Fujitsu Australia Limited adapts and thrives in the digital age

Fujitsu’s history demonstrates what can be achieved in Australia’s ICT sector through employee growth and targeted investment. Fujitsu Japan’s long-term faith and commitment to its Australian operation is testament to Australia’s history and future as a high-tech nation. Today Fujitsu continues to help its customers address the challenges of ever-increasing digital disruption.

Strategic investment and collaborative partnerships

As the global IT landscape continues to change in the face of constant digital disruption, Fujitsu carries on helping its customers in Australia as it has done for decades.

Fujitsu Australia Limited was established in 1973 in Melbourne as FACOM Australia. Its major shareholders included Bank of Tokyo, Computer Manufacturers Australia, Fujitsu Japan and Westpac (then Bank of NSW). In 1985, Fujitsu Japan bought-out FACOM Australia from its major shareholders and the company became known as Fujitsu Australia.

Fujitsu was unconventional in its management approach in Australia. Most Japanese companies at the time ran overseas companies with a Japanese management layer under supervision from Tokyo. Fujitsu realised that to survive and adapt in a fast-growing and highly competitive industry, the company had to have local management, staff and skills to run the business.

Gateway to Western markets

Competition from existing players was strong, but Fujitsu Limited in Japan realised if the company could flourish in Australia, it could make its way in any Western markets. FACOM Australia’s first major victory was in 1979 when it was awarded an Australian Bureau of Statistics tender worth $17 million, one of Australia’s largest ICT projects to that date.

The 1980s were a turbulent period for the global ICT sector as PCs came to dominate and mainframe computers became largely obsolete. During this time, Fujitsu doubled its staff in Australia from 450 to 900 and Fujitsu Australia Limited became the most successful of all of Fujitsu subsidiaries, with sales revenue increasing from A$80 million to A$210 million. Fujitsu’s notable clients in Australia included P&O, CSIRO, Fairfax, CIC Insurance and Mayne Nickless Ltd.

Today Fujitsu is well established in the Australian information technology landscape and provides services, products and solutions to a wide range of large commercial and government customers including the Department of Defence, Australia Post and the City of Gold Coast.

Home to software research and development

Australia was the first country outside Japan to host a Fujitsu software development centre. In 1989, Fujitsu Limited built the Fujitsu Australia Software Technology (FAST) centre at an initial cost of A$10 million.

FAST develops software across most major platforms with a focus on emerging technologies, standardisation, digital media and cloud technologies. FAST reports through to Fujitsu’s software division in Tokyo. The company continues to play an important role in Fujitsu’s global research and development operations.

Partnering in telecommunications

Leveraging the telecommunications heritage of its parent company, Fujitsu Australia has participated in a number of significant telecommunications initiatives including the establishment in 1998 of a A$35 million telecommunications facility in Dandenong, Victoria in conjunction with Telecom Australia (now Telstra). From this site, the company manufactured telecommunications infrastructure systems.

In March 2009, Fujitsu Australia purchased the KAZ ICT services group from Telstra, increasing Fujitsu’s staff to over 5,000 across Australia and New Zealand.

KAZ Group had strong government credentials and an established reputation among federal government agencies. The purchase enabled Fujitsu to form a strategic alliance with Telstra, cementing a partnership that began in 1989.

Sustainable data centre delivery

Fujitsu Australia has invested heavily in state-of-the-art data centres with a footprint of more than 30,000 square metres. The Australian operations form a large part of Fujitsu’s global operations centres and Fujitsu has continued to invest in improving its data centre capability, with world-class data centres commissioned in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland.

In 2016, Fujitsu Australia was awarded Australia’s first fully NABERS-rated data centre portfolio across its six Australian centres. This equates to an estimated 27 GW hours of electricity savings per year, which equates to over 24-million kilograms of carbon emissions. Fujitsu Australia will continue to strive towards its 2020 target of a 4.5 NABERS star average across its data centre portfolio.

In 2017 Fujitsu announced a significant investment in the upgrade of its national data centre footprint including the upgrade of its Malaga (Western Australia) data centre to Uptime Institute Tier 4 Design Certification, making it the first enterprise data centre in Australia to achieve this certification.

Addressing digital disruption and promoting innovation

Today Fujitsu has a strong focus on helping its enterprise and government customers to address the growing need for digitalisation. In 2017 Fujitsu Australia established a dedicated digital team to be the home of its customer-focussed innovation. This team applies a range of tools, techniques and methodologies to deliver ‘digital co-creation’ initiatives and to assemble multi-disciplined digital teams focussed on creating the best digital outcomes for customers.

Mike Foster, Chief Executive Officer of Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that digital disruption is the ‘New Normal’ and is a reality of business today. We need to work with our customers to help them to leverage the constant demand for innovative thinking and rapid development of ideas and concepts. We are bringing innovation to the table through emerging technologies and a focus on ‘Co-creation’, while leveraging the experience of our traditional business.”