Japan Rising

With an India panel member seated right in the middle of four Japanese panelists, the session was a perfect representation of Japan’s and India’s harmony and keenness to blend. His words ‘Think of Japan – think Quality. Think of Quality – Think Japan’ reverberated across the hall pack of boardroom audience and met nodding affirmations. But there was more that stood out. First up, the session struck a chord with one and all when the moderator Shegeaki Namiki from Accenture India Pvt. Ltd made each speaker break ice with the audience by sharing their firsthand experiences of working across India and Japan.japan_rising

Yukio Takeyari, MD, Sony India Software Centre Pvt. Ltd. shared an interesting Japanese perspective about working with Indian companies. He admitted that even until recent past, Japan looked at India’s ways of working as a tad old-fashioned. But with the way Indian enterprises are seamlessly interacting with and serving global clients especially in IT, the Japanese perception needs to change. Taking a cue from Day 1 sessions at NILF 2015 that rightly put forth the accelerated velocity of digital change, realities of the interconnected world and the overlapping interdependence that countries have on each other, Japan and India need to drive new technologies together, said Takeyari san.

Ravi Kumar, Senior Vice President – Global Delivery NTT Data presented his views on the on-ground cultural gap between the Japanese and the American way of working. For a US company, speed is everything viz-a-viz a Japanese company where every decision entails long drawn and meticulous planning. “While initially working with the Japanese counterparts, I used to conclude it is just slow. Gradually I realised things are actually methodical and involve upfront planning at the Japanese end. A lot of emotion is involved in Japan and it is about carrying everyone together. That’s how they approach integration of two merged or acquired companies” shared Ravi. They stick to the decisions they make, said Mr. Kumar (read Kumar san) who carries a vast exposure of working with Japanese system integration firm, NTT DATA that has acquired many IT services enterprises from across the globe. Commending Japan for keeping up with high quality benchmarks and service delivery, he also highlighted ‘speed to market’ as a challenge as well as an opportunity for Japanese players to make a mark in this rapidly changing world.

Toshimi Yamanoi, VP – Automotive Technologies, KPIT Technologies presented an on-ground picture of the Japanese science and engineering students graduating every year and shared that India’s graduate output is 4 times that of Japan. By 2020, the Japanese graduate output would dip by 20% and that of India would be twice its current level. So, just within 5 years, India will be 8 times higher in graduate output as compared to Japan. That’s how stark the situation is. Citing an example of the Japanese OEM industry, he shared it is important for Japanese OEMs to have people who possess software development skills that makes a compelling business case for India and Japan to augment each other’s shortcomings. Touching upon the Japanese ‘Genba’ concept that in English loosely translates to ‘the place where the actual production work is taking place’, Yamanoi san stressed upon the need for Japanese companies (and in particular the Japanese OEMs) to look outside and understand the changing expectations of customers, partners and key alliances, especially given the pace at which the digital world is evolving.

Hiroshi Nishino, President & CEO, Proseed Corporation sounded concerned about Japan’s limited exposure to the digital pace of change. With cloud, social networks and digital business models becoming a ubiquitous reality, he confessed that the Japanese executives need to be quickly exposed to digital business awareness. For instance, majority of Japanese executives use excel for programme management despite the availability of sophisticated and exhaustive programme management and portfolio management tools available. Drawing similar gaps in the education curriculum, he strongly proposed the need to revitalise Japanese syllabi. His openness to collaborate and communicate on new ideas with Indian universities and the government was noteworthy throughout the session. He acknowledged the need for Japanese stakeholders across the spectrum – from the government, educational institutions, and enterprises to individuals, to grasp a new understanding of educational, cultural and business harmonization possibilities between the two countries.

The interactive session drew to a close after a seamless exchange of interesting ideas and actionable insights such as identification of young Japanese students and executives who can be brought to India in groups of 15 or 20, to grasp cultural as well as English language capabilities. These individuals can become ambassadors of exemplary collaboration between the two countries on returning to Japan and disseminate their learning. Focused on enhancing business and cultural ties between India and Japan, the ‘Japan Rising’ session ended on a candid and collaborative note.

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