Annie Bogue, chief operating officer and head of sales and marketing, Fujitsu Network Communications
I recently had the pleasure of representing Fujitsu in an informative Executive Roundtable event during the ISE EXPO 2022 in Denver. Along with executives from industry leaders such as Corning and Congruex, I participated in a productive discussion on wide-ranging topics impacting the information and communications technology (ICT) industry at large. Following is my viewpoint on some of these critical topics.
How can we transform fixed and mobile networks?
Today’s service providers are challenged by operational change, so we must help them minimize that risk. Most providers seek to balance risk with return. However, where return is not clearly identifiable, they will usually opt for the technology that better aligns with their existing operating structure. Vendors like Fujitsu can play a pivotal role in identifying innovative technology, and helping to implement it in a way that minimizes operational risks.
What emerging or disruptive technology excites you the most?
Helping our customers move to open, programmable networks and eliminate vendor lock-in is a key building block of the Fujitsu Network Business strategy and an area where we quickly established a leadership position. I’m as excited about Open RAN technology as I am about the possibilities that come with it. Open technology is evolving how networks are built, and I believe that O-RAN can transform the wireless world by enabling supply chain security, faster innovation, and flexibility.
What have you done to proactively work through current supply issues?
Our entire company has been focused on global supply chain constraints. Both raw material and logistical issues have been huge challenges, but our team really rose to the occasion with virtually every organization playing a role. We have worked closely and proactively with our customers to outline the supply challenges and get long lead time purchase orders, differentiating Fujitsu through our operations and manufacturing expertise. And the good news is we are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
How are you proactively addressing labor issues that are adding to broadband deployment challenges?
At Fujitsu, we offer our customers skilled engineering staff to augment their network builds. We also offer a turnkey network deployment service where we provide everything needed to design deploy and operate a broadband network. Both offers help our customers deploy their networks faster, with a reduction in cost.
What realities are network providers, contractors, and vendor partners facing as funds are awarded by the BEAD funding program?
While the government has laid out the allocation and distribution rules for funding, the funds for actual build-out won’t be distributed until 2024. The rush for all resources in the value chain may create inflationary, supply chain, and deployment challenges that could add risk to the original deployment plans. The good news is we have time on our side, as well as close collaboration across the ecosystem that can help us meet the challenge.
What is the secret to maintaining long-term working relationships with network providers?
Building trust. Our customers know they can depend on us to meet requirements, deadlines, and quality standards without fail, and they expect us to be good-faith negotiators and communicators.
What should all of us in the ICT industry be talking about that we are not?
I believe we should put more focus on how we can use our services and technology to make the world a better place. COVID showed us that remote work is more than possible, and more companies including Fujitsu have embraced it. It forced us to create new ways of working. With a better understanding of how broadband access affects people’s lives, we should do a better job of addressing the vast disparity in our country, which BEAD funding should help to address over time.
What issues must the industry solve in 2023 that it was unable to remedy in 2022?
The biggest issue is still supply chain. Raw material and logistics issues continue to challenge us as an industry. The CHIPS act is a great step forward, but it won’t completely solve the problem. As an industry we need to continue to create and evolve our strategies for obtaining the parts we need to maintain our current networks and create the networks of tomorrow.
Sustainability is an issue that affects us all. It’s an initiative I hear regularly from customers, a guiding principle at Fujitsu, and something I’m very passionate about. Fujitsu’s stated purpose is to make the world more sustainable by building trust in society through innovation. In addition to helping customers transition from older power-hungry equipment to newer, more efficient hardware, we are developing technology such as advanced silicon and sustainable thermal management to reduce power consumption without sacrificing performance.
What is a key issue you are passionate about solving for the ICT industry?
Our industry needs more diversity, particularly in the supplier space. STEM fields have been male dominated for decades and ICT is no exception. I find that more balance with respect to gender, race, age, sexual orientation, and backgrounds creates more diversity of ideas, stronger teams, and is better for growing our business. Plus, I believe the industry will benefit from a greater proportion of females — not just as individual contributors, but as innovators and leaders at all levels. I’ve made it a point to advocate for more opportunities for women, and within our company I focus on bringing in more diverse hires as well as sponsoring and promoting talent to create a more diverse leadership structure.