The Friday Interview: Niamh Spelman, Fujitsu Siemens Computers Ireland

25 Aug 2006

The subject of this week’s interview is Niamh Spelman (pictured), the managing director of Fujitsu Siemens Computers Ireland.

How has Fujitsu Siemens been performing in Ireland lately?
We’ve grown in the last period 40pc year on year across all of the form factors: mobile, desktop and server. IDC figures make us the fastest-growing of the top five vendors and that also puts us ahead of our own internal targets.

What is your impression of the Irish IT market: are businesses spending and if so where’s the investment going?
I think the Irish market is quite buoyant; having said that, in April and May there was a lull which was a bit of an anomaly but into the back-end of the summer things have picked up again. Companies are putting investment where it’s got to have business value — either it’s presenting to the business a net saving or more importantly it’s presenting an opportunity for the organisation to innovate or expand significantly into another area.

What will be the biggest growth area for Fujitsu Siemens in Ireland this year?
Fujitsu Siemens has two core strategies: mobility and the dynamic data center. When you translate that into products you’re talking about laptops and some handheld products and Intel servers, enterprise storage and Unix.

We hear reports of slowing demand for handheld mobile devices. Is this a trend you’re seeing?
The handheld [category] is interesting. I think there’s a shift in customer requirements overall; at the same time we’re seeing 70pc growth but that’s for a product that’s a combined phone, push email and Wi-Fi device which is what the customer is looking for. The short-term decline is that customers are moving away from single-function devices that give you just a calendar function.

Are there any trends that mark the Irish market as being different to elsewhere in Europe?
There are two things. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a trend, it’s maybe our ‘buying psyche’, but 16pc of our IT spending is non-brand and in EMEA [Europe, Middle East and Africa] it’s 36pc of the volume shipped. So there’s a real focus on brand and quality in the Irish market. The other is that we should be very confident about the year ahead. If you look at the IDC figures, western Europe grew at 0.8pc in shipped volumes in the second quarter of this year; Ireland grew at 20pc. There is IT spending going on. People are feeling confident and it’s not just a follow-on from what’s happening in Europe.

By Gordon Smith

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