The word ‘millennials’ often conjures up images of twenty-something walking around glued to their mobile devices while browsing multiple social media sites. In recent years, they have been credited with transforming corporate culture, spending habits and media consumption. Now add ‘business transformation’ to that list. Millennials are fueling strategic business decisions such as acquisitions, network transformations and marketing-spend to ensure that businesses are equipped to take advantage of the shift in spending power.
However, not all countries are counting on millennials to boost consumption.
Japan, home to some of the world’s most loved technology brands such as Sony, Canon and Yamaha, is the world’s third largest economy. However, when it comes to purchasing power and consumption, Japanese millennials are renowned savers, not spenders. How does this impact the need for business transformation in Japan? The short answer seems to be that it doesn’t.
At a recent technology forum in Tokyo, academics and Government IT professionals agreed that despite the differences in purchasing habits, Japanese companies, more than most, needed to transform to stay relevant. At the forum, Verizon’s senior vice president, George Fischer, outlined Verizon’s own transformational journey noting how increased bandwidth consumption have increased the demand for services to be delivered to Verizon’s customers faster and more seamlessly. This in turn prompted the company to invest billions into its global network
Think of the growth and immense traffic on ‘LINE’, ‘Twitter,’ ‘Snow’,‘YouTube’ and ‘Instagram’ in Japan? Think about how much traffic passes through the network to enable the instantaneous sharing of video, image and sound files. And that’s only going to increase.
Geroge Fischer, Senior Vice President, Verizon Enterprise Solutions.
Panelists voiced concerns that companies weren’t investing quickly enough in Software Defined Networks (SDN) in order to take advantage of new technologies such as the Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain. This point was emphasized by a senior executive from Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), who urged Japanese companies to invest in next-generation technologies to remain relevant in a digital world.
To encourage development of the digital economy, we need to create the right environment for it to flourish. We need to harmonize and limit regulation. And we cannot underestimate the competitive challenges facing the industry. Competition in the digital world is fierce with players from cross-sectors jumping into each other’s markets.
The promise of the Internet of Things, in particular, continues to be high on the agenda of organizations. The biggest concerns were centered around privacy and security in light of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
One thing is clear though: the biggest challenge facing the technology sector in Japan isn’t a lack of investment, but the lack of skilled technology experts to deliver these next-generation technologies. And that’s where Verizon can help – in Japan and around the world. We have a global team of local language experts who understand how technology can transform business opportunities, and a raft of experience in helping Fortune 500 companies to do just that.