Japanese computer giant Fujits

Japanese computer giant Fujitsu plots a roadmap to navigate the transition to cloud computing.

Fujitsu is the world’s third-largest information technology services company, after IBM and Hewlett Packard. It offers a range of products and services in the areas of computing, telecommunications and micro electronics. In 2010, it launched a new cloud computing business to take advantage of the transition from the traditional model of in-house business computing. David Gentle, Director of Foresight at Fujitsu’s Cloud and Strategic Service Offerings business, describes the transition as a disruptive innovation: ‘It’s a bit like a salmon that is swimming upstream and then has to make a leap to get to the next smooth stretch of water.’ Cloud computing relies on the internet to deliver computer services from external suppliers direct to users. Dropbox and Apple’s iCloud are consumer cloud services. For business, the cloud comes in three main forms: ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS), such as Microsoft Office via the internet; ‘Infrastructure as a Service’ (IaaS), such as Amazon’s EC2 virtual computer capacity; and ‘Platform as a Service’ (PaaS), which provides a computing platform with operating system, web server and database, such as Google’s App Engine. Fujitsu describes the transition from the traditional model to the Cloud Computing Era in a technology ‘roadmap’ titled ‘The Cloud Paradigm Shift’. The roadmap describes the traditional client–server model, where the computing power is supplied by in-house servers, as offering a trajectory of steadily improving technology efficiency. This culminates in the so-called Private Cloud, cloud services provided by the business itself. The shift to the ‘Public Cloud’ (with full adoption of SaaS, IaaS and PaaS) brings a leap in value. By tapping into the shared resources of external suppliers, a business gains access to huge economies of scale and the innovations possible by specialist suppliers. The new trajectory increases value by improving business efficiency.

The shift is disruptive, though. Purchasers in IT functions will no longer need such large investments in physical servers and staff. As traditional server products and related services decline, Fujitsu is transitioning its business to meet the demands of the new market. David Gentle explains the function of the roadmap in this context: ‘This roadmap is the first slide in any conversation with customers, partners and staff internally. It shows the future, as well as anchoring on the past. It helps get everyone on the same page.’


1 Why might some groups be apprehensive about the Cloud Computing Era?

2 What are the advantages of a visual roadmap of this kind? What are the limitations to this visual approach?

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