Fujitsu's operations in Africa
Can you tell us why Fujitsu is a good fit for Africa?
From a technology point of view, because of the scale of the region, business continuities are of key importance. The failure rate is very relevant to Africa in that the lowest failure rates are from a supportive and maintenance point of view. Fujitsu has the lowest failure rates in the industry, a position that is unique for Africa. So, it’s a very practical reason, but it’s very relevant to Africa. On top of Africa being unique and beautiful, preventative maintenance and 24/7 monitoring of hardware and predicting hardware failures has become very important. We currently have a replacement from Germany, we monitor all hardware 24/7 and it’s amazing to see how you can solve incidents before the cloud even knows about the incident. For me, that is very important. Then obviously, it’s all about skills and skills development. We’ve got groups of multinationals in all countries representing, delivering on SOA’s. and I don’t know if you know this, but Fujitsu is in the leader squadrons in integrated systems in Gartner. So that sort of skill and knowledge, and skill transfer in country and the commitment that we make, I think that really is the most relevant point for me when answering, “why Fujitsu in Africa?”. It’s more of a practical response then a hyperconverged one. We’ve seen that we’re growing rapidly in Africa so yes, that’s from an African point of view.
Clearly Fujitsu have big plans for the continent. What specific products are Fujitsu working on for Africa at the moment?
I’m going to use this opportunity to talk about a really new solution we’re really excited about. It’s so brilliant, yet the solution is so simplistic. We’ve come up with a kiosk device for the unconnected workforce. When you think about the unconnected workforce (it’s basically in mining, manufacturing and the automotive industry) there’s a lot of people that don’t even have a smartphone. Their interaction with technology is almost non-existent, but when they do go out they encounter technology. But when they go out they encounter technology. One way or another, we need to educate them. If you take for instance a big railway firm that has 40,000 unconnected workforce people, obviously, they need to get trained on technology. They have a kiosk, where they go to the kiosk, and the company just moves information through to them, they can learn about what’s happening in the company so that’s the company pushing information done. More important for me, is that they can look at their salary slips, they can put in their leave, they can apply for positions, whereas before they sometimes just don’t because they don’t know about it. There was a third subject regarding municipal accounts, or accounts for school for their kids, so these people have to catch two taxis, five trains, or whatever, to go and pay a municipal account, or to go and pay their school fees. What you have here, is you give them access to the device, in a training centre where in fifteen minutes they get educated, they pay their accounts or whatever, they don’t spend a lot of their own money. The productivity - it’s so simplistic, yet it’s something that’s really kicking off in South Africa and that we’re pushing further into Africa in the next 18 months.
The kiosks seem like a much-needed solution. How will they overcome the challenges of erratic power supply and blackouts?
Obviously, the technology needs to be robust enough to handle it. There’s a green sustainability point of view from Fujitsu and their devices use much less power than their competitors. That definitely assists from a power consumption point of view. Even if you think of the fact that equipment can go up to 45°C. Obviously, the power usage of a server room given the air con and everything, puts a heavy strain on the power availability. Although, I don’t know if you know that South Africa black outs are due to coal, nothing else.
Tell us about your data centre services. What do you offer?
From a Fujitsu point of view, building data centre infrastructure its very often complex and time-consuming. From a client point of view, the DIY approach can be risky and expensive. It’s not their core competence and should not be part of their core delivery. Ready to run systems with simple design and simple procurement, that’s key for them. Also, our reference architectures give shorter project timeframes, which is very important because process turnaround time is becoming shorter and shorter and the flexibility to adapt is there if you use some of these integrated solutions we have. Our brand is known as PRIMEFLEX. And in the PRIMEFLEX store you’ve got for PRIMEFLEX for SAP HANA. Interestingly, we’ve got 80 percent of the market. Then obviously, there’s PRIMEFLEX for OpenStack as well, PRIMEFLEX the hybrid cloud, the k5 v-Shape selection with VMware.