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Using Philosophies for a Brighter Business Future: NTT DATA

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Vusi Melane
Vusi Melane
Staff Writer
Af
Africa

The African continent will be celebrating 61 years of past successes while building towards the future in two days’ time, 25 May 2024, Africa Day. NTT DATA employs African, Japanese philosophical synergies to inform a brighter business future.

In the realm of global business, the prevalence of mergers and acquisitions is on the rise. When making such strategic moves, it’s imperative to acknowledge that it’s not merely about integrating entities, but also about amalgamating cultures, mindsets, and philosophies. These elements must be capable of challenging outdated business assumptions. This is according to CEO for NTT DATA Middle East and Africa, Alan Turnley-Jones.


Dimension Data, a brand with a 40-year history originating from Africa, underwent a rebranding as NTT DATA, a Japanese powerhouse with a legacy spanning 140 years. This transition serves as an exemplary instance of the fusion of two significant philosophies: the African concept of Ubuntu and the Japanese business mindset. Despite originating from different cultures, both philosophies share commonalities that hold the potential to reshape business practices, particularly within the technology and IT services sectors.

Ubuntu Meets the Japanese Mindset of Harmony, Respect, and Trust

Turnley-Jones says, “Ubuntu, a Nguni Bantu term meaning ‘humanity’, is often translated as “I am because we are”, or “humanity towards others”. It’s a philosophy from South Africa that emphasises community, shared connections, and mutual caring for all. Ubuntu articulates a sense of togetherness and a belief in a universal bond that connects all humanity. In the business environment, Ubuntu proposes collaboration, inclusion, and equity as fundamental principles. This helps transform human relationships within the organisation and between the organisation and the communities it operates in.”

“The Japanese mindset is underpinned by principles that prioritise harmony (wa), respect (keigo), purity (seijitsu), and tranquility (seijaku). These principles guide interpersonal relationships and business dealings, promoting a culture of respect, collective responsibility, and a commitment to societal well-being. In the business arena, this means a focus on quality management, customer centricity, continuous improvement, and often lifelong relationships between companies and their employees. It’s a business culture that seeks mutual trust, winning hearts as well as minds.” he adds

Finding Common Ground: Collective Success and Harmony

“At the heart of both Ubuntu and the Japanese mindset is the belief in the importance of the collective over the individual. This shared value creates a ripe business environment where teamwork, respect, and mutual support are primed for growth. It’s here where a corporate culture that values collaboration, community involvement, and shared success can flourish. Finding synergy between the two philosophies is particularly revolutionary in the tech world, where rapid innovation and aggressive competition often overshadow collaborative and inclusive business practices.” says Turnley-Jones

Some areas in business where the fusion of philosophies really comes to the fore include:

Decision-Making

“With a Japanese mindset, decisions are made through a process called ‘Ringi’, which solicits broad consensus among stakeholders before moving forward. Similarly, the Ubuntu approach to business encourages inclusive decision-making, ensuring that all voices are heard and considered. Together, a more democratic and inclusive decision-making process is supported, enhancing employee satisfaction and stakeholder engagement.” he adds

Employee Well-being and Development

“The Japanese concept of ‘kaizen’, or continuous improvement, is not just about improving business processes but also about personal and professional growth. Similarly, Ubuntu’s focus on mutual care and support naturally extends to the workplace, emphasising the importance of nurturing talent and supporting employee development. When merged, these philosophies create a culture that values and invests in employee growth, leading to higher levels of innovation and productivity.” he says

Community Engagement and Corporate Responsibility

“Both philosophies stress the importance of contributing to the welfare of the community and society at large. This shared value can translate into robust corporate social responsibility and sustainability initiatives aimed at addressing social, economic, and environmental issues. By integrating Ubuntu’s focus on community well-being with the Japanese emphasis on harmony within society, a new path in sustainable business practices and social responsibility can be collectively charted.” he says

Customer-Centric Services

Turnley-Jones adds that, “At the core of both Ubuntu and the Japanese business mindset is a deep respect for others, which naturally extends to customer service. This common ground can redefine how the merged entity approaches customer engagement, emphasizing personalized services, respect for customer needs, and a commitment to delivering value far beyond transactions. By prioritizing meaningful connections and mutual respect in customer interactions, new levels of customer loyalty and trust can be achieved.”

He continues, “Staying true to inherent communal principles sets a new precedent for how businesses can operate in the global marketplace and highlights the importance of cultural diversity and integration in crafting a more humane and effective business paradigm. The future demands new behaviors, not just new technologies. We have the blueprints for these behaviors; let’s leverage them to build new and better.”

“Now that the rebranding of Dimension Data to NTT DATA is complete, we are intent on integrating the best of both worlds into our operations to provide a differentiated experience for our diverse spectrum of clients.” concludes Turnley-Jones

 

 

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