As outlined in a previous blog, NTT, the partly state owned Japanese telecoms company, is undergoing a major global shift. Nikkei Business interviewed the president of the NTT group, Hiroo Unoura, about how he has been trying to change NTT since he became president in 2012.
In June 2013 he announced to the top executives of the group companies that “we should not leave any homework for future generations”, by focusing on what kind of services would be needed for the era of cloud computing, and that NTT must no longer regard itself as the main player, but simply “one of them” due to the diversification and globalization of the telecoms services and applications market. He is reshaping the organisation globally, using North America as a starting point for global expansion.
NTT has set up a 100 strong cloud research center in Silicon Valley. Unoura believes that businesses in the USA are far more inclined to see shifting to the cloud as a life or death matter, whereas the Japanese market is still hampered by regulation.
Unoura was involved in cleaning up the mess after the major losses made by NTT in the early 2000s from overseas investments. Those acquisitions were not about increasing turnover, he points out, rather about acquiring 3G technology from AT&T Wireless or building a global internet network in the case of Verio. The current acquisitions are about expanding the business. As Dimension Data is a specialist in cloud, by acquiring them, NTT is hoping they will find further candidates for NTT to acquire in the cloud business.
Acquisitions such as the recent purchase of Spanish IT company Everis are all discussed with NTT overseas operations such as NTT Com, NTT Data and Dimension Data first. However NTT has no intention to abandon Japan – the idea is to learn from overseas, and bring that knowledge back to Japan once Japan’s own industrial structure has changed.
NTT is of course putting itself into direct competition with the very Japanese companies who used to rely on NTT as a key customer, such as Fujitsu and NEC, by focusing on cloud and global markets. Fujitsu in particular already expanded overseas decades ago through purchases of European and North American companies, although it took many years before it then tried to integrate them into “One Fujitsu”. Time is not on NTT’s side, and trying to integrate strong and distinctive companies such as South African Dimension Data into “One NTT” may need all of Unoura’s apparent boldness and courage and then some to push through.
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