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Seeing several thousand people flood through the gates of Munich’s ICM centre today was something to behold.

And the first full day at Fujitsu Forum 2016 didn’t disappoint. Here are some of the best bits from day one…

Digital disruption roundtable

To kick off proceedings we hosted an early (but thankfully not too early) roundtable to discuss our brand new research around digital disruption.

Attendees included Fujitsu’s Mike Sewart and Regina Moran, along with DHL’s Paul Richardson and a group of eager tech journalists.

The discussion took many twists and turns, but the most pressing issue came from the idea of increased complexity and how to manage it.

“One word people use more than ever is complexity,” Regina said. “And in five years’ time things will become even more challenging.”

The key to overcoming that complexity, the panel agreed, will lie in co-creation – partnering with other companies to become greater than the sum of your parts.

But it’s also about knowing which parts of your business you should digitalise.

Another interesting point that came up was the changing nature of skills in the digital world.

As Regina put it: “The idea of someone being a specialist in one area, doing one role, just isn’t going to work anymore.”

Keynote

After an epic opening video that sequence, Fujitsu President Tatsuya Tanaka took to the stage to introduce the day’s first keynote speaker, Duncan Tait.

Naturally the main topic of Duncan’s talk was digital disruption, and he had a message for every business in the room:

“Digital disruption is not a negative force. It is unstoppable, yes, but only those who ignore it need fear it.”

He argued that we are in the golden age of innovation. “Walls are coming down and lines are blurring as people realise the benefits of a hyper-connected world.”

He also added that the ones most likely to succeed will be the ones that can “change, and change fast.”

Next up was DHL’s Dr Markus Voss, who in the true style of a Fujitsu event was followed onstage by a robot.

He echoed Duncan’s sentiments around digital disruption: “We are facing a kind of digital Darwinism,” he said. “It’s do or die.”

Dr Voss talked about how what used to take months or years to introduce is now possible in a matter of days or even hours.

His colleague Paul Richardson spoke of digital disruption elsewhere at the event, arguing that emerging technologies such as wearables have a big part to play in DHL’s future plans.

Co-creation was another strong theme of the day, with Duncan calling it “the only way to learn fast, act quickly and scale rapidly.”

To prove this point, Bankia’s Angeles Delgado and Ignacio Cea entered the stage to show how they’ve been partnering with Fujitsu to radically overhaul old financial services models.

Mapping out cyber threats

Proof perhaps that cybersecurity is front and central for businesses today, there was standing room only for one of the morning’s breakout sessions. In ‘Mapping the Territory of Cyber Threats’, Fujitsu’s Rob Norris gave a packed room an overview of the cybersecurity trends shaping the market today.

He also sounded a warning call around where businesses should be focussing their attention. “New legislation is coming (GDPR in 2018),” he said. “You don’t just have to worry about cybercriminals. You have to understand your data.”

Creating a winning digital strategy

Fujitsu’s Patrick Smith provided a step-by-step guide to creating a digital strategy fit for 2017 and beyond.

“Digital must be more than pixel-thin,” he said, arguing that it should fundamentally transform and unify the customer experience for the better.

He also warned that if done badly or not soon enough, digital can destroy rather than create value. And you only need to look to a certain video rental company for proof of that.

Hybrid IT and digital transformation

Mark Phillips, Fujitsu EMEIA’s Head of Hybrid IT, talked through the key drivers for businesses moving to Hybrid environments. Covering two areas, it’s about improving operational efficiency, and digitalisation.

“We’re at the very tip of the digital iceberg,” he said. With 50bn connected devices expected by the year 2020, this will change everything.

“Digital transformation is driving cloud adoption at an irresistible rate.”

We also caught up with the Hybrid IT team for an interview live on Periscope – check out the video below: 

Master the digital age with a single cloud IaaS and PaaS platform

The word ‘digitalisation’ has been on the lips of many speakers today, but Fujitsu’s Brad Mallard sought to tackle what it means head on.

He warned us not to get confused with the word digital, and framed it in this way: “Digitalisation is the means by which you transform to thrive (or survive) in the digital age. Doing it properly can unlock that competitive advantage for your business. But what does good look like?

“Empower your people to innovate – enable them to act in a different way,” he said.

“Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation can take away mundane and repetitive tasks, allowing [your people] to work in new ways. This creates competitive advantage.”

The new age of digital learning

“I believe every business will become a digital business,” Fujitsu’s Ash Merchant said, suggesting that “education has the responsibility to become digital.”

But in order for education to become truly digital, he argued, education providers must “do more than just buy off-the-shelf tech.”

Instead, they need a technology partner that can help drive digital transformation.

Check out our Facebook Live video for lots more insight from the man himself.

The future workplace

Moving on from education to the working world, Fujitsu’s Joel O’Halloran explained our vision for a workplace that puts people at the centre of everything, providing seamless access to the digital services they need to deliver business outcomes.

Christian Reilly of Citrix developed the concept further, highlighting how a successful digital workplace must provide the right information, at the right time, in the right context. He also explained the importance of simplicity: “ICT to date has created more complexity than it has solved. Now it’s time to reverse that.”

VMWare’s Matthias Schorer discussed the importance of bringing the consumer technology experience to the workplace.

All participants were excited to see what artificial intelligence will bring. I particularly liked the thought that one day I might be able to rely on AI to filter out unwanted emails!

Read lots more on the future digital workplace here.

The pace of change in retail banking

Few industries have the potential to be as disrupted by digital as financial services, and Fujitsu’s Miguel Feu Gallego discussed why it’s important for banks to be the disruptors rather than let new players get there first.

Could the humble ATM become the ultimate self-service machine and better serve the needs of the modern banking customer?

Exploring the Demo Centre

We also took a walk around the Demo Centre to see what’s going on in the world of innovation at Fujitsu. Needless to say it’s packed wall-to-wall with exciting tech – so much so that I’ll struggle to do it justice in just a couple of paragraphs!

Highlights for me included the ‘idea wall’, where attendees are invited to share their own solutions to problems, and the Co-Creation area where people could build together using Lego.

Elsewhere there were racing car simulators, virtual reality headsets and mock-ups of what the future office might look like.

Exciting stuff all round, and we’ll be covering more of the Demo Centre tomorrow so watch this space.

Stay tuned for more…

There is still plenty of exciting insight to come tomorrow. Make sure you keep your eyes on this blog and follow our @Fujitsu_UK and @FujitsuUKEvents Twitter channels and #FujitsuForum hashtag to keep on top of the action.

Look forward to seeing you on day two!

Here’s our Storify that provides the top social media highlights from day one:

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Jim Millen

Jim Millen

Digital Content Editor at Fujitsu
I'm the editor for the Fujitsu UK & Ireland blog, and love to write about the exciting work Fujitsu do in digital & technology innovation.

Any feedback on the blog or our other social channels? Please do connect and let me know!
Jim Millen

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