In the COVID-19 crisis, Stratus’ top priority is the health and safety of our employees, customers and partners. This is a declaration by David Laurello, CEO of the U.S. headquarters. We also thoroughly communicate through opportunities for internal and external communication. Stratus has been appointed a COVID-19 task team that reports directly to the CEO. The team has developed a plan that they believe is necessary to mitigate health and safety risks and business risks during the coronavirus. In addition, the task team is responsible for internal communication regarding the ongoing COVID-19.
In Japan, too, under the name of the COVID-19 task team, members of human resources, legal affairs, finance, and information systems are taking the lead in confirming the situation and considering countermeasures. The actual measures are the countermeasure steps that the U.S. head office is considering (RTO = Return To Office Program While referring to the above, we are planning and implementing it with reference to the infection situation in Japan and the guidelines of the government and local governments. Currently, we limit the number of employees who need to come to work, and allow them to come to work with prior approval while limiting the number of employees. We also have a number of rules in place, such as how to use the meeting room, approve and respond to visitors, check in advance when visiting customers, disinfect and social distancing.
As of the end of September, there were no cases of infection in the company. However, this does not necessarily mean that there will always be no cases of infection in the future. Recently, many new positive people with unknown contact histories, etc. have been reported. It is not a clear infection route such as food or sealed events, which were common in the past, and there is a possibility that infection may occur in daily life. Therefore, the above response team is preparing for risks by formulating specific measures in the event of an infected person (not identical, but actually a positive test).
Personally, there are a lot of things that have changed during the corona crisis. Activities that mainly involve movement were affected. I haven’t had a business trip abroad since last December. Visits to the office and customer visits also decreased. In addition, collective in-house events and customer-attracting marketing events have also been replaced with video conference formats. On the other hand, there are many things that have not changed. Many of these have been done in a long time with video conferencing systems. Weekly business progress meetings with U.S. headquarters. Bi-weekly staff meetings attended by all GMs in each region. Monthly meetings with the Product Division. I also have monthly individual meetings with the CTO and Marketing Manager. There is also a personal interview with the CEO of the U.S. headquarters. These are things that don’t change.
The above is a view that focuses on one’s own work style, but when looking at the company as a whole, there is a considerable range of freedom in working styles depending on the type of job. There are many jobs that require you to come to work in reality. Due to the need to support non-disruptive computers, we have field engineers available around the clock. In order to support customer systems, we come to work on a rotating basis even under the current situation. In addition, some development engineers contribute as substantive members of customer projects, so you have the opportunity to come to our partner office. Members of the general affairs department and administrative departments come to work on a rotating basis and take necessary measures. Marketing and business development members also come to work to use in-house equipment and facilities for the opportunity to shoot video for digital content creation. Sales representatives and pre-sales engineers may also come to work at the necessary stage of proposal activities.
Recently, we have seen a lot of talk in the media about the post-corona world after the corona disaster has subsided. There are many topics such as globalism, business habits, educational environment, telemedicine, etc. Here, we will mainly think about it in relation to the ICT industry. What we can say without a doubt is that digitalization is advancing. The main focus is to use the latest technology to more conveniently evolve ICT equipment and mechanisms in use, and to promote digitalization at the field level. At the beginning, I told you what has changed in my own work due to the corona disaster and what has not changed. Originally, there was an environment where people could work from home for nightly and early morning communication with the U.S. headquarters, but a similar environment was provided to many employees during the corona crisis. Telecommuting (or telecommuting) has become the main focus, so digitalization to support it has become necessary. This is not just about client PCs and communications, it’s also about digital approval and the use of the cloud. It was necessary to reduce the work of coming to work and stamping, and it is inconvenient that business applications and communication tools can not be used unless you enter the company’s private network.
In fact, we believe that digitalization will evolve not only in office operations, but also in more business environments. Taking a factory as an example, events that have been confirmed with terminals close to equipment at the site will shift to an environment where they can be monitored remotely. In addition, control equipment will also evolve to realize real-time performance while consolidating the number of units with virtualization functions, and it will move in the direction of reducing the man-hours of operation and management of equipment at the site. In fact, it is precisely in this area that Stratus is strategically focused on edge computing. STRATUS IS SIMPLE, PROTECTED, AND AUTONOMOUS We have a design concept for edge computers called (autonomous), but we have made it standard to have functions that can be managed from a remote location and functions that aggregate devices with virtualization functions. In addition, the fact that it is non-stop type itself minimizes the man-hours of operation management personnel who go to the site and maintain the equipment.
In the ICT industry, the importance of digital transformation has been emphasized for several years. Before the transformation aimed at competitive differentiation, the acceleration of the movement of reliable digitalization in the field is likely to be an unexpected impact of the corona disaster.