Taking the information technology opportunity

Glen Koskela, director of technology strategy at Fujitsu Siemens, on how the region can benefit from innovative IT implementation.
Taking the information technology opportunity
By Administrator
Sun 20 May 2007 12:00 AM

Why did Fujitsu Siemens choose to come and speak in the latest Management Innovation Forum here in the UAE?

We are here to raise the attention for our customers of how important innovation is, and to encourage them to look into their own operations, in order to understand how they might best innovate.

It's important for any organisation, whether public or private, to look into the value that they deliver and not only focus on the cost side of the company.

For you, what are the benchmarks of innovation strategy?

From the mechanism point of view, it's about how we facilitate creativity workshops, there needs to be a pipeline for managing the ideas and maturing them into a business case.

We are continually being audited by benchmarking companies and according to research carried out by AT Kearney who interviewed and audited us, we are currently one of the top ten runners-up for the best innovator award.

In this region, it's often said there's not enough R&D. Is R&D important for innovation?

The first question is ‘is that really crucial for the region?' For the Middle East, there's not much point in investing into R&D that someone is already doing because that's simply entering into direct competition.

Instead of that, I think that most of the industries in the Middle East would profit from learning how to benefit from the value of the IT that is being created, rather than the development of it. In my opinion, that productivity gain can be tremendous over here in the Middle East.

Both the manufacturing and construction industries and the oil, finance and investment sectors should focus on exploiting IT solutions, and I really believe that this is an area where the Middle East could become a world leader very quickly.

So what do you think of the Middle East's current level of IT exploitation?

I would say they're on the same learning curve of using IT as it's being used everywhere else, but that's copy-catting and will only take you to the same level as everyone else is already at.

But looking at all the construction sites here, just think of all the technology you could implement such through automating the buildings. With the investments currently made in property here, it would be completely passable to establish a very good worldwide position in the automation market.

This entails the air conditioning, heating, lighting systems and energy consumption and how to control them. There's a real opportunity to create the mechanisms, technologies and IT processes, and then scale them with the property investment that is done locally. That would give you an R&D segment in which to invest, enabling them to create uncontested market space and make competition irrelevant.

How much would it cost to implement automation into an average sized building?

I can only give a ballpark figure. The cost of implementing the electronics would carry a double-digit percentage share of the cost of constructing the building. That might sound extremely high but you get the return on your investment by using the automated facilities to run the building for the next 50 or so years and not having to pay employees for facility management. Building automation is a high-tech industry.

Fujitsu Siemens are known for introducing mobility solutions into the healthcare sector. Are you hoping to bring that to the Middle East and to the UAE more specifically?

Definitely. In conjunction with Intel, we recently organised a ‘Mobility Tour' in Kuwait under the theme ‘More Mobility - More Productivity'. We recently carried out a survey that showed that more than 70% of companies, ranging from SMB's to larger enterprises, have implemented mobile solutions.

Our products for the healthcare sector have empowered medical professionals to boost productivity, while ensuring total patient satisfaction. They can now access electronic patient files while on the move and at the bedside, electronically record clinical data, facilitate better medical coordination, access accurate and up-to-date medical images anywhere and anytime, and minimise paper processing, reducing costs.

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