Engaging with and learning from NTT

Posted on December 09, 2011

Key Japanese companies such as Toyota, Canon, Nippon Steel Corporation and Toshiba believe their future is to stay Japanese but to expand outside Japan.

These companies have similar philosophies of enhancing people’s lives that are somewhat unusual for western organisations in their industries.

These are the insights Dimension Data’s Derek Wilcocks offered at a recent GIBS Forum titled Engaging with and learning from NTT: A personal journey.

Wilcocks, the managing director of the Dimension Data Group’s Internet Solutions, said however that many Japanese companies have tried to globalise in the past but have battled to succeed at it. Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), which acquired Dimension Data, is no exception as it has many bases around the world but still only earns 5% of its revenue outside Japan.

NTT acquired Dimension Data in 2010 for its proven sales capability to Fortune 500 companies and not because it represents a gateway to the rest of Africa as is commonly believed: “They don’t need us in Japan or want us to become Japanese, they want us to sell what they can create in Japan outside of it,” said Wilcocks.

He added that he has observed the Japanese culture to be one where rules are followed, but most importantly one needed to be respectful in order to get co-operation in business.
The Japanese followed a different approach in its takeover of Dimension Data than what we are accustomed to, since they held 18 months of meetings discussing areas of co-operation and building trust before they bought the local company.

Japan, which has the second largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalisation, has somewhat of a “socialist” approach to business that sees the private sector employing people for life and reducing salaries, not jobs, when times get tough.

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