Q: The global economy seems to experience challenges we have not seen in decades: very high inflation, the prospects of synchronized recession, higher and higher interest rates, and even war and cybersecurity challenges. In this context, how do you deal with such challenges in your business sector?
Mr. RAZVAN DOBRESCU: The past three years have been challenging for everyone, both as individuals and for businesses. For us the priority is to always deliver operational excellence and provide the highest level of trust to our business partners and customers. I believe these two ingredients are extremely important in any partnership and at any time, but in our present times they became crucial for keeping businesses going and even grow.
The biggest impact these recent events have on, is the supply chain. The lack of raw materials is still an issue, the cost increases along with the fluctuating exchange rates, generate a huge pressure on manufacturers to deliver in the timeframes desired by customers. To overcome this challenge, our internal supply is now based on AI processes, which, together with forecast data and information provided by each individual sales employee, are now optimizing the supply of components to our manufacturing facilities and the deliveries of our orders.
On a local level we are putting more emphasis on staying as close as possible to our business partners and customers throughout the whole sales cycle, helping them at each stage to identify the best solutions for their needs, both from a technical and financial point of view.
Q: Can you tell us how you see how technology is already transforming our businesses, our lives, and our society?
Mr. RAZVAN DOBRESCU: I think this is a topic that can be discussed for many hours and in many pages. Technology started to become a part of our daily lives with the third industrial revolution that started in the 1970’s with the appearance of computers. At first technology was used for specific, dedicated tasks and later on for individual work when personal computers hit the market. As years passed, people felt the need for speed and quick access to information and communication and the introduction of the Internet fueled even more this need. People and businesses discovered that geographic distances are no longer an issue, that they can work better, faster and smarter, increasing their efficiency.
Starting with 2020, we have entered into a new industrial revolution, the so called Industry 4.0. This was right around the corner either way, but the Covid pandemic accelerated the process. People and businesses alike, were suddently forced to work in a new landscape. The manufacturing and supply industries had to redesign their processes and way of working, had to be more agile in order to overcome the challenges raised by the pandemic. People were forced to work remotely, which meant that business needed to adapt to the new paradigm and implement systems and processes that allowed their workforce to stay connected while in the same time secure. Key sectors like education, health or public administrations were forced as well to adapt and implement systems to continue to deliver services. Worlwide schools started working online. We now have health consultation services that are provided over the internet, helping hospitals decrease their load on-site but also delivering basic services much faster. Local public administrations started implementing portals and digital services so that people get access and fulfill their duties much faster directly online, avoiding long, time consuming queues.
All this happened in just 2 years. I can only phantom what’s to come. Technology is here to stay and it is part of our lives and businesses, helping us as people to stay connected, helping businesses to run smarter and more efficient and societies to evolve. Personally, it makes me very happy and proud, that we as Fujitsu, have the opportunity to actively take part to these transformations and that we are able to help push them to new frontiers.
Q: What’s your view on productivity when working from home? Do you see any resistance to calls from employers to come back to the office? Is it needed? How is the way of working changing?
Mr. RAZVAN DOBRESCU: This is one of the most debated topics throughout all industries ever since the pandemic hit and there is no one-size-fits-all answer or solution.
During the pandemic employees for most of the industries were forced to work from home and thus adapt to new ways of working. At the beginning I think it was some kind of worry that businesses will not work the same, that the level of efficiency will not be the same, basically that it won’t work. It’s in the human nature to have some kind of reluctance towards ‘new’.
In this case I think the outcome has been a positive one. Businesses realized that they can still run, and with the help of technology and collaboration tools they can be, at least, as efficient as they were before but more agile. People realized that they can get the same work done, from the office, from home, from co-working spaces or other remote locations, but more importantly, people got in return more time – the time spent in comute, for example, between their homes and the office - time that they can now use for themselves and/or with their families and loved ones.
What is important for companies to address though, is the necessity to create for their employees the proper environment for them to work smarter, more flexible and at the same time secure. These three requirements represent also the pillars of our Workplace of the future concept, which provides customers the proper products and technologies to create this new workplace landscape.
