Kathy Gibson is at Fujitsu ActivateNow – Global lockdowns aimed at combating the spread of Covid-19 have given rise to a new and more digital world of work.

Martin Schultz, chief policy economist at Fujitsu, says the coronavirus crisis gave rise to what has effectively been a huge experiment to see what happens when a mega city like Tokyo moves from the office to the home office.

“In Tokyo, overall mobility dropped by 80%,” he says. “There were some huge challenges with lockdown, but it actually went pretty well.”

Tokyo had an advantage of being well prepared for crises, Schultz adds. “Within just a few days everyone was wearing masks and using sanitiser. And logistics was hyper-organised before the crisis so there weren’t many issues there.”

It was within companies that the real challenge was seen. “In Japan, they focus on teamwork, with people working together. We have been trying to digitalise offices for some time, but haven’t been successful.”

With Covid-19, working from home was forced on companies. That it has been largely successful is thanks to the high level of digital skills in the population.

“This is a gaming nation, and people have been connected on social media for ages. So people simply extended their digitalisation and companies were able to quickly reconnect.”

The real challenge, Schultz says, is coming now as companies start to return to their offices.

“Our experience from 2018 shows that there is a challenge around getting the economics right. In 2018, there was little cash available so companies had to focus on innovation at a low cost.”

Fujitsu is helping its customers shift to digital models, he adds.

“Asia is reconnecting with digital – reconnecting and reimagining work.”

Christian Leutner, vice-president and head of product sales: Europe at Fujitsu, points out that organisations around the world are facing the same challenges.

“The past months have been tough and challenging. They have led to the emergence and acceleration of a few really significant market trends.”

These include the shift to mobility; X-as-a-service; and the importance of being data-driven, Leutner says.

The work from home imperative has driven mobility, with the devices that are used shifting quickly from desktops to notebooks.

This in turn has driven an increase in cloud computing usage, with a need to scale up and down from on-premise to public cloud with X-as-a-service (XaaS).

Meanwhile, a key step in the digital transformation journey is for organisations to become data-driven. “Our research shows that fewer than 5% of companies are data-driven today – and the same research shows a direct correlation between data maturity and success.”

To help customers meet these needs, Fujitsu has changed how it engages with customers, becoming more accountable for business values and outcomes, more consultative and leveraging its storage and data expertise.

“We are also expanding our portfolio with more ecosystem technology,” Leutner adds.