast Interview Series
In this episode of the Futurum Tech Webcast Interview Series, I am joined by Yoshinami Takahashi, Executive Vice President, Head of Software & Solution Business Group for Fujitsu. Our conversation explores various aspects of Fujitsu’s role in the open source ecosystem, a look at FUJITSU Enterprise Postgres, as well as how the company’s key focus areas guide how they leverage exponentially large amounts of data across advanced computing and automation applications and platforms.
Fujitsu’s Focus and Vision for Meeting the Challenges of the Rapidly Changing World of Advanced Technology
Our conversation also covered the following:
- How Fujitsu’s seven key focus areas for growth meet the demands of an everchanging world
- A look into the future and how Fujitsu sees the activation and utilization of data will impact machine learning
- Whether different industries will have different trends
- The essential features of any cloud journey
- The strategic value of Fujitsu in the Open-Source Ecosystem specifically as it relates to FUJITSU Enterprise Postgres
- A short overview of Fujitsu UVANCE (as seen below) including key technologies and areas
It you are interested in learning more about what Fujitsu is doing in this space, be sure to check out their website. My colleague Ron Westfall, also wrote two great articles that offer more insight into different parts of FUJITSU Enterprise Postgres. You can find them both linked below.
FUJITSU Enterprise Postgres Ready to Power ISV Fulfillment of Container-driven Software Modernization Journey
FUJITSU Enterprise Postgres Provides the Security and Containerization Keys to Hybrid Cloud Success
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Daniel Newman: Hi, everybody. Welcome back to another edition of the Futurum Tech Webcast. I’m your host, Daniel Newman, principal analyst, founding partner at Futurum research. Excited about this Futurum Tech Webcast Interview Series, where I have Yoshi Takahashi from Fujitsu. He’s going to be joining me. We’re going to be talking about a lot of things across the technology, software, open source, hybrid cloud, and all kinds of different things, and learn a lot more about Fujitsu, a company that’s well known around the planet, but certainly doing a lot of interesting things that maybe everybody out there does or does not know about, but excited to have y’all here. So, without further ado, I’m going to have Yoshi join me. Yoshi, hello and welcome to the show.
Yoshi Takahashi: Hi Daniel. Thank you very much for the introduction. Just allow me to introduce myself. I belong to the digital software and solution BG within Fujitsu. At this moment, I’m responsible for a supercomputer, AI, the quantum computing, a digital shift, all the advanced technology between Fujitsu. So, very excited to be here.
Daniel Newman: Yeah, that’s a lot of things that I think about every day, super computing, quantum, software, hybrid, all these different things going on. And it’s all really because our world is our story. Our world story is being told through data, and the rapid proliferation of data creates all kinds of new complexities and opportunities. And I’m sure, in your world, Yoshi, that’s driving a lot of what your business is focused on.
So, for everybody out there that’s tuning into the show, I love these kinds of interviews. Just want to say strap in. We’re going to start big. We’re going to think about some big, wide topics. We’re going to learn a little bit more about what Fujitsu’s focusing on, but we’re also going to talk about a broad data story and what’s going on, as I just mentioned. And then, as you get through this and get towards the end of the story, we’re going to talk a little bit more about Fujitsu specifically, and Yoshi here is going to be your tutor. He’s going to tell you everything you need to know, and it’s going to be, I promise you, super interesting.
So, I guess I’m going to start with a really broad question for you, Yoshi. I want to talk a little bit about what you guys talk about as your seven key focus areas for growth. We’re in a world that’s rapidly changing. I’ve already think I’ve set the stage. Tech is an integral part, but from your standpoint from Fujitsu, how does your company’s vision and focus basically meeting the challenges in this changing world and with all the data and all this implications of automation, machine learning and more, what are you guys focusing in on?
Yoshi Takahashi: Yeah, actually I think the world is undergoing a lot of changes right now. With COVID-19, there’s a lot of necessity of the remote automation, the usage of technology, AI. So, I think we’re in a very unique moment in the world where we have to change rapidly. Especially within Fujitsu, we have defined seven key focus areas that associates to how do we tackle the sustainable manufacturing? How do we best give experience to the consumer, the trusted society and healthy living? These, we talk about the four vertical areas, and of course the digital shift, the data. How do we manage data across all these verticals? That becomes very important.
So, imagine a supply chain. Within this kind of COVID-19, there’s a lot of glitches around supply chain. Using automation, like quantum computing, how do we best bring the efficiency in the supply chain? Including, again, the demand forecast? Using AI, how can we increase the efficiency of supply chain, so that we can bring CO2 emission free. That’s one area.
