Work style innovation using new ICT is currently attracting attention. Reassessing work styles to match the nature of the work has created innovation, achieving increased productivity, better customer communication, and generation of business opportunities. How will work style innovation strategies be implemented to strengthen global corporate competitiveness? To find the answer, a conversation was held between Takuya Hirano, President of Microsoft Japan, and Tatsuya Tanaka, President of Fujitsu Ltd.
―Work style innovation is spreading across the developed countries. What's driving it?
Hirano: Business increases in complexity as it expands and develops. While companies can outsource simple operations, they must deal with complicated tasks in-house, requiring cross-department collaboration involving many employees. To deal with such situations, companies need to increase corporate capabilities and bring out the potential in individual employees. As a result, the need for work style innovation has increased. I strongly believe that supporting such work style innovation is the task for the leaders of companies.
―Tell us about Fujitsu's current work style innovation.
Tanaka: The Fujitsu group has 160,000 employees worldwide. Their collaboration regardless of boundaries, organizations, and time is essential for us to lead the fiercely competitive global market. Such global collaboration requires a communication environment to connect everyone smoothly. We therefore launched full-scale work style innovation in 2010 to create an easy-to-work environment for our employees. Our innovation included the development of a work environment inside and outside the company and a telework program for those who need to care for their family or raise children at home. We chose Microsoft Office 365 as our global communication infrastructure.
Through this innovation, we integrated e-mail, scheduling, and video conference tools, introduced an in-house social networking service to share knowledge, and created a means to share in-house videos. By 2014, we completed the installation of this communication infrastructure to provide these features to all Fujitsu employees around the world.
―I heard that Fujitsu will provide solutions to customers using its experience of successful work style innovation. What are the specific plans?
Tanaka: Our goal is to use the experience of creating our own communication environment to support our customers in quickly establishing their own system. More specifically, we will provide a new Microsoft Office 365-based service incorporating our own achievements to generate a 50 billion yen business in the Japanese and global markets in FY2018. We will work with our customers and partner companies to strengthen and expand our services.
―Last question: What is the secret of successful work style innovation?
Hirano:Active involvement from management is absolutely necessary. Work style innovation is a mid- and long-term management project. Differing from common innovation, achieving the target does not mean the end of work style innovation. Also, introduction of the latest ICT tools has no benefit unless employees change how they work. Therefore, work style innovation is successful only with strong management leadership with the intention to "change how we work."
Tanaka:We learned through our own work style innovation that creating a vision the whole company can agree on is crucial. Based on our insight, we opened the FUJITSU Digital Transformation Center in Minato-ku, Tokyo, as a place for us to help our customers create a vision of innovation. At the FUJITSU Digital Transformation Center, we first invite our customers to experience our work style innovation as a reference. Then, specialized staff members ask customers about their issues and tasks to help create a vision for their own innovation.
* This article is an excerpt from Nikkei Business Online. For the complete interview, click here.