BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold travelled down to Basingstoke to meet Tim Gibson two days after the seventh Fujitsu Logistic Essay Competition, held on July 7th at the Army and Navy Club, an event the Editor has had the honour to attend over the last six years.
The Essay Competition, the quality of the papers presented and the guests and finalists at the dinner reflect the strategy put together by Tim and his team over the last fifteen years to win key Government and MoD contracts. This strategy has enabled Fujitsu to win contracts, with a total value of over £5 billion, for the HMRC DVLA, Lloyds Bank, and a major part of DII and DFTS for the MOD to propel Fujitsu from the ranks of a major hardware supplier to a key Tier One and soon to be Prime MoD contractor.
“How have to you managed to win such key government business whilst remaining a business with a low profile?” The Editor asked.
“We have deliberately developed a strategy of being below the parapet, pinpointing key areas of company expertise, building a team to bid and win the contract and then manage the project once the business has been won. This has held us in high stead over the years and was a key factor in the UK being chosen as one of Fujitsu’s centres for worldwide defence sales. We have launched our Global Defence Initiative to bring together our full global expertise.” Tim Gibson said
This low profile is reflected in the parent Company Fujitsu whose size and technology remain one of the great success stories of modern Japanese business. Fujitsu Ltd, commonly referred to as Fujitsu, is a Japanese multinational information technology equipment and services company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. It is the world’s third-largest IT services provider measured by revenues (after IBM and HP).
Fujitsu chiefly makes computing products, but the company and its subsidiaries also offer a diversity of products and services in the areas of personal computing, telecommunications, advanced microelectronics, and air conditioning. It has approximately 162,000 employees and its products and services are available in over 100 countries.
Fujitsu is the second oldest IT company after IBM, established on June 20, 1935, under the name Fuji Telecommunications Equipment Manufacturing, as a spinoff of the Fuji Electric Company, itself a joint venture between the Furukawa Electric Company and the German conglomerate Siemens which had been founded in 1923.
In 1954, Fujitsu manufactured Japan’s first computer, the FACOM 100, and in 1961 launched the transistorized FACOM 222.
In 1990, Fujitsu acquired 80% of the UK-based computer company International Computers Limited (ICL) for $1.29 billion (ICL was renamed Fujitsu Services in 2002). In September 1990, Fujitsu announced the launch of a new series of mainframe computers which were at that time the fastest in the world. In July 1991, Fujitsu acquired more than half of the Russian company KME-CS (Kazan Manufacturing Enterprise of Computer Systems).
“When did you start work at Fujitsu?”
“Believe it or not I joined ICL Defence as a Graduate Trainee in 1979 from University College London where I obtained a geography degree. My first job was the modelling of the flood risk for the Thames barrier using new computer modelling techniques, this led me into the Defence Division at Euston Road, London. From there I went to the Government Systems Division where we won the HMRC contract and then I spent ten years working worldwide developing the International Business Division. In 2000 I was promoted to the UK Government Systems Division where I won and ran the HMRC, DVLA and Lloyds contracts as well as our Tier One responsibilities for DFTS and DII.”
“Does your work extend to corporate activities and acquiring new companies?”
“Yes, to succeed in business you need to know how to win big contracts and carry out acquisitions and disposals to enable the company to have the technology, manpower and ability to win new contracts in the future. To that end I was involved in the acquisition of GlobeRanger a US based technology company that operates in the Internet of Things (IoT) space, in May 2014. The acquisition has seen GlobeRanger remain an autonomous product development and marketing unit, owned by Fujitsu UK & Ireland with Fujitsu taking a place on GlobeRanger’s Board of Directors. This acquisition was a key part of Fujitsu’s Global Defence Initiative which aims to harness the capabilities, technology and products from across Fujitsu’s global ICT business. It will ensure our customers can be confident of best of breed, proven and cost effective solutions for the defence and defence related industries.” Tim Gibson continued.
GlobeRanger has an established footprint in the US, notably with the Department of Defense, where it is highly regarded and used by many DoD departments for their software layer for passive RFID solution technology. Considered a leader in the emergent Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, GlobeRanger’s solution removes the need for wholesale replacement of customers’ existing information systems – an issue that has hampered the growth of the RFID sector to date. GlobeRanger’s product suite provides an extremely flexible set of tools, enabling the rapid development of system which exploits data and processes at the edge of the enterprise. For the customer this will result in a transformation of supply chain management (SCM); maintenance repair and overall (MRO) and other asset management information needs by providing automatic, accurate and timely data on an asset’s geographical location enabling Business Processes to be executed even when Enterprise services are unavailable. The merger brings together the strength and global reach of Fujitsu in taking products to market, with GlobeRanger’s market leading Edgeware solutions. As a result Fujitsu are able to offer global solutions optimised to customer needs in SCM and MRO. Current market estimates for RFID are expected to surpass $20bn globally in 2014.