Another area is in the healthy living, Daniel. With the COVID-19, you know that drug discovery usually takes 15 years and the cost per drug, medicine is about $2 billion, average. Imagine if you can squeeze the time to market to half using computing technology. Imagine the cost and what does the people benefit from the faster drug discovery of COVID-19? So, those are the challenges that we are trying to do within Fujitsu. And obviously, the key, essential part of Fujitsu is resolving these social issues using technology. That’s about Fujitsu’s [inaudible]
Daniel Newman: Yeah. And you mentioned pretty quickly there across the seven different focus areas, and you also started alluding a little bit towards the future. By the way, for anybody that’s been enduring the last couple of years, and I think enduring is probably the right word. COVID-19, I think a lot of us thought maybe it would be a week, maybe it would be a month. And now we are here, two years later, and we still don’t have any certainty.
But one of the things I can certainly tell you as an industry analyst working with many of the world’s most exciting innovators, was that technology has actually been a key in helping us to get to more rapid solutions, looking at drug compounds. You mentioned the power of high performance computing and supercomputers. You mentioned quantum computing, the ability that this is going to help us solve problems, everything from improving the way humans migrate and mobility to being able to expedite the time to discover possible drug compounds that could help us deal in the future with something like this.
We’re in a world, Yoshi, of immediate gratification. And so, of course, in our world, we wanted someone to put some data into a supercomputer and spit out the other end a new drug that we could have had manufactured and at our doorstep. But to be candid, the development of vaccines and the development of antivirals has actually been done in breakneck time. And it’s been a very impressive outcome. So yeah, I’d love for you to elude a little bit more, talk a little bit more, pine a little bit more about that. You guys have what’s kind of like the world in 2030, as you like to talk about it. So, you referenced a few things. What do you think the next 10 years, with all this data, with all the utilization, the activation, and of course all the hardware that’s being built on. What should we fact?
Yoshi Takahashi: Yeah, Daniel, I think it’s more of like all the enterprise institutions or like maybe the public sector, the data will become like a core of everything. That means, let’s say, in the past 5-10 years ago, I think the world was more into a lift and shift. For the total cost optimization, the people were gathering the data into cloud. And I think that was the search for the operational efficiency, but more and more, it’s not about just a simple lift and shift, but it’s about leveraging the data for the advanced computing to derive output.
So, I think it comes to the point where data needs to be combined. How do we leverage the open source data in a very secure format to make sure that the enterprise or institutions are able to deliver result. And one important point is about more and more institution or enterprise customers, they have to leverage data to bring themselves into a more dynamic, data driven organization. I think that’s very important.
Daniel Newman: Yeah. I like that you brought that security word up, too, because I think that’s one of the things that we’re also learning as data continues to proliferate and become more and more exponential in all of our lives, is that it’s the responsibility of these enterprises that are the stewards of all of our data, whether that’s social media and tools that we all use as consumers or apps that we use to shop. And then, of course, the enterprise data that we mentioned that are used to make very important world decisions, whether that’s security, economic data, market data, defense related and healthcare data.
There’s a lot of this very, very sensitive data. So, we’re creating it every day and it’s scaling. And of course we’re creating silicon that can do more and more powerful things. And we’re building quantum computers that can pair up with classical computers and do things that neither can do on their own. And we’re seeing of encouraging advancements there, but at the same time, we’re also seeing people become more aware and concerned about their privacy. How does this data utilization affect them? How are we making the world a better place and protecting people and protecting information because that’s a really big thing.
And that’s something companies like yours, we’re looking to be the difference makers, to be the companies that are bringing the next answers to these types of solutions. And speaking of that, I kind of mentioned a handful of different industries. I talked about healthcare, defense, financial services. We talked about media. You guys are in these themes, you have what you’re called four vertical themes. So, within your seven key focus areas, you’ve got vertical themes that are contextually tied to these big trends in global transformation, digital transformation. Talk a little bit about how you see these different trends impacted by different industrial applications?
Yoshi Takahashi: That’s a great question. I hope I can answer that well. Well, for instance, like a trusted society. I think one of the key areas within that trusted society is about a natural disaster. How do we best predict this kind of a disaster with all the datas associated? So, either it could be flood or a earthquake. Utilizing data will bring people to predict in a better manner. So, that’s one area.