There is, however, also a downside on working from any other place than the office, which is the loss of social contact and interaction between people, be they business partners or colleagues. That is something that so far, no digital collaboration tool can replace or make up for. That is why, I believe returning to the office, at least partially, is a must. Where the balance is, how many working days to be spent at the office, how many from home, that is difficult to say. As I was mentioning earlier, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every industry and every business is unique, and for each, the approach should be what works best for them and their teams.
Q: Regarding the industries, you are helping through your products, which one seems to be very dynamic and why? Is it manufacturing? Is it retail? Is the public sector? The energy and utilities? Are the financial services? How do you see the trends and dynamics in those industries?
Mr. RAZVAN DOBRESCU: Every industry is now at a stage of accelerated growth and development, with digitalization being the key driving factor.
If I were to think about the major projects we’ve been involved in, in Romania, in the past 12 months, with the help and involvement of our business partners, I would dare say we’ve touched and helped companies in all industries, with a strong focus on critical infrastructures and ensuring business continuity.
In the automotive and retail industry we’ve helped companies build their infrastructure foundation in preparation for their migration to new ERP systems, like SAP S/4Hana, or upgrades of their existing solutions. A journey that will allow them to have better control over their data, be more flexible and scale their businesses faster. In the financial services sector, we are now in the process of delivering and implementing a Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) solution based on our Primeflex for vSAN solution. We have customers in many other sectors who are refreshing their infrastructures and are also setting up Disaster Recovery sites for better business resiliency.
We’re living in a time when data / information, is the new gold. Every industry is now harnessing this resource either to improve internal processes or to better serve customers. That is why, the need for powerfull, resilient and efficient technologies is in a rising trend, with more processing power and large storage capacities being required, as well as solutions that can protect the data in case of cyberattacks or disasters.
Q: How do you see public sector digitalization and cybersecurity?
Mr. RAZVAN DOBRESCU: I think it is a very hot topic, one that is still in the initial phases and that will be one of the most dynamic sector in the following years. The pandemic forced the public sector to accelerate the shy digitalization investments and implementations. Even though people were in lockdown, the public services had to keep running. Taxes had to be paid. Schools had to keep provide education to students. These are probably some of the most common examples. These needs, however, opened up doors to new directions as well. I was mentioning earlier about the online health check-ups that can now be done. The telemedicine topic is back on the agenda, aiming to interconnect hospitals and medical personal throughout the country, to improve collaboration. Every public direction in Romania is now taking steps towards digitalizating their activity and processes. Not to mention the public cloud, which is meant to bring together and interconnect most, if not all, services.
As it usually happens however, with good things and opportunities, come also challenges and threats, or cyber threats to be more precise. As the digitalization keeps picking up speed, the volume of data and information that is transacted, processed and stored, grows exponentially and this data has to be kept secure. Because of this, digitalization and implementation of cybersecurity solutions should go hand in hand, and should be done proactively. This is something that I think cannot be stressed enough: private companies and public institutions alike, should not rely on the idea that “it won’t happen to us”. One way or the other, sooner or later, it does happen, and the costs of repairing and recovering lost or comprised data, is usually many-fold times the cost of implementing a cybersecurity solution from the beginning.
Last but not least, I think this is a topic on which the cooperation between technology vendors and the public sector should be on the agenda for both sides. A constant dialogue and best practice exchange sessions can lead to successful, faster solutions to todays challenges, in the end benefiting our society.
Q: What is your main message to your clients/partners regarding challenges and opportunities for the short and medium term?
Mr. RAZVAN DOBRESCU: To be on the lookout and be ready to act. Some of the current existing challenges will not go away soon. Some new ones will appear but with them, new opportunities will be revelead as well. The most important thing is to stay connected and alert in order to be able to anticipate and act as soon as the environment brings something new and to take advantage of that. If there is something that these past years have showed us, is the importance of digitalization and technology. And that, is a topic on which they can always rely on our experience and expertise.
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