Press Coverage

Apr 21, 2014

Nine cloud ventures from Japan and the United States convened in Tokyo: Visions of the future were discussed during inaugural event

“Cloud services are essential for the increased productivity of white-collar workers.” The CloudBrite Summit opened for the first time on April 17 in Tokyo, and nine ventures from Japan and the United States—all providers of advanced cloud services—gathered to discuss the outlook of the Japanese market. (The summit was organized by the CloudBrite Executive Committee.) Twelve key figures exchanged their views on the role cloud computing will play in transforming Japan’s stagnant business and ways of working.

Nine companies from Japan and the United States convened for the first time after a call for a gathering by Zendesk, et al.

It all started when a group of companies including Zendesk, a company that provides help desk management software used in 140 countries, called for the summit to take place. Six American cloud ventures with a branch office or subsidiary in Japan (LinkedIn Japan, Evernote, and others), and three ventures that started their business in Japan (Sansan, Cybozu, and another firm) responded. CloudBrite 2014 is the first event that has been jointly hosted by the nine companies.

Mikkel Svane, CEO and founder of Zendesk, arrived in Japan for the summit and gave his audience a motivational pep talk: “Cloud computing services have taken the world by storm. We are transitioning to a world of cloud computing. Cloud services provide the trajectory to business success.”

Fujiyo Ishiguro, CEO of Netyear Group, raised the point in her keynote speech that, even though Japan’s working-age population is in decline due to a low birthrate, the productivity of white-collar workers is low compared to other developed countries. She asserted that, “Too much time is taken up on chores, personnel systems often make a mockery of industry, organizations are vertically segmented, and people are only allowed to work in their office. We need to let IT take over routine work and allow employees to work anywhere.”

Discussions on market features and agendas found at the front lines of business in Japan

The nine cloud ventures hosting the summit were not short of things to say when giving their opinions and suggestions on the outlook of the cloud market and the impact the cloud services will have on the Japanese business industry.

Vice President John Cohen of SurveyMonkey, an American company providing services for implementing surveys over the Web, presented a market research survey that was conducted on Japanese and American businessmen. He told the audience that the proportion of collaborative efforts that transcended organizations was lower in Japan, and went on to make the following point: “This is clearly a time for change. In order to raise productivity, we need improvements that will make collaborations possible.”

GinzaMetrics, which started its business in Japan and currently has its base in the United States, provides cloud services for search engine optimization both in Japan and the United States. CEO Ray Grieselhuber told the audience in fluent Japanese, “Because increased productivity and collaborations are considered to be of value in the United States, no explanation is necessary, but in Japan, I found that people were not really convinced.”

Ryuichiro Sugimoto, the acting representative of LinkedIn Japan, gave the audience an insight into the distinctive feature of the current Japanese market: “When I introduce cloud services in Japan, I get asked, ‘Where are they used?’ I am always asked to provide examples of other companies using them.”

President Katsunori Furuichi of Box Japan came on stage. The company is a Japanese subsidiary of the American company Box Inc. that is expanding its business worldwide with its online storage service known by the same name. President Furuichi, who also served as the former president of Verisign, gave the following advice: “When Japanese firms consider using a cloud service, they place emphasis on the aspect of security. It is therefore important to encrypt information passed along communication paths, and prevent unauthorized information leakage from within the company.”

Systems can now be built on a combination of good services

During a panel session discussing cloud services from an ROI (return on investment) point of view, Director Kei Tomioka of Sansan said, “When we first started introducing our business card management service, there was a lot of talk from an ROI point of view. I would love to see these talks on ROI turn into amusing anecdotes.” President Yoshihisa Aono of Cybozu gave his view on the matter: “Building systems based on a combination of good services will be the key in lowering the ROI.”

Meanwhile, Yoshifumi Nomura, Gengo’s VP of Sales & Business Development in the Asia region (Gengo provides translation services at budget rates in Japan and the United States), said, “There are many prominent enterprises in Japan where documents are expected to be made in English. Utilizing Gengo’s services will allow white-collar employees to focus on their real work, resulting in the rise in the level of productivity.”

Ken Inoue, General Manager of Evernote Japan, completed the discussion by saying, “Of the nine companies’ services that have been presented here at this event, Evernote Japan uses seven. This comes to show how much cloud services have made inroads into the venture circle.”

Three hundred people attended this inaugural event where Japanese and American cloud ventures convened. A space to mingle with each of the company’s contact personnel was also provided and there were an outstanding number of businessmen discussing the use of cloud computing services in a serious manner. The organizers are hoping to hold an event such as this one on a regular basis in the future.

Read original article in The Tokyo IT Newspaper
Translated with Gengo