The second point is about a power grid. How do we make it more efficient in transforming the electricity across all the cities? So I think, in these type of examples, more and more people are utilizing data to predict what’s going to happen, or derive efficiency. And I think that does help a lot of STG issues across the point. One point about Fujitsu is that we have been working on this open source community as a founder of Linux foundation. So, we believe this open source, a secure open source, is very important for this kind of a data aggregation and data usage. So, that’s one area. How do we best leverage the relational database to deliver results? That’s one area that we are working very closely.
Daniel Newman: So, let me get a little more granular, Yoshi. I want to talk about cloud, because that’s a massive macro trend. And some of the things we’re talking about, high performance compute, we’re talking about quantum. These are big things and a small fraction of very, very sophisticated enterprises are adopting these. Cloud, though, is a macro trend. It is every company on the planet is looking at cloud and the cloud journeys for every business is somewhat unique. You’ve got public cloud, you’ve got private cloud, you’ve got hybrid cloud.
Of course, we’re seeing about a third, maybe a quarter or so, of workloads are now fully in the public cloud. Most companies have a very diverse mix, with a large majority still on prem. Meaning the advent of the hybrid cloud is really everything. And most companies are thinking about this every single day. And so we’ve got this increasing adoption of hybrid cloud. The public cloud providers are going after it, the software companies are going after it, the on-prem and OEMs are all going. Everybody’s got a solution for it. You guys, thinking open source, really play well. You can play in any space because your technology goes wherever. It’s got great mobility, I’ll say. But what do you guys think about when you think about the ideal or the essential cloud journey? What are the important features and considerations?
Yoshi Takahashi: Yeah. When we talk about the hybrid IT design, I think more and more enterprises more concerned about how do they maintain the security in the modernization. And another area is making sure that utilization of container, so security and utilization of container. It’s not a simple lift and shift, but it’s about more of keeping security. And once the data is in the open source, making sure that it’s in the concept of designing once and deploying anywhere. And also, another key factor is about software anywhere. Being able to utilize data, utilize different application software, to quickly get output from variety of datas. I think that’s very important for the open source. And again, talking about the open source, it’s about collaborative innovation. How do we work with different enterprise customers, making sure that our open source community is leveraged and we work together for the new technology. I think that’s very important for the open source.
Daniel Newman: So, let’s get a little more in depth about Fujitsu and your role in the open source ecosystem. Talk to me a little bit about the strategic value add that you guys have at Fujitsu with enterprise Postgres.
Yoshi Takahashi: So Fujitsu’s enterprise Postgres is basically four elements, that we say it’s a differentiator against a proprietary database. So, one, it’s about security, two, it’s about availability, and three performance. And again, four point is portability and automation. So, one factor about security is the fact that many of the governmental institution, not only US government, but also environmental agency in like London or UK, and also like a financial institution in Japan, they view this Fujitsu enterprise Postgres as one of the very secured tool for the modernization.
Again, it’s because it’s does include data encryption, log encryption and internal communication channel encryption. So, these are the very important elements in terms of security. Then, I will just carry on, but talking about availability, second point. I think one of the key factors about the fear of data loss, making sure that there’s no data loss within this process of modernization. That’s why we have built a framework that we give a automated failover and recovery process within the FAP. So, that’s the second point talking about availability and resilience.
And another third point is about the performance. We talked this about being able to manage the complex queries, and within this in-memory kilometer index, we do ensure queries are being processed very quickly. The fourth point, it’s about the portability and automation. We do provide the multi-architecture platform that accommodates MD-64 and S390X. So, these type of things are very important. One of the very important point is that we are providing enterprise framework, which again, the data is managed in a very secured manner, making sure that this open source is managed in a very adequate manner within this framework. Does that answer your question, Daniel?
Daniel Newman: Yeah, I think you covered it pretty thoroughly. It’s interesting. Your differentiators on the software side look a lot like, I know you’re partnered very closely with IBMZ, and some of their focuses on the differentiation on the hardware side about availability and of course performance, security. And by the way, software and hardware have to work. They have to be very, very tightly connected in order to give companies what they need, being able to build open source, take advantage of partner ecosystems, the hardware community. And of course, you guys have worked very close and that’s something you’ve been very outspoken about.
I think it might be worthwhile, though, too, just for everyone out there. This isn’t new, what you’re doing for open source and the open source community. You’ve been in the database business for almost three decades. You’ve been contributing.
Yoshi Takahashi: 30 years.
Daniel Newman: 30 years?
Yoshi Takahashi: 30 years, yes.
Daniel Newman: Yes. So, just a little bit longer than you and I have been around, right? A couple of 20-somethings that we are.
Yoshi Takahashi: Right.
