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Digital transformation may be inevitable, but it is not to be feared, says Fujitsu’s senior executive vice-president for Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (Emeia) and Americas, Duncan Tait.
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Labelling digital disruption “unstoppable”, Tait emphasised the importance of agility and collaboration in ensuring firms can adopt new technologies while staying relevant during times of industry change.
“Everywhere you go today you hear the term digital disruption, and for many of us it makes us feel anxious and fearful. This revolution is changing the way we work, sell, collaborate and even the way we think,” said Tait.
When talking about digital transformation for Fujitsu’s customers, Tait said 75% of Fujitsu’s customers saw digital transformation as beneficial for business, but that consumers are the drivers behind the direction digital transformation is taking businesses.
Technology has enabled customers to becoming increasingly omni-channel, causing a breakdown of the barriers between the online and the physical, as well as between different industries.
Tait said working in partnership with other companies is the best way to properly serve customer demands and keep on track with an increasingly transformational digital landscape.
“In an age of digital transformation winning is all about relationships and ideas, win-win solutions are only possible when you bring together previous unconnected expertise,” he said.
“Competition is intensifying and diversifying, speed is essential and co-creation is key to the process, as is investment in technology.”
Utilising partnerships for digital transformation
All industries will be unrecognisable to their current form as technology and digital transforms industries and connects them together over the next few years, and Tait said speed and partnerships are the way to the top in this environment.
“In this new world, only the boldest organisations will prosper, new areas of competition are opening up here and fast movers are gaining the advantage,” he said.
“Finding the right tech partner is crucial, but only 7% of those surveyed believe their company is leading in their industry,” he added.
According to Fujistu’s customer research, half of its customer firms help they would feel more confident if they found the right technology partner.
Fujitsu has focused on the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), cloud and security as, according to Tait, these are the technologies are the core of many company’s digital transformation strategies.
“In this hyper connected world, you need to learn to act quickly and scale rapidly to stay ahead, and this is different in every organisation because they each have their own challenges. The greatest skill needed in this digital world is the ability to innovate and change fast,” said Tait.
Embracing digital transformation
To demonstrate the importance of embracing digital transformation, logistics firm DHL – one of Fujiitu’s partners – explained how it has used technologies, such as robotics, augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI), to make its warehouses more efficient.
Markus Voss, DHL's global CIO, was accompanied on stage by one of DHL’s Effibots. This is a robotic trolley used in warehouses to reduce the physical strain of workers selecting packages from shelves, as well as reduce the trips workers make to take packages from shelves to packing and posting stations.
Voss also described the use of augmented reality glasses warehouse workers wear to direct them around warehouses and allow them to scan and properly load packages onto trolleys – a technology Voss said has made employing extra workers through busy periods easier.
An AI robot called Sawyer is also in trial to be used for repetitive stacking tasks, and the firm uses many drones to deliver to areas where weather may interfere with traditional methods.
“What used to be impossible one-and-a-half years ago is almost on our doorsteps. We have the brains, we have the speed and we have the burning need for innovation.”
The logistics industry can be dated as far back as the ancient Egyptian times, and Voss described how in the current day the industry has been adapted by the attitude of the younger millennial customer.
“The expectation of everyone is that every shop and delivery is 24/7 – consumers are hyper connected, they want options and they will choose from any of those options,” said Voss.
“Companies must evolve to the changing needs of the customers, as well as the products that are available to us.”
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