Kathy Gibson is at Fujitsu Forum 2018 in Munich – Fujitsu partners are coming up with innovative solutions to real customer requirements – and South Africa’s Sizwe IT Group is up there with the best in the world.

The company was a runner-up for Fujitsu’s Global Select Innovation Award, which was won by France’s DFI. GreenIT, based in Germany, was another runner-up.

Sizwe and Fujitsu designed an insulated container-based classroom that is off the grid, providing its own power with solar panels.

All wiring is in trunking and recessed into the insulation, meeting ISO standards, while benches and desks are built in and designed to maximise the available space.

The containers are fitted out with the latest in technology: thin clients use zero power in sleep mode and have low consumption when in use.

Each container classroom has its own server, a Primergy RX 2540 M4, which is one of the quietest and more energy-efficient servers the market.

Each classroom is also equipped with a Parrot 1 interactive whiteboard that is touchscreen and fully interactive.
A Kyocera HyPAS Teaching Assistant completes the hardware component of the classroom. This device is not only a scanner, fax, photocopier and printer, it can also scan and mark tests, returning results in minutes.

The technology is all connected with Aruba access points, which offers the best access outside the classroom, so the community can also benefit from connectivity.

Cameras record lessons as well as monitor the server room.

MyTopDog content is used by the Fujitsu schools, and learners from all over the country can connect to teachers who could be sitting literally anywhere. The content can also be used when there is no connectivity.

Key to the solution’s success is its sustainability, so they are provided on three-year or five-year contracts that include maintenance and services.

This kind of co-creation is central to Fujitsu’s strategy.

Over the past few years, the vendor has worked on strengthening its channel presence, and research from Canalys demonstrates the success of the strategy.

For the second year in a row, Fujitsu has been placed in the top quadrant of the Canalys leadership matrix, says Dave Hazzard, vice-president and head of EMEIA channel and sales operations: EMEIA at Fujitsu.

Canalys says distributor are growing 6%, with resellers growing at 11%.

Fujitsu’s distributors have grown 7% and resellers have grown 13%, so it is outpacing the average, Hazzard points out.

Currently, 80% of Fujitsu product is moved through channel, and Hazzard expects this to grow to 90% in 201.

Fujitsu’s sales though channel have grown 17% in data centre, 24% in Primergy servers, 6% in Eternus storage and 3% in client computing devices..

Canalys believes key drivers by 2025 will include:

* Widespread adoption of contractual/subscription business models;

* Environmental change leading the global political agenda;

* Channel transformation;

* Pervasive AI-led automation;

* Cyber-security will underpin a new cold war; and

* IoT and intelligent edge have transformed multiple industries.

“I believe our relationship with channel and service partners will become more important in the future,” says Rupert Lehner, head of central Europe: product and enterprise platform services.

“As a sales and services organisation, I believe our partners will be more important,” he adds.

Fujitsu has announced changes to its operating model, and partnering will become more important than ever, Lehner says.

“We need to change our focus. It will be more important o focus n high value-added products like artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT).

“When we talk about key markets, where we need to strengthen our presence, it will only be possible with strong co-operation and partnership.”

Hazzard points out that the role of the partner is changing, and they are moving up the value chain.

“Partners need to ensure that at least some people in the organization have some kind of specialisation.
He adds that the person making buying decisions at the customer is changing as well – today it’s as likely to be a line of business buyer as IT.