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A new global player in the public cloud game – Fujitsu

November 11, 2011

So far Fujitsu was mainly visible as a technology provider to build and optimize self-hosted IT environments (some call it private cloud) and a partner of Microsoft for Azure and Office 365. Today Fujitsu announced that they are going to offer a SaaS service themselves.

Fujitsu will be offering a CRM cloud system based on a OpenSource infrastructure.

This is quite notable in several aspects.

  • Fujitsu starts with CRM as the first own public cloud SaaS

It is not email or databases or anything else. They start with CRM and seem to have taken an example in SalesForce.com. But also Microsoft’s first cloud service for the enterprise has been CRM (USA & Canada only until recently). While Microsoft did it mainly through an acquisition as far as I know Fujitsu built this on its own.  

 

  • They base it on Open Source

Is this a surprise? On a bigger picture it certainly is not. Look at what VMware is currently doing with the “Microcloud”. But it probably was a surprise to Microsoft given the fact that Fujitsu in one of the very few to build the Azure Appliance (which itself seems stalled).

 

  • What is Fujitsu’s target market

Some guessing on my side here as Fujitsu has not announced this yet. I do assume two things here. First Fujitsu will target the Asian market primarily and secondly they will aim at small to mid-sized companies.  I do draw this conclusion based on the simple fact that a SaaS CRM is a great solution for the small and medium-sized companies that so far were not able to afford CRM solutions. The large and very large enterprises do expect customizations and that contradicts SaaS.

The aspect with Asia is an assumption based on the fact that in the Western market there is already a fierce competition with SalesForce.com, Microsoft, SAP, etc. just to name a few. Fujitsu in Asia has a strong foothold in the market in general and can build upon its brand. So the market potential with regards to quick growth is much higher in Asia. The other advantage with Asia is Fujitsu’s existing infrastructure aka data centers and network connectivity. This is something all the western companies do struggle with (where to pu the d/c, how to create data redundancy…).

 Why did they choose CRM if that is a market already well covered? The answer is easy, it is a market also well prepared for the SaaS delivery model. The cost of sales would be much higher if Fujitsu would create a new market as a starting point. It will be interesting to see to what degree Fujitsu will attract a channel to resell the cloud CRM or whether they focus on their own sales force. I am likewise curious how the strategy beyond CRM looks like if you think of the social enterprise vision created by Marc Benioff’s SalesForce.com.

Let’s keep a close eye on Fujitsu and its next steps. I will update this article with new findings, announcements, etc.

 

 

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