Key DFTS Replacement and DII Wins
On August 5th, Fujitsu signed two new contracts with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) which will bring in excess of £1bn worth of savings to the Government organisation over 10 years. The two agreements will see Fujitsu play a key role in helping to transform the delivery of information and communication technology across Defence and securely delivering greater agility and mobility to service personnel.
One of the contracts, worth over £550m, will see Fujitsu provide core global connectivity services for the next five years. The new network will underpin the delivery of current and emerging MoD services both in the UK and overseas. The Fujitsu solution replaces Defence Fixed Telecommunications Service (DFTS) and the LAN services provided by the ATLAS Consortium, with a modern, agile and robust set of network (LAN/WLAN and WAN) services designed to improve service levels and align to the new ways of working demanded by the modern users wherever they operate.
The award coincides with the signing of a contract with the ATLAS Consortium, that includes Fujitsu HP, Airbus Defence and Space and CGI which will provide a secure New Style of IT (NSoIT) to the majority of Defence users in offices, headquarters and deployed bases by September 2016. This contract is worth £933m and is a renegotiation of the original extension of the Defence Information Infrastructure (DII) contract.
“This award is the first for Fujitsu as a Prime and propels the Company into the senior league of international Primes in the UK.”
“It certainly does and also reinforces our position as the prime provider of network services in the UK for civil and military customers. We are delighted to be playing a part in developing and improving the MoD’s IT infrastructure and, ultimately, helping the organisation defend the UK’s national interests. The vital role Fujitsu plays in both these contracts puts us at the heart of future UK Defence Strategy.” Tim Gibson said.
“Do you see more business in this segment?”
“Yes, all our research shows a gradual move from equipment purchases to knowledge based solutions and IT. Equipment will play a major prole but it will become commoditised with such items as iPhones and radios being cheaper COTS-based solutions with intelligent Cloud-based solutions providing the key intelligence and ISR.”
The contract replaces the DFTS contract for which BT was the incumbent whilst Vodafone supplied the mobile requirement which will now be provided by O2. (See: BATTLESPACE ALERT Vol.17 ISSUE 25, 04 August 2015, UK MoD SIGNS TWO NEW IT CONTRACTS)
Future of UK defence acquisition
“How do you see the future of UK defence acquisition adapting to the current world situation?”
“We are getting a strong message from Main Building in London and DE&S at Abbey Wood that networks, IT and cyber will be the key enabler in defeating the current threats and the worldwide cyber intrusions. We are fighting Third Generation IT students who have developed an art in using networks and Social Media to wage the current wars. Armies across the world have to adapt fast to this new threat which is currently seeing a mediocre army of terrorist defeating highly trained soldiers by the use of advanced IT and networks.”
“Will you be bidding the Morpheus Requirement as Prime?”
The MORPHEUS Programme will deliver the next iteration of the LE TacCIS capability, addressing critical system obsolescence and introducing capability improvements to enable better Command and Control. Its intent is to explore the scope for delivering efficiency and effectiveness benefits through improved programme coherence, systems engineering, exploitation of impending technology ‘shifts’ and optimisation of the supplier base, for example through taking an open systems approach. MORPHEUS will seek to harness civil commercial developments in mobile communication and computing and apply these to the military tactical space.
“We are watching developments on the Morpheus Programme with interest and haven’t decided as yet to Prime the bid, we will certainly be involved as a major player. PA has a contract study in place which will report with regard to the next stage of the process.”
“What is your view of future wars and the way they are waged?”
“I see a huge seismic shift from dedicated large communications systems to ones where each war fighter has a £300 disposable phone connected to a Cloud-based secure network over which targets can be engaged and destroyed using disposable UAVS armed with a variety of munitions and missiles. The forces will be smaller and more nimble using lighter and more agile vehicles.”
As I left Fujitsu Defence in Basingstoke, it was clear that Fujitsu UK is now established a new and key Prime Contractor winning and managing key networking and IT projects.
Businessman of the Year Award. Tim is married with five children.