Daniel Newman: In all serious though, you’ve been contributing to the open source database for close to 20 years. So, this isn’t something that you’ve just recently gotten into. And I think this also speaks to the vision that you guys have as an organization, is that you’ve been seeing this onslaught of data, the proliferation, the exponential growth as something that’s needed to be solved well before any of us were thinking public cloud, long before any of us were thinking about cloud databases and ETL systems and Apache. I mean, you’re going back long before early day into this space. And you were building this because this is what was coming and you guys had that sort of foresight to see it.
Yoshi Takahashi: I think, again, we’ve been in this kind of open source industry for more than 20 years. And again, the key factor is the heart of Fujitsu is around computing. It’s about data. So, across all the organization, we think through how do we leverage this open source to ensure that the customers, or even the people utilizing the data, is able to derive more results using this data. So, it’s not about just, I talked about a TCO, it’s not about just cost optimization. It’s about making sure that the people are freely able to utilize the data in a rightful manner, so that they can achieve more.
Daniel Newman: Yeah. That’s kind of the name of the game. We’ve, I think, come to the conclusion societally that the data we need to solve a lot of challenges is there, but then everything from how that data is organized, the schema of the data, the availability, having the right set of software to make that data available. And then, of course, hardware. There’s a lot of solutions being built right now to deal with the fact that we need more data to be available, warm memory and hot memory versus cold storage, which is, again, it’s something that your software benefits from when all that data becomes instantly available.
And that’s where this world is heading to, because we want to be able to use all the data. When you got machine learning and AI, but you got data scientists trying to build the most sophisticated and capable algorithms to be able to utilize. Well, they’re able to utilize subsets of data. It’s not just new data. It could be old data. It could be specifically design data across many hardware architectures around the world. But how do you make that all available instantly with no latency?
Those are the kind of problems I hope that you are solving. So, let’s wrap up here. Let’s talk about what I think something I would definitely like to understand is there are many people in this space, you guys are not the only company and the only player, but you’ve been doing this for a long time. You’ve been very successful. Why are customers landing on Fujitsu to solve their particular needs for data in the open source community?
Yoshi Takahashi: Yeah. Thank you very much, Daniel. I think a few areas. I think it’s, again, comes back to the history of 20 years’ experience in this market. And another point is that we do have a support organization that, on a global scale, we provide all the support from engineering. So, that means another simple lift and shift also, but also we have framework to support the ontology of data. That means that many of the enterprise customers, the system or the data is fragmented within the organization. So, various tools we have to consolidate those data in into one, so that the customers can leverage the data as a single source of data. So, those type of experience, I think we do have a very good, not only knowledge, but a kind of trust from the customer. And that is the reason why we do have a mission critical within Japan, like a financial institution and all those public sector customers. They rely on Fujitsu to manage the database or to our side. So, I think that’s one of the key advantage.
And again, one of the fundamentals of open source that we do not want to. It’s an open source. So, that means the customer, they can churn out and still leverage the open source data in a different form if they want to utilize that. So, we have a system of providing the contract in the base of subscription then monthly or annual. So, I think for the customer, it’s easier to use and they can still utilize the data, even though they turn out. So, that’s another element. I think they rely on Fujitsu for that purpose.
Daniel Newman: Well, it sounds like there’s a lot of success and that certainly warrants a little bit of the ability to talk about some of these big wins, big customers. At the same time, I know it’s an ambitious company that wants to continue to win customers on all parts of the world. And, of course, having the chance to talk to you today gives me a lot of reason to believe that’s something that stands to happen in your future, Yoshi. I appreciate you taking the time running me through the business, the broader picture and vision of Fujitsu, as well as talking a bit more about your contributions to open source and the database community. Some of the differentiators of the company, then, of course, why your customers are adopting. So, Yoshi Takahashi, Fujitsu, thanks so much for joining me here on the Futurum Tech Webcast. We got to have you back. We got to talk more about how this is advancing in the next year.
Yoshi Takahashi: Thank you so much, Daniel. It was a pleasure talking to you. Thank you so much.
Daniel Newman: All right, everybody. There you have it. We had Yoshi Takahashi with Fujitsu. Great opportunity to learn a little bit more about both, A, Fujitsu, the company, and B, open source database and how Fujitsu is participating in that space. And what’s going on and the challenges that companies are facing. If you like what you heard here, hit that subscribe button. We’d love to have you back. And check out those show notes. We’ll make sure that there’s more, so you can learn more about what Yoshi had shared with me. And then of course, more overall on the show and all of the interviews that we do here. For this episode, though, it’s time to say goodbye. So, thank you very much for tuning in. See you later.
Daniel Newman is the Chief Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. Read Full Bio