A series of acquisitions in Australia and New Zealand are repositioning Fujitsu into segments offering better margins and opportunities.
In September, the global firm bought New Zealand cyber security company InPhySec, which already serviced organisations across A/NZ in industries Fujitsu is targeting including defence, the public sector, healthcare, retail, financial services and transport.
That buyout followed a trio in Australia, Versor, oobe, and Enable Professional Services, bolstering the company's credentials and capabilities in data analytics, cloud and security, and ServiceNow respectively.
Charged with making the most of those new opportunities in New Zealand is country manager Rob Purdy, now one year into his tenure after exiting Datacom.
InPhySec was a real asset, Purdy said. There had already been a lot of cross-pollination of capability and customers between the two organisations which were retaining their separate identities, at least for now.
Fujitsu's A/NZ strategy is to buy or augment its services in sectors where it may not have in the past, especially segment promising better margins, Purdy told Reseller News last month.
Margin pressure was evident in Fujitsu NZ's financial statements for the year to the end of March. While sales fell somewhat from $161.3 million to $156.4 million, pre-tax profit fell from $4.9 million to $3.5 million.
That was "almost wholly down to product" and strained supply chains, Purdy said. By "product", he referred to both hardware and licensing.
Margins in that segment were wafer thin on large deals while supply chains were both constrained and awash with potential competitive suppliers.
While service revenue was also pretty flat during a time of border closures that pushed people costs sharply up, long-term contracts provided some cheer.
In that context, the cyber security market offered better margins in services and even in product. InPhySec also had a different profile from many other players in that sector, and one aligned with Fujitsu's focus on defence and government.
"They were doing some specific work inside government that is quite challenging for other providers," Purdy said.
Before joining InPhySec, CEO Marc Barlow spent thirteen years with the New Zealand Police forensic service and a decade within the GCSB establishing and managing the cyber forensic investigation and incident response capabilities.
The plan now was to grow those information security services out of New Zealand, Purdy said. The Australian acquisitions offered similar differentiation and opportunities.
The Versor buy would add over 20 people in NZ by Christmas, working on data, AI and machine learning. The unit was doing good work with utilities around predictive maintenance, generation and monitoring, saving clients' money and improving safety.
It was also working in retail and fast food using technology to cut waste and errors, benefits that go straight to the customers' bottom line, Purdy said.
Enable, meanwhile, could deliver all facets of ServiceNow, developing workflows for true digitisation as well as addressing challenges in asset management, sustainability and transformation.
In September, Fujitsu also launched the first te reo Māori language translation pack on the platform, developed in collaboration with tech-centric translation company Straker Translations.
One of the challenges of any acquisition strategy is hanging on to key people. Purdy said the collective additions had strengthened Fujitsu's brand in local and regional markets and that, in turn, was helping a lot around recruitment and retention.
"Thankfully the government has opened up a bit and we have had some success with fast-track visas," Purdy said. "Customers are struggling as well on that."
In Australia, Fujitsu has been working with the Australian Defence Force, especially around creating a network enabled army, a journey the NZDF is also on. Fujitsu NZ was encouraging the NZDF to take a look at what it was doing in Australia.
Fujitsu also worked on cyber defence in Japan and Europe and to a lesser extent in the US. New Zealand inked a cyber defence pact with Japan earlier this year, which some have suggested was bringing Japan closer to the Five Eyes defence and security partnership.
More generally, with the hubbub of Amazon and Microsoft turning up in NZ with hyperscale data center regions, a number of customers were struggling with their cloud migration plans.
"Quite often they have bespoke applications or assets sitting in data centers and they are trying to figure out a way to get into public cloud platforms, whether that be through a platform play like Dynamics 365 or ServiceNow as well as IaaS through those providers," Purdy explained.
The challenge now was to "invest in the new without encumbering the old". The answer, Purdy said, was to do as much as possible out of the box with as little customisation as possible.
Fujitsu NZ had added more local consultants to help with that.
Fujitsu NZ was also trialling "the gift of time" for its roughly 520 local staff. This consisted of a day off for wellbeing and career development, month about. The trial ends around January but engagement scores and other measure were already looking good, Purdy said.
Sustainable transformation was also resonating, he said. Fujitsu was already providing IT sustainability evaluations and delivering improvements.
Globally, Fujitsu was looking towards next generation computing platforms, such as delivering quantum computing as a service.
There were plenty of opportunity to build on such global capabilities and to bring them to New Zealand.