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Q&A: Rod Vawdrey, CEO Fujitsu ANZ

Q&A: Rod Vawdrey, CEO Fujitsu ANZ

What’s the 30 second pitch on Fujitsu?
Fujitsu is a full service provider of information technology and communications solutions that deliver tangible benefits for Australian businesses. Through our constant pursuit of innovation, Fujitsu contributes to the creation of a networked society that is empowered by new advances in communications, business and entertainment. From strategic consulting to application and infrastructure solutions and services, Fujitsu has earned a reputation as the single supplier of choice for leading corporate and government organisations.

What’s the biggest opportunity for your industry at the moment?
At Fujitsu, we are currently being asked to apply technology to help enterprises and government organisations become leaner and more focused so they can emerge stronger and more competitive from the Global Financial Crisis. Our innovative technology solutions are empowering many organisations to improve their business processes and technology frameworks, transforming their organisations into dynamic and successful businesses.

What are the disruptive technologies that are likely to significantly change or impact business over the next few years?
Clearly the expansion into Web 2.0 has changed the way many businesses operate. The increasing availability of high speed broadband and the introduction of various multimedia technologies into popular culture have changed the way consumers manage various daily activities. Communications channels will continue to advance as faster and more robust technologies become available, impacting the way businesses communicate with their staff, customers and key stakeholders.

Most importantly, there is now a global focus on technologies that support environmentally sustainable business practices, in keeping with the growing awareness of the need to care for our planet using green technologies. Fujitsu is a leader in the development and implementation of environmentally responsible technologies and a proven performer when it comes to helping companies to reduce their footprint.

Where do you see your company heading over the next five years?
Fujitsu is committed to maintaining its position as one of the top three ICT companies in the Australian and New Zealand marketplace by delivering an unbeatable customer experience always following through on our commitments and by exceeding our customers’ expectations. Fujitsu will also continue its role as a thought leader that constantly brings innovative technologies and approaches to its customers.

What’s the biggest challenge for the company at the moment?
Right now, our biggest challenge is to take advantage of the many great opportunities before us. With our recent acquisitions of KAZ and Supply Chain Consulting, we have greatly enhanced our capabilities. Of course, any acquisition demands a concerted effort to integrate those new people into our company and make sure we retain all the skills and passion that made those businesses so successful. Our 5,000+ staff need to work hard to capitalise on the opportunities in the market to maintain our leadership position. We must be bold and ambitious in order to continue our record of success.

Tell us a bit about how you became CEO of Fujitsu?
I have always been good at balancing the conflicting priorities of company strategy and operations with employee needs and customer priorities. The key to my success has been my willingness to work hard and pay close attention to detail. I applied the benefits of my extensive hands-on experience with street-wise knowledge gained from a tough upbringing to work my way up the ladder, always learning in a broad range of roles covering sales, development, engineering, manufacturing, service and operations in leading organisations based in Asia, the Americas and Europe. Of course, I have also had a fantastic opportunity to work with and learn from great people on both the supply and demand side of our industry.

A notable lesson from my career has been the need to be willing to admit mistakes, whether they be in hiring people or in business execution, then make the appropriate decision and move on.

Who’s your hero and why?
I am a big fan of Winston Churchill and admire all great achievers, whether they are in business, like Steve Jobs at Apple, or in sport, like Tiger Woods or Greg Norman. I admire their passion and commitment to excellence and share their desire to leave a legacy of a better world.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
Manage Things and Lead People. People will only give their best if you lead by example, as well as coach, develop, reward and recognise achievement. You manage balance sheets and production lines, not people.

What are the skills that you promote and most respect at work?
I really appreciate people who focus on the only true measure of success: that is year on year improvement, whether it be in customer satisfaction scores, financial results, training, production yields or sales targets. I also love to watch people teach others by providing advice or demonstrating by example and helping each other to grow. I really get excited when people know their business and are in tune with the key drivers of success. I am always impressed with people who focus on outcomes and do not lose sight of them.

What has been your greatest challenge to date as far as your career is concerned?
I think it is the work-life balance that every worker faces, as well as the responsibility for people in both personal and business environments. Keeping your family safe and happy is vital and while at work I must protect and provide opportunities for over 5,000 employees. The thought of having to let people go because I have not seen a challenge ahead soon enough or not been able to change course keeps me awake at night.

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