All systems go

With the ink dry on the cheque Fujitsu handed to Siemens, the Japanese-German company has hit the ground running. Nathan Statz met Jens-Peter Seick, SVP of the x86 product division to discuss the implications of the deal

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All systems go SEICK: I am very confident that we will make the 7% global market share by 2010 and 10% by 2012 targets.
By  Nathan Statz Published  June 13, 2009 Arabian Computer News Logo

Fujitsu-Siemens has been brought back into the Fujitsu fold after the finalisation of the US $611 million buyout of Siemen's stake in the joint-venture. Announced last year, the transition is now complete and Fujitsu is not wasting any time in kicking off a new marketing campaign to promote the new conglomerate which it calls a ‘global' company.

What difference does the addition of the Fujitsu-Siemens business make to your operations?
The integration of Fujitsu has made a lot of difference, first of all we are now global - of course we are still the European sales arm of the Fujitsu group here in central Europe and [throughout] Europe, the Middle East and Africa. But in addition to that we are now acting global and thinking global. Thinking global means we have integrated the product definitions through a global scale. Since the first of April the Japanese engineering department is reporting to me, I'm really honing all x86 resources, independent of whether they are in Japan or here in Germany.

With Fujitsu's current 4% global server market share, how confident are you of reaching your target of 7% share by 2010 and 10% by 2012?
This is exactly the direction we are going, so I'm very confident that we will make this and there are several proof points behind it. One is products and flagships that we need to really demonstrate and prove our strategy and dynamic infrastructure. The strategy itself and the products designed along with the strategy is one of the elements. The second element is the new integrated Fujitsu, with all of our global capabilities; this is the first global product launch that we are doing and you will see more in the future.

We have the global storage launch in four weeks and maybe this was not recognised as much, but also the release of the software - the resource coordinator which you may have heard - is the first global launch of this piece of software, which has existed for many years in Japan but which was a little bit of an uncovered secret which we have now brought to the global world.

What impact does Oracle's take-over of Sun have on your server business, especially with your SPARC-based servers?
We do have a very strong relationship with Sun on the technology side with part of the SPARC portfolio provided by Fujitsu for Sun.

Generally speaking, I have to say that we really have to wait and see what the intent of Oracle is, it's too early to say which direction this is going in and we are waiting to really understand the full picture and then we will make our conclusions out of those findings.

What about IBM who have doubled their rebates for organisations who are switching from SPARC-based servers to IBM?
Several people are doing such things - these competitive migration programmes - we also have such programmes, this is marketing, this is not a strategic approach.

In that case we are of course competing against each other on the sales side and in front of the customers. On the other side, when you look into technology, there is a need for cooperation and that is what we are doing. We are cooperating with IBM on the integration of storage, on the integration of their server management software so there is a lot of technical cooperation on that level even though we are competing on the server side.

Are you looking to increase your market share in the GCC?
Yes of course - this is one of our growth areas, the Middle East is one of the most successful regions in terms of growth that we had in Fujitsu-Siemens in the last 10 years here in EMEA. We will now, within Fujitsu, continue this growth; I still strongly believe that a Japanese-German vendor does have a much better position to provide technology for [the Middle East] than American vendors do. We did have this belief in the past; now with an even stronger corporation we will continue this way.

The Middle East is very certainly one of our important growth areas, one of the examples which demonstrate this is that we have recently increased our geographical scope. Fujitsu Technology Solutions is now responsible for serving the Indian market as well. We have acquired the Fujitsu India Limited organisation two weeks ago and they're integrated into our sales organisation in the Middle East.

You claim you're not worried about the current economic climate - does this apply globally?
Yes, absolutely, so even in America or even like countries like here in the UK where the economic climate is very bad, you have to see here in UK we have 20,000 employees at Fujitsu, and frankly speaking when I look into the past we have not used the power of Fujitsu to the extent as we deserve too.

Now with the integration of Fujitsu services as the consulting and services division and us as a platform of Fujitsu Technology Solutions this combination is extremely strong and we are really making sure that one element is supporting the other and we are pushing the business forward in both directions.

Have there been any growing pains as you create this new entity?
It's just a legal transition, in that sense; in terms of strategy integration we can really say we are 100% Fujitsu. Fujitsu Technology Solutions is the name of a legal entity here in Europe, but in general we are really Fujitsu and that is important.

Your biggest market in terms of sever-market share in a local region is Japan - are you looking to leverage your experience there with other markets like the Middle East?
Yes, when you look into Europe we even have a bigger market share in Germany than we have in Japan.

When you look into the top four countries in the world, you will see that beside Japan, all the three others are in Europe and the Middle East which is belonging to our Central Europe sales organisation.

With the Middle East operations are you operating through the European or Dubai office?
Middle East and Africa is one of five sales regions of the Central European sales organisation. Central is one big environment and then the sales regions - we call clusters - so the cluster is called MEA and its operated out of South Africa.

This just means that the sales manager lives in South Africa, so if the next one is living in Dubai then it would be [operated out of] Dubai.

From a research and development point of view, you were saying you now control the x86 resources that are in Japan so does that mean going forward it will all be in Japan?
In fact, in terms of resources we have two thirds in Germany - or should I say German-controlled. Some of the software development is east-shored, so it's in Russia, but its one third in Japan and what we have already done is define and analyse what are the core competencies from each area, so it is quite clear what kind of advantages the Japanese organisation has and what the technologies are that the German organisation will follow up. This is exactly how we would like to work, or how we will work in the future, we will strengthen the core competencies and bring this together.

We will avoid organisational overlaps and increase efficiency in the core competency and then develop infrastructure partly in Japan and partly in Germany.

Has the economic crisis affected your R&D budget allocation?
Not really. When I look into the real development activities in the research and development budget of course I have some efficiency gains in eliminating overlaps. For those things I have cut the costs, but this doesn't impact the research and development capabilities that I have, so in total the joining of the organisations has now brought me into the situation where I will have much more research and development resources available then I have projects at the moment.

In fact it is really a good situation to be in. In this case I now have some freedom to put resources on development programmes that I wouldn't previously have had the chance to manage and to finance. Now I have the resources and with the efficiency gains that we have I have been able in the last to strengthen our research and development position in this area.

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