Fujitsu targets strategic acquisitions as New Zealand business advances

Fujitsu targets strategic acquisitions as New Zealand business advances

Graeme Beardsell: "I feel like I'm in a bit of a hurry to catch up after being away for 20 years."

Graeme Beardsell (Fujitsu A/NZ)

Graeme Beardsell (Fujitsu A/NZ)

Credit: Fujitsu A/NZ

Fujitsu A/NZ chief executive Graeme Beardsell is on the hunt for more acquisitions to make use of a cash "war-chest" accumulated in the region.

Beardsell said when he took leadership of Fujitsu A/NZ last year, after 20 years operating across Asia in various roles, he saw that the acquisitions market was very vibrant and Fujitsu's competitors were already dipping their toes in.

"We hadn't done an acquisition in the region in 11 years and I thought 'shame on us,'" he told Reseller News.

Back in 2009, Fujitsu bought KAZ Group from Telstra for A$200 million as well as the SAP practice of Sydney-based Supply Chain Consulting for A$48 million.

Beardsell said it was important to recognise both where Fujitsu A/NZ had service gaps and that it was possible to buy rather than build. 

One such area could be with Salesforce, where a New Zealand partner acquisition could provide "real uplift", he said.

Other areas of opportunity lay in the broader transformation consulting space, where Fujitsu would redouble its efforts, and in cyber security.

Beardsell does have one buyout already under his belt, Melbourne based big data and analytics company Versor, which it bagged in April.

Six months in, Versor was delivering ahead of expectations, Beardsell said. Its first win under Fujitsu's ownership would likely be in New Zealand.

While Fujitsu had a pedigree in data, Versor brought knowledge and expertise of modern platforms such as Splunk, Hadoop and Boomi. It was also, like Fujitsu, a strong and trusted Microsoft partner.

Beardsell said he was happy with results achieved in New Zealand in the year to 31 March, which were slightly better than on the "other side of the pond", albeit in what was far from a normal year.

Fujitsu New Zealand reported revenue of $161.3 million in the year to 31 March, up from $156 million in 2020, while net profit increased from $3 million to $4.1 million.

Expenses increased too, however, from $151.5 million to $156 million, driven by cost of goods sold which lifted from $69 million to $78.3 million.

Employee and contractor costs declined from $66 million to $59 million.

"A lot of the big ticket items in the $161 million we did in New Zealand were around our existing customer base," Beardsell said. 

"There was a big 'gotcha' moment for a lot of businesses and government departments when the pandemic forced everyone to work from home unexpectedly and a lot of companies were caught short."

The result was a lot of investment in what Beardsell described as "work/life digital shifts". These drove a lot of market activity and the race to digital transformation.

That was pleasing because Fujitsu had been repositioning itself as a transformation player rather than "bog standard" managed services player.

"We were able to take advantage of the ability to transform and help our customers to transform.

Demand also surged as customers in the New Zealand public sector especially sought to do a better job of servicing customers digitally.

A significant downside, however, was increased cost pressure for staff, as closed borders ignited a war for talent, and on goods as well due to disrupted global supply chains and chip shortages.

Fujitsu A/NZ relied heavily on partners. It's Microsoft relationship was key, Beardsell said, and producing good customer wins from joint market activity.

In security, especially, Fujitsu globally was doubling down on Microsoft Sentinel, its cloud-based security information and event management (SIEM) platform.

Fujitsu A/NZ was already both a large user of ServiceNow as well as a partner, he said. However, while it was seeing some success with Salesforce in New Zealand, that relationship could be invested in and developed further.

Other potential partnership candidates included Akamai, Imperva and cloud edge platform Fastly.

One big change already implemented was the shift from a state-based to an industry based go to market model in Australia with an overlay of that in New Zealand.

Customers saw Fujitsu as a trusted brand and a long-term relationship but wanted to see more in transformation and to hear it  talking in industry language.

Fujitsu A/NZ, therefore, identified five industries where it felt it had had IP to deliver, and unique capabilities: public sector, defence, public safety, healthcare and retail. 

Beardsell described this as an "industry model for the21st century" that would see Fujitsu going where the money was going, and not where it has been.

Industry heads in Australia had a target to deliver industry value in New Zealand as well, he said. 

It was a model that excited New Zealand country manager Mika Joronen, he said, maintaining the end to end NZ model which "wasn't broken" but turbocharging it for the targeted industries.

Finally, Beardsell has been looking at addressing inequities, improving inclusion and finding purpose at Fujitsu A/NZ. 

The gender pay gap had been analysed and, while it wasn't huge at about four per cent, had been fixed.

A new head of purpose, covering society, wellbeing, diversity and indigenous affairs, had been appointed reporting directly to the CEO.

Fujitsu this week launched its first Māori and Pacific peoples inclusion plan. a strategy it said includes detailed actions that support the creation of sustainable opportunities for Māori and Pacific people over the next five years.

As part of the plan, launched to coincide with Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori - Māori Language Week, Fujitsu will develop specialist career pathways for Māori and Pacific young people in the technology sector.

"I feel like I'm in a bit of a hurry to catch up after being away for 20 years," Beardsell said.

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Tags salesforceServiceNowcyber securitytransformationMicrosoft SentinelFujitsu. Microsoft



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