Fujitsu slowly builds its cloud ecosystem

OVUM VIEW

Summary

Fujitsu recently held its annual Fujitsu Forum. Under the motto “Reshaping ICT, Reshaping Business”, the company made a variety of hardware, software, and channel partner announcements and updated Ovum on its cloud computing strategy. The company is slowly but surely building its cloud computing portfolio but needs to move carefully at a variety of levels, including messaging and channel ecosystems.

Fujitsu clouds will take time to integrate

Fujitsu announced its first local infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds at its Forum three years ago, followed, two years ago, by the announcement that the Japanese local cloud would be deployed globally to become the Fujitsu Global Cloud Platform (GCP). It has spent the last year strengthening its regional Local Cloud Platform (LCP) and GCP infrastructure. It launched LCPs in Australia, Brazil, the Caribbean, the US, and Vietnam. It has also expanded GCP from its initial deployment of nine islands (four in Japan and one in Australia, Germany, Singapore, the UK, and US). There are now six islands in Japan and the German GC will soon get a second island.

Hybrid clouds are central to Fujitsu’s Cloud Fusion strategic theme. Besides LCP/GCP hybrids, since late 2011 the company has been offering Fujitsu Hybrid Cloud Services (FHCS) to connect Microsoft Azure and Fujitsu clouds. However, Fujitsu needs a clearer set of messages around cloud integration (and federation), instead of mostly talking about it in the context of product and service offerings. It also needs to be more detailed when it comes to the process of integration, which will remain slow but steady. In 2012, for example, the company strengthened its global WAN capabilities. However, GCPs need to be better integrated for large companies to be able to manage multiple clouds from one common portal. Fujitsu eventually plans to deliver a single console to manage its private cloud platform, LCP, and GCP offerings, as well as third-party clouds from partners such as Microsoft, Salesforce.com, and Symantec.

Building on the Fujitsu Global Cloud Platform will also take time

GCP and (to a lesser extent) LCP play a significant role in the gradual evolution of Fujitsu’s traditional outsourcing strategy and implementation of high-cost bespoke infrastructure solutions to more standardized and industrialized infrastructure services. Fujitsu also uses GCP as the foundation for standardized platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions to be offered globally, some of which it announced at Fujitsu Forum 2012. The company’s PaaS strategy has so far been rather piecemeal; so has its SaaS strategy outside of Japan.

GCP may be global but GCP-based offerings are not necessarily so. The IT management (ITMaaS) solution based on CA Nimsoft Monitor and Nimsoft Service Desk technology announced in April 2012, for example, launched in Australia in April 2012, in Singapore the following month, and is being rolled out in the UK, US, Europe, and Brazil. Meanwhile, the Fujitsu CRM offering, which was announced at the 2011 Forum but only released in September 2012, is mostly available in Germany.

Cloud computing is now personal and enterprise-centric

Fujitsu announced the pilot of an internal “personal cloud” initiative in early 2013. It is not the first personal cloud announcement made by the company. It recently announced the My Cloud consumer-related personal cloud offering in Japan. However, it is the first enterprise personal cloud announcement. Like many of its peers the company emphasizes the need, and its ability, to integrate legacy applications into the new personal cloud workplace. It does not differentiate enough, however, between consumer and enterprise personal clouds, nor does it connect the two offerings; it should. The personal cloud concept sits at the confluence of a variety of trends including consumerization of IT and bring your own device. In the same way as consumers can move cloud services between devices, the idea is to enable business users to do the same to complement the consumer experience, rather than offer an alternative. In other words, the personal cloud is as much about integrating personal and professional life from a cloud service point of view as it is about integrating professional cloud services together into a seamless cross-device experience.

The channel is increasingly important to cloud computing

Announced at the Fujitsu Forum 2011, the Fujitsu Cloud Store eventually opened in September in Germany and is currently being piloted in the UK. It will be deployed globally in 2013. During the Fujitsu Forum 2012, Fujitsu claimed more than 60 applications from 50 partners. Ovum could only find 42 applications from 19 partners when it visited the cloudstore.ts.fujitsu.com website that covers Germany, but Fujitsu asserts that it has more than 20 offerings on its German cloud store staging platform , and 10 more in the UK.

The company is proud, and rightfully so, of its “Fujitsu SaaSification Factory” that can not only “SaaSify” on-premise applications without code change but also businesses via business services such as billing and account management. The problem is that businesses are not as easily SaaSified as code. As a result, Fujitsu has had to let go of some partners which had been SaaSified but still had an on-premise software-centric culture. The company not only needs to emphasize its business SaaSification credentials more than it currently does (and highlight the need for a culture change) but also position them as entirely distinct from its application SaaSification capabilities. It also needs to stop defining both application and business SaaSification capabilities as PaaS. This will confuse the market more than it will help it understand Fujitsu’s capabilities.

At its Fujitsu Forum 2011, the company announced the addition of a new “Dynamic Cloud” program with about 150 members of its Select Expert program. There are currently about 1,200 Select Expert partners, out of about 15,000 Select partners (and more than 45,000 channel partners overall). At its Fujitsu Forum 2012, Fujitsu added the “Value Channel” invitation-only Select Partner Program for resellers and systems integrators to capitalize on data center, storage, solutions and cloud opportunities in the mid-market enterprise segment. Starting in Austria, France, Germany and Spain, it will roll out across Europe, the Middle East and Africa during 2013. From a cloud computing point of view the need for an additional channel illustrates the fact that most of Fujitsu’s channel partners, even top Select Expert ones, would struggle to sell cloud computing solutions, especially SaaS ones. Fujitsu is not the only one having difficulties recruiting cloud channel partners with the right skills and resources. This is a problem that most ICT companies are currently experiencing.

APPENDIX

Author

Laurent Lachal, Senior Analyst, Ovum Software

laurent.lachal@ovum.com

Further reading

2013 Trends to Watch: Private and Public Clouds (November 2012)

2013 Trends to Watch: Cloud Services (October 2012)

Cloud Vendor Profile: Fujitsu (May 2012)

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